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Anisotropy from crust to core: Observations, models and implications

Many regions of the Earth, from crust to core, exhibit anisotropic fabrics which can reveal much about geodynamic processes in the subsurface. These fabrics can exist at a variety of scales, from crystallographic orientations to regional structure alignments. In the past few decades, a tremendous body of multidisciplinary research has been dedicated to characterizing anisotropy in the solid Earth and understanding its geodynamical implications. This has included work in fields such as: (1) geophysics, to make in situ observations and construct models of anisotropic properties at a range of depths; (2) mineral physics, to explain the cause of some of these observations; and (3) numerical modelling, to relate the inferred fabrics to regional stress and flow regimes and, thus, geodynamic processes in the Earth. The study of anisotropy in the Solid Earth encompasses topics so diverse that it often appears fragmented according to regions of interest, e.g., the upper or lower crust, oceanic lithosphere, continental lithosphere, cratons, subduction zones, D'', or the inner core. The aim of this session is to bring together scientists working on different aspects of anisotropy to provide a comprehensive overview of the field. We encourage contributions from all disciplines of the earth sciences (including mineral physics, seismology, magnetotellurics, geodynamic modelling) focused on anisotropy at all scales and depths within the Earth.

Co-organized by EMRP2/SM5
Convener: Manuele Faccenda | Co-convener: Tuna Eken
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Thu, 29 Apr, 09:00–10:30

5-minute convener introduction

François Lavoué et al.

We present new models of shear-wave velocity and of its radial and azimuthal anisotropy in the crust and upper mantle at global scale. Seismic anisotropy is the consequence of the preferential orientation of minerals due to deformation. The reconstruction of both its radial and azimuthal components provides insights into past and present deformation and flow in the lithosphere and asthenosphere. The full consideration of anisotropy also makes possible to accurately determine the isotropic shear-velocity average, and therefore to isolate the effects of thermal or compositional variations from those of anisotropic fabric. 

Our model is constrained by a large compilation of waveform fits for more than 750,000 vertical-component and 250,000 transverse-component seismograms. We follow a two-step procedure that comprises the Automated Multimode Inversion of surface, S, and multiple-S waveforms in a period range from 10 to 450 s, followed by a 3D tomographic inversion that reconstructs dVSH and dVSV velocity perturbations and their 4-ψ and 2-ψ azimuthal dependencies. The joint inversion of vertical and transverse components is regularised in terms of linear isotropic average perturbations dVS0 = (dVSH + dVSV)/2 and of radial anisotropy δ = dVSH - dVSV.

We compare our model with other published anisotropic models. The different models show good agreement on major isotropic structures but relatively poor agreement on anisotropic features. We identify different patterns of anisotropy for different tectonic regions. At shallow depths (< 60 km), there is a clear difference between oceanic and continental regions of different ages. While radial anisotropy is consistently negative (VSH < VSV) in the top 50 km of oceanic lithosphere, it is positive (VSH > VSH) under continents, with a thick layer of slightly positive anisotropy under cratons and a shallower layer of stronger anisotropy under phanerozoic crust, subject to more recent deformation. The largest anisotropy —positive and exceeding 2% in our and most other models— occurs between 70 and 150 km depth. This pattern is observed in both continents and oceans, and depends on their age and lithospheric thickness, which is indicative of the anisotropic fabric developed in the asthenosphere and frozen in the lithosphere. Finally, we observe a remarkable reversal from positive to negative anisotropy between 200 and 330 km depth over the entire globe. Again, the depth at which this reversal occurs depends on the tectonic settings: it is deeper under cratons and old oceans than under young continents and oceans. Synthetic tests demonstrate the robustness of this observation. While it could be interpreted as a transition from dominantly horizontal to dominantly vertical deformation in the mantle, this anisotropy reversal is also consistent with mineralogic experiments that suggest a transition in olivine slip mechanism which causes horizontal shear to induce negative seismic anisotropy below a certain depth. In lack of a satisfying scenario that could explain a global trend to vertical mantle flow between 260 and 410 km depth, we favour the second interpretation. If this interpretation is correct, our anisotropic model provides global-scale evidence for the transition in the olivine slip mechanism documented in the mineralogic literature.

How to cite: Lavoué, F., Lebedev, S., Celli, N., and Schaeffer, A.: Radially and azimuthally anisotropic shear-wave velocity model of the Earth’s upper mantle, EGU General Assembly 2021, online, 19–30 Apr 2021, EGU21-14987, https://doi.org/10.5194/egusphere-egu21-14987, 2021.

Federica Restelli et al.

Seismic tomography is essential for imaging the Earth’s interior in order to better understand the dynamic processes at work. However, robust physical interpretation of tomographic images remain difficult as the inverse problem is under-determined, model amplitudes are biased and uncertainties are usually not quantified.

Commonly-used techniques, such as damped least-square inversions, break the non-uniqueness of the model solution by adding a subjective, ad hoc, regularization, which can lead to biased amplitudes and potential physical misinterpretations. The SOLA method (Zaroli, 2016; Zaroli et al., 2017), based on a Backus-Gilbert approach, removes the non-uniquess by averaging, rather than introducing a subjective regularization. The method explicitly constrains the amplitudes to be unbiased and the computation of the model resolution and uncertainty is inherent and efficient. Instead of aiming to minimize the data fit, the SOLA approach aims to minimize the size of the averaging volume and the associated uncertainties.

We aim to build a new tomographic model of the Earth’s mantle using the SOLA method. We focus our observations on normal mode data, the standing waves of the Earth observed after very large earthquakes, which are not affected by an uneven data distribution. As normal modes are sensitive to multiple seismic parameters, we treat the sensitivity to different parameters as so called “3D noise” within the SOLA framework. We are specifically interested in constraining seismic anisotropy, which provides more direct information on mantle flow.

Here, we report on some forward modelling results, fundamental to understanding normal mode sensitivity to seismic anisotropy at different depths and identifying which modes to focus on during inversions. We also show our initial work towards building a new tomography model, including the calculation of 3D noise and target kernels.


How to cite: Restelli, F., Koelemeijer, P., and Zaroli, C.: Backus-Gilbert style inversions for mantle anisotropy using normal mode data , EGU General Assembly 2021, online, 19–30 Apr 2021, EGU21-3375, https://doi.org/10.5194/egusphere-egu21-3375, 2021.

