Rayleigh Wave Tomography of Mid-Continent Rift (MCR) using Earthquake and Ambient Noise Data
Monday, 14 December 2015
Poster Hall (Moscone South)
The structure of the North American Mid-Continent Rift Zone (MCRZ) is examined using Rayleigh waves from teleseismic earthquakes and ambient seismic noise recorded by the Superior Province Rifting EarthScope Experiment (SPREE). Eighty-four broadband seismometers were deployed during 2011-2013 in Minnesota and Wisconsin, USA, and Ontario, CA, along three lines; two across the rift axis and the third along the rift axis. These stations, together with the EarthScope Transportable Array, provided excellent coverage of the MCRZ. The 1.1 Ga Mesoproterozoic failed rift consists of two arms, buried under post-rifting sedimentary formations that meet at Lake Superior. We compare two array-based tomography methods using teleseismic fundamental mode Rayleigh waves phase and amplitude measurements: the two-plane wave method (TPWM, Forsyth, 1998) and the automated surface wave phase velocity measuring system (ASWMS, Jin and Gaherty, 2015). Both array methods and the ambient noise method give relatively similar results showing low velocity zones extending along the MCRZ arms. The teleseismic Rayleigh wave results from 18 - 180 s period are combined with short period phase velocity results (period 8-30 s) obtained from ambient noise by cross correlation. Phase velocities from the methods are very similar at periods of 18-30 where results overlap; in this period range we use the average of the noise and teleseismic results. Finally the combined phase velocity curve is inverted using a Monte-Carlo inversion method at each geographic point in the model. The results show low velocities at shallow depths (5-10 km) that are the result of very deep sedimentary fill within the MCRZ. Deeper-seated low velocity regions may correspond to mafic underplating of the rift zone.