Rayleigh-wave phase-velocity maps and three-dimensional shear velocity structure of the western US from local non-plane surface wave tomography

Geophysical Journal International

DOI: 10.1111/j.1365-246X.2009.04441.x



We utilize two-and-three-quarter years of vertical-component recordings made by the Transportable Array (TA) component of Earthscope to constrain three-dimensional (3-D) seismic shear wave velocity structure in the upper 200 km of the western United States. Single-taper spectral estimation is used to compile measurements of complex spectral amplitudes from 44 317 seismograms generated by 123 teleseismic events. In the first step employed to determine the Rayleigh-wave phase-velocity structure, we implement a new tomographic method, which is simpler and more robust than scattering-based methods (e.g. multi-plane surface wave tomography). The TA is effectively implemented as a large number of local arrays by defining a horizontal Gaussian smoothing distance that weights observations near a given target point. The complex spectral-amplitude measurements are interpreted with the spherical Helmholtz equation using local observations about a succession of target points, resulting in Rayleigh-wave phase-velocity maps at periods over the range of 18–125 s. The derived maps depend on the form of local fits to the Helmholtz equation, which generally involve the nonplane-wave solutions of Friederich et al. In a second step, the phase-velocity maps are used to derive 3-D shear velocity structure. The 3-D velocity images confirm details witnessed in prior body-wave and surface-wave studies and reveal new structures, including a deep (>100 km deep) high-velocity lineament, of width ∼200 km, stretching from the southern Great Valley to northern Utah that may be a relic of plate subduction or, alternatively, either a remnant of the Mojave Precambrian Province or a mantle downwelling. Mantle seismic velocity is highly correlated with heat flow, Holocene volcanism, elastic plate thickness and seismicity. This suggests that shallow mantle structure provides the heat source for associated magmatism, as well as thinning of the thermal lithosphere, leading to relatively high stress concentration. Our images also confirm the presence of high-velocity mantle at 100 km depth beneath areas of suspected mantle delamination (southern Sierra Nevada; Grande Ronde uplift), low velocity mantle underlying active rift zones, and high velocity mantle associated with the subducting Juan de Fuca plate. Structure established during the Proterozoic appears to exert a lasting influence on subsequent volcanism and tectonism up to the Present.

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Rayleigh-wave phase-velocity maps and three-dimensional shear velocity structure of the western US from local non-plane surface wave tomography
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Geophysical Journal International
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17 p.
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United States