Body-wave tomography of western Canada

J. P. Mercier, M. G. Bostock, J. F. Cassidy, K. Dueker, J. B. Gaherty, E. J. Garnero, J. Revenaugh, G. Zandt

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

52 Scopus citations


In this study, we have produced P- and S-wave velocity models for western Canada using 23,420 delay times measured on vertical component seismograms, and 15,805 delay times measured on transverse component seismograms, respectively, from a range of permanent and temporary networks. Resolution is best in southwestern British Columbia, and along the CANOE (northwestern Alberta, southern Yukon and Northwest Territories) and BATHOLITHS (northwestern BC) arrays where the station density is the highest, and fair elsewhere. We focus our attention on two distinct features 1) the transition from Phanerozoic to Cratonic mantle in northwestern Canada, and 2) the complex tectonic environment at the northern terminus of the Cascadia subduction zone where the plate boundary changes from convergent to transform. We find that the main transition from Phanerozoic to Cratonic mantle in northwestern Canada occurs at the Cordilleran deformation front and represents a sharp jump in seismic velocity from - 2% to + 2% over a distance of ~ 50 km. In northern Cascadia, we have imaged and characterized the signature of the subducting Juan de Fuca plate and observed evidence of subduction beyond the northern edge of the slab. We also demonstrate that the Anahim hotspot track is underlain by a - 2% low-velocity zone possibly extending to 400 km beneath Nazko cone that appears to be the source of volcanism in this area. Consequently, we associate the source of magmatism in this area to a mantle-scale rather than lithospheric-scale process.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)480-492
Number of pages13
Issue number3-4
StatePublished - Oct 1 2009
Externally publishedYes


  • Anahim volcanic belt
  • Body-wave tomography
  • Cascadia subduction zone
  • Cordillera/craton transition
  • Western Canada

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Geophysics
  • Earth-Surface Processes


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