Characterization of the Southern High Plains by seismic, gravity, and topographic analysis



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A topographic database was downloaded from the USGS and applied to several wavelength filtering processes. Seismic data were collected over a period of nine years at seven seismic stations deployed by Texas Tech University across the Southern High Plains, and all available additional data were downloaded from an addition 12 stations in the US Array. This dataset was processed by deconvolution with a subsequent application of an array processing algorithm and then stacked. The processed topographic and seismic data were analyzed in conjunction with gravity data acquired by Ozyavas to observe the presence of shallow crustal structures, midcrustal discontinuities, and the Moho in an attempt to relate these to subtle modern topographic relief across the southern High Plains. Stacks produced from the receiver functions identified five distinct boundaries at: 10km, 18km, Moho, 85km, and 170km. Each boundary was cataloged and mapped spatially. A hinge line trending southwest-northeast observed in the 18km discontinuity lies collinear and appears to have influence over the expression of the Caprock Escarpment. Similarly, an observed ridge in the Moho topography lies collinear to the Matador Arch and may implicate a trend of crustal weakness. The deeper discontinuities at 85km and 170km have structures that mimic features observed in the filtered gravity datasets. Gravity profiles were then reconstructed from Ozyavas, 2004, along three transects of the South Plains and resulting subsurface structure to 200 kilometers was approximated using the discontinuities from seismic as tie points through each line. These cross sections were useful for verification that the inferred layers from the discontinuities were valid results based on observed gravity data.