Moho Depth and Shear Velocity Structure in Northwest India and West Tibet from the Joint Inversion of Receiver Function and Surface Waves

Tuesday, 16 December 2014
Amy Gilligan1, Keith F Priestley1, Steven W Roecker2, Vadim L Levin3 and Shyam Sundar Rai4, (1)University of Cambridge, Cambridge, United Kingdom, (2)Rensselaer Polytechnic Inst, Troy, NY, United States, (3)Rutgers University, Piscataway, NJ, United States, (4)National Geophys Res Instt, Hyderabad, India
The Tibetan Plateau is a key locality in understanding large-scale continental dynamics. A large number of investigations have examined the structure and processes in eastern Tibet, however western Tibet remains relatively understudied. The limited number of previous studies in this region indicate that the western part of the Tibetan Plateau is not a simple extension of the eastern part, despite the lack of surface features indicating differences between these two regions. In particular, wavespeeds higher than those in eastern Tibet have been observed in the upper mantle by a number of investigators. We present new, high resolution, shear velocity models for Northwest India and West Tibet from the joint inversion of P receiver functions and fundamental mode Rayleigh wave group velocities recorded at seismic stations in four arrays in this region. The areas covered by these arrays include the Karakoram and Altan-Taygh faults, major terrane boundaries in West Tibet and the Himalayas. The arrays used include broadband data collected by the West Tibet Array, a US-China deployment on the western side of the Tibetan Plateau between 2007-2011, and a French experiment in 2001. We construct group velocity tomographic maps throughout Central and Southern Asia from surface wave data between periods of 5-70s. The inclusion of Rayleigh wave dispersion measurements from ambient noise cross-correlations between stations in the West Tibet Array allow a local node spacing as fine as 0.25 degrees, meaning it is possible to resolve features as small as 1 degree at short periods in that region. These group velocity maps appears to confirm observations that group velocities at 60 and 70s group velocities are higher in West Tibet than they are in East Tibet. We use the shear wave velocity models obtained from the joint inversion to obtain estimates of Moho depth in Northwest India and West Tibet. The Moho is deep throughout Tibet in this region, increasing northwards and flattening out somewhat beneath the Lhasa and Qiangtang Terranes to a depth of 68-76km. We do not observe Moho depths as deep as those suggested by Wittlinger et al. 2004. The shear velocity models include a low velocity layer in the mid-crust beneath Tibet and into the Tethyan Himalayas. This feature has been seen in some, but not all, previous work in this region.