Pure and Applied Geophysics

, Volume 167, Issue 10, pp 1171–1203

Love and Rayleigh Wave Tomography of the Qinghai-Tibet Plateau and Surrounding Areas


DOI: 10.1007/s00024-009-0040-1

Cite this article as:
Chen, Y., Badal, J. & Hu, J. Pure Appl. Geophys. (2010) 167: 1171. doi:10.1007/s00024-009-0040-1


Surface wave data were initially collected from events of magnitude Ms ≥ 5.0 and shallow or moderate focal depth occurred between 1980 and 2002: 713 of them generated Rayleigh waves and 660 Love waves, which were recorded by 13 broadband digital stations in Eurasia and India. Up to 1,525 source-station Rayleigh waveforms and 1,464 Love wave trains have been processed by frequency-time analysis to obtain group velocities. After inverting the path-averaged group times by means of a damped least-squares approach, we have retrieved location-dependent group velocities on a 2° × 2°-sized grid and constructed Rayleigh- and Love-wave group velocity maps at periods 10.4–105.0 s. Resolution and covariance matrices and the rms group velocity misfit have been computed in order to check the quality of the results. Afterwards, depth-dependent SV- and SH-wave velocity models of the crust and upper mantle are obtained by inversion of local Rayleigh- and Love-wave group velocities using a differential damped least-squares method. The results provide: (a) Rayleigh- and Love-wave group velocities at various periods; (b) SV- and SH-wave differential velocity maps at different depths; (c) sharp images of the subducted lithosphere by velocity cross sections along prefixed profiles; (d) regionalized dispersion curves and velocity-depth models related to the main geological formations. The lithospheric root presents a depth that can be substantiated at ~140 km (Qiangtang Block) and exceptionally at ~180 km in some places (Lhasa Block), and which exhibits laterally varying fast velocity very close to that of some shields that even reaches ~4.8 km/s under the northern Lhasa Block and the Qiangtang Block. Slow-velocity anomalies of 7–10% or more beneath southern Tibet and the eastern edge of the Plateau support the idea of a mechanically weak middle-to-lower crust and the existence of crustal flow in Tibet.


Surface wavesgroup velocityshear-wave velocitytomographyQinghai-Tibet Plateau

Copyright information

© Birkhäuser Verlag Basel/Switzerland 2009

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.State Key Laboratory of Lithospheric Evolution, Institute of Geology and GeophysicsChinese Academy of SciencesBeijingPeople’s Republic of China
  2. 2.Physics of the Earth, Sciences BUniversity of ZaragozaZaragozaSpain
  3. 3.Department of GeophysicsYunnan UniversityKunmingPeople’s Republic of China