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Mantle structure and flow across the continent-ocean transition of the eastern North American margin: anisotropic S-wave tomography
  • Brennan Brunsvik,
  • Zachary Eilon,
  • Colton Lynner
Brennan Brunsvik
University of California Santa Barbara

Corresponding Author:brennanbrunsvik@ucsb.edu

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Zachary Eilon
University of California Santa Barbara
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Colton Lynner
University of Delaware
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Little has been seismically imaged through the lithosphere and mantle at rifted margins across the continent-ocean transition. A 2014-2015 community seismic experiment deployed broadband seismic instruments across the shoreline of the eastern North American rifted margin. Previous shear-wave splitting along the margin shows several perplexing patterns of anisotropy, and by proxy, mantle flow. Neither margin parallel offshore fast azimuths nor null splitting on the continental coast obviously accord with absolute plate motion, paleo-spreading, or rift-induced anisotropy. Splitting measurements, however, offer no depth constraints on anisotropy. Additionally, mantle structure has not yet been imaged in detail across the continent-ocean transition. We used teleseismic S, SKS, SKKS, and PKS splitting and differential travel times recorded on ocean-bottom seismometers, regional seismic networks, and EarthScope Transportable Array stations to conduct joint isotropic/anisotropic tomography across the margin. The velocity model reveals a transition from fast, thick, continental keel to low velocity, thinned lithosphere eastward. Imaged short wavelength velocity anomalies can be explained by edge-driven convection. We also find layered anisotropy. The anisotropic fast polarization is parallel to the margin within the asthenosphere. This suggests margin parallel flow beneath the plate. The lower oceanic lithosphere preserves paleo-spreading-parallel anisotropy, while the continental lithosphere has complex anisotropy reflecting several Wilson cycles. These results demonstrate the complex and active nature of a margin which is traditionally considered tectonically inactive.
Dec 2021Published in Geochemistry, Geophysics, Geosystems volume 22 issue 12. 10.1029/2021GC010084