Department or Administrative Unit
The seismic wavefield propagating along the recently instrumented Pacific-North American plate boundary (California) displays remarkable variation, with regional shear waves arriving at coastal stations up to 20 seconds earlier than equidistant stations in eastern California. Broadband modeling of this data reveals that coastal paths sample fast upper mantle typical of Miocene-aged ocean plate (> 50 Km thickness). Inland paths sample slower uppermost mantle, with the seismic lithosphere, or lid, measuring less than 5 Km thick, characteristic of the Basin and Range extensional province. The boundary in the uppermost mantle between these provinces is sharp, expressing the juxtaposition of the stronger Pacific plate with weaker continental North America. The lid step coincides with regionally maximum dextral strain rates measured with GPS, suggesting the uppermost mantle modulates long term, regional-scale continental margin deformation and evolution.
Melbourne, T. & Helmberger, D. (2001). Mantle control of plate boundary deformation. Geophysical Research Letters, 28(20), 4003-4006. DOI: 10.1029/2001GL013167
Geophysical Research Letters
Copyright © 2001 the American Geophysical Union