The fall AGU meeting is next week. From their website: "The Fall Meeting is expected to draw a crowd of over 11,000 geophysicists from around the world" -- that is, it's going to be a madhouse, but kind of in a good way.
I'm presenting in this session on Monday afternoon, as is my graduate student. Poster sessions like this are always enjoyable, particularly since there'll be a number of people I know presenting there, and several of them are also working on the Ontario lithosphere.
I'm also rather pleased with the figure above, which went into a poster I'm bringing. Essentially, it looks like a number of the structures in the Ontario model are correlated with subduction features detected in other studies, as well as with the linear feature previously attributed to the Great Meteor hotspot track; the question marks indicate newly detected features whose significance we're going to have to figure out.
I expected to be updating this thing regularly over the summer, and for various reasons that hasn't been happening. Nonetheless, here's an update on some current projects:
Superior Province tomography: The Superior Province is an Archean craton -- that is, one of the oldest chunks of stable continent in the world -- which makes up most of Ontario, along with a decent slice of Quebec and (buried under sediment) about half of Manitoba. The deep roots of these cratons (below the crust) are the subject of much interest, though the Superior has only really been looked at in piecemeal fashion.
Until now, that is. The FEDNOR array has put a coarsely-spaced set of seismic stations out on the Superior; thanks to twoStéphanes, we've been able to include data from temporary deployments in the region as well. The result is a 3-D image of seismic velocity beneath most of Ontario:
resulting from recording earthquake traveltimes at stations from FEDNOR/POLARIS, the Canadian National Seismograph Network, the Abitibi and TW~ST experiments, and (thanks to some digital archeology and the IRIS Data Management Centre) the older APT89 experiment. The overall coverage is pretty good (blacked-out areas are not well covered), and in these early results, there appears to be a major difference between the eastern (mostly red, i.e. seismically slow) and western (mostly blue, fast) regions of the Superior Province. A few more FEDNOR stations have just gone in, and will hopefully help close up that resolution hole in the middle; still, even what we have now is a pretty good-sized data set, representing (among other things) a lot of trvel-time picking work by Soo-Kyung Miong, the student who's been working on this.
Soo also did SKS splitting analysis (a technique which detects directional fabric) at the same stations for her honours thesis; the splits at the western stations are stronger and more consistent in the east. A full presentation of this will go into a paper soonish (once again, it'll be nice to have those new stations), but in the meantime, in collaboration with Ian and Dave, we've been looking at...
...Mantle Fabric in Eastern Ontario: There's nothing like a journal special issue (with deadline) to make one write a paper in a hurry. This one combines the aforementioned SKS splitting in eastern Ontario with magnetotelluric measurements of geoelectric strike (another measure of fabric, this time in electrical rather than seismic properties) and some receiver function studies of individual stations (which I've mentioned before) in order to get an idea of how the fabric varies with depth. There's no simple punch line, but here's a map:
showing electrical strike directions (black) along with seismic fast-axis directions (red; lighter red arrows are Soo's new results). They're not the same, but they don't seem to be uncorrelated, either. I still don't entirely understand the guts of the magnetotelluric method, but watching Ian work on this has been instructive -- hanging around smart people is never a bad thing.
The latter paper's already submitted -- I may put up a preprint at some point, if my co-authors don't mind -- and hopefully the other project will be a paper before the end of the year. Then it'll be time for the next project -- and I haven't even mentioned the project my graduate student, Jinling Zhang, is working on, which is looking extremely promising.
Now I need to decide how much of this I can cram into AGU posters...
As you all undoubtably already know, another earthquake hit Indonesia today. Though plenty bad enough, it doesn't seem to have been the level of catastrophe the previous one -- thankfully, there doesn't seem to have been a widespread tsunami.
What is surprising to me is the range of magnitude estimates. I've seen estimates from 8.1 to 8.7 today -- even the moment tensorestimates disagree (8.1 and 8.6). I suppose a definitive estimate will have to wait for a rupture model, though. This map is particularly interesting in that regard -- could this earthquake have filled in the gap between the slip regions of the 2004 and 1861 events?
I had to pretend to know something about it, since I'm the most conveniently-located seismologist for Winnipeg media outlets. All I did, mostly, was interpret what's on various web pages, but it seems to have been sufficient -- as a result, I spent half of today doing one interview or another. Haven't looked to see how much of a total idiot I look like on TV, though.
Today was the abstract deadline for CGU, a smaller (but friendly and low-key) meeting. I put an abstract in on behalf of an undergrad working with me:
Mantle Fabric and Lithospheric Thickness Beneath the Superior Province
S.-K. Miong and A.W. Frederiksen Department of Geological Sciences, University of Manitoba
The Superior Province, the largest Archean craton in the Canadian Shield, represents an ideal laboratory for understanding the nature and development of cratonic lithosphere. Ontario spans a major portion of the Superior, and, under the auspices of the POLARIS and FEDNOR projects, is in the process of being instrumented with broadband seismometers on a large scale. We present the result of SKS splitting analyses for FEDNOR and CNSN stations spanning the breadth of Ontario, covering the Eastern and Western Superior Province. The Western Superior exhibits very large SKS splits (averaging 1.4 seconds) with a consistent ENE fast direction (averaging 69 degrees azimuth). In the Eastern Superior, the fast directions are much more variable (ranging from east to northeast), with smaller split times averaging 0.8 second. In the Western Superior, the split times align closely with both the current direction of absolute plate motion and the orientation of structural belts in the crust; we therefore interpret the strong splits in this region to represent a combination of lithospheric and asthenospheric fabric sharing a common alignment. In the east, the fast directions show appreciable scatter around the direction of plate motion, though there is general agreement; given the weaker split times in this area, we take the variability to reflect a weaker and more inconsistent lithospheric fabric, since the asthenospheric fabric should vary little across the Superior. Results from other studies, including tomography, heat flow, and elastic plate thickness studies, suggest the possibility that the cratonic lithosphere may have been significantly reworked or thinned beneath the eastern portion of the Superior Province.
This one's a little more definite because, well, the work's mostly already done.
...because these abstract deadlines always manage to sneak up on me:
Inversion of the teleseismic P coda for lithospheric structure: Examples from Ontario and California
A.W. Frederiksen and J. Zhang, University of Manitoba
J. Revenaugh, University of Minnesota
The coda of the teleseismic P wave has become one of the most powerful tools for unravelling fine-scale receiver-side structure, using both single stations and sparse or dense arrays of seismometers. Determining structural information from the coda is an inverse problem that may be treated using either linear or nonlinear methods, depending on what ad hoc assumptions are made about the nature of the coda waves and the structures that generate them. We will review some of the principal methods used in coda imaging and inversion, and examine two methods in greater detail: a non-linear search algorithm applied to single-station data in the presence of anisotropy and dip, and a linearized tomographic inversion of scattered-wave energy in the coda. Examples of applying these methods to detect thinly laminated mantle anisotropy beneath southern Ontario and features correlated with seismicity in California will be given.
It's kind of vague, because I'm not sure what's going to make it into the talk at this stage -- but, since Partha talked me into co-chairing a session with him, I might as well take the opportunity to try to publicize my scattering-tomography method a bit better. The chairing part of the equation will be a first for me, as well -- better not nod off during any talks...
My colleague, Ian Ferguson, just had the somewhat unique experience of reading his own obituary. I'm sure the Leading Edge will be rather embarassed when they figure it out. In the meantime, I can reassure anyone who knows Ian that if he's dead, he's doing a remarkable job of not showing it. I think a dryly witty letter to the editor would be called for -- I'll pass on any good suggestions to Ian.