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Seismic structure of the crust and uppermost mantle of north America and adjacent oceanic basins: A synthesis

Bulletin of the Seismological Society of America

By:
and
DOI: 10.1785/0120010188

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Abstract

We present a new set of contour maps of the seismic structure of North America and the surrounding ocean basins. These maps include the crustal thickness, whole-crustal average P-wave and S-wave velocity, and seismic velocity of the uppermost mantle, that is, Pn and Sn. We found the following: (1) The average thickness of the crust under North America is 36.7 km (standard deviation [s.d.] ??8.4 km), which is 2.5 km thinner than the world average of 39.2 km (s.d. ?? 8.5) for continental crust; (2) Histograms of whole-crustal P- and S-wave velocities for the North American crust are bimodal, with the lower peak occurring for crust without a high-velocity (6.9-7.3 km/sec) lower crustal layer; (3) Regions with anomalously high average crustal P-wave velocities correlate with Precambrian and Paleozoic orogens; low average crustal velocities are correlated with modern extensional regimes; (4) The average Pn velocity beneath North America is 8.03 km/sec (s.d. ?? 0.19 km/sec); (5) the well-known thin crust beneath the western United States extends into northwest Canada; (6) the average P-wave velocity of layer 3 of oceanic crust is 6.61 km/ sec (s.d. ?? 0.47 km/sec). However, the average crustal P-wave velocity under the eastern Pacific seafloor is higher than the western Atlantic seafloor due to the thicker sediment layer on the older Atlantic seafloor.

Additional Publication Details

Publication type:
Article
Publication Subtype:
Journal Article
Title:
Seismic structure of the crust and uppermost mantle of north America and adjacent oceanic basins: A synthesis
Series title:
Bulletin of the Seismological Society of America
DOI:
10.1785/0120010188
Volume
92
Issue:
6
Year Published:
2002
Language:
English
Larger Work Type:
Article
Larger Work Subtype:
Journal Article
Larger Work Title:
Bulletin of the Seismological Society of America
First page:
2478
Last page:
2492
Number of Pages:
15