Determining Crustal Structure of Bangladesh Using Seismological Techniques

Friday, 18 December 2015: 17:15
304 (Moscone South)
Tierney E Larson1, Michael Howe2, Michael S Steckler2, Leonardo Seeber3, Won-Young Kim4 and Syed Humayun Akhter5, (1)Lamont -Doherty Earth Observatory, Palisades, NY, United States, (2)Columbia University of New York, Palisades, NY, United States, (3)Lamont-Doherty Earth Obs, Palisades, NY, United States, (4)Lamont-Doherty Earth Observatory, Columbia University, Palisades, NY, United States, (5)University of Dhaka, Department of Geology, Dhaka, Bangladesh
The Ganges-Brahmaputra Delta lies at the junction between the Indian Plate, Eurasian Plate, and Burma Platelet. In eastern Bangladesh, the delta is colliding with the Indo-Burman Foldbelt, the northward continuation of the Sumatra-Andaman subduction zone. Crustal structure related to subduction of the thick sediment of the delta, which has prograded 300-400 km past the edge of the Indian craton, remains enigmatic. The large impedance contrast between the sediments of the delta and the underlying basement produces phase conversions for a number of regional earthquakes. We investigate these conversions using data collected between February 2007 and December 2014 from three deployments of a portable array of seismographs, supplemented by several permanent seismic stations. Using measured arrival time differences between S-to-P (sP) converted phases and direct S wave arrivals from regional earthquakes, we calculate basement depths at multiple locations across the delta. Results reveal thickening of sediments across the Indian continental margin hinge zone to 15-16 km with greater depths where flexural loading from the foldbelt and Shillong Massif have downbent the crust. Some additional conversions occur within the sediment column, possibly off the megathrust detachment in places. These calculated sediment thicknesses also inform models of crustal structure used in regional moment tensor inversions.