Oceanic lithospheric S wave velocities from the analysis of P wave polarization at the ocean floor.

Hannemann, Katrin, Krüger, Frank, Dahm, Torsten and Lange, Dietrich (2016) Oceanic lithospheric S wave velocities from the analysis of P wave polarization at the ocean floor. Open Access Geophysical Journal International, 207 . pp. 1796-1817. DOI 10.1093/gji/ggw342.

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Our knowledge of the absolute S wave velocities of the oceanic lithosphere is mainly based on global surface wave tomography, local active seismic or compliance measurements using oceanic infragravity waves. The results of tomography give a rather smooth picture of the actual S wave velocity structure and local measurements have limitations regarding the range of elastic parameters or the geometry of the measurement. Here, we use the P wave polarization (apparent P wave incidence angle) of teleseismic events to investigate the S wave velocity structure of the oceanic crust and the upper tens of kilometres of the mantle beneath single stations. In this study, we present an up to our knowledge new relation of the apparent P wave incidence angle at the ocean bottom dependent on the half space S wave velocity. We analyse the angle in different period ranges at ocean bottom stations (OBS) to derive apparent S wave velocity profiles. These profiles are dependent on the S wave velocity as well as on the thickness of the layers in the subsurface. Consequently, their interpretation results in a set of equally valid models. We analyse the apparent P wave incidence angles of an OBS data set which was collected in the Eastern Mid Atlantic. We are able to determine reasonable S wave velocity-depth models by a three step quantitative modelling after a manual data quality control, although layer resonance sometimes influences the estimated apparent S wave velocities. The apparent S wave velocity profiles are well explained by an oceanic PREM model in which the upper part is replaced by four layers consisting of a water column, a sediment, a crust and a layer representing the uppermost mantle. The obtained sediment has a thickness between 0.3 km and 0.9 km with S wave velocities between 0.7 km s−1 and 1.4 km s−1. The estimated total crustal thickness varies between 4 km and 10 km with S wave velocities between 3.5 km s−1 and 4.3 km s−1. We find a slight increase of the total crustal thickness from ∼5 km to ∼8 km towards the South in the direction of a major plate boundary, the Gloria Fault. The observed crustal thickening can be related with the known dominant compression in the vicinity of the fault. Furthermore, the resulting mantle S wave velocities decrease from values around 5.5 km s−1 to 4.5 km s−1 towards the fault. This decrease is probably caused by serpentinization and indicates that the oceanic transform fault affects a broad region in the uppermost mantle. Conclusively, the presented method is useful for the estimation of the local S wave velocity structure beneath ocean bottom seismic stations. It is easy to implement and consists of two main steps: (1) measurement of apparent P wave incidence angles in different period ranges for real and synthetic data, and (2) comparison of the determined apparent S wave velocities for real and synthetic data to estimate S wave velocity-depth models.

Document Type: Article
Keywords: Body waves, Composition and structure of the oceanic crust, Theoretical seismology, Time-series analysis
Research affiliation: GFZ
OceanRep > GEOMAR > FB4 Dynamics of the Ocean Floor > FB4-GDY Marine Geodynamics
Refereed: Yes
Open Access Journal?: No
DOI etc.: 10.1093/gji/ggw342
ISSN: 0956-540X
Projects: DOCTAR
Date Deposited: 26 Oct 2016 09:24
Last Modified: 01 Feb 2019 15:14
URI: http://oceanrep.geomar.de/id/eprint/34416

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