Estimating subglacial structure using P-wave receiver functions

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9 Scopus citations


Reverberations of teleseismic compressional (P-) waves within a glacier or ice sheet may mask signals associated with crustal structure beneath the ice. We remove the signal associated with the ice from teleseismic P-waves using a wavefield downward continuation and decomposition technique that depends on known ice layer properties such as ice thickness, velocity, and attenuation. We test the method using data from nine stations in Antarctica and one station in Greenland. We deconvolve the downward-continued seismic wave vectors to create P-wave receiver functions that minimize the ice-layer reverberations in order to better measure signals from deeper structures. The subsurface P-wave receiver functions have similar sensitivities to crustal structure as those calculated from stations installed on bedrock. Synthetic experiments indicate subsurface P-wave receiver functions can constrain crustal structure more tightly than surface P-wave receiver functions when ice layer properties are known. We model the subsurface P-wave receiver functions using a Markov chain Monte Carlo inversion and constrain the product of crustal thickness and the column-average crustal-slowness beneath the stations. Our subglacial shear speed and thickness estimates are consistent with previous investigations at most stations. At station SUMG in south-central Greenland, our results suggest a thicker crust than from previous estimates.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)1064-1079
Number of pages16
JournalGeophysical Journal International
Issue number2
StatePublished - May 1 2017

All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

  • Geophysics
  • Geochemistry and Petrology


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