Recording teleseisms on the seafloor; an example from the Juan de Fuca plate.
Bulletin of the Seismological Society of America. 88:107-116. Abstract
In 1991, during an experiment to compare low-frequency seismic noise on a basaltic and a sediment covered seafloor (NOBS), we recorded teleseisms on the Juan de Fuca ridge, the Gorda ridge, and the adjacent Cascadia Basin with the SNAG ocean-bottom seismometers (OBS). These data provide an indication of the type of data that may be obtained from future experiments to record teleseisms and may be helpful in designing these experiments and analyzing the results. We found that although seafloor noise is dominated by microseisms in the band 0.1 to 0.3 Hz, there is a well-developed minimum in noise from about 0.03 to 0.1 Hz (the noise notch). In this noise notch, teleseisms can be most easily detected. In the Cascadia area, the overall noise levels are such that only teleseismic events with magnitude greater than 6.5 were usefully recorded. A magnitude 6.6 event in the New Britain area(Delta = 89 degrees) produced usable P- and surface-wave data only in this noise notch. In the band 0.03 to 0.1 Hz, the character of compressional waves is very sensitive to water depth and the type of sensor. We show that pressure sensors are especially sensitive to reverberation in the ocean and that motion sensors (seismometers) are less sensitive to ocean reverberations and will record teleseismic phases with less distortion than pressure sensors. The Cascadia data indicate enhanced P amplitudes at sites on the ridge axes that could be due to focusing caused by a low-velocity lens. These data suggest that amplitude information may be as, or even more, useful than P delay times for determining upper mantle structure.
Modeling the Tonga slab: Can travel time data resolve a metastable olivine wedge?
Journal of Geophysical Research-Solid Earth. 103:30079-30100. 10.1029/98jb01517 Abstract
We present the results of detailed modeling of the Tonga slab with the goals of determining whether high-resolution travel time data(1) can be fit by simple thermal and petrological slab models and (2) can resolve a metastable olivine wedge at depths greater than the equilibrium olivine-spinel phase boundary. We model arrival times recorded by a 1000 km line of 23 ocean bottom seismometers (OBS) and island broadband seismic stations extending from the Lau backarc basin, across the Tonga trench and onto the Pacific plate. The data consist of 388 local, P wave travel times from 17 deep and 3 intermediate earthquakes recorded during the 3-month OBS deployment in late 1994. We locate the events using both local and teleseismic arrival times, and apply a relocation operator to the theoretical travel times to simulate the biases introduced in the data by locating the events with a reference Earth model. The modeling consists of grid searches using a three-dimensional finite difference algorithm to compute local, first arriving travel times for equilibrium and metastable P wave velocity models constructed from thermal, mineralogical, and morphological constraints. The travel time anomalies are well fit by standard slab thermal models and P velocity temperature derivatives of -0.4 to -0.3 ms(-1)degrees C-1. Forward calculations indicate that the presence of a metastable olivine wedge has a subtle effect on the travel times due to the tendency of first arriving waves to avoid the low-velocity region. Wedge velocity models provide a slightly better fit to the data than equilibrium models, but F tests indicate the improvement is not significant at the 95% level. Our results suggest that providing direct seismological evidence of a wedge of metastable olivine in subduction zones will require either waveform modeling or the observation of later arriving phases created by the depressed phase boundary.