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Volcanoes and fault zones are areas of increased heterogeneity in the Earth crust that leads to strong scattering of seismic waves. For the understanding of the volcanic structure and the role of attenuation and scattering processes it is important to investigate the distribution of heterogeneity. We used the signals of air-gun shots to investigate the distribution of heterogeneity around Mount Etna. We devise a new methodology that is based on the coda energy ratio which we define as the ratio between the energy of the direct P-wave and the energy in a later coda window. This is based on the basic assumption that scattering caused by heterogeneity removes energy from the direct P-waves. We show that measurements of the energy ratio are stable with respect to changes of the details of the time windows definitions. As an independent proxy of the scattering strength along the ray path we measure the peak delay time of the direct P-wave. The peak delay time is well correlated with the coda energy ratio. We project the observation in the directions of the incident rays at the stations. Most notably is an area with increased wave scattering in the volcano and east of it. The strong heterogeneity found supports earlier observations and confirms the possibility to use P-wave sources for the determination of scattering properties. We interpret the extension of the highly heterogeneous zone towards the east as a potential signature of inelastic deformation processes induced by the eastward sliding of flank of the volcano.
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