Crustal velocity structure associated with the eastern Tennessee seismic zone: Vp and Vs images based upon local earthquake tomography


We present three-dimensional P and S wave velocity models for the active eastern Tennessee seismic zone (ETSZ) using arrival time data from more than 1000 local earthquakes. A nonlinear tomography method is used that involves sequential inversion for model and hypocenter parameters. We image several velocity anomalies that persist through most of the inversion volume. Some anomalies support the presence of known features such as an ancient rift zone in northern Tennessee. Other anomalies reveal the presence of basement features that can be correlated with regional gravity and magnetic anomalies. We image a narrow, NE-SW trending, steeply dipping zone of low velocities that extends to a depth of at least 24 km and is associated with the vertical projection of the prominent New York-Alabama magnetic lineament. The low-velocity zone may have an apparent dip to the SE at depths exceeding 15 km. The low-velocity zone is interpreted as a major basement fault juxtaposing Granite-Rhyolite basement to the NW from Grenville southern Appalachian basement to the SE. Relocated hypocenters align in near-vertical segments suggesting reactivation of a distributed zone of deformation associated with a major strike-slip fault. We suggest that the ETSZ represents reactivation of an ancient shear zone established during formation of the super continent Rodinia. ©2013. American Geophysical Union. All Rights Reserved.

Publication Title

Journal of Geophysical Research: Solid Earth