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Wiggins, SM, Dorman LM, Cornuelle BD.  1997.  Topography can affect linearization in tomographic inversions. Geophysics. 62:1797-1803.   10.1190/1.1444280   AbstractWebsite

Linearized inverse techniques commonly are used to solve for velocity models from traveltime data. The amount that a model may change without producing large, nonlinear changes in the predicted traveltime data is dependent on the surface topography and parameterization. Simple, one-layer, laterally homogeneous, constant-gradient models are used to study analytically and empirically the effect of topography and parameterization on the linearity of the model-data relationship. If, in a weak-velocity-gradient model, rays turn beneath a valley with topography similar to the radius of curvature of the raypaths, then large nonlinearities will result from small model perturbations. Hills, conversely, create environments in which the data are more nearly linearly related to models with the same model perturbations.

Sohn, RA, Webb SC, Hildebrand JA, Cornuelle BD.  1997.  Three-dimensional tomographic velocity structure of upper crust, CoAxial segment, Juan de Fuca ridge: Implications for on-axis evolution and hydrothermal circulation. Journal of Geophysical Research-Solid Earth. 102:17679-17695.   10.1029/97jb00592   AbstractWebsite

Three-dimensional models of compressional velocity and azimuthal anisotropy from tomographic inversions using 23,564 ocean bottom seismometer P wave arrivals define systematic lateral variations in seismic structure of the CoAxial segment of the Juan de Fuca Ridge (JdFR). Over much of the segment the across-axis structure is roughly axisymmetric, characterized by a progressive increase in dike velocities moving away from the ridge axis. This trend is most apparent in the basal dikes, where on-axis velocities are about 800 m/s slower than those measured elsewhere within the rift valley. The on-axis sheeted dikes also exhibit ridge-oriented azimuthal anisotropy, with a peak-to-peak amplitude of about 600 m/s. Outboard of the rift valley, beneath ridge flanks with fault scarps, velocities in the upper 1500 m of crust are reduced. The maximum amplitude of this anomaly is about 700 m/s, located near the top of the sheeted dikes. Variations in the three-dimensional velocity model are believed to reflect changes in crustal porosity, from which we infer an axisymmetric porosity model for seismic layer 2 of the CoAxial segment. As the crust ages, the evolution of layer 2 porosity could occur in the following way: (1) the porosity of zero-age, on-axis dikes is set at formation by the contraction of molten material, (2) hydrothermal alteration fills pore spaces as the dikes move away from the center of the axial valley, and (3) normal faulting on the ridge flank scarps opens fractures and increases porosity of the upper dikes as they move off-axis. At the north end of the segment, dike velocities are several hundred meters per second slower, on average, and the across-axis structure is lost. The transition from a coherent, aligned seismic structure to a less distinct pattern with reduced velocities may represent a shift from magmatic to amagmatic extension moving away from the Cobb hotspot on the ridge axis. The porosity structure we have derived for the CoAxial segment suggests an alternative to the usual hydrothermal circulation model of cross-axis convection cells. A circulation model with along-axis convection cells located entirely within the axial valley appears to be more compatible with our data.

Wiggins, SM, Dorman LRM, Cornuelle BD, Hildebrand JA.  1996.  Hess Deep rift valley structure from seismic tomography. Journal of Geophysical Research-Solid Earth. 101:22335-22353.   10.1029/96jb01230   AbstractWebsite

We present results from a seismic refraction experiment conducted across the Hess Deep rift valley in the equatorial east Pacific. P wave travel times between seafloor explosions and ocean bottom seismographs are analyzed using an iterative stochastic inverse method to produce a velocity model of the subsurface structure. The resulting velocity model differs from typical young, fast spreading, East Pacific Rise crust by approximately +/-1 km/s with slow velocities beneath the valley of the deep and a fast region forming the intrarift ridge. We interpret these velocity contrasts as lithologies originating at different depths and/or alteration of the preexisting rock units. We use our seismic model, along with petrologic and bathymetric data from previous studies, to produce a structural model. The model supports low-angle detachment faulting with serpentinization of peridotite as the preferred mechanism for creating the distribution and exposure of lower crustal and upper mantle rocks within Hess Deep.

McDonald, MA, Webb SC, Hildebrand JA, Cornuelle BD, Fox CG.  1994.  Seismic Structure and Anisotropy of the Juan-De-Fuca Ridge at 45-Degrees-N. Journal of Geophysical Research-Solid Earth. 99:4857-4873.   10.1029/93jb02801   AbstractWebsite

A seismic refraction experiment was conducted with air guns and ocean bottom seismometers on the Juan de Fuca Ridge at 45-degrees-N, at the northern Cleft segment and at the overlapping rift zone between the Cleft and Vance segments. These data determine the average velocity structure of the upper crust and map the thickness variability of the shallow low-velocity layer, which we interpret as the extrusive volcanic layer. The experiment is unique because a large number of travel times were measured along ray paths oriented at all azimuths within a small (20 km by 35 km) area. These travel times provide evidence for compressional velocity anisotropy in the upper several hundred meters of oceanic crust, presumed to be caused by ridge-parallel fracturing. Compressional velocities are 3.35 km/s in the ridge strike direction and 2.25 km/s across strike. Travel time residuals are simultaneously inverted for anisotropy as well as lateral thickness variations in the low-velocity layer. Extrusive layer thickness ranges from approximately 200 m to 550 m with an average of 350 m. The zone of the thinnest low-velocity layer is within the northern Cleft segment axial valley, in a region of significant hydrothermal activity. Layer thickness variability is greatest near the Cleft-Vance overlapping rift zone, where changes of 300 m occur over as little as several kilometers laterally. These low-velocity layer thickness changes may correspond to fault block rotations in an episodic spreading system, where the low side of each fault block accumulates more extrusive volcanics.

Hammer, PTC, Dorman LM, Hildebrand JA, Cornuelle BD.  1994.  Jasper Seamount Structure - Seafloor Seismic Refraction Tomography. Journal of Geophysical Research-Solid Earth. 99:6731-6752.   10.1029/93jb02170   AbstractWebsite

The velocity structure of Jasper Seamount was modeled using one- and three-dimensional inversions of P wave travel times. The results represent the first detailed seismic images of a submerged, intraplate volcano. Two seismic refraction experiments were completed on Jasper Seamount, incorporating ocean bottom seismometers and navigated seafloor shots. The P wave travel times were first used to compute a one-dimensional velocity profile which served as a starting model for a three-dimensional tomographic inversion. The seamount P velocities are significantly slower than those observed in typical oceanic crust at equivalent subbasement depths. This suggests that Jasper Seamount is constructed predominantly of extrusive lavas with high average porosity. The velocity models confirm morphological predictions: Jasper Seamount is a shield volcano with rift zone development. High seismic velocities were detected beneath the large radial ridges while low velocities characterize the shallow summit and flanks. Comparisons between P velocity models of Jasper Seamount and the island of Hawaii reveal that these two shield volcanoes are not structurally proportional. Jasper Seamount is far smaller than Hawaii, yet both volcanoes exhibit an outer extrusive layer of similar thickness. This suggests that seamount size influences the intrusive/extrusive proportions; density equilibrium between melt and country rock may explain this behavior.