D'' observations in the Pacific from PLUME ocean bottom seismometer recordings

TitleD'' observations in the Pacific from PLUME ocean bottom seismometer recordings
Publication TypeJournal Article
Year of Publication2015
AuthorsThomas C, Laske G.
JournalGeophysical Journal International
Date Published2015/02
Type of ArticleArticle
ISBN Number0956-540X
Accession NumberWOS:000350042400011
KeywordsBody waves; cocos plate; Composition of the mantle; core-mantle boundary; lowermost-mantle; p-wave; Pacific Ocean; post-perovskite phase; rayleigh-waves; reflector; seismic array data; southwestern pacific; subducted slabs; velocity structure

The seismic investigation of the lowermost mantle is in many places hampered by the lack of suitable source-receiver combinations that sample the D '' region and have to meet the requirements of a suitable epicentral distance range. The low velocity regions beneath the central Pacific and Atlantic Oceans in particular have been sampled in fewer places than circum Pacific regions. In this study, we use data from two recent ocean bottom seismometer (OBS) deployments for the Plume-Lithosphere Undersea Mantle Experiment (PLUME) around Hawaii to increase the coverage of the lower mantle with reflected P waves. Through stacking of the data we achieve significant reduction in noise levels. The most favourable epicentral distances to detect D '' reflections are around 70-79 degrees. Most of our source-receiver combinations have distances less than that, thereby limiting the number of candidate observed reflections. Nevertheless, using array methods, we are able to test approximately 70 events for arrivals with slowness values and arrival times that would be consistent with a top-side reflection off a hypothetical D '' structure (PdP wave). Modelling these data with a 1-D reflectivity method, we identify a few places of detectable PdP waves, for which the velocity contrast in P- and S-wave velocity across the D '' reflector have to be relatively large (around 3-5 per cent increase and decrease, respectively) compared to other regions (e.g. beneath the Caribbean or Eurasia where the contrast is closer to 1-2 per cent). For larger distance ranges, smaller velocity contrasts are sufficient to cause observable reflections. This study shows that, despite the possible dominance of microseisms on OBS records, it is possible to use relatively short-period waves, with dominant periods as short as 3-7 s. Our findings suggest that, with future such deployments, OBS deployments will help to extend D '' studies to previously unmapped regions.

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