A new seismic daylight imaging method for determining the structure of lithospheric discontinuity

  • Weijia SunEmail author
  • Liyun FuEmail author
  • Wei Wei
  • Qingya Tang
Research Paper


The fine-scale structures of lithosphere discontinuities contain important information on the dynamics of lithosphere formation, development, transformation, and destruction. In this paper, a new seismic daylight imaging method is developed to explore the small-scale structures of lithosphere discontinuities. This method makes use of the P-wave first arrival and coda in the 0.5–4 Hz high frequency band of teleseismic events, and reaches a resolution of 2 km for lithosphere discontinuities. This method rests on the basic principle that the autocorrelation of the vertically incident transmission response below the seismic station is equivalent to the reflection response with the source and station both on the free surface. The transmission responses include the first-arrival P-waves below the station traversing the discontinuities to reach the free surface, and the multiple reflections between the free surface and the discontinuities. In this study, the normal incidence requirement of the method is further extended to include dip incidence illumination, which expands its applicability. The accuracy and feasibility of the seismic daylight imaging (SDI) theory are verified by synthesized theoretical seismograms, and the factors affecting the imaging results are discussed. The data processing steps and the interpretation criteria for the method are also given. The fine-scale lithosphere structure of two permanent stations at the eastern North China Craton is determined by the method described here, as well as instantaneous frequency. Clear discontinuities are found in the lithospheric mantle at 52 and 75 km below the two stations, respectively. Seismic daylight imaging and the receiver function reveal a more consistent lithosphere structure beneath the MBWA permanent station of the West Australia Craton, with the unmistakable presence of the lithosphere discontinuities. High-frequency SDI can be used to detect the fine-scale lithospheric structures. As its waveform is more complex, and hence appropriate reference to existing seismological information, such as from tomographic velocity inversion and the receiver function, is recommended.


Lithosphere Discontinuity Mid-lithosphere discontinuity Seismic daylight imaging Autocorrelation 


Unable to display preview. Download preview PDF.

Unable to display preview. Download preview PDF.



We extend our gratitude to the chief editor, editorial board and the reviewers for their thorough review and valuable suggestions. Their input has greatly improved the quality of this paper. This research was supported by National Natural Science Foundation of China (Grant Nos. 41720104006, 41774060), Youth Innovation Promotion Association of Chinese Academy of Sciences (Grant No. 2017094).


