Mapping Shear Zones, Faults, and Crustal Deformation Fabric With Receiver Functions

Tuesday, 16 December 2014
Vera Schulte-Pelkum, University of Colorado at Boulder, Boulder, CO, United States and Kevin H Mahan, University of Colorado at Boulder, Geological Sciences, Boulder, CO, United States
Dipping faults, shear zones, and pervasive anisotropic crustal fabric due to deformation are all capable of generating strong near-station mode conversions of teleseismic body waves, even for weak (a few percent) velocity anisotropy. These conversions can be found using the receiver function technique. Dipping foliation and dipping isotropic velocity contrasts can occur in isolation or together in deformed crust. Both generate receiver function arrivals that have a characteristic periodicity with azimuth. Different fixed azimuthal phase shifts between radial and tangential component receiver functions distinguish dipping or tilted structure and fabric from horizontal axis anisotropy.

We demonstrate a method that uses these characteristics to map geologically relevant information such as strike and depth of foliation of dipping isotropic velocity contrasts and of horizontal symmetry axis anisotropy contrasts. The method uses waveforms without matching them via forward modeling, which makes choices such as slow versus fast axis symmetry and isotropic dip versus anisotropic axis tilt unnecessary. It also does not use shear wave splitting of the converted waves, which is more difficult to isolate.

We show results from the continental U.S. and Canada and from the collision zones in the Himalaya and Tibetan Plateau and Taiwan. We discuss interpretation of our results in the light of recent laboratory measurements of deformed crustal rocks and contributions to the seismic signal from individual minerals such as micas, amphiboles, and quartz. Our observations are connected to geological ground truth by using structural maps and sample anisotropy determined using electron backscatter diffraction from exhumed deep crust in the Athabasca granulite province to predict the seismic signal from present-day deep crust. We also discuss the reconciliation of measurements from anisotropic receiver functions, surface waves, and split shear waves.