Tomographic imaging of the P-wave velocity structure beneath the Kamchatka peninsula

A. Gorbatov, J. Domínguez, G. Suárez, V. Kostoglodov, D. Zhao, E. Gordeev

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102 Citations (Scopus)


A total of 5270 shallow and intermediate-depth earthquakes recorded by the 32 stations of the regional seismic network of the Geophysical Service of Russia are used to assess the P-wave velocity structure beneath the Kamchatka peninsula in the Western Pacific. The tomographic inversion is carried out in three steps. First, a 1-D tomographic problem is solved in order to obtain an initial velocity model. Based on the 1-D velocity model, 3-D tomographic inversions with homogeneous and heterogeneous starting models are obtained. The Conrad (15 km depth) and Moho (35 km depth) discontinuities determined from the 1-D tomographic inversion, and the upper boundary of the subducting slab are taken into account in the heterogeneous starting model for the traveltimes and ray-path determinations. Both velocity structure and hypocentral locations are determined simultaneously in the inversion. The spacing of the grid nodes is a half-degree in the horizontal direction and 20-50 km in the vertical direction. A detailed P-wave tomographic image is determined down to a depth of 200 km. The resulting tomographic image has a prominent low-velocity anomaly that shows a maximum decrease in P-wave velocity of approximately 6 per cent at 30 km depth beneath a chain of active volcanoes. At depth, low-velocity anomalies are also observed in the mantle wedge extending down to a depth of approximately 150 km. These anomalies are apparently associated with the volcanic activity. The sedimentary basin of the Central Kamchatsky graben, to the west of the volcanic front, and the accretionary prism at the trench correlate with shallow low-velocity anomalies. High-velocity anomalies observed at a depth of 10 km may be associated with the location of metamorphic basements in the Ganalsky-Valaginskoe uplift and upper crust of Shipunsky cape. The results also suggest that the subducted Pacific plate has P-wave velocities approximately 2-7 per cent higher than those of the surrounding mantle and a thickness of approximately 70 km.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)269-279
Number of pages11
JournalGeophysical Journal International
Issue number2
Publication statusPublished - 1999 May


  • Kamchatka subduction zone
  • Tomography
  • Volcanic activity


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