Upper mantle deformation beneath the North American–Pacific plate boundary in California from SKS splitting

Abstract : In order to constrain the vertical and lateral extent of deformation and the interactions between lithosphere and asthenosphere in a context of a transpressional plate boundary, we performed teleseismic shear wave splitting measurements for 65 permanent and temporary broadband stations in central California. We present evidence for the presence of two anisotropic domains: (1) one with clear E–W trending fast directions and delay times in the range 1.5 to 2.0 s and (2) the other closely associated with the San Andreas Fault system with large azimuthal variations of the splitting parameters that can be modeled by two anisotropic layers. The upper of the two layers provides fast directions close to the strike of the main Californian faults and averaged delay times of 0.7 s; the lower layers show E–W directions and delay times in the range 1.5 to 2.5 s and thus can be compared to what is observed in stations that require a single layer. We propose the E–W trending anisotropic layer to be a 150 to 200 km thick asthenospheric layer explained by the shearing associated with the absolute plate motion of the North American lithosphere. The shallower anisotropic layer ought to be related to the dynamics of the San Andreas Fault system and thus characterized by a vertical foliation with lineation parallel to the strike of the faults localized in the lithosphere. We also propose that the anisotropic layer associated with each fault of the San Andreas Fault system is about 40 km wide at the base of the lithosphere.
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Mickael Bonnin, Guilhem Barruol, Götz H.R. Bokelmann. Upper mantle deformation beneath the North American–Pacific plate boundary in California from SKS splitting. Journal of Geophysical Research, American Geophysical Union, 2010, ⟨10.1029/2009JB006438⟩. ⟨hal-01236161⟩

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