Tak Ho et al.
Hejun Zhu

In this talk, I will present a new 3-D azimuthally anisotropic tomographic model, namely US32, for the North American and Caribbean Plates. This model is constrained by using seismic data from USArray and full waveform inversion. The inversion uses data from 180 regional earthquakes recorded by 4,516 seismographic stations, resulting in 586,185 frequency-dependent phase measurements. Three-component short-period body waves and long-period surface waves are combined to simultaneously constrain deep and shallow structures. The current azimuthally anisotropic model US32 is the result of 32 pre-conditioned conjugate-gradient iterations. In the current model, I observe a complex depth-dependent pattern for fast axis directions across the North American and Caribbean Plates.  At shallow depths, these fast axis directions delineate local geological provinces, such as the Snake River Plain, Cascadia subduction zone, Rio Grand Rift, etc. At greater depths, the fast axis directions follow the absolute plate motion trajectories at most places. At depths around 700 km, the fast axis directions are perpendicular to the strikes of the mapped Farallon slab, suggesting the presence of 2-D corner flows induced by this ancient subduction underneath the mantle transition zone. In addition, underneath the Cascadia and Cocos subduction zones at depths from 250 to 500 km, the fast axis directions suggest the presence of toroid-mode mantle flows, following the geometry of fast downwelling materials.

How to cite: Zhu, H.: Mapping mantle flows underneath the North American and Caribbean Plates, EGU General Assembly 2021, online, 19–30 Apr 2021, EGU21-6113, https://doi.org/10.5194/egusphere-egu21-6113, 2021.

John Cornthwaite et al.

     The southernmost edge of the Caribbean (CAR) plate, a buoyant large igneous province, subducts shallowly beneath northwestern South America (NWSA) at a trench that lies northwest of Colombia. Recent finite frequency P-wave tomography results show a segmented CAR subducting at a shallow angle under the Santa Marta Massif to the Serrania de Perijá (SdP) before steepening while a detached segment beneath the Mérida Andes (MA) descends into the mantle transition zone. The dynamics of shallow subduction are poorly understood. Plate coupling between the flat subducting CAR and the overriding NWSA is proposed to have driven the uplift of the MA. In this study we analyze SKS shear wave splitting to investigate the seismic anisotropy beneath the slab segments to relate their geometry to mantle dynamics. We also use local S splitting to investigate the seismic anisotropy between the slab segments and the overriding plate. The data were recorded by a 65-element portable broadband seismograph network deployed in NWSA and 40 broadband stations of the Venezuelan and Colombian national seismograph networks.

     SKS fast polarization axes are measured generally trench-perpendicular (TP) west of the SdP but transition to trench-parallel (TL) at the SdP where the slab was imaged steepening into the mantle, consistent with previous studies. West of the MA the fast axis is again TP but transitions to TL under the MA. This second transition from TP to TL is likely due to mantle material being deflected around a detached slab under the MA. Local S fast polarization axes are dominantly TP throughout the study area west of the Santa Marta Massif and are consistent with slab-entrained flow. Under the Santa Marta Massif the fast axis is TL for reasons we do not yet understand.

How to cite: Cornthwaite, J., Niu, F., Levander, A., Schmitz, M., Prieto, G., and Dionicio, V.: Caribbean slab dynamics beneath northwest South America from SKS and Local S splitting, EGU General Assembly 2021, online, 19–30 Apr 2021, EGU21-13508, https://doi.org/10.5194/egusphere-egu21-13508, 2021.

Brandon VanderBeek et al.

Despite the well-established anisotropic nature of Earth’s upper mantle, the influence of elastic anisotropy on teleseismic P-wave imaging remains largely ignored. Unmodeled anisotropic heterogeneity can lead to substantial isotropic velocity artefacts that may be misinterpreted as compositional and thermal heterogeneities. Here, we present a new parameterization for imaging arbitrarily oriented hexagonal anisotropy using teleseismic P-wave delays. We evaluate our tomography algorithm by reconstructing geodynamic simulations of subduction that include predictions for mantle mineral fabrics. Our synthetic tests demonstrate that accounting for both the dip and azimuth of anisotropy in the inversion is critical to the accurate recovery of both isotropic and anisotropic structure. We then perform anisotropic inversions using data collected across the western United States and offshore Cascadia. Our preliminary models show a clear circular pattern in the azimuth of anisotropy around the southern edge of the Juan de Fuca slab that is remarkably similar to the toroidal flow pattern inferred from SKS splits. We also image dipping anisotropic domains coincident with the descending Juan de Fuca slab. In contrast to prior isotropic tomographic results, the Juan de Fuca slab in our anisotropic model is characterized by more uniform P-wave speeds and is without an obvious slab hole below ~150 km depth. We also find a general decrease in the magnitude of mantle low-velocity zones throughout the model relative to prior studies. These results highlight the sensitivity of teleseismic P-waves to anisotropic structure and the importance of accounting for anisotropic heterogeneity in the imaging of subduction zones.

How to cite: VanderBeek, B., Bodmer, M., and Faccenda, M.: New Imaging Approach for Constraining the Azimuth and Dip of Seismic Anisotropy Using Teleseismic P-wave Delays and its Application to the Western United States, EGU General Assembly 2021, online, 19–30 Apr 2021, EGU21-14514, https://doi.org/10.5194/egusphere-egu21-14514, 2021.

Yanzhe Zhao et al.

The surface wave dispersion data with azimuthal anisotropy can be used to invert for the wavespeed azimuthal anisotropy, which provides essential dynamic information about depth-varying deformation of the Earth’s interior. The traditional method to slove this inversion problem is a two-step process, i.e. inverting the isotropic wavespeed first, based on which the anisotropic part is solved successively. In this study, we try to simultaneously invert both the isotropic and anisotropic shear wave velocity using the rj-MCMC (reversible jump Markov Monte Carlo) algorithm, which allows sampling the model space in a transdimensional way.

