A teleseismic P-wave travel-time residual study is described which reveals the regional compressional-velocity structure of southern Nevada and neighboring parts of California to a depth of 280 km. During 1980, 98 teleseismic events were recorded at as many as 53 sites in this area. P-wave residuals were calculated relative to a network-wide average residual for each event and are displayed on maps of the stations for each of four event-azimuth quadrants. Fluctuations in these map-patterns of residuals with approach azimuth combined with results of linear, three-dimensional inversions of some 2887 residuals indicate the following characteristics of the velocity structure of the southern Nevada region: 1) a low-velocity body exists in the upper crust 50 km northeast of Beatty, Nevada, near the Miocene Timber Mountain-Silent Canyon caldera complex. Another highly-localized low-velocity anomaly occurs near the southwest corner of the Nevada Test Site (NTS). These two anomalies seem to be part of a low-velocity trough extending from Death Valley, California, to about 50 km north of NTS. 2) There is a high-velocity body in the mantle between 81 and 131 km deep centered about i0 km north of the edge of the Timber Mountain caldera, 3) a broad low-velocity body is delineated between 81 and 131 km deep centered about 30 km north of Las Vegas, 4) there is a monotonic increase in travel-time delays from west to east across the region, probably indicating an eastward decrease in velocity, and lower than average velocities in southeastern Nevada below 31 km, and 5) considerable complexity in three-dimensional velocity structure exists in this part of the southern Great Basin.
Inversions of teleseismic P-wave travel-time residuals were also performed on data from 12 seismometers in the immediate vicinity of the Nevada Test Site to make good use of the closer station spacing i in that area. Results of these inversions show more details of the velocity structure but generally the same features as those found in the regional study.
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USGS Numbered Series
Three-dimensional modeling of the Nevada Test Site and vicinity from teleseismic P-wave residuals