Dissertation/Thesis Abstract

The seismic structures of the U.S. Pacific Northwest and the scaling and recurrence patterns of slow slip events
by Gao, Haiying, Ph.D., University of Oregon, 2011, 151; 3450453
Abstract (Summary)

The Pacific Northwest of the United States has been tectonically and magmatically active with the accretion of the Farallon oceanic terrane “Siletzia” ∼50 Ma. The accretion of Siletzia terminated the flat-slab subduction of the Farallon slab and initiated the Cascadia subduction zone. In this dissertation, I focus on both the large-scale tectonic structures preserved seismically in the crust and upper mantle, and the small-scale, short-term aseismic processes on the plate interface.

I measure the shear-wave splitting trends around eastern Oregon with a dataset of ∼200 seismometers from 2006–2008 to analyze the upper-mantle anisotropy. The delay times between splitted shear-waves range from 0.8 s to 2.7 s. In the High Lava Plains, the fast polarization direction is approximately E-W with average delay time ∼1.8 s. I infer that there must be significant active flow in a roughly E-W direction in the asthenosphere beneath this area. The splitting pattern is more variable and complicated in NE Oregon, where the crust and mantle lithosphere may be a significant contribution.

In terms of the imaged seismic velocity structures, I infer that the Eocene sedimentary basins in south-central Washington lie above a magmatically underplated crust of extended Siletzia lithosphere. Siletzia thrusts under the pre-accretion forearc, and its southeast termination is especially strong and sharp southeast of the Klamath-Blue Mountains gravity lineament. Magmatic intrusion has increased upper crustal velocity as in the less active Washington Cascades, but the higher temperatures beneath the magmatically active Oregon Cascades have a dominating effect.

To better understand the physical mechanism of slow slip events on the plate interface, I explore the scaling relationships of various source parameters collected mainly from subduction zones worldwide and also other tectonic environments. The source parameter scaling relationships of slow slip events highlight the similarities and differences between slow slip phenomena and earthquakes. These relationships hold implications for the degree of heterogeneity and fault healing characteristics. The recurrence statistics of northern Cascadia events behave weakly time predictable and moderately anti-slip predictable, which may indicate healing between events.

This dissertation includes co-authored materials both previously published and submitted for publication.

Indexing (document details)
Advisor: Humphreys, Eugene
Commitee: Isenberg, James, Schmidt, David, Weldon, Ray
School: University of Oregon
Department: Department of Geological Sciences
School Location: United States -- Oregon
Source: DAI-B 72/06, Dissertation Abstracts International
Subjects: Geophysics, Plate Tectonics
Keywords: Pacific Northwest, Sedimentary basins, Shear-wave splitting, Slow slip, Subduction zones
Publication Number: 3450453
ISBN: 978-1-124-59116-2
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