  1. Abt D L, Fischer K M, French S W, Ford H A, Yuan H, Romanowicz B. 2010. North American lithospheric discontinuity structure imaged by Ps and Sp receiver functions. J Geophys Res, 115: B09301Google Scholar
  2. Aki K, Chouet B. 1975. Origin of coda waves: Source, attenuation, and scattering effects. J Geophys Res, 80: 3322–3342CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  3. Artemieva I M. 2009. The continental lithosphere: Reconciling thermal, seismic, and petrologic data. Lithos, 109: 23–46CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  4. Barnes A E. 2007. A tutorial on complex seismic trace analysis. Geophysics, 72: W33–W43CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  5. Bostock M G. 1998. Mantle stratigraphy and evolution of the slave province. J Geophys Res, 103: 21183–21200CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  6. Chen L. 2017. Layering of subcontinental lithospheric mantle. Chin Sci Bull, 62: 1030–1034CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  7. Chen L, Jiang M, Yang J, Wei Z, Liu C, Ling Y. 2014. Presence of an intralithospheric discontinuity in the central and western north china craton: Implications for destruction of the craton. Geology, 42: 223–226CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  8. Claerbout J F. 1968. Synthesis of a layered medium from its acoustic transmission response. Geophysics, 33: 264–269CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  9. Diehl T, Ritter J R R. 2005. The crustal structure beneath SE Romania from teleseismic receiver functions. Geophys J Int, 163: 238–251CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  10. Farra V, Vinnik L. 2000. Upper mantle stratification by P and S receiver functions. Geophys J Int, 141: 699–712CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  11. Fischer K M, Ford H A, Abt D L, Rychert C A. 2010. The lithosphereasthenosphere boundary. Annu Rev Earth Planet Sci, 38: 551–575CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  12. Ford H A, Fischer K M, Abt D L, Rychert C A, Elkins-Tanton L T. 2010. The lithosphere-asthenosphere boundary and cratonic lithospheric layering beneath Australia from Sp wave imaging. Earth Planet Sci Lett, 300: 299–310CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  13. Frasier C W. 1970. Discrete time solution of plane P-Sv waves in a plane layered medium. Geophysics, 35: 197–219CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  14. Gorbatov A, Saygin E, Kennett B L N. 2012. Crustal properties from seismic station autocorrelograms. Geophys J Int, 192: 861–870CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  15. Griffin W L, O’Reilly S Y. 1987. Is the continental Moho the crust-mantle boundary? Geology, 15: 241CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  16. Hales A L. 1969. A seismic discontinuity in the lithosphere. Earth Planet Sci Lett, 7: 44–46CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  17. He L J. 2015. Thermal regime of the North China Craton: Implications for craton destruction. Earth-Sci Rev, 140: 14–26CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  18. Houston H. 2001. Influence of depth, focal mechanism, and tectonic setting on the shape and duration of earthquake source time functions. J Geophys Res, 106: 11137–11150CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  19. Kennett B L N, Engdahl E R, Buland R. 1995. Constraints on seismic velocities in the Earth from traveltimes. Geophys J Int, 122: 108–124CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  20. Kennett B L N. 2001. The Seismic Wavefield: Volume 1, Introduction and Theoretical Development. Cambridge: Cambridge University PressGoogle Scholar
  21. Kennett B L N. 2002. The Seismic Wavefield: Volume 2, Interpretation of Seismograms on regional and Global Scales. Cambridge: Cambridge University PressGoogle Scholar
  22. Kennett B L N. 2015. Lithosphere-asthenosphere p-wave reflectivity across australia. Earth Planet Sci Lett, 431: 225–235CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  23. Kennett B L N, Furumura T. 2008. Stochastic waveguide in the lithosphere: Indonesian subduction zone to australian craton. Geophys J Int, 172: 363–382CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  24. Kennett B L N, Furumura T. 2016. Multiscale seismic heterogeneity in the continental lithosphere. Geochem Geophys Geosyst, 17: 791–809CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  25. Kennett B L N, Salmon M. 2012. AuSREM: Australian seismological reference model. Aust J Earth Sci, 59: 1091–1103CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  26. Kennett B L N, Saygin E, Salmon M. 2015. Stacking autocorrelograms to map moho depth with high spatial resolution in southeastern Australia. Geophys Res Lett, 42: 7490–7497CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  27. Kennett B L N, Yoshizawa K, Furumura T. 2017. Interactions of multiscale heterogeneity in the lithosphere: Australia. Tectonophysics, 717: 193–213CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  28. Kumar M R, Bostock M G. 2006. Transmission to reflection transformation of teleseismic wavefields. J Geophys Res, 111: B08306Google Scholar
  29. Langston C A. 1979. Structure under mount rainier, Washington, inferred from teleseismic body waves. J Geophys Res, 84: 4749–4762CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  30. Mancinelli N J, Fischer K M, Dalton C A. 2017. How sharp is the cratonic lithosphere-asthenosphere transition? Geophys Res Lett, 44: 10,189–10,197CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  31. Pham T S, Tkalcic H. 2017. On the feasibility and use of teleseismic P wave coda autocorrelation for mapping shallow seismic discontinuities. J Geophys Res-Solid Earth, 122: 3776–3791CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  32. Rickett J, Claerbout J. 1999. Acoustic daylight imaging via spectral factorization: Helioseismology and reservoir monitoring. Lead Edge, 18: 957–960CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  33. Ruigrok E, Wapenaar K. 2012. Global-phase seismic interferometry unveils P-wave reflectivity below the Himalayas and Tibet. Geophys Res Lett, 39: L11303Google Scholar
