Receiver function study in northern Sumatra and the Malaysian peninsula

Katrin Kieling, Dirk Rössler, Frank Krueger

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In this receiver function study, we investigate the structure of the crust beneath six seismic broadband stations close to the Sunda Arc formed by subduction of the Indo-Australian under the Sunda plate. We apply three different methods to analyse receiver functions at single stations. A recently developed algorithm determines absolute shear-wave velocities from observed frequencydependent apparent incidence angles of P waves. Using waveform inversion of receiver functions and a modified Zhu and Kanamori algorithm, properties of discontinuities such as depth, velocity contrast, and sharpness are determined. The combination of the methods leads to robust results. The approach is validated by synthetic tests. Stations located on Malaysia show highshear- wave velocities (VS) near the surface in the range of 3.4–3.6 km s−1 attributed to crystalline rocks and 3.6–4.0 km s−1 in the lower crust. Upper and lower crust are clearly separated, the Moho is found at normal depths of 30–34 km where it forms a sharp discontinuity at station KUM or a gradient at stations IPM and KOM. For stations close to the subduction zone (BSI, GSI and PSI) complexity within the crust is high. Near the surface low VS of 2.6–2.9 km s−1 indicate sediment layers. High VS of 4.2 km s−1 are found at depth greater than 6 and 2 km at BSI and PSI, respectively. There, the Moho is located at 37 and 40 km depth. At station GSI, situated closest to the trench, the subducting slab is imaged as a north-east dipping structure separated from the sediment layer by a 10 km wide gradient in VS between 10 and 20 km depth. Within the subducting slab VS ≈ 4.7 km s−1. At station BSI, the subducting slab is found at depth between 90 and 110 km dipping 20◦ ± 8◦ in approximately N 60◦ E. A velocity increase in similar depth is indicated at station PSI, however no evidence for a dipping layer is found.
Original languageEnglish
JournalJournal of Seismology
Issue number2
Pages (from-to)235-259
Publication statusPublished - 2011
Externally publishedYes


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