Our resarch is conducted in the Northeast Aisa, including the East and Northeast China (EC and NEC), Korean Peninsula and the sea of Japan (see Fig. 1). The previous anisotropic and tomographic studies were mainly conducted on separated continents, lacking a panoramic view of geodynamics across the entire region. In this study, we construct a crustal and uppermantle model of the whole ragion based on the Rayleigh wave dispersion data collected by Fan et al. (2020, GRL), and acquire high-resolution patterns reflecting valuable geodynamic characteristics.


Figure 1. Map of the NE Asia showing the main tectonic features. Major blocks: NEC = north-east China; EC = East China; KP = Korean Peninsula; KS = Korea Strait; SoJ = Sea of Japan; JI = Japanese Island. The gray area in the background delineates the major sedimentary basins with thickness no less than 1.5 km. Red volcano symbols denote the Late Cenozoic intraplate volcanoes, including: CBV = Changbaishan volcano; JPHV = Jingpohu volcano; LGV = Longgang volcano; XJDV = Xianjingdao volcano; CRV = ChugaRyong volcano; ULV = Ulleung volcano; HLV = Halla volcano; FJV = FukueJima volcano. Small red triangles show the locations of island arc volca-noes. The Japan Trench where the western Pacific Plate subducts, and the Ryukyu Trench where the Philippine Sea Plate subducts are outlined by black lines with white sawtooth. Interface depths of the subducting Pacific slab and Philippine Sea slab are marked by white and purple dashed lines, respectively, with depth annotation. The Tanlu fault zone (TLFZ) is represented by thin black lines.

How to cite: Zhao, Y., Guo, Z., Wang, Y., and Fan, X.: Layered mantle flow beneath the Japan Sea and NE China from inversion of surface wave dispersion using rj-MCMC method, EGU General Assembly 2021, online, 19–30 Apr 2021, EGU21-9806, https://doi.org/10.5194/egusphere-egu21-9806, 2021.

Ashwani Kant Tiwari et al.

The present research work interrogates the depth-dependent lithospheric dipping and anisotropic fabrics that characterize major fault and suture zone rheology, essential to understanding the lithospheric deformation and geodynamic process beneath southeastern Tibet. The depth-dependent anisotropic trend has been investigated via harmonic stripping of receiver functions (RFs) at 70 stations of the Eastern Syntaxis experiment, operated between 2003-2004. First, 3683 good quality P-RFs are computed from 174 teleseismic events. All the events are of magnitude ≥5.5 and recorded in the epicentral distribution of 30° to 90°. After that, the harmonic stripping technique is performed at each seismic station to retrieve the first (k = 1) and second (k =2) degree harmonics from the receiver function dataset. Our study also characterizes the type (fast or slow) of the symmetric axis. The upper crustal (0-20 km) anisotropic orientations are orthogonal to the major faults and suture zones of the area and suggest the structure-induced anisotropy. However, the anisotropic orientations in the mid-to-lower crust and uppermost mantle orientations suggest the ductile deformation due to material flow towards the east. Comparison from depth-dependent lithospheric trend and fast polarization directions obtained from the core-refracted and direct-S phases suggest the decoupled crust and lithospheric mantle beneath the area.  The distinct anisotropic trends in the Namche Barwa Metamorphic Massif (NBMM) indicate the northward indentation of the Indian crust beneath the Lhasa block. However, the lower crust and uppermost anisotropic orientation suggest the fragmented Indian lithosphere beneath the area. Our results add new constraints in understanding the type of strain and its causes in the region.

How to cite: Tiwari, A. K., Singh, A., Saikia, D., and Singh, C.: Layered lithospheric anisotropy beneath southeastern Tibet using harmonic decomposition of receiver functions, EGU General Assembly 2021, online, 19–30 Apr 2021, EGU21-14079, https://doi.org/10.5194/egusphere-egu21-14079, 2021.

Poulommi Mondal et al.

SKKS phase being an unique one among other core refracted phases like PKS, SKS etc. is capable of imaging the anisotropic contribution from lower mantle as per its raypath is considered. Its unique property of reflection at the core-mantle boundary enables it to carry forward the lower mantle contribution in case of seismic anisotropy is concerned. The lower mantle as a whole is assumed to be isotropic except the lowermost 200-300km (D’’ layer) which pertain a distinct diversity in the raypath of SKKS phases beyond 130o epicentral distance and thereby manifest the possible influence of lower mantle in the deformation pattern of any region. The present study of SKKS splitting analysis comprising an epicentral range of 140o-180o is primarily intended to complement the existing shear wave splitting dataset associated with north east India as well as to understand the effect of lower mantle on the splitting parameters (fast polarization direction (FPD, ϕ) and delay time (δt)). The motive of the study can be further extended to decipher the implication of such narrow epicentral range on splitting analysis. The analysis suggests that, beneath sub-Himalaya, the Indo-Eurasia collision derived lithospheric force along major thrust faults is the prime source behind the deformation, while Assam foredeep is somewhat influenced by the seismogenic Kopili Fault. There exist a striking difference in anisotropic directions between northern and southern fringe of Shillong plateau where deformations are governed by the absolute plate motion (APM) of Indian plate driven asthenospheric flow and seismically active Dauki and Dapsi faults respectively. Such disparity in splitting attributes can be inferred as the interplay of constricted back-azimuthal distribution and lean range of epicentral distance of seismic events, though the probability of lower mantle involvement cannot be ignored completely.

How to cite: Mondal, P., Mohanty, D., Biswal, S., and Yadav, R.: Implication of mantle dynamics beneath North-East India through the perspective of SKKS splitting analysis, EGU General Assembly 2021, online, 19–30 Apr 2021, EGU21-14437, https://doi.org/10.5194/egusphere-egu21-14437, 2021.

George Kaviris et al.

