Journal of Geophysical Research: Solid Earth

Crustal shear wave velocity structure of the western United States inferred from ambient seismic noise and earthquake data



[1] Surface wave dispersion measurements from ambient seismic noise and array-based measurements from teleseismic earthquakes observed with the EarthScope/USArray Transportable Array (TA) are inverted using a Monte Carlo method for a 3-D VS model of the crust and uppermost mantle beneath the western United States. The combination of data from these methods produces exceptionally broadband dispersion information from 6 to 100 s period, which constrains shear wave velocity structures in the crust and uppermost mantle to a depth of more than 100 km. The high lateral resolution produced by the TA network and the broadbandedness of the dispersion information motivate the question of the appropriate parameterization for a 3-D model, particularly for the crustal part of the model. We show that a relatively simple model in which VS increases monotonically with depth in the crust can fit the data well across more than 90% of the study region, except in eight discrete areas where greater crustal complexity apparently exists. The regions of greater crustal complexity are the Olympic Peninsula, the MendocinoTriple Junction, the Yakima Fold Belt, the southern Cascadia back arc, the Great Central Valley of California, the Salton Trough, the Snake River Plain, and the Wasatch Mountains. We also show that a strong Rayleigh-Love discrepancy exists across much of the western United States, which can be resolved by introducing radial anisotropy in both the mantle and notably the crust. We focus our analysis on demonstrating the existence of crustal radial anisotropy and primarily discuss the crustal part of the isotropic model that results from the radially anisotropic model by Voigt averaging. Model uncertainties from the Monte Carlo inversion are used to identify robust isotropic features in the model. The uppermost mantle beneath the western United States is principally composed of four large-scale shear wave velocity features, but lower crustal velocity structure exhibits far greater heterogeneity. We argue that these lower crustal structures are predominantly caused by interactions with the uppermost mantle, including the intrusion and underplating of mafic mantle materials and the thermal depression of wave speeds caused by conductive heating from the mantle. Upper and middle crustal wave speeds are generally correlated, and notable anomalies are inferred to result from terrane accretion at the continental margin and volcanic intrusions.