Abstract

This paper presents results of a passive-source seismic mapping study in the Nechako–Chilcotin plateau of central British Columbia, with the ultimate goal of contributing to assessments of hydrocarbon and mineral potential of the region. For the present study, an array of nine seismic stations was deployed in 2006–2007 to sample a wide area of the Nechako–Chilcotin plateau. The specific goal was to map the thickness of the sediments and volcanic cover, and the overall crustal thickness and structural geometry beneath the study area. This study utilizes recordings of about 40 distant earthquakes from 2006 to 2008 to calculate receiver functions, and constructs S-wave velocity models for each station using the Neighbourhood Algorithm inversion. The surface sediments are found to range in thickness from about 0.8 to 2.7 km, and the underlying volcanic layer from 1.8 to 4.7 km. Both sediments and volcanic cover are thickest in the central portion of the study area. The crustal thickness ranges from 22 to 36 km, with an average crustal thickness of about 30–34 km. A consistent feature observed in this study is a low-velocity zone at the base of the crust. This study complements other recent studies in this area, including active-source seismic studies and magnetotelluric measurements, by providing site-specific images of the crustal structure down to the Moho and detailed constraints on the S-wave velocity structure.

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