Crustal Structure Across the West Antarctic Rift System from Multicomponent Ambient Noise Surface Wave Tomography

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Approximately 2 yr (2010–2011) of continuous seismic records from a subset of the Antarctic component of the Polar Earth Observing Network (POLENET‐ANET) seismic network deployed in West Antarctica are used to compute the nine components of the correlation tensor between each pair of stations in the network. Rayleigh wave velocity information from the vertical and radial components was extracted in the form of group and phase velocity dispersion curves, whereas the transverse component provided complimentary Love wave velocity information. The multicomponent Rayleigh wave measurements (ZZ, RR, ZR, and RZ) were averaged and used to infer the measurement uncertainties. The Rayleigh and Love wave group and phase velocities were then regionalized in space using a 2D deterministic tomography. A transect that spans the West Antarctic rift system was extracted from the tomography at individual periods between 7 and 60 s for the four types of surface wave velocities (i.e., Rayleigh and Love phase and group velocities). A transdimensional Bayesian joint inversion algorithm was used to invert these four datasets for a 1D model of isotropic shear‐wave velocity versus depth at each point along the transect. In this way, surface wave dispersion curves from multicomponent noise correlations were used to build a 2D isotropic shear‐wave velocity model down to ∼55 km depth. In this model, the top of the large low‐velocity zone beneath Marie Byrd Land was imaged (up to a 5% decrease in velocity at ∼50 km depth), which provides further evidence for a mantle hot spot beneath the crust that supports the high topography in this region. We also observed a large velocity contrast in the lower crust beneath Marie Byrd Land at a depth where previous long‐period seismicity has been observed. This strong contrast occurs more shallow than in previous crustal models, which compared to our model identify a deeper Moho (∼5–10 km deeper) beneath Marie Byrd Land. This new model has implications for interpreting earthquake locations in this region and perhaps necessitates that we revisit past hypocenter estimation studies using updated velocity models for the region.