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Access Type

WSU Access

Date of Award

January 2018

Degree Type


Degree Name




First Advisor

Sarah Brownlee


Compositional and structural heterogeneity in the continental crust are factors that contribute to the complex expression of crustal seismic anisotropy. Understanding deformation and flow in the crust using seismic anisotropy has thus proven difficult. Seismic anisotropy is affected by rock microstructure and mineralogy, and a number of studies have begun to characterize the full elastic tensors of crustal rocks in an attempt to increase our understanding of these intrinsic factors. However, there is still a large gap in length-scale between laboratory characterization on the scale of centimeters and seismic wavelengths on the order of kilometers. To address this length-scale gap we are developing a 3D crustal model that will help us determine the effects of rotating laboratory-scale elastic tensors into field-scale structures. The Chester gneiss dome in southeast Vermont is our primary focus. The model combines over 2000 structural data points from field measurements and published USGS structural data with elastic tensors of Chester dome rocks derived from electron backscatter diffraction data. We created a uniformly spaced grid by averaging structural measurements together in equally spaced grid boxes. The surface measurements are then projected into the third dimension using existing subsurface interpretations. A measured elastic tensor for the specific rock type is rotated according to its unique structural input at each point in the model. The goal is to use this model to generate artificial seismograms using existing numerical wave propagation codes. Once completed, the model input can be varied to examine the effects of different subsurface structure interpretations, as well as heterogeneity in rock composition and elastic tensors. Our goal is to be able to make predictions for how specific structures will appear in seismic data, and how that appearance changes with variations in rock composition.

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