Research Student 2011
I work in the field of full surface-waveform inversion, with the objective of determining lithospheric thickness beneath the continents. The continental lithosphere strongly influences surface geological processes and knowledge of its thickness is crucial to understanding the evolution and deformation of the continents. Much progress has been made on this subject in recent years, providing new insight into role of the lithosphere in mountain building, volcanism, earthquakes and continental rifting. However, current investigations are restricted to areas where the lithosphere is thick, due to limitations in the seismological analysis. Restrictions on the wavelength and propagation path lengths of the surface waves used in the analysis result in 'crustal smearing', wherein erroneously low velocities are obtained for mantle depths less than about 100km.
The aim of my research is to improve the current seismic tomography procedure so that short period waves (less than 50 sec) as well as those that propagate over large distances (greater than 6000km) can be incorporated. The former will enhance the accuracy of velocity estimates at shallow mantle depths and the latter will improve resolution in areas with sparse station coverage. Together, this will allow the construction of lithospheric thickness maps for all continental areas.