We present a shear wave splitting (SWS) database for the western and central United States as part of a lasting effort to build a uniform SWS database for the entire North America. The SWS measurements were obtained by minimizing the energy on the transverse component of the PKS, SKKS, and SKS phases. Each of the individual measurements was visually checked to ensure quality. This version of the database contains 16,105 pairs of splitting parameters. The data used to generate the parameters were recorded by 1774 digital broadband seismic stations over the period of 1989-2012, and represented all the available data from both permanent and portable seismic networks archived at the Incorporated Research Institutions for Seismology Data Management Center in the area of 26.00⁰N to 50.00⁰N and 125.00⁰W to 90.00⁰W. About 10,000 pairs of the measurements were from the 1092 USArray Transportable Array stations. The results show that approximately 2/3 of the fast orientations are within 30 from the absolute plate motion (APM) direction of the North American plate, and most of the largest departures with the APM are located along the eastern boundary of the western US orogenic zone and in the central Great Basins. The splitting times observed in the western US are larger than, and those in the central US are comparable with the global average of 1.0 s. The uniform database has an unprecedented spatial coverage and can be used for various investigations of the structure and dynamics of the Earth.


Geosciences and Geological and Petroleum Engineering

Research Center/Lab(s)

Center for High Performance Computing Research

Keywords and Phrases

Information Management; People Movers; Seismology; Shear Waves; Absolute Plate Motions; Broad-Band Seismic Stations; Seismic Anisotropy; Shear Wave Splitting; Structure and Dynamics; Teleseismic Shear Waves; Transverse Components; Western and Central United States; Database Systems; Database; North American Plate; Orogeny; Plate Motion; S-Wave; Seismic Anisotropy; Seismology; Teleseismic Wave; Wave Splitting; Great Basin; United States

International Standard Serial Number (ISSN)


Document Type

Article - Journal

Document Version

Final Version

File Type





© 2014 John Wiley & Sons Ltd, All rights reserved.

Publication Date

01 May 2014