Uppermost crustal structure across the eastern Lau spreading center from P-to-S converted waves

TitleUppermost crustal structure across the eastern Lau spreading center from P-to-S converted waves
Publication TypeJournal Article
Year of Publication2020
AuthorsLata, C, Dunn, RA
JournalMarine Geophysical Research
Date Published11/2020
KeywordsBackarc spreading center, oceanic crust, S-waves, subduction zone

P and S wave data from the L-SCAN active-source wide-angle reflection/refraction experiment are modelled to investigate upper crustal structure in the Lau backarc basin. A combination of ray tracing and finite difference numerical wavefield simulation is used to identify P and P-to-S converted seismic phases. The phases primarily arise from two shallow interfaces, one at \textasciitilde 80 m depth or less, and the other at 500–650 m depth. The shallower interface is deeper than the sediment base, is observed across the study area, and is interpreted as a ‘layer 2Aa’ boundary, proposed to result from a rapid change in crack density. The deeper interface is interpreted as the layer 2A–2B boundary, corresponding to a transition from lavas to sheeted dykes. Layer 2A, on average, is 150 m thicker in crust that formed at the spreading center when spreading was located near the arc (< 50 km away), as compared to when spreading was located farther away from the arc (> 70 km away). Layer 2A thickness and Vp/Vs values indicate that a thicker and more porous lava layer, dominated by basalts to basalt-andesites, cap near-arc crust, while a thinner and less-porous, mostly basaltic, volcanic layer caps the far-arc crust. These results are consistent with the waning influence of slab-derived volatiles on crustal formation as seafloor spreading moves away from the active arc.


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