Imaging an Enigmatic Paleovalley with Passive Seismic Methods (Unaweep Canyon, Colorado, United States)

Deepankar Dangwal, Michael Behm, Xiaowei Chen,Gerilyn S. Soreghan

The Seismic Record(2023)

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High‐resolution passive seismic imaging of shallow subsurface structures is often challenged by the scarcity of coherent body‐wave energy in ambient noise recorded at surface stations. We show that the autocorrelation (AC) of teleseismic P‐wave coda extracted from just one month of continuous recording at 5 Hz geophones can overcome this limitation. We apply this method to investigate the longitudinal subsurface bedrock structure of Unaweep Canyon—a paleovalley in western Colorado (United States) with complex evolution. Both fluvial and glacial processes have been proposed to explain the canyon’s genesis and morphology. The teleseismic P‐wave coda AC retrieves zero‐offset reflections from the shallow (200–500 m depth) basement interface at 120 stations along a 5 km long profile. In addition, we invert interferometrically retrieved surface‐wave dispersion for the shear‐wave structure of the sedimentary fill. Combined interpretation of these results and other geophysical and well data suggests an overdeepened basement geometry most consistent with glacial processes.
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