High-resolution body wave tomography models of the upper mantle beneath eastern China and the adjacent areas

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Abstract

[1] We present new 3-D tomographic models of VP, VS and VP/VSratio anomalies in the upper mantle beneath EC and adjacent areas. This data was collected and interpreted with the goal of clarifying geodynamic processes that caused spatially variable event histories throughout Eastern China (EC) during Mesozoic to Cenozoic time. The tomographic images were constructed by inverting body wave travel-times recorded at ∼1300 stations within the upgraded China National Seismic Network, and 9 temporary arrays. Resolution tests for different depths and the featured velocity anomalies verify that the tomographic images capture the velocity heterogeneities in the upper mantle to depths of 700 km. The salient features of VP, VS and VP/VSratio anomalies can be clearly identified. These include strong multiscale heterogeneities occupying the upper mantle beneath EC and differences in the spatial scale of anomalies found beneath northern and southern areas of EC. These features demonstrate a degree of spatial variability in the geodynamic evolution of EC. We propose two mechanisms to explain these patterns. First, the western front of the subducted slab may have imparted greater horizontal compressional stress in areas where it impinged further eastward into EC. These areas would experience stronger convection and an altered stress regime in the upper mantle, creating significant thermal anomalies beneath the South China Block (SCB) relative to the eastern North China Craton (NCC). Second, differing thermal states and viscosities for the eastern NCC and the Cathaysia Block (CaB) resulted in differing responses to regional deformation. The Archean hinterland of the eastern NCC specifically has a colder thermal state and higher viscosity, and therefore exhibits only small-scale heterogeneities due to the effect of shear localization. The Neoproterozoic CaB has a relatively warm thermal state with lower viscosity, and thus deformed more continuously.

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