Doctoral Dissertations


Lin Liu

Keywords and Phrases

Lithosphere; Receiver Function; United States


"The Upper Mississippi Embayment (UME), where the seismically active New Madrid Seismic Zone resides, experienced two phases of subsidence commencing in the Late Precambrian and Cretaceous, respectively. To provide new constraints on models proposed for the mechanisms responsible for the subsidence, we computed and stacked P-to-S receiver functions recorded by 49 USArray and other seismic stations located in the UME and the adjacent Ozark Uplift and modeled Bouguer gravity anomaly data. The inferred thickness, density, and Vp/Vs of the upper and lower crustal layers suggest that the UME is characterized by a mafic and high-density upper crustal layer of ∼30 km thickness, which is underlain by a higher-density lower crustal layer of up to ∼15 km. Those measurements were the consequence of the passage of a previously proposed thermal plume. The thermoelastic effects of the plume would have induced wide-spread intrusion of mafic mantle material into the weak UME crust fractured by Precambrian rifting and increased its density, resulting in renewed subsidence after the thermal source was removed.

In addition, to image upper mantle seismic discontinuities beneath the contiguous United States, a total of 284,121 S-to-P receiver functions (SRFs) recorded by 3,594 broadband seismic stations in the EarthScope Transportable Array and other permanent and temporary deployments are stacked in circular bins of 2° in radius. A robust negative arrival, representing a sharp discontinuity of velocity reduction with depth, is visible in virtually all the stacked traces in the depth range of 30-110 km"--Abstract, page iv.


Gao, Stephen S.

Committee Member(s)

Yang, Wan
Maerz, Norbert H.
Song, Jianguo


Geosciences and Geological and Petroleum Engineering

Degree Name

Ph. D. in Geology and Geophysics


Missouri University of Science and Technology

Publication Date

Summer 2018

Journal article titles appearing in thesis/dissertation

  • Receiver function and gravity constraints on crustal structure and vertical movements of the Upper Mississippi Embayment and Ozark Uplift
  • Lithospheric layering beneath the contiguous United States constrained by S-to-P receiver functions


xii, 89 pages

Note about bibliography

Includes bibliographic references.

Geographic Coverage

United States


© 2018 Lin Liu, All rights reserved.

Document Type

Dissertation - Open Access

File Type




Thesis Number

T 11385

Electronic OCLC #



Dissertation Location