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Rayleigh wave tomography of the British Isles from ambient seismic noise

Nicolson, Heather; Curtis, Andrew; Baptie, Brian. 2014 Rayleigh wave tomography of the British Isles from ambient seismic noise. Geophysical Journal International, 198 (2). 637-655. https://doi.org/10.1093/gji/ggu071

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Abstract/Summary

We present the first Rayleigh wave group speed maps of the British Isles constructed from ambient seismic noise. The maps also constitute the first surface wave tomography study of the crust under the British Isles at a relatively high resolution. We computed interferometric, interstation Rayleigh waves from vertical component records of ambient seismic noise recorded on 63 broad-band and short-period stations across the UK and Ireland. Group velocity measurements were made from the resulting surface wave dispersion curves between 5 and 25 s using a multiple phase-matched filter method. Uncertainties in the group velocities were computed by calculating the standard deviation of four dispersion curves constructed by stacking a random selection of daily cross-correlations. Where an uncertainty could not be obtained for a ray path using this method, we estimated it as a function of the interreceiver distance. Group velocity maps were computed for 5–25-s period using the Fast Marching forward solution of the eikonal equation and iterative, linearized inversion. At short and intermediate periods, the maps show remarkable agreement with the major geological features of the British Isles including: terrane boundaries in Scotland; regions of late Palaeozoic basement uplift; areas of exposed late Proterozoic/early Palaeozoic rocks in southwest Scotland, northern England and northwest Wales and, sedimentary basins formed during the Mesozoic such as the Irish Sea Basin, the Chester Basin, the Worcester Graben and the Wessex Basin. The maps also show a consistent low-velocity anomaly in the region of the Midlands Platform, a Proterozoic crustal block in the English Midlands. At longer periods, which are sensitive velocities in the lower crustal/upper mantle, the maps suggest that the depth of Moho beneath the British Isles decreases towards the north and west. Areas of fast velocity in the lower crust also coincide with areas thought to be associated with underplating of the lower crust such as Northern Ireland, the eastern Irish Sea and northwest Wales.

Item Type: Publication - Article
Digital Object Identifier (DOI): https://doi.org/10.1093/gji/ggu071
ISSN: 0956-540X
Date made live: 30 Sep 2014 12:24 +0 (UTC)
URI: http://nora.nerc.ac.uk/id/eprint/508535

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