Journal of Seismology

, Volume 15, Issue 2, pp 235–259 | Cite as

Receiver function study in northern Sumatra and the Malaysian peninsula

  • Katrin KielingEmail author
  • Dirk Roessler
  • Frank Krueger
Original Article


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 frequency-dependent 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 high-shear-wave velocities (V S) 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 V S of 2.6–2.9 km s − 1 indicate sediment layers. High V S 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 V S between 10 and 20 km depth. Within the subducting slab V S ≈ 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.


Receiver functions Absolute shear-wave velocity Sumatra Subduction zone structure 


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Copyright information

© Springer Science+Business Media B.V. 2010

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Institute of GeosciencesUniversity of PotsdamPotsdamGermany

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