Abstract

Geophysical measurements are often acquired at scattered locations in space. Therefore, interpolating or fitting the sparsely sampled data as a uniform function of space (a procedure commonly known as gridding) is a ubiquitous problem in geophysics. Most gridding methods require a model of spatial correlation for data. This spatial correlation model can often be inferred from some sort of secondary information, which may also be sparsely sampled in space. In this paper, we present a new method to model the geometry of a subducting slab in which we use a data‐fitting approach to address the problem. Earthquakes and active‐source seismic surveys provide estimates of depths of subducting slabs but only at scattered locations. In addition to estimates of depths from earthquake locations, focal mechanisms of subduction zone earthquakes also provide estimates of the strikes of the subducting slab on which they occur. We use these spatially sparse strike samples and the Earth’s curved surface geometry to infer a model for spatial correlation that guides a blended neighbor interpolation of slab depths. We then modify the interpolation method to account for the uncertainties associated with the depth estimates.

You do not currently have access to this article.