Imaging Rayleigh Wave Attenuation and Phase Velocity beneath North America with USArray

Thursday, 18 December 2014: 8:30 AM
Xueyang Bao1, Colleen A Dalton1, Ge Jin2 and James B Gaherty3, (1)Brown University, Department of Earth, Environmental, and Planetary Sciences, Providence, RI, United States, (2)LDEO, Columbia Univ., Palisades, NY, United States, (3)Columbia University, Lamont-Doherty Earth Observatory, Palisades, NY, United States
The EarthScope USArray provides an opportunity to obtain detailed images of the continental upper mantle of United States at a novel scale. The majority of mantle models derived from USArray data contain spatial variations in velocity; however, little is known about the attenuation structure of the North American upper mantle. Joint interpretation of seismic attenuation and velocity models can improve upon the interpretations based only on velocity, and provide important constraints on the temperature, composition, melt content, and volatile content of the mantle.

In this study, Rayleigh wave travel time and amplitude are measured using an interstation cross-correlation version of the Generalized Seismological Data Functional algorithm, which takes advantage of waveform similarity at nearby stations. Our data are from 670 large teleseismic earthquakes that occurred from 2006 to 2014 and were recorded by 1,764 Transportable Array stations. More than 4.8 million measurements at periods between 20 and 100 s are collected into our database. Isolating the signal of attenuation in the amplitude observations is challenging because amplitudes are sensitive to a number of factors in addition to attenuation, such as focusing/defocusing and local site amplification. We generate several Rayleigh wave attenuation maps at each period, using several different approaches to account for source and receiver effects on amplitude. This suite of attenuation maps allows us to distinguish between the robust features in the maps and the features that are sensitive to the treatment of source and receiver effects. We apply Helmholtz surface-wave tomography (Lin et al., 2012) to determine velocity and attenuation maps.

A significant contrast in velocity and attenuation is observed in the transition between the western and central United States along the Rocky Mountain front. We find low Q values in the western US, along the eastern coast, and the Gulf plain. These areas are also characterized by low wave speed in the phase-velocity maps. The lateral variations in Q may indicate possible temperature variations in the upper mantle of the continental interior. Our Q maps in the western US show good agreement with those presented by Lin et al. (2012). Both models contain low Q (< 100) beneath the Colorado Plateau and the West Coast for 60 s.