Seismic anisotropy is investigated by performing an upper crust shear-wave splitting study in the Western Gulf of Corinth (WGoC). The study area, which is a tectonic rift located in Central Greece, is one of the most seismically active regions in Europe, characterized by a 10 to 15 mm/year extension rate in a NNW-SSE direction and E-W normal faulting. Intense seismic activity has been recorded in the WGoC during 2013-2014, including the 2013 Helike swarm, at the southern coast, and the offshore 2014 seismic sequence between Nafpaktos and Psathopyrgos, including an Mw 4.9 event on 21 September 2014. The largest event of the study period was an Mw 5.0 earthquake that occurred in November 2014, offshore Aigion, followed by an aftershock sequence. Seismicity was relocated using the double-difference method, including waveform cross-correlation differential travel-time data, yielding a high-resolution earthquake catalogue of approximately 9000 local events. This dataset was utilized in order to determine the shear-wave splitting parameters in seven stations installed at the WGoC, using a fully automatic technique based on the eigenvalue method and cluster analysis. A smaller subset was analyzed with the visual inspection method (polarigrams and hodograms) for verification of the automatic measurements. All selected station-event pairs were within the shear-wave window and had adequately high signal-to-noise ratio. The orientation of the seismometers of all stations used in the present study has been measured and verified in order to ensure the validity of the obtained fast shear-wave polarization directions and to apply corrections for borehole instruments. Mean anisotropy directions are in general agreement with the horizontal component of the dominant stress field, with some deviations, likely related to mapped faults and local stress anomalies. Temporal variations of time-delays between the two split shear-waves are examined in order to investigate their connection to possible stress field variations, related either to the occurrence of moderate to strong events or to fluid migration.


We would like to thank the personnel of the Hellenic Unified Seismological Network (http://eida.gein.noa.gr/) and the Corinth Rift Laboratory Network (https://doi.org/10.15778/RESIF.CL) for the installation and operation of the stations used in the current article. The present research is co-financed by Greece and the European Union (European Social Fund- ESF) through the Operational Programme «Human Resources Development, Education and Lifelong Learning 2014-2020» in the context of the project “The role of fluids in the seismicity of the Western Gulf of Corinth (Greece)” (MIS 5048127).

How to cite: Kaviris, G., Kapetanidis, V., Michas, G., and Vallianatos, F.: An upper crust shear-wave splitting study for the period 2013-2014 in the Western Gulf of Corinth (Greece), EGU General Assembly 2021, online, 19–30 Apr 2021, EGU21-897, https://doi.org/10.5194/egusphere-egu21-897, 2021.

Derya Keleş et al.

The fundamental knowledge on seismic anisotropy inferred from various data sets can enhance our understanding of its vertical resolution that is critical for a better interpretation of past and current dynamics and resultant crustal and mantle kinematics in the Hellenic Trench and its hinterland. To investigate the nature of deformation zones, we perform both local S-wave splitting (SWS) measurements and receiver functions (RFs) analysis. Our preliminary findings from the harmonic decomposition technique performed on radial and tangential RFs suggest relatively more substantial anisotropic signals in the lower crust and uppermost mantle with respect to upper and middle crustal structure in the region. Apparent anisotropic orientations obtained from RFs harmonic decomposition process show several consistencies with those discovered from local SWS measurements at selected stations. The actual anisotropic orientation for the structures, however, requires further modelling of the receiver functions obtained.

How to cite: Keleş, D., Eken, T., Confal, J. M., and Taymaz, T.: Crust-Mantle Kinematics in and around the Hellenic Arc Elucidated by Local Shear Wave Splitting and Receiver Function Analyses, EGU General Assembly 2021, online, 19–30 Apr 2021, EGU21-11501, https://doi.org/10.5194/egusphere-egu21-11501, 2021.

Ceyhun Erman et al.

The Anatolia, one of the most actively deforming continental regions of the Earth, is considered to be a natural laboratory for studying tectonic structures, complex deformation patterns, and intense seismicity at various scales. Active tectonics of this plate has been shaped by complex interactions between the Arabian, African and Eurasian plates. In the region, there are several suture zones associated with the closure of Tethys Ocean, large-scale transform faults (e.g. North Anatolian Fault) and geological structures developed in relation to extensional and compressional tectonics. Seismic anisotropy studies are needed to better understand the relationship between surface deformation and mantle dynamics, and to establish a connection between the involved deformation models and anisotropic structures in the lithosphere and asthenosphere layers beneath Anatolia. To evaluate lateral and vertical variations in the upper mantle anisotropy and thus underlying geodynamic processes, we apply teleseismic shear wave splitting (e.g. SKS, PKS, SKKS) analyses using about 500 broad-band seismic stations located throughout Anatolia, which belong to AFAD, KOERI and NOA seismic networks. Splitting intensities (SI) were calculated for the entire data set to compare piercing parameters obtained from both SI and SWS techniques. Overall, the NE-SW fast directions were observed for the entire Anatolia. Local changes in FPDs and DTs should be interpreted with caution as they will give important clues about the correlation between existing tectonic forces and upper mantle deformation. In particular, complex anisotropy signature along the large-scale transform faults (NAF and EAF) was investigated by using multisplit approach (e.g., Eken and Tilmann, 2014) that uses a grid search over four splitting parameters of two-layer anisotropy. A bootstrap-based analysis was performed to statistically evaluate the possible variations in two-layer models. Preliminary results reveal that a two-layer anisotropy exists at the western part of the Anatolia along the NAF. The obtained two-layer anisotropy models imply that signatures of lithospheric deformation and of asthenospheric flow driven shearing remarkably differ in NW Anatolia. In this part of the Anatolian plate, we observed large time delays up to ~2.2 sec, and fast polarization directions: i) mainly consistent with the strike of NAF in the lithosphere, ii) N-S oriented in the asthenosphere that is likely attributed to the mantle flow regime under the influence of slab roll-back and trench retreat along the Hellenic subduction zone.

How to cite: Erman, C., Yolsal-Çevikbilen, S., Eken, T., and Taymaz, T.: Investigation of the Upper Mantle Anisotropy Beneath the Anatolian Plate and Surroundings by Shear Wave Splitting Analysis, EGU General Assembly 2021, online, 19–30 Apr 2021, EGU21-12104, https://doi.org/10.5194/egusphere-egu21-12104, 2021.

Tuna Eken et al.

