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ISSN  2096-3955

CN  10-1502/P

Citation: Chu, R. S., Zhu, L. P., and Ding, Z. F. (2019). Upper-mantle velocity structures beneath the Tibetan Plateau and surrounding areas inferred from triplicated P waveforms. Earth Planet. Phys., 3(5), 444–458.doi: 10.26464/epp2019045

2019, 3(5): 444-458. doi: 10.26464/epp2019045


Upper-mantle velocity structures beneath the Tibetan Plateau and surrounding areas inferred from triplicated P waveforms


State Key Laboratory of Geodesy and Earth’s Dynamics, Institute of Geodesy and Geophysics, Wuhan 430077, China


Department of Earth and Atmospheric Sciences, Saint Louis University, St Louis, MO 63108, USA


Institute of Geophysics and Geomatics, China University of Geosciences, Wuhan 430074, China


Institute of Geophysics, China Earthquake Administration, Beijing 100083, China

Corresponding author: RiSheng Chu,

Received Date: 2019-05-25
Web Publishing Date: 2019-09-01

P-wave waveforms in the distance range between 12° and 30° were analyzed to investigate upper-mantle P velocity structures beneath the Tibetan Plateau and surrounding areas. The waveform data from 504 earthquakes with magnitudes larger than 5.0 between 1990 and 2005 that occurred within 30° from the center of the Plateau were modelled. We divided the study area into 6 regions and modeled upper-mantle-distance P waveforms with turning points beneath each region separately. The results show that the upper-mantle P-wave velocity structures beneath India, the Himalayas, and the Lhasa Terrane are similar and contain a high-velocity lid about 250 km thick. The upper-mantle velocities down to 200 km beneath the Qiangtang Terrane, the Tarim Basin, and especially the Songpan-Garzê Terrane are lower than those in the south. The 410-km discontinuity beneath these two terranes is elevated by about 20 km. High-velocity anomalies are found in the transition zone below 500 km under the Lhasa and Qiangtang Terranes. The results suggest that the Tibetan Plateau was generated by thrusting of the Indian mantle lithosphere under the southern part of Tibet. Portions of the thickened Eurasian mantle lithosphere were delaminated; they are now sitting in the transition zone beneath southern Tibet and atop of the 410-km discontinuity underneath northern Tibet.

Key words: Tibetan Plateau, upper mantle structure, triplication, waveform modelling

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Upper-mantle velocity structures beneath the Tibetan Plateau and surrounding areas inferred from triplicated P waveforms

RiSheng Chu, LuPei Zhu, ZhiFeng Ding