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Multimode migration of scattered and converted waves for the structure of the Hikurangi slab interface, New Zealand
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Reflectivity imaging of local earthquake seismograms has revealed the structure of the Hikurangi subduction interface at the location of two strong earthquakes that occurred in 1990. The earthquakes originated within the continental plate of the North Island of New Zealand and below in the subducting Pacific slab. We used seismograms from 500 well-located events in two earthquake sequences recorded by a small temporary seismograph deployment to directly image the structure and multiphase reflectivity of the plate interface. Synthetic tests of the imaging method show the effects of the poor 3-d geometric coverage afforded by the seismometer array. Kirchhoff summation image sections computed from synthetics show accurate depth imaging of backscattering interfaces. Phase-converting interfaces imaged with forward-scattered waves are smeared by poor ray coverage to 5-km depth inaccuracy and are only imaged over a small range of their horizontal extent. From the data, we computed image sections for P–P, P–S, S–P and S–S scattering. We mitigated imaging artifacts due to poor ray coverage with an obliquity factor, an antialiasing criterion and enhancement by resampling statistics. Imaging used a sharply layered velocity model. We tested for the effects of imaging with first-arriving headwaves by imaging through smoothly varying velocity models. For our ray geometry, early-arrival headwaves contribute little to the images. The plate interface appears as a 3–5-km thick P–P and possibly S–S backscatterer with 5° NW dip, offset 5 km down-to-the-NW above a normal fault in the slab. When illuminated from below, a wedge of the interface on the downdip side of the slab fault forms a very prominent P–P forward scatterer. The edges of the wedge forward-scatter some S–P and S–S energy, but an order of magnitude less than the P–P forward scattering. The imbalances between forward scattering of P and S energy suggest a wedge of subducted sediment retaining significant porosity but with rigidity close to that of surrounding rocks.