High-resolution 3D crustal S-wave velocity structure of the Middle-Lower Yangtze River Metallogenic Belt and implications for its deep geodynamic setting

  • Song Luo
  • Huajian YaoEmail author
  • Qiusheng Li
  • Weitao Wang
  • Kesong Wan
  • Yafeng Meng
  • Bin Liu
Research Paper


The Middle-Lower Yangtze River Metallogenic Belt (MLYMB) is an important mineral resource region in China. High-resolution crustal models can provide crucial constraints to understand the ore-forming processes and geodynamic setting in this region. Using ambient seismic noise from 107 permanent and 82 portable stations in the MLYMB and the adjacent area, we present a new high-resolution 3D S-wave velocity model of this region. We first extract 5–50 s Rayleigh wave phase velocity dispersion data by calculating ambient noise cross-correlation functions (CFs) and then use the surface wave direct inversion method to invert the mixed path travel times for the 3D S-wave velocity structure. Checkerboard tests show that the horizontal resolution of the 3D S-wave velocity model is approximately 0.5°–1.0° and that the vertical resolution decreases with increasing noise and depth. Our high-resolution 3D S-wave velocity model reveals: (1) A V-shaped high-velocity zone (HVZ) is located in the lower crust and the uppermost mantle in the study region. The western branch of the HVZ passes through the Jianghan Basin, the Qinling-Dabie orogenic belt and the Nanxiang Basin. The eastern branch, which almost completely covers the main body of the MLYMB, is located near the Tanlu Fault. The low-velocity anomalies between the western and eastern branches are located in the area of the Qinling-Dabie orogenic belt. (2) High-velocity uplifts (HVUs) are common in the crust of the MLYMB, especially in the areas near the Tanlu Fault, the Changjiang Fault and the Yangxin-Changzhou Fault. The intensities of the HVUs gradually weaken from west to east. The V-shaped HVZ in the lower crust and uppermost mantle and the HVUs in the middle and lower crust likely represent cooled mantle intrusive rocks. During the Yanshanian period, fault systems formed in the MLYMB due to the convergence between the South China Plate and the North China Plate, the multiple-direction drifting of the Paleo-Pacific Plate and its subduction beneath the Eurasian Plate. The dehydration of the cold oceanic crust led to partial melting in the upper mantle. Temperature differences caused strong convection of the upper mantle material that underplated the lower crust and rose to near the surface along the deep fault systems. After mixing with the crustal materials, mineralization processes, such as assimilation and fractional crystallization, occurred in the MLYMB.


Middle-Lower Yangtze River Metallogenic Belt Ambient noise Surface wave Crustal structure Mineralization dynamics 


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We acknowledge two anonymous reviewers for their constructive suggestions for this article. We thank the Chinese Academy of Geological Sciences, Peking University and Nanjing University for providing the continuous waveform data from the portable stations. We acknowledge the Data Management Centre of the China National Seismic Network at the Institute of Geophysics (SEISDMC, doi: SN,, China Earthquake Networks Center, China Earthquake Administration for providing continuous waveform data from the permanent stations. The final 3D crustal model (including S-wave velocity, P-wave velocity, and density) obtained in this study can be downloaded from This study was jointly supported by the Land Resources Survey Project of the China Geological Survey Bureau (Grant No. DD20179354) and the National Natural Science Foundation of China (Grant Nos. 41790464 & 41674061).

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Introduction of MLYMB3D model


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Copyright information

© Science China Press and Springer-Verlag GmbH Germany, part of Springer Nature 2019

Authors and Affiliations

  • Song Luo
    • 1
  • Huajian Yao
    • 1
    • 2
    Email author
  • Qiusheng Li
    • 3
  • Weitao Wang
    • 4
  • Kesong Wan
    • 1
  • Yafeng Meng
    • 1
  • Bin Liu
    • 1
  1. 1.Laboratory of Seismology and Physics of the Earth’s Interior, School of Earth and Space SciencesUniversity of Science and Technology of ChinaHefeiChina
  2. 2.National Geophysical Observatory at MengchengUniversity of Science and Technology of ChinaMengchengChina
  3. 3.Institute of GeologyChinese Academy of Geological SciencesBeijingChina
  4. 4.Institute of GeophysicsChinese Earthquake AdministrationBeijingChina

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