Crustal velocity structure of the Southern Nechako Basin, British Columbia, from wide-angle seismic traveltime inversion




Stephenson, Andrew

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In the BATHOLITHSonland seismic project, a refraction - wide-angle reflection survey was shot in 2009 across the Coast Mountains and Interior Plateau of central British Columbia. Part of the seismic profile crossed the Nechako Basin, a Jurassic-Cretaceous basin with potential for hydrocarbons within sedimentary rocks that underlie widespread volcanics. Along this 205-km-long line segment, eight explosive shots averaging 750 kg were fired and recorded on 980 seismometers. Forward and inverse modelling of the traveltime data were conducted with two independent methods: ray-tracing based modelling of first and secondary arrivals, and a higher resolution wavefront-based first-arrival seismic tomography. Gravity modelling was utilized as a means of evaluating the density structure corresponding to the final velocity model. Material with velocities less than 5.0 km/s is interpreted as sedimentary rocks of the Nechako Basin, while velocities from 5.0-6.0 km/s may correspond to interlayered sediments and volcanics. The greatest thickness of sedimentary rocks in the basin is found in the central 110 km of the profile. Two sub-basins were identified in this region, with widths of 20-50 km and maximum sedimentary depths of 2.5 km and 3.3 km. Such features are well-defined in the velocity model, since resolution tests indicate that features with widths greater than ~13 km are reliable. Beneath the sedimentary rocks, seismic velocities increase more slowly with depth – from 6.0 km/s just below the basin to 6.3 km/s at ~17 km depth, and then to 6.8-7.0 km/s at the base of the crust. The Moho is interpreted at a depth of 33.5-35 km along the profile, and mantle velocities are high at 8.05-8.10 km/s.



refraction, tomography, tomographic, BATHOLITHS, velocity model, crustal structure, sedimentary basin, geology, gravity model, ray tracing