Abstract

Three-dimensional velocity images of the crust and upper mantle beneath the Kang–Dian Tethyan tectonic zone in China are constructed using P-wave travel-time residuals of earthquakes. The Kang–Dian Tethyan tectonic zone is a transitional zone in tectonic structures and an important topographic border line. It is also a zone of concentration of shallow-focus earthquakes. The imaging results indicate that there is a significant lateral heterogeneity in the crust and upper mantle beneath the Kang–Dian Tethyan tectonic zone in China. The velocity images of the upper crust show features closely related to the tectonic features on the surface. A low-velocity layer exists in a very wide range of the mid-crust. Almost all of the major earthquakes took place in the transition strips between high- and low-velocity zones in the crust above 20 km depth. From the velocity images at 20+0 and 50+0 km depth, respectively, we find that the epicenters of strong earthquakes with magnitude larger than 6.0 are almost entirely distributed in the low-velocity zones or on their boundaries.

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