Post-critical SsPmp and its Applications to Virtual Deep Seismic Sounding (VDSS)–3: Back-projection Imaging of the Crust-Mantle Boundary in a Heterogeneous Lithosphere

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Tianze Liu , Simon Louis Klemperer , Chunquan Yu, Jieyuan Ning


Virtual Deep Seismic Sounding (VDSS) uses the arrival time of post-critical SsPmp relative to the direct S wave to infer Moho depth at the Pmp reflection point. Due to the large offset between the virtual source and the receiver, SsPmp is more sensitive to lateral variations of structures than near-vertical phases such as Ps that is used to construct conventional P receiver functions. However, the way post-critical SsPmp is affected by lateral variations in lithospheric structures is not well understood, and previous studies largely assumed a 1D structure when analyzing SsPmp waveforms. Here we present synthetic tests with various 2D models to show that lateral variations in lithospheric structures, from the lithosphere-asthenosphere boundary to sedimentary basins, profoundly affect travel time, phase and amplitude of post-critical SsPmp, and that a 1D approximation is usually inappropriate when analyzing 2D data. Despite these strong effects we show, with synthetic examples and the ChinArray data from the Ordos Block in northern China, that a simple ray-theory-based back-projection method can retrieve the geometry of the crust-mantle boundary given array observations in cases with moderate lateral variations in the crust-mantle boundary and/or the lithosphere-asthenosphere boundary. The success of our back-projection method indicates that ray-theory approximations are sufficient in modeling SsPmp travel times in the presence of moderate lateral heterogeneity. In contrast, we show that the ray theory is generally insufficient in modeling SsPmp phase shifts in a strongly heterogeneous lithosphere due to non-planar down-going P waves incident at the crust-mantle boundary. Nonetheless, our results demonstrate the feasibility of direct imaging of the crust-mantle boundary with post-critical SsPmp even in the presence of 2D variations of lithospheric structures.



Earth Sciences, Geophysics and Seismology, Physical Sciences and Mathematics


ChinArray, Craton, Crustal imaging, Crustal structure, Teleseismic imaging


Published: 2020-01-24 23:08

Last Updated: 2020-05-11 10:44

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CC BY Attribution 4.0 International

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