Three-dimensional Vp and Vp/Vs models in the Coso geothermal area, California: Seismic characterization of the magmatic system

Qiong Zhang, Guoqing Lin

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

27 Scopus citations


We combine classic and state-of-the-art techniques to characterize the seismic and volcanic features in the Coso area in southern California. Seismic tomography inversions are carried out to map the variations of Vp, Vs, and Vp/Vs beneath Coso. The velocities in the top layers of our model are correlated with the surface geological features. The Indian Wells Valley, with high silica content sediment strata, shows low-velocity anomalies up to 3 km depth, whereas the major mountain ranges, such as the south Sierra Nevada and the Argus Range, show higher velocities. The resulting three-dimensional velocity model is used to improve absolute locations for all local events between January 1981 and August 2011 in our study area. We then apply similar-event cluster analysis, waveform cross correlation, and differential time relocation methods to improve relative event location accuracy. A dramatic sharpening of seismicity patterns is obtained after using these methods. We also estimate high-resolution near-source Vp/Vs ratio within each event cluster using the differential times from waveform cross correlation. The in situ Vp/Vs method confirms the trend of the velocity variations from the tomographic results. An anomalous low-velocity body with low Vp, Vs, and Vp/Vs ratios, corresponding to the ductile behavior underlying the Coso geothermal field from 6 to 12 km depth, can be explained by the existence of frozen felsic magmatic materials with the inclusion of water. The material is not likely to include pervasive partial melt due to a lack of high Vp/Vs ratios. Key Point Three-dimensional Vp and Vp/Vs models and earthquake relocations in the Coso geothermal field

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)4907-4922
Number of pages16
JournalJournal of Geophysical Research: Solid Earth
Issue number6
StatePublished - Jun 2014


  • geothermal field
  • tomography

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Geophysics
  • Geochemistry and Petrology
  • Earth and Planetary Sciences (miscellaneous)
  • Space and Planetary Science


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