Rayleigh-wave Tomography Study of Northwestern Canada

Friday, 18 December 2015
Poster Hall (Moscone South)
Morgan Elyse McLellan, Pascal Audet and Andrew J Schaeffer, University of Ottawa, Ottawa, ON, Canada
Due to the ongoing collision of the Yakutat block with the North American plate in southeastern Alaska, a significant amount of deformation is occurring in the northern Canadian Cordillera. The stress transfer associated with the accretion of this terrane is believed to be responsible for the seismicity across this widespread region. Estimates of crustal thickness within the Mackenzie and Richardson Mountains provide constraints on models describing the evolution of crustal roots responsible for supporting such belts that transmit tectonic stresses over long distances (>1000 km); unfortunately, current seismic velocity models used to map crustal thickness have limited resolution due to sparse coverage by seismograph networks. Here we use data from a new regional seismograph network (Yukon-Northwest Seismograph Network – YNSN) as well as permanent stations to map out crustal structure. Crustal thickness variations can be obtained from 3-D seismic velocity models determined from the inversion of surface-wave dispersion data. In this work we present preliminary results of a regional tomography study of northwestern Canada, encompassing the northern Canadian Cordillera, using dispersion curves derived from ambient noise cross-correlations in addition to teleseismic two-station interferometry. We collected all available vertical component seismic data from stations located in the Yukon and surrounding regions from the period between June 2012 and June 2015. Using this data set, we first cross-correlated hour-long segments of the ambient seismic noise between all available stations pairs that share common data availability and obtained virtual Rayleigh waves with energy over periods 10-50 s that are predominantly sensitive to crust and uppermost mantle structure. This data set is complemented by Rayleigh-wave dispersion measurements, spanning the period range 25—175 s, derived by cross-correlating vertical component data from teleseismic earthquakes (M>5) lying along the great circle path between individual station pairs. We then measured group and phase velocities from these Rayleigh wave data sets and produced the first regional, high-resolution, azimuthally anisotropic phase and group velocity maps of northwestern Canada.