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Published August 21, 1998 | public
Journal Article

Moho Offset Across the Northern Margin of the Tibetan Plateau


Anomalous double-pulse teleseismic P-wave arrivals were observed at one station near the northern margin of the Tibetan Plateau. The azimuthal dependence of the waveform distortion and its absence at nearby stations indicated that the distortion was produced by receiver-side crustal heterogeneity. Modeling of the three-component data revealed a 15- to 20-kilometer Moho offset that occurs over a narrow lateral range of less than 5 kilometers. This east-west–striking offset separates the thick Tibetan Plateau crust from the Qaidam Basin crust. Such a sharp crustal thickness change implies a weak Tibetan Plateau crust that thickens vertically in response to penetration by India from the south and to blockage caused by a strong Qaidam Basin crust to the north.

Additional Information

© 1998 American Association for the Advancement of Science. 24 March 1998; accepted 14 July 1998. Comments by M. Simons, B. Keller, T. Melbourne, and two anonymous reviewers have helped to improve the manuscript. We thank G. Poupinet and A. Paul for providing the Sino-French 1993 Lithoscope Kunlun experiment data. This work has been supported by NSF grant EAR-9725808. This is Division of Geological and Planetary Sciences, California Institute of Technology contribution 8544 and Southern California Earthquake Center contribution 443.

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October 20, 2023