Lithosphere-asthenosphere interaction beneath the western United States from the joint inversion of body-wave traveltimes and surface-wave phase velocities

Geophysical Journal International
By: , and 

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Abstract

The relation between the complex geological history of the western margin of the North American plate and the processes in the mantle is still not fully documented and understood. Several pre-USArray local seismic studies showed how the characteristics of key geological features such as the Colorado Plateau and the Yellowstone Snake River Plains are linked to their deep mantle structure. Recent body-wave models based on the deployment of the high density, large aperture USArray have provided far more details on the mantle structure while surface-wave tomography (ballistic waves and noise correlations) informs us on the shallow structure. Here we combine constraints from these two data sets to image and study the link between the geology of the western United States, the shallow structure of the Earth and the convective processes in mantle. Our multiphase DNA10-S model provides new constraints on the extent of the Archean lithosphere imaged as a large, deeply rooted fast body that encompasses the stable Great Plains and a large portion of the Northern and Central Rocky Mountains. Widespread slow anomalies are found in the lower crust and upper mantle, suggesting that low-density rocks isostatically sustain part of the high topography of the western United States. The Yellowstone anomaly is imaged as a large slow body rising from the lower mantle, intruding the overlying lithosphere and controlling locally the seismicity and the topography. The large E-W extent of the USArray used in this study allows imaging the 'slab graveyard', a sequence of Farallon fragments aligned with the currently subducting Juan de Fuca Slab, north of the Mendocino Triple Junction. The lithospheric root of the Colorado Plateau has apparently been weakened and partly removed through dripping. The distribution of the slower regions around the Colorado Plateau and other rigid blocks follows closely the trend of Cenozoic volcanic fields and ancient lithospheric sutures, suggesting that the later exert a control on the locus of magmato-tectonic activity today. The DNA velocity models are available for download and slicing at http://dna.berkeley.edu. ?? 2011 The Authors Geophysical Journal International ?? 2011 RAS.

Additional publication details

Publication type Article
Publication Subtype Journal Article
Title Lithosphere-asthenosphere interaction beneath the western United States from the joint inversion of body-wave traveltimes and surface-wave phase velocities
Series title Geophysical Journal International
DOI 10.1111/j.1365-246X.2011.04990.x
Volume 185
Issue 2
Year Published 2011
Language English
Larger Work Type Article
Larger Work Subtype Journal Article
Larger Work Title Geophysical Journal International
First page 1003
Last page 1021