A Bayesian Method to Quantify Azimuthal Anisotropy Model Uncertainties: Application to Global Azimuthal Anisotropy in the Upper Mantle and Transition Zone

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Kaiqing Yuan, Caroline Beghein 


Seismic anisotropy is a powerful tool to constrain mantle deformation, but its existence in the deep upper mantle and topmost lower mantle is still uncertain. Recent results from higher mode Rayleigh waves have, however, revealed the presence of 1% azimuthal anisotropy between 300 km and 800 km depth, and changes in azimuthal anisotropy across the mantle transition zone boundaries. This has important consequences for our understanding of mantle convection patterns and deformation of deep mantle material. Here, we propose a Bayesian method to model depth variations in azimuthal anisotropy and to obtain quantitative uncertainties on the fast seismic direction and anisotropy amplitude from phase velocity dispersion maps. We applied this new method to existing global fundamental and higher mode Rayleigh wave phase velocity maps to assess the likelihood of azimuthal anisotropy in the deep upper mantle and to determine whether previously detected changes in anisotropy at the transition zone boundaries are robustly constrained by those data. Our results confirm that deep upper mantle azimuthal anisotropy is favored and well-constrained by the higher mode data employed. The fast seismic directions are in agreement with our previously published model. The data favor a model characterized, on average, by changes in azimuthal anisotropy at the top and bottom of the transition zone. However, this change in fast axes is not a global feature as there are regions of the model where the azimuthal anisotropy direction is unlikely to change across depths in the deep upper mantle. We were, however, unable to detect any clear pattern or connection with surface tectonics. Future studies will be needed to further improve the lateral resolution of this type of model at transition zone depths




Earth Sciences, Geophysics and Seismology, Physical Sciences and Mathematics


Surface waves, Seismic tomography, Seismic anisotropy, Inverse theory, Probability distributions, statistical seismology, higher modes, upper mantle, mantle transition zone


Published: 2017-10-28 10:15

Last Updated: 2017-12-20 09:12

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Academic Free License (AFL) 3.0

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