Structure and evolution of the Australian continent : insights from seismic and mechanical heterogeneity and anisotropy
Author(s)Simons, Frederik Jozef Maurits, 1974-
Massachusetts Institute of Technology. Dept. of Earth, Atmospheric, and Planetary Sciences.
Robert D. van der Hilst.
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In this thesis, I explore the geophysical structure and evolution of the Australian continental lithosphere. I combine insights from isotropic and anisotropic seismic surface-wave tomography with an analysis of the anisotropy in the mechanical properties of the lithosphere, inferred from the coherence between gravity anomalies and topography. With a new high-resolution waveform tomographic model of Australia, I demonstrate that the depth of continental high wave speed anomalies does not universally increase with age, but is dependent on the scale and the tectonic history of the region under consideration. I construct an azimuthally anisotropic three-dimensional model of the Australian upper mantle from Rayleigh-wave waveforms. I compare Bayesian inverse methods with discretely parameterized regularization methods, and explore the use of regular, tectonic and resolution-dependent tomographic grids. I advocate the use of multitaper spectral estimation techniques for coherence analysis of gravity and topography, applied to Australian isostasy. I investigate the importance of internal loading, the directional anisotropy of the gravitational response to loading, and the estimation bias affecting the long wavelengths of the coherence function. I develop a method for non-stationary coherence analysis which enables a complete characterization of continental strength by the dependency of gravity-topography coherence on wavelength, direction and geologic age. Combining high-resolution, depth-dependent anisotropy measurements from surface-wave tomography with the mechanical anisotropy from gravity/topography coherence, I assess the validity of two competing theories regarding the cause of continental anisotropy (vertically coherent deformation or simple asthenospheric flow) quantitatively for the very first time.
Thesis (Ph. D.)--Massachusetts Institute of Technology, Dept. of Earth, Atmospheric, and Planetary Sciences, 2002.Includes bibliographical references (p. 235-261).
DepartmentMassachusetts Institute of Technology. Dept. of Earth, Atmospheric, and Planetary Sciences.; Massachusetts Institute of Technology. Department of Earth, Atmospheric, and Planetary Sciences
Massachusetts Institute of Technology
Earth, Atmospheric, and Planetary Sciences.