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2D Modeling of Lower Mantle Structure with WKM Synthetics


Ni, Sidao (2001) 2D Modeling of Lower Mantle Structure with WKM Synthetics. Dissertation (Ph.D.), California Institute of Technology. doi:10.7907/J8XC-TF53.


The Earth is very heterogeneous, especially in the region close to the surface of the Earth, and in regions close to the core-mantle boundary (CMB). The lowermost mantle (bottom 300km of the mantle) is the place for fast anomaly (3% faster S velocity than PREM, modeled from Scd), for slow anomaly (-3% slower S velocity than PREM, modeled from S,ScS), for extreme anomalous structure (ultra-low velocity zone, 30% lower inS velocity, 10% lower in P velocity). Strong anomaly with larger dimension is also observed beneath Africa and Pacific, originally modeled from travel time of S, SKS and ScS. Given the heterogeneous nature of the earth, more accurate approach (than travel time) has to be applied to study the details of various anomalous structures, and matching waveform with synthetic seismograms has proven effective in constraining the velocity structures. However, it is difficult to make synthetic seismograms in more than 1D cases where no exact analytical solution is possible. Numerical methods like finite difference or finite elements are too time consuming in modeling body waveforms. We developed a 2D synthetic algorithm, which is extended from 1D generalized ray theory (GRT), to make synthetic seismograms efficiently (each seismogram per minutes). This 2D algorithm is related to WKB approximation, but is based on different principles, it is thus named to be WKM, i.e., WKB modified. WKM has been applied to study the variation of fast D" structure beneath the Caribbean sea, to study the plume beneath Africa. WKM is also applied to study PKP precursors which is a very important seismic phase in modeling lower mantle heterogeneity. By matching WKM synthetic seismograms with various data, we discovered and confirmed that (a) The D" beneath Caribbean varies laterally, and the variation is best revealed with Scd+Sab beyond 88 degree where Sed overruns Sab. (b) The low velocity structure beneath Africa is about 1500 km in height, at least 1000km in width, and features 3% reduced S velocity. The low velocity structure is a combination of a relatively thin, low velocity layer (200 km thick or less) beneath the Atlantic, then rising very sharply into mid mantle towards Africa. (c) At the edges of this huge Africa low velocity structures, ULVZs are found by modeling the large separation between S and ScS beyond 100 degree. The ULVZ to the eastern boundary was discovered with SKPdS data, and later is confirmed by PKP precursor data. This is the first time that ULVZ is verified with distinct seismic phase.

Item Type:Thesis (Dissertation (Ph.D.))
Subject Keywords:Geophysics and Computer Science
Degree Grantor:California Institute of Technology
Division:Geological and Planetary Sciences
Major Option:Geophysics
Minor Option:Computer Science
Thesis Availability:Public (worldwide access)
Research Advisor(s):
  • Ahrens, Thomas J.
Thesis Committee:
  • Ahrens, Thomas J. (chair)
  • Gurnis, Michael C.
  • Helmberger, Donald V.
  • Stevenson, David John
  • Yung, Yuk L.
Defense Date:2 February 2001
Record Number:CaltechTHESIS:03252014-144322918
Persistent URL:
Ni, Sidao0000-0003-2988-4850
Default Usage Policy:No commercial reproduction, distribution, display or performance rights in this work are provided.
ID Code:8168
Deposited By: Benjamin Perez
Deposited On:26 Mar 2014 17:05
Last Modified:24 Aug 2022 23:38

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