Trade-offs between velocity and anisotropy heterogeneity complicate the interpretation of differential traveltime data and have the potential to bias isotropic tomographic models. By constructing a simple parametrisation to describe an elastic tensor with hexagonal symmetry, we find analytic solutions to the Christoffel equations in terms of fast and slow horizontal velocities that allow us to simultaneously invert differential traveltime data and splitting data from teleseismic S arrivals to recover 3-D velocity and anisotropy structure. This technique provides a constraint on the depth-extent of shallow anisotropy, otherwise absent from interpretations based on SKS splitting alone. This approach is well suited to the young Woodlark Rift, where previous studies have found strong velocity variation and substantial SKS splitting in a continental rift with relatively simple geometry. This study images a low-velocity rift axis with =4 per cent spreading-parallel anisotropy at 50-100 km depth that separates regions of pre-existing lithospheric fabric, indicating the synchronous development of extensional crystallographic preferred orientation and lithospheric thinning. A high-velocity slab fragment north of the rift axis is associated with strike-parallel anisotropic fast axes, similar to that seen in the shallow mantle of some subduction zones. In addition to the insights provided by the anisotropy structure, the improvement in fit to the differential traveltime data demonstrates the merit to a joint inversion that accounts for anisotropy.
- Body waves
- Continental tectonics:extensional
- Dynamics of lithosphere and mantle
- Seismic anisotropy
- Seismic tomography
ASJC Scopus subject areas
- Geochemistry and Petrology