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P wave crustal velocity structure in the greater Mount Rainier area from local earthquake tomography

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Author(s): Seth C. Moran, Jonathan M. Lees, Stephen D. Malone

Document Type:
Publisher: Journal of Geophysical Research
Published Year: 1999
Volume: 104
Number: B5
Pages: 10775 to 1078
DOI Identifier: 10.1029/1999JB900036
ISBN Identifier:

We present results from a local earthquake tomographic imaging experiment in the greater Mount Rainier area. We inverted P wave arrival times from local earthquakes recorded at permanent and temporary Pacific Northwest Seismograph Network seismographs between 1980 and 1996. We used a method similar to that described by Lees and Crosson [1989], modified to incorporate the parameter separation method for decoupling the hypocenter and velocity problems. In the upper 7 km of the resulting model there is good correlation between velocity anomalies and surface geology. Many focal mechanisms within the St. Helens seismic zone have nodal planes parallel to the epicentral trend as well as to a north-south trending low-velocity trough, leading us to speculate that the trough represents a zone of structural weakness in which a moderate (M 6.5–7.0) earthquake could occur. In contrast, the western Rainier seismic zone does not correlate in any simple way with anomaly patterns or focal mechanism fault planes, leading us to infer that it is less likely to experience a moderate earthquake. A ∼10 km-wide low-velocity anomaly occurs 5 to 18 km beneath the summit of Mount Rainier, which we interpret to be a signal of a region composed of hot, fractured rock with possible small amounts of melt or fluid. No systematic velocity pattern is observed in association with the southern Washington Cascades conductor. A midcrustal anomaly parallels the Olympic-Wallowa lineament as well as several other geophysical trends, indicating that it may play an important role in regional tectonics.

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Suggested Citations:
In Text Citation:
Moran and others (1999) or (Moran et al., 1999)

References Citation:
Moran, S.C., J.M. Lees, and S.D. Malone, 1999, P wave crustal velocity structure in the greater Mount Rainier area from local earthquake tomography: Journal of Geophysical Research, Vol. 104, No. B5, pp. 10775-1078, doi: 10.1029/1999JB900036.