Formation of Rifts in Central Tibet: Insight From P Wave Radial Anisotropy

Heng Zhang, Yunyue Elita Li, Dapeng Zhao, Junmeng Zhao, Hongbing Liu

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

9 Citations (Scopus)


The strikes of rifts in western Tibet show NNW-SSE trending, whereas the rifts in eastern Tibet strike in the NNE-SSW direction. The difference in the rift strike orientation suggests that the formation mechanisms of these rifts are different in southern Tibet, which can be most reliably inferred from seismic structure beneath these rifts. In this work we study 3-D P wave velocity structure and radial anisotropy using a large number of travel time data recorded by the ANTILOPE and Hi-CLIMB portable seismic arrays deployed in central Tibet. Our results show that to the west of the Pumuqu Xianza rift, a low-velocity zone with a positive radial anisotropy exists beneath the Lopu Kangri rift (~85°E), which may reflect melt-filled cracks. A high-velocity zone with a negative radial anisotropy is revealed beneath the Pumuqu Xianza rift (~88°E), which reflects lithospheric downwelling. The different upper mantle structures may result in the patterns of rift strike orientation in central Tibet.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)8827-8841
Number of pages15
JournalJournal of Geophysical Research: Solid Earth
Issue number10
Publication statusPublished - 2018 Oct


  • Tibetan Plateau
  • anisotropic tomography
  • diverse deformation patterns
  • lateral heterogeneity
  • rifts

ASJC Scopus subject areas

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


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