Geology & Geophysics Editors' Highlights

New Global Crustal Model Built as Foundation for Future Studies

A new global crustal model and its corresponding uncertainty were obtained using minimum a priori information and a geostatistical approach.

Source: Journal of Geophysical Research: Solid Earth


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A global crustal model is a critical tool to address a wide range of important questions in Earth Science. Yet, for most of the current available models, geological intuition and interpolation over large distances were used for poorly constrained areas. Szwillus et al. [2019] provide a new global crustal model founded on available active-source seismic data and built without introducing any a priori knowledge for regions with sparse data coverage. A key aspect of this study is that it uses geostatistical analysis that allows for complete evaluation of model uncertainty.

The new global maps of Moho depth and average crustal P-wave velocity will be extremely useful for a broad-range of applications in Earth Science; for example, regional to global scale tomography, dynamic topography studies, and the seismic monitoring of nuclear explosions. Results from this study can also be contrasted with existing global crustal models. Furthermore, the minimum use of a priori information and the availability of both the seismic database and the code makes it an optimal model to perform further studies on this topic.

Citation: Szwillus, W., Afonso, J. C. C., Ebbing, J., & Mooney, W. D. [2019]. Global crustal thickness and velocity structure from geostatistical analysis of seismic data. Journal of Geophysical Research: Solid Earth, 124. https://doi.org/10.1029/2018JB016593

—Anne Becel, Associate Editor, JGR: Solid Earth

Text © 2019. The authors. CC BY-NC-ND 3.0
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