Turkey has been undergoing compressional and extensional tectonics that greatly influences the major surface features following northward plate convergences since the Miocene. Despite increasing efforts in last few decades aiming to elucidate the current architecture of the crust and mantle beneath Turkey, several issues regarding the depth extent of the deformation zones, crust‐mantle interaction (e.g., coupling and decoupling) in relation to the deformation, and stress transmission in the lithosphere remain elusive. Inversion of 204,531 P wave arrival times from 8,103 local crustal earthquakes yields high‐resolution 3‐D P wave isotropic and azimuthal anisotropic velocity models of the crust and uppermost mantle beneath Turkey. Major outcomes of the present work are low‐velocity anomalies or velocity contrasts down to the uppermost mantle along the North and East Anatolian Fault Zones. We observe the fast velocity directions (FVDs) of azimuthal anisotropy in the lower crust and uppermost mantle parallel to the regional maximum extensional directions in western Turkey, whereas parallel to the surface structures in the crust and uppermost mantle beneath south-eastern Turkey. Our isotropic/anisotropic images strongly imply vertically coherent deformation between the crust and uppermost mantle in western and south-eastern Turkey. However, in central northern Turkey, the FVDs in the uppermost mantle are oblique to both the FVDs in the lower crust and the maximum shear directions derived from GPS measurements, suggesting that the crust and lithospheric mantle are decoupled.

How to cite: Eken, T., Wang, H., Huang, Z., Keleş, D., Kaya-Eken, T., Confal, J. M., Erman, C., Yolsal-Çevikbilen, S., Zhao, D., and Taymaz, T.: Crustal and Uppermost Mantle Isotropic and Anisotropic P-wave Velocity Variations Beneath Turkey , EGU General Assembly 2021, online, 19–30 Apr 2021, EGU21-12340, https://doi.org/10.5194/egusphere-egu21-12340, 2021.

Judith Confal et al.

The current tectonics of the Alps and Apennines are driven and influenced by current and
past subduction systems. Computational advances over the years made it possible to
identify remnant and active slabs until great depths and large seismic deployments
revealed mostly clockwise rotation SKS splitting measurements. But the effects of layered
anisotropy and regional upper mantle flow through possible tears in the slabs remain
unknown. A comparison of several seismological methods can be a very efficient tool to
separate lithospheric and asthenospheric anisotropy. This study tries to understand if
anisotropy patterns change with depth in some regions (e.g., possible subslab mantle flow
in the Western Alps) and if tears can be identified with shear wave splitting measurements
(e.g., Central Apennines). Furthermore, splitting intensities will be analyzed for
backazimuthal dependencies and used to correct velocities in a full-waveform tomography.
By mapping and comparing existing and new anisotropy measurements (e.g., SKS, Pn
anisotropy, azimuthal anisotropy from surface waves tomography, and splitting intensities)
we intend to identify anisotropic depth dependencies.

How to cite: Confal, J., Pondrelli, S., Faccenda, M., Baccheschi, P., and Salimbeni, S.: Identifying Seismic Anisotropy Patterns in the Alps and Apennines with Splitting Intensity and Backazimuthal Dependencies, EGU General Assembly 2021, online, 19–30 Apr 2021, EGU21-16338, https://doi.org/10.5194/egusphere-egu21-16338, 2021.

Yvonne Fröhlich et al.

The observed backazimuthal variations in the shear-wave splitting of core-refracted shear waves (SK(K)S-phases) at the Black Forest Observatory (BFO, SW Germany) indicate small-scale lateral and (partly) vertical variations of the elastic anisotropy in the upper mantle. However, most of the existing seismic anisotropy studies and models in the Upper Rhine Graben (URG) area are based on short-term recordings and thus suffer from a limited backazimuthal coverage and averaging over a wide or the whole backazimuth range. Hence, to find and delimit basic anisotropy regimes, also with respect to the connection to geological and tectonic processes, we carried out further SK(K)S splitting measurements at permanent (BFO, WLS, STU, ECH) and semi-permanent (TMO44, TMO07) broadband seismological recording stations.

To achieve a sufficient backazimuthal coverage and to be able to resolve and account appropriately for complex anisotropy, we analysed long-term recordings (partly > 20 yrs.). This was done manually using the MATLAB-program SplitLab (single-event analysis) together with the plugin StackSplit (multi-event analysis). The two splitting parameters, the fast polarization direction Φ given relative to north and the delay time δt accumulated between the two quasi shear waves, were determined by applying both the rotation-correlation method and the minimum-energy method for comparison. Structural anisotropy models with one layer with horizontal or tilted symmetry axis and with two layers with horizontal symmetry axes (assuming transvers isotropy with the fast axis being parallel to the symmetry axis) were tested to explain the shear-wave splitting observations, including lateral variations around a recording site.

The determined anisotropy is placed in the upper mantle due to the duration of the delay times (> 0.3 s) and missing discrepancies between SKS- and SKKS-phases (so not hints for significant lowermost mantle contributions). The spatial distribution and the lateral and backazimuthal variations of the measured (apparent) splitting parameters confirm that the anisotropy in the mantle beneath the URG area varies on small-scale laterally and partly vertically: On the east side of the URG, from the Moldanubian Zone (BFO, STU, ECH) to the Saxothuringian Zone (TMO44, TMO07) a tendency from two layers with horizontal symmetry axes to one layer is suggested. In the Moldanubian Zone, between the east side (STU, BFO) and the west side (ECH) of the URG, a change of the fast polarisation directions of the anisotropy models with two layers with horizontal symmetry axes is observed. Inconsistent measured apparent splitting parameters and the observation of numerous null measurements, especially below the URG may be at least partly related to scattering of the seismic wavefield or a modification of the mantle material.

How to cite: Fröhlich, Y., Grund, M., and Ritter, J. R. R.: Shear-wave splitting of SK(K)S-phases beneath the Upper Rhine Graben area: Indications for laterally and vertically varying seismic anisotropy, EGU General Assembly 2021, online, 19–30 Apr 2021, EGU21-1281, https://doi.org/10.5194/egusphere-egu21-1281, 2021.

Hannah Mark et al.

Bend faults formed in oceanic lithosphere approaching deep ocean trenches promote water circulation and the formation of hydrous minerals. As the plate subducts, these minerals can dehydrate into the mantle wedge, generating the melts that feed arc volcanoes, or subduct fully into the deeper mantle. Balancing the global water budget requires an estimate of the amount of water recycled to the mantle by subduction, but current estimates for water fluxes at subduction zones span several orders of magnitude, mainly because of large uncertainties in the amount of water carried in the lithospheric mantle of the incoming plate.

