Teleseismic Tomography of the Eastern Tennessee Seismic Zone

Tuesday, 16 December 2014
Olorunfemi Temitope Olasanmi1, Pierre Arroucau2 and Gordana Vlahovic1, (1)North Carolina Central University, Durham, NC, United States, (2)Instituto Dom Luiz, Centro de Geofisica da Universidade de Lisboa, Lisboa, Portugal
In this work we perform a tomographic inversion of teleseismic data to investigate the properties of the crust and the uppermost mantle beneath the eastern Tennessee seismic zone (ETSZ). The ETSZ is a major seismic feature located in the southeastern United States. The zone spans portions of eastern Tennessee, North Carolina, Virginia, Georgia and Alabama and is, after the New Madrid seismic zone, the second most active seismic region of the North America east of the Rocky Mountains. Earthquakes in the ETSZ appear to align along a sharp, linear magnetic feature, called the New York-Alabama Lineament (NYAL), which acts as the northwest edge of the seismic zone and is attributed to a strike-slip fault affecting the Precambrian basement.

A total of 2652 relative P-wave arrival time residuals from 201 teleseismic events recorded at 28 regional seismic station have been extracted from the continuous records using the adaptive stacking code. The three-dimensional model was computed down to 300km. The tomographic images show significant velocity anomalies, confirming complex tectonic evolution and revealing basement features that can be correlated with regional gravity and magnetic anomalies. One of the main features of the three-dimensional model is a significant velocity contrast across the NYAL that extends through the crust and the uppermost mantle, with high velocity anomalies northwest of the NYAL and lower velocities southwest of the NYAL. Our results support the hypothesis that the lineament is a major basement fault associated with a tectonic boundary produced by merging of the southern Appalachian basement with the Granite-Rhyolite basement during the Grenville orogeny.