Crustal Seismic Anisotropy Produced by Rock Fabric Terranes in the Taiwan Central Range Deformational Orogen: Integrative Study Combining Rock Physics, Structural Geology, and Passive/Active-Source Seismology

Tuesday, 16 December 2014
David A Okaya, University of Southern California, Los Angeles, CA, United States, Zachary Ross, University of Southern California, Department of Earth Sciences, Los Angeles, CA, United States, Nikolas I Christensen, University of British Columbia, Vancouver, BC, Canada, Francis T Wu, SUNY at Binghamton, Binghamton, NY, United States and Timothy B Byrne, Univ Connecticut, Storrs, CT, United States
The island of Taiwan is currently under construction due to the collision of the northwestern corner of the Philippine Sea plate and the embedded Luzon island arc with the larger continental Eurasian plate. This collision is responsible for the current growth of the Central Range that dominates the eastern half of the island. An international collaboration involving several USA and Taiwan universities and academic institutions was formed to study how the orogen evolves through time and to understand the role of a colliding island arc in mountain building. The project, Taiwan Integrated Geodynamics Research (TAIGER), was funded by NSF-Continental Dynamics and Taiwan National Science Council.

The Central Range grows at one of the most rapid rates of uplift in the world, exposing metamorphic rocks that were once at least 10 km deep. The range offers unique opportunities for studies of crustal seismic anisotropy for two major reasons: (1) its geological makeup is conducive for producing crustal seismic anisotropy; that is, the rocks are highly foliated; and (2) a seismological data volume of significant breadth offers extensive coverage of sources and recording stations throughout the region.

We carried out a crustal shear wave splitting study by data mining 3300 local earthquakes collected in the TAIGER 2009 sea-land experiment. We used an automated P and S wave arrival time picking method (Ross and Ben-Zion, 2014) applied to over 100,000 event-station pairs. These data were analyzed for shear-wave splitting using the MFAST automated package (Savage et al., 2010), producing 3300 quality shear wave split measurements. The splitting results were then station-averaged. The results show NNE to NE orientation trends that are consistent with regional cleavage strikes. Average crustal shear wave split time is 0.244 sec. These measurements are consistent with rock physics measurements of Central Range slate and metamorphic acoustic velocities. The splits exhibit orientations correlative with and serve as a proxy for the geological regional fabrics. The results also have the potential of offering information about strain at depth. In addition, the presence of significant rock anisotropy could negatively affect conventional seismic analyses that are based on an assumption of isotropic earth media.