We use active source seismic refraction data collected on the incoming plate at the Marianas trench to measure azimuthal seismic anisotropy in the uppermost mantle, and assess the degree of faulting and associated serpentinization of the uppermost mantle based on spatial variations in the observed anisotropy. We find that the fast direction of anisotropy varies with distance from the trench, rotating from APM-parallel at the eastern side of the study area to approximately fault-parallel near the trench. The fast direction orientations suggest that a coherent set of bend-faults are beginning to form at least 200 km out from the trench, although the extrinsic anisotropy signal from the faults does not substantially overprint the signal from preexisting mineral fabrics until the plate is ~100 km from the trench. The average (isotropic) mantle velocity decreases slightly as the plate nears the trench. Preliminary interpretation suggests that the observed spatial variations in anisotropy can be explained by serpentinization localized along pervasive, trench-parallel faults or joints.

How to cite: Mark, H., Wiens, D., and Lizarralde, D.: Estimating bend-faulting and mantle hydration at the Marianas trench from seismic anisotropy, EGU General Assembly 2021, online, 19–30 Apr 2021, EGU21-13893, https://doi.org/10.5194/egusphere-egu21-13893, 2021.

Francesco Rappisi et al.

Teleseismic travel-time tomography remains one of the most popular methods for obtaining images of Earth's upper mantle. While teleseismic shear phases, most notably SKS, are commonly used to infer the anisotropic properties of the upper mantle, anisotropic structure is often ignored in the construction of body wave shear velocity models. Numerous researchers have demonstrated that neglecting anisotropy in P-wave tomography can introduce significant imaging artefacts that could lead to spurious interpretations. Less attention has been given to the effect of anisotropy on S-wave tomography partly because, unlike P-waves, there is not a ray-based methodology for modelling S-wave travel-times through anisotropic media. Here we evaluate the effect that the isotropic approximation has on tomographic images of the subsurface when shear waves are affected by realistic mantle anisotropy patterns. We use SPECFEM to model the teleseismic shear wavefield through a geodynamic model of subduction that includes elastic anisotropy predicted from micromechanical models of polymineralic aggregates advected through the simulated flow field. We explore how the chosen coordinates system in which S-wave arrival times are measured (e.g., radial versus transverse) affects the imaging results. In all cases, the isotropic imaging assumption leads to numerous artefacts in the recovered velocity models that could result in misguided inferences regarding mantle dynamics. We find that when S-wave travel-times are measured in the direction of polarisation, the apparent anisotropic shear velocity can be approximated using sinusoidal functions of period pi and two-pi. This observation allows us to use ray-based methods to predict S-wave travel-times through anisotropic models. We show that this parameterisation can be used to invert S-wave travel-times for the orientation and strength of anisotropy in a manner similar to anisotropic P-wave travel-time tomography. In doing so, the magnitude of imaging artefacts in the shear velocity models is greatly reduced.

How to cite: Rappisi, F., Vanderbeek, B. P., and Faccenda, M.: The effects of seismic anisotropy on  S-wave travel time-tomography: the problem of apparent anomalies and possible solutions, EGU General Assembly 2021, online, 19–30 Apr 2021, EGU21-7485, https://doi.org/10.5194/egusphere-egu21-7485, 2021.

Neala Creasy and Ebru Bozdag

Constraining the pattern and properties of seismic anisotropy in the Earth can help reveal relationships between mineral physics, mantle convection, and seismology. Sources of anisotropy in the lithosphere as frozen-in anisotropy, transition zone, and D" complicate shear wave splitting measurements, resulting in shear wave splitting that can differ from plate motion. If we better understand seismic anisotropy sourced in the lithosphere, we could also better constrain D" anisotropy, which requires correcting for the upper mantle to some extent. The goal of this work is to investigate the effect of 3D mantle and crustal structure on waveforms based on 3D wave simulations and adjoint data sensitivity kernels. We will explore the common phases (SKS, SKKS, S, ScS, PKS, etc.) and the common distance ranges used for mantle shear wave splitting with a resolution down to 9 s by conducting numerical simulations via 3D global wave propagation solver SPECFEM3D_GLOBE. We show results for a 1D mantle model (i.e., PREM [Dziewonski and Anderson, 1981]) and at least three 3D mantle models (S20RTS [Ritsema et al., 2011], GLAD-M15 [Bozdag et al., 2015], GLAD-M25 [Lei et al., 2020]). We calculate a number of data sensitivity kernels for travel time, amplitude, and anisotropy for our phases of interest over a variety of event depths and distance ranges. This work will help improve the measurements of shear wave splitting. The long-running goal is to use shear wave splitting in global full waveform inversion by addressing appropriate parameterization to describe body-wave anisotropy in the mantle during the inversion process. All simulations were conducted on a Research Allocation on the high-performance computing environment of XSEDE resources (TACC Stampede2).

How to cite: Creasy, N. and Bozdag, E.: 3D Seismic Wave Simulations of Mantle Heterogeneity and Shear Wave Splitting Phases , EGU General Assembly 2021, online, 19–30 Apr 2021, EGU21-12537, https://doi.org/10.5194/egusphere-egu21-12537, 2021.

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John Keith Magali et al.

In the Earth’s upper mantle, seismic anisotropy mainly originates from the crystallographic preferred orientation (CPO) of olivine due to mantle deformation. Large-scale observation of anisotropy in surface wave tomography models provides unique constraints on present-day mantle flow. However, surface waves are not sensitive to the 21 coefficients of the elastic tensor, and therefore the complete anisotropic tensor cannot be resolved independently at every location. This large number of parameters may be reduced by imposing spatial smoothness and symmetry constraints to the elastic tensor. In this work, we propose to regularize the tomographic problem by using constraints from geodynamic modeling to reduce the number of model parameters. Instead of inverting for seismic velocities, we parametrize our inverse problem directly in terms of physical quantities governing mantle flow: a temperature field, and a temperature-dependent viscosity. The forward problem consists of three steps: (1) calculation of mantle flow induced by thermal anomalies, (2) calculation of the induced CPO and elastic properties using a micromechanical model, and (3) computation of azimuthally varying surface wave dispersion curves. We demonstrate how a fully nonlinear Bayesian inversion of surface wave dispersion curves can retrieve the temperature and viscosity fields, without having to explicitly parametrize the elastic tensor. Here, we consider simple flow models generated by spherical temperature anomalies. The results show that incorporating geodynamic constraints in surface wave inversion help to retrieve patterns of mantle deformation. The solution to our inversion problem is an ensemble of models (i.e. thermal structures) representing a posterior probability, therefore providing uncertainties for each model parameter.

