Ambient seismic noise tomography of the southern East Sea (Japan Sea) and the Korea Strait

Sang Jun Lee, Junkee Rhie*, Seongryong Kim, Tae Seob Kang, Gi Bom Kim

*Corresponding author for this work

    Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

    11 Citations (Scopus)


    Group velocity maps were derived for the southern East Sea (Japan Sea) and the Korea Strait (Tsushima Strait) for the 5–36 s period range, which is sensitive to shear wave velocities of the crust and the uppermost mantle. Images produced in our study enhance our understanding of the tectonic evolution of a continental margin affected by subducting oceanic slabs and a colliding continental plate. The seismic structure of the study area has not been described well because seismic data for the region are scarce. In this study, we applied the ambient noise tomography technique that does not rely on earthquake data. We calculated ambient noise cross-correlations recorded at station pairs of dense seismic networks located in the regions surrounding the study area, such as the southern Korean Peninsula and southwestern part of the Japanese Islands. We then measured the group velocity dispersion curves of the fundamental mode Rayleigh waves from cross-correlograms and constructed 2-D group velocity maps reflecting group velocity structure from the upper crust to uppermost mantle. The results show that three distinct anomalies with different characteristics exist. Anomalies are located under the Ulleung Basin (UB), the boundary of the Basin, and the area between Tsushima Island and the UB. 1-D velocity models were obtained by inversion of dispersion curves that represent vertical variations of shear wave velocity at locations of three different anomalies. The 1-D velocity models and 2-D group velocity maps of lateral variations in shear wave group velocities show that the high velocity anomaly beneath the UB originates from crustal thinning and mantle uplift. Confirming the exact causes of two low velocity anomalies observed under the UB boundary and between Tsushima Island and the UB is difficult because additional information is unavailable. However, complex fault systems, small basins formed by faulting, and deep mantle flow can be possible causes of the existence of low velocity anomalies in the region.

    Original languageEnglish
    Pages (from-to)709-720
    Number of pages12
    JournalGeosciences Journal
    Issue number4
    Publication statusPublished - 1 Dec 2015


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