Investigating the Crust and Upper Mantle of Antarctica based on S-Wave Receiver Functions Deployed in Ice Stations

Tuesday, 16 December 2014
Cristo Ramirez1, Andrew Nyblade2, Samantha E Hansen3, David Heeszel4, Doulgas A Wiens5, Sridhar Anandakrishnan1, Richard C Aster6, Audrey D Huerta7, Patrick Shore5 and Terry J Wilson8, (1)Pennsylvania State University Main Campus, University Park, PA, United States, (2)Penn St Univ, University Park, PA, United States, (3)University of Alabama, Tuscaloosa, AL, United States, (4)Nuclear Regulatory Commission, Washington, DC, United States, (5)Washington University in St Louis, St. Louis, MO, United States, (6)Colorado State University, Geosciences Department, Fort Collins, CO, United States, (7)Central Washington University, Ellensburg, WA, United States, (8)Ohio State University Main Campus, Columbus, OH, United States
The thick ice sheets that cover over 97% of the Antarctic continent make it difficult to study its geology. Seismic and other geophysical methods are the most effective ways to obtain information in this remote location. Using the classic receiver function technique, the P-to-S (Ps) conversion from the crust-mantle boundary is often masked by the ice multiples. Although removing these multiples by computational methods has been done, S-wave receiver functions (SRF) are a viable alternative and complementary method to estimate the crustal structure using S-to-P (Sp) conversions, which do not interfere with the ice multiples. In this project, we analyzed the data from the TAMSEIS, GAMSEIS and POLENET/ANET temporary seismic deployments. Sp arrival times are observed at ~5-6s in the Transantarctic Mountains and Wilkes Basin region, ~6-8s in the Gamburtsev Mountains and Vostok Higlands, and ~3-4s in the West Antarctic Rift System (WARS) and Marie Byrd Land Dome area. We used a grid search approach, combining the Sp time with Rayleigh wave phase velocities for 18 to 30 seconds, to estimate the Moho depth at each of the ice stations in the networks. The Moho depths obtained using these Sp times ranged from 28-45km, 37-59km and 16-35km respectively for the three general areas. We stacked the SRFs for several stations regionally in an attempt to obtain a qualitative view of the upper mantle structure. Most of the regional stacks do not show clear signs of seismic velocity discontinuities in the upper mantle.