Lithospheric structure of the northern Ordos from ambient noise and teleseismic surface wave tomography

Shilin Li, Zhen Guo*, Yongshun John Chen, Yingjie Yang, Qinghua Huang

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

36 Citations (Scopus)


We constructed a high-resolution 3-D Vs model of the northern Ordos block and its surrounding areas by surface wave tomography, which reveals significant intracratonic heterogeneities. In the western Ordos, the lithosphere thickness is ~200 km with shear velocities comparable to the high velocities of other Archean cratons worldwide. However, the lithosphere thins gradually toward the east and Vs drops by 2–3% in the uppermost mantle beneath the eastern Ordos, coincident with the high surface heat flow (~68 mW/m2 in average) there. This observation suggests that the thick, cratonic keel is only locally preserved beneath the western Ordos, and the eastern part of the Ordos seems to undergo local rejuvenation. At greater depths (>180 km), a low-velocity channel is observed beneath the high-velocity keel of the Ordos. Beneath the Datong volcanoes, a low-velocity anomaly is observed, dipping westward with depth and closely following the slope of the lithosphere beneath the northern Ordos. This prominent low velocity is connected with the low-velocity zone beneath the northern Ordos, which is further connected with the low-velocity zone beneath the northeastern Tibetan Plateau (NET). We propose that the asthenosphere beneath the NET flows toward the northern Ordos in response to the continuous northward convergence of the Indian-Eurasian continents, and the asthenosphere flows upward following the eastward thinning lithosphere which leads to decompression partial melting, which migrates upward to feed the Datong volcanoes. The significant variations of the lithospheric thickness of the Ordos block may control the distribution of the asthenospheric flow.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)6940-6957
Number of pages18
JournalJournal of Geophysical Research: Solid Earth
Issue number8
Publication statusPublished - Aug 2018


  • craton destruction
  • Datong volcanoes
  • intraplate volcanism
  • mantle flow
  • north China craton


Dive into the research topics of 'Lithospheric structure of the northern Ordos from ambient noise and teleseismic surface wave tomography'. Together they form a unique fingerprint.

Cite this