A synoptic view of the distribution and connectivity of the mid-crustal low velocity zone beneath Tibet

Yingjie Yang*, Michael H. Ritzwoller, Yong Zheng, Weisen Shen, Anatoli L. Levshin, Zujun Xie

*Corresponding author for this work

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Abstract

Based on 1-2 years of continuous observations of seismic ambient noise data obtained at more than 600 stations in and around Tibet, Rayleigh wave phase velocity maps are constructed from 10 s to 60 s period. A 3-D Vsv model of the crust and uppermost mantle is derived from these maps. The 3-D model exhibits significant apparently inter-connected low shear velocity features across most of the Tibetan middle crust at depths between 20 and 40 km. These low velocity zones (LVZs) do not conform to surface faults and, significantly, are most prominent near the periphery of Tibet. The observations support the internal deformation model in which strain is dispersed in the deeper crust into broad ductile shear zones, rather than being localized horizontally near the edges of rigid blocks. The prominent LVZs are coincident with strong mid-crustal radial anisotropy in western and central Tibet and probably result at least partially from anisotropic minerals aligned by deformation, which mitigates the need to invoke partial melt to explain the observations. Irrespective of their cause in partial melt or mineral alignment, mid-crustal LVZs reflect deformation and their amplification near the periphery of Tibet provides new information about the mode of deformation across Tibet.

Original languageEnglish
Article numberB04303
Pages (from-to)1-20
Number of pages20
JournalJournal of Geophysical Research
Volume117
Issue number4
DOIs
Publication statusPublished - 1 Apr 2012

Bibliographical note

Copyright 2012 by the American Geophysical Union. Originally published as Yang, Y., M. H. Ritzwoller, Y. Zheng, W. Shen, A. L. Levshin, and Z. Xie (2012), A synoptic view of the distribution and connectivity of the mid-crustal low velocity zone beneath Tibet, J. Geophys. Res., 117, B04303. Version archived for private and non-commercial use with the permission of the author/s and according to publisher conditions. For further rights please contact the publisher.

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