Investigations of the Crust and Upper Mantle of Modern and Ancient Subduction Zones, using Pn Tomography and Seismic Receiver Functions
AdvisorBeck, Susan L.
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PublisherThe University of Arizona.
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EmbargoEmbargo: Release after 8/28/2011
AbstractAdvances in seismology allow us to obtain "high-resolution" images of the Earth's subsurface. This dissertation summarizes the results of three seismic studies on three different continents, with the aim of better understanding the crust and upper mantle structure of seemingly disparate yet ultimately related regions. The seismic techniques of Pn tomography and P-wave receiver function (RF) analysis are applied to central Turkey (Pn tomography), western Argentina and southwestern Wyoming, USA (RF analysis). These studies look at both a present-day convergent margin (Andean subduction zone, Argentina) and two ancient ones (Bitlis-Zagros collision zone of Arabia-Africa with Eurasia, Turkey; Farallon subduction zone, Wyoming).Using Pn tomography, we were able to detect the limit of the slab rupture edge along the Central Anatolian Fault Zone, Turkey. Slab break-off is an important process that modifies the mantle in tectonically active regions, and the limit of the oceanic Arabian slab break-off along the Bitlis-Zagros Suture Zone, thought to have begun at 11 Ma, was previously undetermined.Using RF analysis, we obtained high-resolution images of the subducting slab beneath the Sierras Pampeanas, Argentina. Continental Moho contours roughly follow terrane boundaries, suggesting that ancient terranes continue to exert control over present-day continental deformation. Overthickened oceanic crust is often cited as a cause of flat slab subduction; our RF results indicate that the crust is moderately overthickened, around 11-16 km. Further, we image offsets in the RF arrivals that indicate the subducted slab is broken or offset in along trench-subparallel fractures.The crustal structure beneath southwestern Wyoming, the location of ancient Farallon flat slab subduction, was studied using RF analysis. Looking at regional crustal structure, results include a new depth to Moho map. Coherency of the seismic signal across the dense LaBarge array (55 stations, ~250 m spacing) was investigated, with results showing that complicated shallow structure can greatly impact the resulting RF signal. Modeling of RFs using synthetics helped to separate the complex signal containing multiple primary conversions and their reverberations, which interact constructively and destructively. The dense spacing of the LaBarge array allowed unique opportunities to investigate coherency of waveforms across very short distances.
Degree ProgramGraduate College