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https://doi.org/10.5194/se-2020-74
© Author(s) 2020. This work is distributed under
the Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 License.
https://doi.org/10.5194/se-2020-74
© Author(s) 2020. This work is distributed under
the Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 License.

  08 Jul 2020

08 Jul 2020

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This preprint was under review for the journal SE. A revision for further review has not been submitted.

Crustal structure of southeast Australia from teleseismic receiver functions

Mohammed Bello1,2, David G. Cornwell1, Nicholas Rawlinson3, Anya M. Reading4, and Othaniel K. Likkason2 Mohammed Bello et al.
  • 1Department Geology & Geophysics, University of Aberdeen, Aberdeen, UK
  • 2Department of Physics, Abubakar Tafawa Balewa University, Bauchi, Nigeria
  • 3Department of Earth Sciences, University of Cambridge, UK
  • 4School of Natural Sciences (Physics), University of Tasmania, Australia

Abstract. In an effort to improve our understanding of southeast Australia’s enigmatic tectonic evolution, we analyse teleseismic earthquakes recorded by 24 temporary and 8 permanent broadband stations using the receiver function method. Crustal thickness, bulk seismic velocity and internal crustal structure of the southern Tasmanides – an assemblage of Palaeozoic accretionary orogens that occupy eastern Australia – are constrained by our new results which point to: (1) a 39.0 ± 0.5 km thick crust, a relatively high Poisson’s ratio (0.262 ± 0.014) and a broad (> 10 km) crust-mantle transition beneath the Lachlan Fold Belt. This is interpreted to represent magmatic underplating of mafic materials at the base of the crust; (2) a complex crustal structure beneath VanDieland, a postulated Precambrian continental fragment embedded in the southernmost Tasmanides, where the crust thickens (37.5 ± 1.2 km) towards the northern tip of the microcontinent as it enters south central Victoria but thins south into Bass Strait (30.5 ± 2.1 km), before once again becoming thicker beneath western Tasmania (33.5 ± 1.9 km). The thinner crust beneath Bass Strait can be attributed to lithospheric stretching that resulted from the break-up of Antarctica and Australia and the opening of the Tasman Sea; (3) stations located in the East Tasmania Terrane and eastern Bass Strait (ETT+EB) collectively indicate crust of uniform thickness (∼ 33 km) and a slightly broad Moho transition that reflect a possible underplating event associated with a Palaeozoic subduction system. The relative uniformity of Vp/Vs and Poisson’s ratio in VanDieland – suggesting uniformity in composition – could be used in support of the VanDieland microcontinental model that explains the tectonic evolution of southeast Australia.

Mohammed Bello et al.

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Mohammed Bello et al.

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SE Australian receiver function dataset Mohammed Bello, David G. Cornwell, Nicholas Rawlinson, Anya M. Reading, Othaniel K. Likkason https://doi.org/10.6084/m9.figshare.12233723

Mohammed Bello et al.

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Short summary
In this study, ground motion caused by distant earthquakes recorded in southeast Australia is used to image the structure of the crust and underlying mantle. This part of the Australian continent was assembled over the last 500 million years, but it remains poorly understood. By studying variations in crustal properties and thickness, we find evidence for the presence of an old microcontinent that is embedded in the younger terrane, and forms a connection between Victoria and Tasmania.
In this study, ground motion caused by distant earthquakes recorded in southeast Australia is...
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