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  1. Abstract

    A new azimuthal anisotropy model for the North American and Caribbean Plates, namely,, is constructed based on full waveform inversion and records from the USArray and other temporary/permanent networks deployed in the study region. A total of 180 earthquakes and 4,516 seismographic stations are employed in the inversion to simultaneously constrain radially and azimuthally anisotropic model parameters:,,, and, within the crust and mantle. Thirty‐two preconditioned conjugate gradient iterations have been utilized to minimize frequency‐dependent phase discrepancies between observed and predicted seismograms for three‐component short‐period (15–40 s) body waves and long‐period (25–100 s) surface waves. Modelexhibits complicated variations in anisotropic fabrics underneath the western and eastern United States, especially at depths shallower than 100 km. For instance, the fast axis orientations in modelsuggest the presence of trench‐perpendicular mantle flows underneath the Cascadia Subduction Zone and also follow the strikes of the Snake River Plain, the Ouachita Orogenic Front, and the Grenville and Appalachian Orogenic Belts. The amplitudes of azimuthal anisotropy reduce to around 1% at depths greater than 200 km, and the orientations are subparallel to the global plate motion directions to the east of the Rocky Mountain, except for large discrepancies in central and eastern Canada. At a depth of 700 km, the fast axes change along the trajectory of the Farallon slab underneath the Great Lakes region and Gulf of Mexico, which might indicate the development of 2‐D poloidal‐mode mantle flows perpendicular to the strike of the sinking slab within the uppermost lower mantle. Comparisons between modelwith a western U.S. model from ambient noise tomography and SKS splitting measurements demonstrate a relatively good agreement for the fast axis orientations, considering the usage of different data sets and imaging techniques. However, the absolute magnitude of azimuthal anisotropy in modelmight be underestimated, especially at greater depths, given the poor agreement on the amplitudes of predicted and observed SKS splitting times. At the current stage, the agreement among different azimuthal anisotropy models at global and continental scales is still poor even for the United States with a dense station coverage.

     
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  2. Abstract

    Laboratory experiments and geodynamic simulations demonstrate that poloidal- and toroidal-mode mantle flows develop around subduction zones. Here, we use a new 3-D azimuthal anisotropy model constructed by full waveform inversion, to infer deep subduction-induced mantle flows underneath Middle America. At depths shallower than 150 km, poloidal-mode flow is perpendicular to the trajectory of the Middle American Trench. From 300 to 450 km depth, return flows surround the edges of the Rivera and Atlantic slabs, while escape flows are inferred through slab windows beneath Panama and central Mexico. Furthermore, at 700 km depth, the study region is dominated by the Farallon anomaly, with fast axes perpendicular to its strike, suggesting the development of lattice-preferred orientations by substantial stress. These observations provide depth-dependent seismic anisotropy for future mantle flow simulations, and call for further investigations about the deformation mechanisms and elasticity of minerals in the transition zone and uppermost lower mantle.

     
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  3. Abstract

    Several hypotheses have been proposed to explain intriguing circular shear wave splitting patterns in the Pacific Northwest, invoking either 2‐D entrained flows or 3‐D return flows. Here, we present some hitherto unidentified, depth‐dependent anisotropic signatures to reconcile different conceptual models. At depths shallower than 200 km, the fast propagation directions of seismic waves to the west of the Rocky Mountain are aligned sub‐parallel to the subduction direction of the Juan de Fuca and Gorda Plates. This pattern is consistent with previous onshore/offshore shear wave splitting measurements and indicates that 2‐D entrained flows dominate at shallower depths. From 300 to 500 km, two large‐scale return flows are revealed, one circulating around Nevada and Colorado and the other running around the edge of the descending Juan de Fuca slab. These observations suggest the development of toroidal‐mode mantle flows, driven by the fast rollback of the narrow, fragmented Juan de Fuca and Gorda slabs.

     
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