Title

Shear-wave birefringence and current configuration of converging lithosphere under Tibet

Abstract

New data from west-central Tibet show that birefringence of S-waves has two pronounced increases in magnitude toward the hinterland. Null birefringence persists to about 75 km north of the Indus–Yarlung suture (IYS) between the Indian shield and the Lhasa terrane of southern Tibet. A second, rapid increase occurs about 100 km farther north of the Bangong–Nujiang sutures between the Lhasa terrane and the Qiangtang terrane in central Tibet. The latter feature is consistently observed along three long transects that collectively span a lateral (orogen-parallel) distance of about 600 km and is likely to mark the northern, leading edge of sub-horizontally advancing mantle lithosphere of the Indian shield (the “Greater India”) — an interpretation consistent with the latest results of finite-frequency tomography using both P- and S-wave travel-times, previous results of modeling gravity anomalies, and a host of other seismic observations. Similarly, complementary constraints indicate that the sudden onset of significant birefringence north of the IYS is likely to be the southern termination of Eurasian mantle lithosphere. Curiously, the shortest of three transects showed null birefringence through much of the Lhasa terrane, a pattern inconsistent with those of He isotopes and gravity.

Keywords

seismic anisotropy, collision zone, continental lithosphere, Tibet-Himalayas, Hi-CLIMB --------------------------------------------------------------------------------

Date of this Version

2010

DOI

http://dx.doi.org/10.1016/j.epsl.2010.04.017,

Volume

295

Issue

1-2

Pages

297-304

Link Out to Full Text

http://www.sciencedirect.com/science/article/pii/S0012821X10002554