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Studies of the Crust-Mantle System Beneath Southern California


Humphreys, Eugene Drake (1985) Studies of the Crust-Mantle System Beneath Southern California. Dissertation (Ph.D.), California Institute of Technology. doi:10.7907/j2xf-gq29.


A back-projection method of tomographic reconstruction is adapted to inverted seismic travel-time data. The problems encountered in inverting these data include ray set inhomogeneity and anisotropy and the three-dimensionality of the space interrogated. Jacobi iteration, deconvolution and variable ray weighting are shown to work well in augmenting the basic back-projection method to produce a well-focused image. Applications of the various focusing algorithms are shown to have a degree of success that depends on the ray geometry used. Also, the ability to reconstruct an accurate image when the data include moderate amounts of noise is shown to be good.

P-wave teleseismic travel time delays recorded by the southern California array are inverted with the tomographic method to obtain variations in the P-wave velocity structure to a depth of 750 km. Two major anomalies are imaged. A curtain-like E-W trending high velocity feature is found directly beneath the Transverse Ranges. This feature is about 50 km in thickness, extends in depth to a maximum of about 250 km on its eastern end, and attains a maximum velocity that is about 3% greater than average mantle at the same depth beneath southern California. A zone of low-velocity material is found in the uppermost 100 km beneath the region of the Salton Trough. The seismic velocities here are depressed by about 4%.

These anomalous regions are interpreted to be related to the geologic processes that have been active recently in southern California. Scaling relations are used to estimate that the Transverse Range anomaly is about 500°C colder and 1% more dense than average southern California mantle of the same depth, while the Salton Trough anomaly is about 1/2% less dense and contains about 3% melt. The density distribution drives a flow of upper mantle material from the Salton Trough region towards the Transverse Ranges, where it sinks into the mantle to form the feature seen beneath these ranges. Mantle flow results in tractions that act on the base of the lithosphere to produce stresses within the lithosphere that are tensile in the Salton Trough and compressive in the Transverse Ranges. These stresses are thought to account for the physiography seen in these provences.

The southern California crust is modeled using late Quaternary slip rates on major faults, and a kinematic description is determined that has: 1) only local sites of convergence in the Transverse Ranges, and 2) the occurrance of significant strain rates near to the southern California coast, including the western Transverse Ranges.

Item Type:Thesis (Dissertation (Ph.D.))
Subject Keywords:Geophysics
Degree Grantor:California Institute of Technology
Division:Geological and Planetary Sciences
Major Option:Geophysics
Thesis Availability:Public (worldwide access)
Research Advisor(s):
  • Ahrens, Thomas J.
Thesis Committee:
  • Clayton, Robert W. (chair)
  • Hager, Bradford H.
  • Silver, Leon T.
  • Anderson, Donald L.
  • Ahrens, Thomas J.
Defense Date:4 April 1985
Record Number:CaltechTHESIS:02142013-085850235
Persistent URL:
Default Usage Policy:No commercial reproduction, distribution, display or performance rights in this work are provided.
ID Code:7477
Deposited By: Benjamin Perez
Deposited On:14 Feb 2013 17:38
Last Modified:09 Nov 2022 19:20

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