Seismic Exploration of the Deep Continental Crust

Part of the series Pure and Applied Geophysics(PAGEOPH) pp 97-122

Seismic Velocities and Anisotropy of the Lower Continental Crust: A Review

  • T. WeissAffiliated withInstitut für Geologie und Dynamik der Lithosphäre
  • , S. SiegesmundAffiliated withInstitut für Geologie und Dynamik der LithosphäreGeologisch-Paläontologisches Institut
  • , W. RabbelAffiliated withInstitut für Geowissenschaften, Abteilung Geophysik
  • , T. BohlenAffiliated withInstitut für Geowissenschaften, Abteilung Geophysik
  • , M. PohlAffiliated withGeophysikalisches Institut

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Seismic anisotropy is often neglected in seismic studies of the earth’s crust. Since anisotropy is a common property of many typically deep crustal rocks, its potential contribution to solving questions of the deep crust is evaluated. The anisotropic seismic velocities obtained from laboratory measurements can be verified by computations based on the elastic constants and on numerical data pertaining to the texture of rock-forming minerals. For typical lower crustal rocks the influence of layering is significantly less important than the influence of rock texture. Surprisingly, most natural lower crustal rocks show a hexagonal type of anisotropy. Maximum anisotropy is observed for rocks with a high content of aligned mica. It seems possible to distinguish between layered intrusives and metasediments on the basis of in situ measurements of anisotropy, which can thus be used to validate different scenarios of crustal evolution.

Key words

Seismic anisotropy lower crust shear-waves Poisson’s ratio