Modeling of anisotropy in the lithosphere and asthenosphere for real Earth cases: a critical assessment of the impact on SKS measurements

Type Article
Date 2020-08
Language English
Author(s) Lamarque Gaelle1, 2, Piana Agostinetti Nicola3, 4
Affiliation(s) 1 : Laboratoire Geosciences Ocean, UMR6538, IUEM, UBO Plouzané ,France
2 : Ifremer, Geosciences Marines, Centre de Brest Plouzané ,France
3 : Department of Geodynamics and Sedimentology, Faculty of Earth Sciences, Geography and AstronomyUniversity of Vienna Vienna, Austria
4 : Centro Nazionale Terremoti, Istituto Nazionale di Geofisica e Vulcanologia Rome, Italy
Source Journal Of Geophysical Research-solid Earth (2169-9313) (American Geophysical Union (AGU)), 2020-08 , Vol. 125 , N. 8 , P. e2019JB018978 (13p.)
DOI 10.1029/2019JB018978

We investigate effects of realistic Earth's lithospheric structures on measurements of SKS seismic waves birefringence, which could be perturbed by different factors. We present SKS measurements recorded in four different tectonic settings. For each case, a realistic lithospheric structure is assumed and synthetic SKS splitting measurements are compared with the field observations. Our results show that: (a) in simple case, where anisotropy is aligned in both the lithospheric mantle and the asthenosphere, the SKS measurements can be safely interpreted as dominantly related to asthenospheric mantle flow; (b) in case of multi‐layer anisotropy in the lithospheric mantle, SKS measurement can corresponds to a combination of the different fast axis orientations and intensities of the anisotropic layers, dominated by the layer with stronger anisotropy; (c) across orogens, where highly anisotropic ≥ 10%) crustal sections are present, a relevant percent (30‐40%) of SKS measurement can be explained by crustal contributions, with additional challenge related to the different direction of retrieved and expected symmetry axis; and finally (d) in subduction zones, even in absence of mantle corner flow, subducted crust materials can interplay with the overriding plate to generate an interpretable SKS observation. We conclude that complex crustal and/or lithospheric anisotropy can lead to erroneous SKS splitting parameters interpretations in terms of mantle deformations. We show in particular that complex crustal anisotropy can produce both important time delay and back‐azimuthal pattern. We also confirm that SKS splitting parameters do not allow to identify the presence of more than two anisotropic layers in the mantle.

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Lamarque Gaelle, Piana Agostinetti Nicola (2020). Modeling of anisotropy in the lithosphere and asthenosphere for real Earth cases: a critical assessment of the impact on SKS measurements. Journal Of Geophysical Research-solid Earth, 125(8), e2019JB018978 (13p.). Publisher's official version : , Open Access version :