Rayleigh wave phase velocity maps of Tibet and the surrounding regions from ambient seismic noise tomography

Yingjie Yang*, Yong Zheng, John Chen, Shiyong Zhou, Savas Celyan, Eric Sandvol, Frederik Tilmann, Keith Priestley, Thomas M. Hearn, James F. Ni, Larry D. Brown, Michael H. Ritzwoller

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

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Ambient noise tomography is applied to the significant data resources now available across Tibet and surrounding regions to produce Rayleigh wave phase speed maps at periods between 6 and 50 s. Data resources include the permanent Federation of Digital Seismographic Networks, five temporary U.S. Program for Array Seismic Studies of the Continental Lithosphere (PASSCAL) experiments in and around Tibet, and Chinese provincial networks surrounding Tibet from 2003 to 2009, totaling ∼600 stations and ∼150,000 interstation paths. With such a heterogeneous data set, data quality control is of utmost importance. We apply conservative data quality control criteria to accept between ∼5000 and ∼45,000 measurements as a function of period, which produce a lateral resolution between 100 and 200 km across most of the Tibetan Plateau and adjacent regions to the east. Misfits to the accepted measurements among PASSCAL stations and among Chinese stations are similar, with a standard deviation of ∼1.7 s, which indicates that the final dispersion measurements from Chinese and PASSCAL stations are of similar quality. Phase velocities across the Tibetan Plateau are lower, on average, than those in the surrounding nonbasin regions. Phase velocities in northern Tibet are lower than those in southern Tibet, perhaps implying different spatial and temporal variations in the way the high elevations of the plateau are created and maintained. At short periods (<20 s), very low phase velocities are imaged in the major basins, including the Tarim, Qaidam, Junggar, and Sichuan basins, and in the Ordos Block. At intermediate and long periods (>20 s), very high velocities are imaged in the Tarim Basin, the Ordos Block, and the Sichuan Basin. These phase velocity dispersion maps provide information needed to construct a 3-D shear velocity model of the crust across the Tibetan Plateau and surrounding regions.

Original languageEnglish
Article numberQ08010
Pages (from-to)1-18
Number of pages18
JournalGeochemistry, Geophysics, Geosystems
Issue number8
Publication statusPublished - 1 Aug 2010
Externally publishedYes

Bibliographical note

Copyright 2010 by the American Geophysical Union. Originally published as Yang, Y., et al. (2010), Rayleigh wave phase velocity maps of Tibet and the surrounding regions from ambient seismic noise tomography, Geochem. Geophys. Geosyst., 11, Q08010. 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.


  • Ambient noise
  • Rayleigh wave
  • Tibet
  • tomography

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