Abstract

A partially reversed seismic refraction profile utilizing mine blasts as sources was recorded across southern British Columbia from Sparwood to the Highland Valley. The westwardly directed profile consisted of 32 short period seismograms covering 440 km, while the reversed line extended 330 km with 41 seismograms. From a starting model based on first arrival times and previous geological and geophysical data, a seismic structural section is developed using both synthetic seismograms and a program for ray tracing through inhomogeneous media.The refraction data indicate that the M-discontinuity dips to the east from an approximate depth of 30 km east of the Highland Valley to in excess of 40 km beneath the Purcell Anticlinorium. Undulations of about 165 km wavelength and several kilometres amplitude characterize the crust–mantle boundary. The Pn velocity is 7.8 km/s. Above the M-discontinuity, secondary arrivals are interpreted to be from a lower crustal layer of thickness near 12 km and velocity 6.9 km/s. The upper boundary of this layer also dips gently to the east.The seismic structure of the upper crust correlates closely with the regional geology as evidenced by traveltime and amplitude anomalies where the profile crosses the Rocky Mountain Trench and the Interior Plateau – Eastern Metamorphic Belt boundaries. The crustal P and S phases in the Interior Plateau yield a relatively low value of Poisson's ratio of 0.23. The detailed data close to the Highland Valley indicate significant velocity heterogeneity. For the Guichon Creek batholith, the inner Bethlehem phase is found to have a higher velocity than the surrounding Highland Valley phase.

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