How to cite: Magali, J. K., Bodin, T., Hedjazian, N., Samuel, H., and Atkins, S.: Geodynamic Tomography: Constraining Upper-Mantle Deformation Patterns from Bayesian Inversion of Surface Waves, EGU General Assembly 2021, online, 19–30 Apr 2021, EGU21-478, https://doi.org/10.5194/egusphere-egu21-478, 2021.

Manuele Faccenda et al.

Coupling large-scale geodynamic and seismological modelling appears to be a promising methodology for better understanding the Earth’s recent dynamics and present-day structure. So far, the two types of modelling have been mainly conducted separately, and a code capable of linking these two investigation methodologies is still lacking.

In this contribution we introduce ECOMAN, a new open source software that allows modelling the strain-induced mantle fabrics and related elastic anisotropy, and for performing different seismological synthetics, such as SKS splitting measurements and P- and S-wave isotropic and anisotropic inversions (Faccenda et al., in preparation).  

As an input, the software requires the velocity, pressure, temperature (and additionally the fraction of deformation accommodated by dislocation creep) fields (averaged each 100 kyr for typical mantle strain rates) outputted by the large-scale mantle flow models.

The strain-induced mantle fabrics are then modelled with D-Rex (Kaminski et al., 2004, GJI), an open source code that has been parallelized and modified to account for fast computation, combined diffusion-dislocation creep (Faccenda and Capitanio, 2012a, GRL; 2013, Gcubed), LPO of transition zone and lower mantle polycrystalline aggregates, P-T dependence of single crystal elastic tensors (Faccenda, 2014, PEPI), advection and non-steady-state deformation of crystal aggregates in 2D/3D cartesian/spherical grids with basic/staggered velocity nodes (Hu et al., 2017, EPSL). The new version of D-Rex can solve for the LPO evolution of 100.000s polycrystalline aggregates of the whole mantle in a few hours, outputting the full elastic tensor of poly-crystalline aggregates as a function of each single crystal orientation, volume fraction and P-T scaled elastic moduli.

Extrinsic elastic anisotropy due to grain- or rock-scale fabrics or fluid-filled cracks can also be estimated with the Differential Effective Medium (DEM) (Ferreira et al., Nat. Geo; Sturgeon et al., Gcubed, 2019). Similarly, extrinsic viscous anisotropy can be modelled yielding viscous tensors to be used in large-scale mantle flow simulations (de Montserrat et al., in preparation).  

The crystal aggregates can then be interpolated in a tomographic grid for (i) visual inspection of the mantle elastic properties  (such as Vp and Vs isotropic anomalies; radial, azimuthal, Vp and Vs anisotropies; reflected/refracted energy at discontinuities for different incidence angles as imaged by receiver function studies; ), (ii) generating input files for large-scale synthetic waveform modelling (e.g., SPECFEM3D format; FSTRACK format to calculate SKS splitting (Becker et al., 2006, GJI)), or to perform teleseismic P- and S-wave isotropic and anisotropic inversions with the method developed recently by (VanderBeek and Faccenda, 2021, in review).

How to cite: Faccenda, M., VanderBeek, B., and de Montserrat, A.: ECOMAN: a new open source software for Exploring the Consequences of Mechanical Anisotropy in the maNtle, EGU General Assembly 2021, online, 19–30 Apr 2021, EGU21-15465, https://doi.org/10.5194/egusphere-egu21-15465, 2021.

William R. Halter et al.

Localization and softening mechanisms in a deforming lithosphere are important for subduction initiation or the generation of tectonic nappes during orogeny. Many localization mechanisms have been proposed as being important during the viscous, creeping, deformation of the lithosphere, such as thermal softening, grain size reduction, reaction-induced softening or anisotropy development. However, which localization mechanism is the controlling one and under which deformation conditions is still contentious. In this contribution, we focus on strain localization in viscous material due to the generation of anisotropy, for example due to the development of a foliation. We numerically model the generation and evolution of anisotropy during two-dimensional viscous deformation in order to quantify the impact of anisotropy development on strain localization and on the effective softening. We use a pseudo-transient finite difference (PTFD) method for the numerical solution. We calculate the finite strain ellipse during viscous deformation. The aspect ratio of the finite strain ellipse serves as proxy for the magnitude of anisotropy, which determines the ratio of normal to tangential viscosity. To track the orientation of the anisotropy during deformation, we apply the so-called director method. We will present first results of our numerical simulations and discuss their application to natural shear zones.

How to cite: Halter, W. R., Macherel, E., Duretz, T., and Schmalholz, S. M.: Numerical modelling of strain localization by anisotropy generation during viscous deformation, EGU General Assembly 2021, online, 19–30 Apr 2021, EGU21-14078, https://doi.org/10.5194/egusphere-egu21-14078, 2021.

Alexey Stovas and Da Shuai

The linear slip theory is gradually being used to characterize seismic anisotropy. If the transversely isotropic medium embeds vertical fractures (VFTI medium, according to Schoenberg and Helbig, 1997), the effective medium becomes orthorhombic.  The vertical fractures may exist in any azimuth angle which leads the effective medium to be monoclinic. We apply the linear slip theory to create a monoclinic medium by only introducing three more physical meaning parameters: the fracture preferred azimuth angle, the fracture azimuth angle and the angular standard deviation. First, we summarize the effective compliance of a rock as the sum of the background matrix compliance and the fracture excess compliance. Then, we apply the Bond transformation to rotate the fractures to be azimuth dependent, introduce a Gaussian function to describe the fractures’ azimuth distribution assuming that the fractures are statistically distributed around the preferred azimuth angle, and average each fracture excess compliance over azimuth. The numerical examples investigate the influence of the fracture azimuth distribution domain and angular standard deviation on the effective stiffness coefficients, elastic wave velocities, and anisotropy parameters. Our results show that the fracture cluster parameters have a significant influence on the elastic wave velocities. The fracture azimuth distribution domain and angular standard deviation have a bigger influence on the orthorhombic anisotropy parameters in the (x2; x3) plane than that in the (x1; x3) plane. The fracture azimuth distribution domain and angular standard deviation have little influence on the monoclinic anisotropy parameters responsible for the P-wave NMO ellipse and have a significant influence on the monoclinic anisotropy parameters responsible for the S1- and S2-wave NMO ellipse. The effective monoclinic can be degenerated into the VFTI medium. Assuming that the fracture cluster has a preferred azimuth angle and other fractures are statistically distributed around it, we define the effective compliance matrix by a Gaussian function,  the Bond transformation matrix and  the excess compliance matrix of the vertical fractures in the eigen-coordinate system. The resulting effective medium possess the monoclinic symmetry. The monoclinic anisotropy parameters (Stovas, 2021) can easily be defined from the effective stiffness coefficients.


