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High-resolution lithospheric structure of continental China from joint inversion of surface wave and gravity data

by Aowei Hao, Haijiang Zhang, Shoucheng Han, Monica Maceira
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The lithospheric structure of continental China has been previously determined by seismic travel time tomography, surface wave tomography, and joint inversion of body wave and surface wave data. However, due to the inherent limitations of seismic data, the lithospheric structure of continental China is still not well resolved in the shallow part and in some regions where the station coverage is relatively sparse. In this study, we aim at improving the lithospheric structure by joint inversion of seismic surface wave data and satellite gravity data to take advantage of the uniform distribution and complementary strength of the gravity data. The empirical relationship between velocity and density is used as a bridge for joint inversion of surface wave and gravity data. The joint inversion shear-wave velocity Vs (density) model, named as USTClitho1.0g, can fit both surface wave and gravity data well. This high-resolution Vs model can better fit the active airgun source seismic arrival times and better delineate some features in continental China, such as the velocity contrast across the north–south gravity lineament (NSGL), the lithosphere thinning in eastern China, the crustal footprint of the Hainan mantle plume, the likely magma chamber beneath volcanos in northeast China, the middle-lower crust low velocity layer beneath the Tibetan plateau, and the tearing of subducted Indian mantle lithosphere. Our joint inversion Vs model can provide a reference model for geosciences in continental China and surrounding areas.