  34. Saygin E, Cummins P R, Lumley D. 2017. Retrieval of the P wave reflectivity response from autocorrelation of seismic noise: Jakarta Basin, Indonesia. Geophys Res Lett, 44: 792–799CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  35. Schuster G T, Yu J, Sheng J, Rickett J. 2004. Interferometric/daylight seismic imaging. Geophys J Int, 157: 838–852CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  36. Selway K, Ford H, Kelemen P. 2015. The seismic mid-lithosphere discontinuity. Earth Planet Sci Lett, 414: 45–57CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  37. Sun W, Fu L Y. 2012. Compensation for transmission losses based on oneway propagators in the mixed domain. Geophysics, 77: S65–S72CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  38. Sun W J, Fu L Y, Yao Z X. 2009. One-way propagators coupled with reflection/transmission coefficients for seismogram synthesis in complex media (in Chinese). Chin J Geophys, 52: 2558–2565Google Scholar
  39. Sun W, Kennett B L N. 2016a. Receiver structure from teleseisms: Autocorrelation and cross correlation. Geophys Res Lett, 43: 6234–6242CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  40. Sun W, Kennett B L N. 2016b. Uppermost mantle P wavespeed structure beneath eastern china and its surroundings. Tectonophysics, 683: 12–26CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  41. Sun W, Kennett B L N. 2016c. Uppermost mantle structure beneath eastern china and its surroundings from Pn and Sn tomography. Geophys Res Lett, 43: 3143–3149CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  42. Sun W, Kennett B L N. 2017. Mid-lithosphere discontinuities beneath the western and central North China Craton. Geophys Res Lett, 44: 1302–1310CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  43. Sun W, Fu L Y, Saygin E, Zhao L. 2018. Insights into layering in the cratonic lithosphere beneath Western Australia. J Geophys Res-Solid Earth, 123: 1405–1418CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  44. Taner M T, Koehler F, Sheriff R E. 1979. Complex seismic trace analysis. Geophysics, 44: 1041–1063CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  45. Teng J W. 2006. Research on layer-bundle fine structures and physical attributes of crust-mantle boundary in deep Earth (in Chinese). J Jilin Univ-Earth Sci Ed, 36: 1–23Google Scholar
  46. Vinnik L P. 1977. Detection of waves converted from P to SV in the mantle. Phys Earth Planet Inter, 15: 39–45CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  47. Vinnik L P, Avetisjan R A, Mikhailova N G. 1983. Heterogeneities in the mantle transition zone from observations of P-to-SV converted waves. Phys Earth Planet Inter, 33: 149–163CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  48. Wirth E A, Long M D. 2014. A contrast in anisotropy across mid-lithospheric discontinuities beneath the central United States—A relic of craton formation. Geology, 42: 851–854CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  49. Wang C Y, Wu Q J, Zhang X K. 1994. Seismic structure revealed by deep seismic reflection profile in Jizhong depression (in Chinese). Chin Sci Bull, 39: 625–628Google Scholar
  50. Wang Q, Song X D, Ren J Y. 2017. Ambient noise surface wave tomography of marginal seas in east Asia. Earth Planet Phys, 1: 13–25CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  51. Wang T, Song X, Xia H H. 2015. Equatorial anisotropy in the inner part of Earth’s inner core from autocorrelation of earthquake coda. Nat Geosci, 8: 224–227CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  52. Wilson D C, Angus D A, Ni J F, Grand S P. 2006. Constraints on the interpretation of S-to-P receiver functions. Geophy J Int, 165: 969–980CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  53. Xu P F, Li S H, Ling S Q, Guo H L, Tian B Q. 2013. Application of SPAC method to estimate the crustal S-wave velocity structure (in Chinese). Chin J Geophys, 56: 3846–3854Google Scholar
  54. Yang W C. 2009. Paleo-Tethys Geotectonics in East Asia (in Chinese). Beijing: Petroleum Industry PressGoogle Scholar
  55. Yoshizawa K, Kennett B L N. 2015. The lithosphere-asthenosphere transition and radial anisotropy beneath the Australian continent. Geophys Res Lett, 42: 3839–3846CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  56. Yuan H, Romanowicz B. 2010. Lithospheric layering in the North American craton. Nature, 466: 1063–1068CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  57. Yuan X, Kind R, Li X, Wang R. 2006. The S receiver functions: Synthetics and data example. Geophys J Int, 165: 555–564CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  58. Zhao J, Liu G, Lu Z, Zhang X, Zhao G. 2001. Crust-mantle transitional zone of Tianshan orogenic belt and Junggar Basin and its geodynamic implication. Sci China Ser D-Earth Sci, 44: 824–837CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  59. Zheng T Y, Duan Y H, Xu W W, Ai Y S, Chen L, Zhao L, Zhang Y Y, Xu X B. 2017. Seismic wave velocity structure model of crust-upper mantle in North China v2.0. Google Scholar
  60. Zheng X D. 1991. Approximation of Zoeppritz equation and its approximation. Oil Geophys Prospect, 26: 129–144Google Scholar
  61. Zheng X F, Ouyang B, Zhang D N, Yao Z X, Liang J H, Zheng J. 2009. Technical system construction of Data Backup Centre for China Seismograph Network and the data support to researches on the Wenchuan earthquake (in Chinese). Chin J Geophys, 52: 1412–1417Google Scholar
  62. Zhu R X, Chen L, Wu F Y, Liu J L. 2011. Timing, scale and mechanism of the destruction of the North China Craton. Sci China Earth Sci, 54: 789–797CrossRefGoogle Scholar

Copyright information

© Science China Press and Springer-Verlag GmbH Germany, part of Springer Nature 2018

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Key Laboratory of Earth and Planetary Physics, Institute of Geology and GeophysicsChinese Academy of SciencesBeijingChina
  2. 2.School of GeosciencesChina University of Petroleum (East China)QingdaoChina
  3. 3.Key Laboratory of Shale Gas and Geoengineering, Institute of Geology and GeophysicsChinese Academy of SciencesBeijingChina
  4. 4.Institutions of Earth ScienceChinese Academy of SciencesBeijingChina

Personalised recommendations