Schoenberg, M. and Helbig K., 1997, Orthorhombic media: Modeling elastic wave behavior in a vertically fractured earth, Geophysics, 62(6), 1954-1974.

Stovas, A., 2021, On parameterization in monoclinic media with a horizontal symmetry plane, Geophysics (early online).

How to cite: Stovas, A. and Shuai, D.: A vertical fracture cluster embedded into thinly layered medium, EGU General Assembly 2021, online, 19–30 Apr 2021, EGU21-6004, https://doi.org/10.5194/egusphere-egu21-6004, 2021.

Jungjin Lee et al.

Subduction zones are often characterized by the presence of strong trench-parallel seismic anisotropy and large delay times. Hydrous minerals, owing to their large elastic anisotropy and strong lattice preferred orientations (LPOs) are often invoked to explain these observations. However, the elasticity and LPO of chloritoid, which is one such hydrous phases relevant in subduction zone settings, is poorly understood. In this study, we measured the LPO of polycrystalline chloritoid in natural rock samples and obtained the LPO-induced seismic anisotropy and evaluated the thermodynamic stability field of chloritoid in subduction zones. The LPO of chloritoid aggregates displayed a strong alignment of the [001] axes subnormal to the rock foliation, with a girdle distribution of the [100] axes and the (010) poles subparallel to the foliation. New elasticity data of single-crystal chloritoid showed a strong elastic anisotropy of chloritoid with 47% for S-waves (VS) and 22% for P-waves (VP), respectively. The combination of the LPO and the elastic anisotropy of the chloritoid aggregates produced a strong S-wave anisotropy of AVS = 18% and a P-wave anisotropy of AVP = 10%. Our results indicate that the strong LPO of chloritoid along the hydrated slab-mantle interface and in subducting slabs can influence trench-parallel seismic anisotropy in subduction zones with “cold” geotherms.

How to cite: Lee, J., Mookherjee, M., Kim, T., Jung, H., and Klemd, R.: Lattice preferred orientation and seismic anisotropy of chloritoid in subduction zone, EGU General Assembly 2021, online, 19–30 Apr 2021, EGU21-3861, https://doi.org/10.5194/egusphere-egu21-3861, 2021.

Seokyoung Han and Haemyeong Jung

Muscovite is a major constituent mineral in the continental crust that exhibits very strong seismic anisotropy. Muscovite alignment in rocks can significantly affect the magnitude and symmetry of seismic anisotropy. Thus, it is necessary to analyze natural mica-rich rocks to investigate the origin of seismic anisotropy observed in the crust. In this study, deformation microstructures of muscovite-quartz phyllites from the Geumseongri Formation in Gunsan, South Korea were studied using the electron backscattered diffraction technique to investigate the relationship between muscovite and chlorite fabrics in strongly deformed rocks and the seismic anisotropy observed in the continental crust. The [001] axes of muscovite and chlorite were strongly aligned subnormal to the foliation, while the [100] and [010] axes were aligned subparallel to the foliation. The distribution of quartz c-axes indicates activation of the basal<a>, rhomb<a> and prism<a> slip systems. For albite, most samples showed (001) or (010) poles aligned subnormal to the foliation. The calculated seismic anisotropies based on the lattice preferred orientation and modal compositions were in the range of 9.0–21.7% for the P-wave anisotropy and 9.6–24.2% for the maximum S-wave anisotropy. Our results indicate that the modal composition and alignment of muscovite and chlorite significantly affect the magnitude and symmetry of seismic anisotropy. It was found that the coexistence of muscovite and chlorite contributes to seismic anisotropy constructively when their [001] axes are aligned in the same direction.

How to cite: Han, S. and Jung, H.: Deformation fabrics of phyllite in Gunsan, South Korea and implications for seismic anisotropy in continental crust, EGU General Assembly 2021, online, 19–30 Apr 2021, EGU21-3893, https://doi.org/10.5194/egusphere-egu21-3893, 2021.

Seungsoon Choi et al.

Lawsonite is an important mineral to understand seismic anisotropy in subducting oceanic crust because of its large elastic anisotropy and prevalence in cold subduction zones. However, there is a lack of knowledge on how lawsonite twinning affects seismic anisotropy despite previous reports showing the existence of twins in lawsonite. We thus investigated the effect of twins in lawsonite on crystal preferred orientation (CPO), fabric strength, and seismic anisotropy of lawsonite using the lawsonite blueschists from Alpine Corsica (France) and Sivrihisar Massif (Turkey). CPOs of minerals were measured by using the electron backscattered diffraction (EBSD) facility attached to scanning electron microscope. The EBSD analyses of lawsonite revealed that {110} twin in lawsonite is developed and [001] axes are strongly aligned subnormal to the foliation and both [100] and [010] axes are aligned subparallel to the foliation. It is found that the existence of twins in lawsonite could induce a large attenuation of seismic anisotropy, especially for the maximum S-wave anisotropy up to 18.4 % in lawsonite and 24.3 % in the whole rocks. Therefore, lawsonite twinning needs to be considered in the interpretation of seismic anisotropy in the subducting oceanic crust in cold subduction zones.

How to cite: Choi, S., Fabbri, O., Topuz, G., Okay, A., and Jung, H.: Twin induced attenuation of seismic anisotropy in lawsonite blueschist, EGU General Assembly 2021, online, 19–30 Apr 2021, EGU21-6954, https://doi.org/10.5194/egusphere-egu21-6954, 2021.

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