Fine-scale seismic structure of the shallow volcanic crust on the East Pacific Rise at 9°50′N
Sohn, Robert A.
Webb, Spahr C.
Hildebrand, John A.
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We use a combination of body wave and interface wave observations from an on-bottom seismic refraction survey to constrain the fine-scale seismic structure of the upper crust in a ∼3 × 3 km field area centered on the East Pacific Rise at 9°50′N. We detonated 18 explosive shots (18 sources) in a circular pattern (1.5 km radius) on the rise axis and recorded seismic arrivals with eight ocean bottom seismometers (eight receivers). We observed 30–40 Hz compressional body waves from all shots (144 P waves) and 1–3 Hz Stoneley (interface) waves on a subset of source-receiver pairs (58 interface waves). Using a station correction inversion, we find that roughly half of the variance in the P wave first-arrival times results from lateral variations in the thickness of the surface low-velocity layer (SLVL), a layer of extremely porous lava and basalt breccia with an average P wave velocity of 2.2 km s−1. The SLVL thickness increases from <20 m along the axial summit trough (AST) to ∼120 m at near-axis lava depocenters, which are not symmetric about the rise axis. Depocenters are located ∼0.5 km to the west and ∼1.5 km to the east of the rise axis. Tomographic inversion of the Stoneley wave first arrivals reveals that shear velocities in the SLVL covary with the layer thickness, exhibiting a similar asymmetric pattern, with shear velocities increasing from ∼320 m s−1 near the AST to ∼520 m s−1 at the near-axis depocenters. Our analysis demonstrates that the seismic characteristics of the extrusive layer near the rise axis are related primarily to volcanic features and processes. The thickness and velocity of the SLVL are low on the axis and within channel networks that deliver lava flows away from the axis and then increase rapidly at the distal ends of the channels where the lavas are deposited. We find that azimuthal anisotropy exerts only a weak influence on our P wave first-arrival times, which we model as weak (4%) seismic azimuthal anisotropy in the upper dikes with a fast axis oriented N23°–32°W. We find no evidence for seismic azimuthal anisotropy in the extrusive layer.
Author Posting. © American Geophysical Union, 2004. This article is posted here by permission of American Geophysical Union for personal use, not for redistribution. The definitive version was published in Journal of Geophysical Research 109 (2004): B12104, doi:10.1029/2004JB003152.
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