Stratified seismic anisotropy and the lithosphere-asthenosphere boundary beneath eastern North America

Huaiyu Yuan*, Vadim Levin

*Corresponding author for this work

    Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

    33 Citations (Scopus)
    19 Downloads (Pure)


    Long records of teleseismic observations accumulated at permanent seismic stations Harvard, MA; Palisades, NY; and Standing Stone, PA, in eastern North America are inverted for vertical distribution of anisotropic parameters. High-resolution anisotropy-aware P wave receiver function analysis and multiple-layer core-refracted SKS waveform modeling favor more than one layer of anisotropy beneath all sites. Our analyses suggest that the depth sensitivity to stratified anisotropic seismic velocity in converted phases and the SKS waveforms are complementary and confirm that these two approaches yield consistent lithospheric anisotropic fast axis directions. We illustrate the feasibility of the lithosphere-asthenosphere boundary detection on a regional scale through anisotropy-aware receiver functions. Joint interpretation of receiver functions and SKS waveforms beneath eastern North America suggests a thin (∼100 km) anisotropic lithosphere with fast axis orientation nearly orthogonal to the strike of major tectonic units and an underlying anisotropic asthenosphere with fast axis directions that favor the HS3-NUVEL 1A plate motion model. Consistent lithospheric anisotropy inferred from both techniques suggests broad presence of coherent fabric in the lower lithosphere, possibly developed in a regional scale delamination event after the assembly of Appalachians.

    Original languageEnglish
    Pages (from-to)3096-3114
    Number of pages19
    JournalJournal of Geophysical Research: Solid Earth
    Issue number4
    Publication statusPublished - Apr 2014

    Bibliographical note

    Copyright 2014 by the American Geophysical Union. Originally published in Journal of Geophysical Research: Solid Earth, 119(4), pp. 3096–3114, DOI: 10.1002/2013JB010785. 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.


    • Eastern North America
    • Receiver functions
    • lithosphere
    • lithosphere-asthenosphere boundary
    • seismic anisotropy
    • shear wave splitting


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