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Quakes reveal deep secrets beneath East Asia

Fri, May 15, 2015, 02:17 PM
Washington, May 15 , 2015: Using 3D supercomputer simulations of earthquake data, scientists have found hidden rock structures deep under East Asia.

Notable structures include a high velocity colossus beneath the Tibetan plateau and a deep mantle upwelling beneath the Hangai Dome in Mongolia.

"We found that beneath the Tibetan plateau, there is a sub-vertical high velocity structure that extends down to the bottom of the mantle transition zone," said principal investigator Min Chen from the department of earth sciences at Rice University.

The bottom of the transition zone goes to depths of 660 km, she said.

"Three-D geometry of the high-velocity structure depicts the lithosphere beneath the plateau, which gives clues of the fate of the subducted oceanic and the continental parts of the Indian plate under the Eurasian plate," Chen explained.

The collision of plates at the Tibetan Plateau has caused devastating earthquakes, such as the recent earthquakes in Nepal at the southern edge of where the two plates meet.

Scientists hope to use earthquakes to model the substructure and better understand the origins of these earthquakes.

For the results, researchers from China, Canada and the US used seismic data from 227 East Asia earthquakes during 2007-2011.

The data helped them image depths to about 900 km below the ground.

Three-D imaging inside the Earth can help society find new resources.

"The ultimate goal is to make everything about seismic imaging methods automatic and accessible by anyone to better understand the Earth," Chen pointed out.

The work was detailed in the American Geophysical Union Journal of Geophysical Research, Solid Earth.
Agency: IANS

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