Abstract

Three-component broadband data from the recently deployed Canadian National Seismograph Network provide a new opportunity to examine the structure of the crust and upper mantle beneath the Canadian landmass. Receiver function analysis is an ideal method to use with this data set, as it can provide constraints on the S-velocity structure beneath each station of this seismograph network. This analysis method is particularly useful in that it provides site-specific information (i.e., within 5–15 km of the station), low-velocity layers can be identified, and it is possible to examine structure to upper mantle depths. In this study, receiver functions were computed for each of the 19 stations that made up the seismograph network in June 1994. Five stations, sampling a variety of tectonic environments, including the Appalachian Orogen, the Canadian Shield, the Western Canadian Sedimentary Basin, and the Cascadia subduction zone, were chosen for detailed modelling. The results presented here are the first estimates of the S-velocity structure beneath these five stations. For those stations where comparisons can be made with seismic reflection and refraction results, there is excellent agreement. In eastern Canada, simple receiver functions and clear Moho Ps conversions at most stations indicate a relatively transparent crust and a Moho depth of 40–45 km. In northwestern Canada, Moho Ps phases indicate a crustal thickness of 33–38 km. Beneath Inuvik, Northwest Territories, the Moho is interpreted as two velocity steps separated in depth by 5 km, and an upper mantle low-velocity zone is near 47 km depth. In western Canada, the data indicate a mid-crustal low-velocity zone beneath Edmonton. The Moho of the subducting Juan de Fuca plate is interpreted at 52 km depth beneath southern Vancouver Island. Several stations exhibiting complex receiver functions warrant further study. They include stations at Schefferville, Quebec, in the Canadian Shield; Deer Lake, Newfoundland, on the boundary of the Grenville Province and the Appalachian Orogen; and Yellowknife, Northwest Territories, at the intersection of the Churchill and Slave provinces and the Western Plains.

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