Adjoint traveltime tomography unravels a scenario of horizontal mantle flow beneath the North China craton

Publication type

Journal Article

Research Area



The North China craton (NCC) was dominated by tectonic extension from late Cretaceous to Cenozoic, yet seismic studies on the relationship between crust extension and lithospheric mantle deformation are scarce. Here we present a three dimensional radially anisotropic model of NCC derived from adjoint traveltime tomography to address this issue. We find a prominent low S-wave velocity anomaly at lithospheric mantle depths beneath the Taihang Mountains, which extends eastward with a gradually decreasing amplitude. The horizontally elongated low-velocity anomaly is also featured by a distinctive positive radial anisotropy (VSH > VSV). Combining geodetic and other seismic measurements, we speculate the presence of a horizontal mantle flow beneath central and eastern NCC, which led to the extension of the overlying crust. We suggest that the rollback of Western Pacific slab likely played a pivotal role in generating the horizontal mantle flow at lithospheric depth beneath the central and eastern NCC.

Publication Details


Scientific Reports



Date Published



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