DOI: 10.1190/tle43010037.1 ISSN: 1070-485X

Characterization of anisotropy in basin-scale subsurface using teleseismic receiver function analysis

Yiran Li, Alex Nikulin
  • Geology
  • Geophysics

Teleseismic receiver function (RF) analysis offers a passive-source analogue to detect impedance boundaries using the converted body waves generated by earthquakes. While the technique traditionally has targeted deep earth structures such as the Moho and transition zones, there is growing interest in assessing its applicability in basin-scale seismic characterization, ultimately aimed for onshore commercial integration as a cost-effective complement to existing active-source seismic surveys. Specifically, the conventional broadband seismometers used in global observational seismic experiments are not only logistically simple in terms of data acquisition, but they also record ground motions in three mutually orthogonal time series, enabling effective detection of shear waves and directional variations of observed signals. Here, we perform teleseismic RF analysis to detect shear-wave anisotropy and related symmetry axes orientations in a basin setting, using open-source seismic data recorded at 55 closely spaced seismic stations in the LaBarge Passive Seismic Experiment deployed in Wyoming between November 2008 and June 2009. We find that the strengths and geometry of the observed anisotropy are variable along the array. Significantly, not only can anisotropy effectively delineate subsurface fault interfaces, it can also substantiate and reveal additional interpretable signals that are otherwise disregarded. The estimated fast axes orientations compare favorably with the complex fracture systems documented in the region. Finally, we show that P-to-S amplitude variations with P incidence are systematic and modelable using existing computational tools, offering an opportunity to develop an analysis technique similar to amplitude variation with offset with the products of RF analysis.

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