A seismic reference model for the crust and uppermost mantle beneath China from surface wave dispersion

Weisen Shen*, Michael H. Ritzwoller, Dou Kang, Young Hee Kim, Fan Chi Lin, Jieyuan Ning, Weitao Wang, Yong Zheng, Longquan Zhou

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

280 Citations (Scopus)


Using data from more than 2000 seismic stations from multiple networks arrayed throughout China (CEArray, China Array, NECESS, PASSCAL, GSN) and surrounding regions (Korean Seismic Network, F-Net, KNET),we performambient noise Rayleighwave tomography across the entire region and earthquake tomography across parts of South China and Northeast China. We produce isotropic Rayleigh wave group and phase speed maps with uncertainty estimates from 8 to 50 s period across the entire region of study, and extend them to 70 s period where earthquake tomography is performed. Maps of azimuthal anisotropy are estimated simultaneously to minimize anisotropic bias in the isotropic maps, but are not discussed here. The 3D model is produced using a Bayesian Monte Carlo formalism covering all of China, extending eastwards through the Korean Peninsula, into the marginal seas, to Japan.We define the final model as the mean and standard deviation of the posterior distribution at each location on a 0.5° × 0.5° grid from the surface to 150 km depth. Surface wave dispersion data do not strongly constrain internal interfaces, but shear wave speeds between the discontinuities in the crystalline crust and uppermost mantle are well determined.We design the resulting model as a reference model, which is intended to be useful to other researchers as a starting model, to predict seismic wave fields and observables and to predict other types of data (e.g. topography, gravity). The model and the data onwhich it is based are available for download. In addition, the model displays a great variety and considerable richness of geological and tectonic features in the crust and in the uppermost mantle deserving of further focus and continued interpretation.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)954-979
Number of pages26
JournalGeophysical Journal International
Issue number2
Publication statusPublished - 1 Aug 2016
Externally publishedYes


  • Asia
  • Crustal structure
  • Seismic tomography
  • Surface waves and free oscillations


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