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Global Lithospheric Imaging using Earthquake Recordings

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State-of-the-art tools to better model Earth’s subsurface

An EU initiative has generated a new global database of teleseismic receiver functions (RFs) for imaging Earth’s structures.

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The standard approach to generate RF images incorporates manual selection of suitable seismic traces, thus making the entire method very time consuming. To address the issue, the EU-funded GLIMER (Global lithospheric imaging using earthquake recordings) project worked to produce a comprehensive set of global RFs that are readily adaptable for imaging. Project partners focused on implementing an automated workflow to process converted teleseismic waves. They then applied this workflow to a large global data set, and developed tools that allow users to visualise the resulting data products. Specifically, data from permanent and temporary seismic networks worldwide were processed automatically to produce global maps of key interfaces. This provides a unique view of how the properties of such interfaces vary between different tectonic environments and how the interfaces relate to geological processes at work in these settings. The GLIMER team created a database that contains over 1.3 million individual RFs from 8 257 stations around the world. They designed a series of tools to visualise the resulting data products that were made publicly available via the project website. These include a map‐based interface enabling users to inspect RFs at individual stations, and interactive programmes that can generate cross-sections through 3D volumes of RFs. Project outcomes were also included in an outreach programme aimed at increasing awareness about solid Earth sciences. The GLIMER data set of global RFs now allows scientists to bypass the traditional user-intensive processing step and jump directly to the interpretation stage or to more sophisticated imaging strategies.


Teleseismic, receiver functions, GLIMER, lithospheric imaging, earthquake recordings

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