The crustal thickness of Australia

G. Clitheroe*, O. Gudmundsson, B. L.N. Kennett

*Corresponding author for this work

    Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

    132 Citations (Scopus)

    Abstract

    We investigate the crustal structure of the Australian continent using the temporary broadband stations of the Skippy and Kimba projects and permanent broadband stations. We isolate near-receiver information, in the form of crustal P-to-S conversions, using the receiver function technique. Stacked receiver functions are inverted for S velocity structure using a Genetic Algorithm approach to Receiver Function Inversion (GARFI). From the resulting velocity models we are able to determine the Moho depth and to classify the width of the crust-mantle transition for 65 broadband stations. Using these results and 51 independent estimates of crustal thickness from refraction and reflection profiles, we present a new, improved, map of Moho depth for the Australian continent. The thinnest crust (25 km) occurs in the Archean Yilgarn Craton in Western Australia; the thickest crust (61 km) occurs in Proterozoic central Australia. The average crustal thickness is 38.8 km (standard deviation 6.2 km). Interpolation error estimates are made using kriging and fall into the range 2.5-7.0 km. We find generally good agreement between the depth to the seismologically defined Moho and xenolith-derived estimates of crustal thickness beneath northeastern Australia. However, beneath the Lachlan Fold Belt the estimates are not in agreement, and it is possible that the two techniques are mapping differing parts of a broad Moho transition zone. The Archean cratons of Western Australia appear to have remained largely stable since cratonization, reflected in only slight variation of Moho depth. The largely Proterozoic center of Australia shows relatively thicker crust overall as well as major Moho offsets. We see evidence of the margin of the contact between the Precambrian craton and the Tasman Orogen, referred to as the Tasman Line.

    Original languageEnglish
    Article number1999JB900317
    Pages (from-to)13697-13713
    Number of pages17
    JournalJournal of Geophysical Research: Solid Earth
    Volume105
    Issue numberB6
    DOIs
    Publication statusPublished - 10 Jun 2000

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