A comparison of seismic properties of young and mature oceanic crust Public Deposited

http://ir.library.oregonstate.edu/concern/graduate_thesis_or_dissertations/gf06g624f

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  • Seismic properties (P, S velocities and Poisson's ratio) of young (0.75 m.y.) and mature (110 m.y.) oceanic crust are obtained by studying explosive refraction data collected in the Pacific Ocean using ocean bottom and downhole seismometers. A comparison of the results for the two regions indicates that the upper crustal velocities increase with age due to the cementation of cracks and fractures, the upper mantle velocities increase with age due to cooling, and the crust (mainly the lower crust) thickens with age. The Poisson's ratios obtained in this study are too small to be consistent with the presence of any serpentinization of the lower crust or upper mantle which therefore precludes upper mantle serpentinization as the cause for the thickening of the crust with age. When comparing seismic structures of young and mature oceanic crust with ophiolite models, we find close similarities between the Samail ophiolite and young oceanic crust, and between the Bay of Islands ophiolite and old oceanic crust. The 110 m.y. old crust of the northwest Pacific Basin is characterized by high velocity gradients in the upper crust, low velocity gradients in the lower crust, a smooth 1 km-thick crust-mantle transition zone and the presence of a minimum 14% anisotropy in the upper mantle compressional wave velocities. Velocities are highest in an east-west direction. The 0.75 m.y. old crust at the intersection of the East Pacific Rise and the Orozco fracture zone is characterized by a steady increase in velocity with depth. A delay time analysis shows a trend to large Layer 3 delay times in the Orozco fracture zone indicating a thicker Layer 2 and/or low Layer 2 velocities. An investigation of different model parameterizations for the tau-zeta travel time inversion using a synthetic data set indicates that the best velocity gradient solutions, based on the least deviation of the solution from the true model, are obtained from models in which the velocities of the layer bounds take on the values of the observed velocities of the refracted waves. A trade-off curve obtained from varying the number of layers in the model shows that a model with as many layers as observed data points represents a satisfactory compromise between model resolution and solution variance.
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