A new work based on 3-D supercomputer simulations of earthquake data has found hidden rock structures deep under East Asia. Researchers from China, Canada, and the U.S. worked together to publish their results in March 2015 in the American Geophysical Union Journal of Geophysical Research, Solid Earth.
The scientists used seismic data from 227 East Asia earthquakes during 2007-2011, which they used to image depths to about 900 kilometers, or about 560 miles below ground.
Notable structures include a high velocity colossus beneath the Tibetan plateau, and a deep mantle upwelling beneath the Hangai Dome in Mongolia. The researchers say their line of work could potentially help find hidden hydrocarbon resources, and more broadly it could help explore the Earth under East Asia and the rest of the world.
"With the help of supercomputing, it becomes possible to render crystal-clear images of Earth's complex interior," principal investigator and lead author Min Chen said of the study. Chen is a postdoctoral research associate in the department of Earth Sciences at Rice University.
Chen and her colleagues ran simulations on the Stampede and Lonestar4 supercomputers of the Texas Advanced Computing Center through an allocation by XSEDE, the eXtreme Science and Engineering Discovery Environment funded by the National Science Foundation.
"We are combining different kinds of seismic waves to render a more coherent image of the Earth," Chen said. "This process has been helped by supercomputing power that is provided by XSEDE."
"What is really new here is that this is an application of what is sometimes referred to as full waveform inversion in exploration geophysics," study co-author Jeroen Tromp said. Tromp is a professor of Geosciences and Applied and Computational Mathematics, and the Blair Professor of Geology at Princeton University.
In essence the application combined seismic records from thousands of stations for each earthquake to produce scientifically accurate, high-res 3-D tomographic images of the subsurface beneath immense geological formations.
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Via Chuck Sherwood, Senior Associate, TeleDimensions, Inc