Shallow seismic structure beneath China revealed by P wave polarization, Rayleigh wave ellipticity and receiver function


We construct a high-resolution shallow three-dimensional (3D) seismic model in the top 10 km of the upper crust in the continental China, with constraints of P polarization, Rayleigh wave ellipticity and receiver function obtained from records of 3848 seismic stations. Our 3D seismic model has a spatial resolution of $0.6^°-1.2^°$ in the north-south seismic belt and the trans-north China orogen, and $1^°-2^°$ in the rest of the continental China (except the Tarim basin and the southwest Tibet). The seismic model exhibits low velocity anomalies of deposits in major sedimentary basins and high velocity anomalies of crustal bedrocks in young orogenic belts and old tectonic blocks. The inferred sediment thickness maps display thick deposits in major sedimentary basins, some compacted sediments in the intermontane basins in young orogenic belts and little sediments in old tectonic blocks. We also discuss compaction effects of the sediments and implications of tectonic history and geological evolution of the major basins in the continental China based on the inferred seismic models. This study provides an effective mean of seismic imaging through joint inversion of various seismic constraints and establishes a framework of seismic data sharing for future studies in the seismological community in a first step of developing a China Seismological Reference Model.

Geophysical Journal International

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Xiao Xiao
Xiao Xiao
PhD candidate of Geophysics

My research interests include seismic tomography and earthquake location.