Mapping crustal structure of the Nechako Basin using teleseismic receiver functions

Date

2010-12-14T21:21:32Z

Authors

Kim, Hyun-Seung

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Abstract

This thesis describes a passive-source seismic mapping project in the Nechako Basin of central British Columbia (BC), Canada, with the ultimate goal of assessing the hydrocarbon and mineral potential of the region. The Nechako Basin has been the focus of limited hydrocarbon exploration since the 1930s. Twelve exploratory wells were drilled; oil stains on drill chip samples and the evidence of gas in drill stem tests attest to some hydrocarbon potential. Seismic data collected in the 1980s were of variable quality due mainly to effects of volcanic cover in this region. For the present study, an array of nine seismic stations was deployed in 2006 and 2007 to sample a wide area of the Nechako Basin and map the sediment thickness, crustal thickness, and overall geometry of the basin. This study utilizes recordings of about 40 distant earthquakes from 2006 to 2008 to calculate receiver functions, and construct S-wave velocity models for each station using the Neighbourhood Algorithm inversion. The surface sediments are found to range in thickness from about 0.8 to 2.7 km, and the volcanic layer below ranges in thickness from 2.3 to 4.7 km. Both sediments and volcanic cover are thickest in the central part of the basin. The average crustal thickness across the basin is about 30-32 km; it is thicker in the northern and western parts of the basin, and thinner in the southern and eastern parts. This study complements other research in this region, such as independent active-source seismic studies and magnetotelluric measurements, by providing site-specific images of the crustal structure down to the Moho and detailed constraints on the S-wave velocity structure.

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Keywords

Receiver function, Seismology, Geophysics, Earth science

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