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Predictions and observations for the oceanic lithosphere from S‐to‐P receiver functions and SS precursors

Predictions and observations for the oceanic lithosphere from S‐to‐P receiver functions and SS precursors
Predictions and observations for the oceanic lithosphere from S‐to‐P receiver functions and SS precursors
The ocean lithosphere is classically described by the thermal half space cooling (HSC) or the plate models, both characterized by a gradual transition to the asthenosphere beneath. Scattered waves find sharp seismic discontinuities beneath the oceans, possibly from the base of the plate. Active source studies suggest sharp discontinuities from a melt channel. We calculate synthetic S‐to‐P receiver functions and SS precursors for the HSC and plate models and also for channels. We find that the HSC and plate model velocity gradients are too gradual to create interpretable scattered waves from the base of the plate. Subtle phases are predicted to follow a similar trend as observations, flattening at older ages. Therefore, the seismic discontinuities are probably caused by a thermally controlled process that can also explain their amplitude, such as melting. Melt may coalesce in channels, although channels > 10 km thick should be resolvable by scattered wave imaging.
0094-8276
Rychert, Catherine
70cf1e3a-58ea-455a-918a-1d570c5e53c5
Harmon, Nicholas
10d11a16-b8b0-4132-9354-652e72d8e830
Rychert, Catherine
70cf1e3a-58ea-455a-918a-1d570c5e53c5
Harmon, Nicholas
10d11a16-b8b0-4132-9354-652e72d8e830

Rychert, Catherine and Harmon, Nicholas (2018) Predictions and observations for the oceanic lithosphere from S‐to‐P receiver functions and SS precursors. Geophysical Research Letters. (doi:10.1029/2018GL077675).

Record type: Article

Abstract

The ocean lithosphere is classically described by the thermal half space cooling (HSC) or the plate models, both characterized by a gradual transition to the asthenosphere beneath. Scattered waves find sharp seismic discontinuities beneath the oceans, possibly from the base of the plate. Active source studies suggest sharp discontinuities from a melt channel. We calculate synthetic S‐to‐P receiver functions and SS precursors for the HSC and plate models and also for channels. We find that the HSC and plate model velocity gradients are too gradual to create interpretable scattered waves from the base of the plate. Subtle phases are predicted to follow a similar trend as observations, flattening at older ages. Therefore, the seismic discontinuities are probably caused by a thermally controlled process that can also explain their amplitude, such as melting. Melt may coalesce in channels, although channels > 10 km thick should be resolvable by scattered wave imaging.

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Accepted/In Press date: 9 May 2018
e-pub ahead of print date: 21 May 2018

Identifiers

Local EPrints ID: 421424
URI: http://eprints.soton.ac.uk/id/eprint/421424
ISSN: 0094-8276
PURE UUID: 48594f20-5b8c-4684-8b34-d13ed1f4c8f8
ORCID for Nicholas Harmon: ORCID iD orcid.org/0000-0002-0731-768X

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Date deposited: 11 Jun 2018 16:30
Last modified: 07 Oct 2020 01:56

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