Dissertation/Thesis Abstract

The depth range of azimuthal anisotropy beneath Southern California via analyses of long-period Rayleigh-waves
by Tsang, Stephanie Doris, M.S., California State University, Long Beach, 2012, 111; 1521647
Abstract (Summary)

The motion of the mantle beneath the tectonic plates is still unknown. Mantle shears associated with flow generate anisotropy. In order to investigate the anisotropic properties within the Earth to a range of depths within the crust and upper mantle (and perhaps beyond), long-period Rayleigh waves (periods of 51:282 ≤ T ≤ 333:33 seconds) are used in this study. One model suggests that the fast axis orientation, arising from the preferential alignment of olivine crystal grains in the upper mantle, coincides with the direction of absolute plate motion of the North-American plate. Other models suggest it is aligned with the direction of relative plate motion of the Pacific and North-American plates. A third suggests that an eastward mantle flow occurs beneath the North-American plate. There is also controversy as to the depth to which anisotropy is generated. In this thesis, the Rayleigh-wave phase velocities' dependence on a seismic event's back-azimuth angle is explored within the Southern California Seismic Network (SCSN). Because surface wave velocities vary depending on the range of depth into the Earth sampled by each period, an observed deviation of the resulting phase velocity calculations for a wide range of back-azimuth angles, (6° to 349°) with respect to a reference dispersion curve of the area, provides information on the anisotropy of the subsurface structure. Further work on the fast-axis orientation and its tectonic implications is carried out here. I find that the 2 directions 270° = 90° and 290° = 110° are possible fast-axes orientations. I also find that the amplitude of azimuthal anisotropy is insufficient to explain birefringence of S-body waves, also known as SKS splitting, suggesting that it occurs much deeper than previously thought, perhaps all the way to the transition zone. Future work might involve array analysis of Love-wave components using the beamforming approach. This approach should prove effective in yielding further insight into the heterogeneity of the subsurface structure beneath Southern California.

Indexing (document details)
Advisor: Kwon, Chuhee
Commitee: Davis, Paul, Gu, Jiyeong
School: California State University, Long Beach
Department: Physics
School Location: United States -- California
Source: MAI 51/04M(E), Masters Abstracts International
Subjects: Geophysics
Publication Number: 1521647
ISBN: 978-1-267-79076-7
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