abstract

The travel-time characteristics of Pn waves in the state of Washington were investigated using regional earthquakes as seismic sources and stations of the state-wide University of Washington telemetered network as receivers. There is a significant difference in upper mantle velocity between eastern Washington (8.20 ± 0.02 km/sec) and western Washington (7.79 ± 0.02 km/sec). Modifications of the time-term method were used to find the dependence of P velocity on distance and azimuth to the source. Pn velocity in eastern Washington depends on the distance to the source, implying a velocity gradient with depth in the upper mantle. No significant distance dependence was found for western Washington. Azimuthal anisotropy was found for Pn with a northwest direction of maximum velocity in eastern Washington and a north-northwest direction in western Washington. Assuming no lateral crustal velocity gradients, the Pn refracting interface dips to the west approximately 0.8° in eastern Washington and to the southeast approximately 3.2° in western Washington. Contour maps of the station time terms indicate significant variations in crustal structure across the state. The combination of low Pn velocity and small Moho dip beneath western Washington suggests that the subducting lithospheric slab underlying the continental margin lies below the level of transition to upper mantle velocity over much of this region.

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