Assessing waveform predictions of recent three-dimensional velocity models of the Tibetan Plateau

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Accurate velocity models are essential for both the determination of earthquake locations and source moments and the interpretation of Earth structures. With the increasing number of three-dimensional velocity models, it has become necessary to assess the models for accuracy in predicting seismic observations. Six models of the crustal and uppermost mantle structures in Tibet and surrounding regions are investigated in this study. Regional Rayleigh and Pn (or Pnl) waveforms from two ground truth events, including one nuclear explosion and one natural earthquake located in the study area, are simulated by using a three-dimensional finite-difference method. Synthetics are compared to observed waveforms in multiple period bands of 20-75 s for Rayleigh waves and 1-20 s for Pn/Pnl waves. The models are evaluated based on the phase delays and cross-correlation coefficients between synthetic and observed waveforms. A model generated from full-wave ambient noise tomography best predicts Rayleigh waves throughout the data set, as well as Pn/Pnl waves traveling from the Tarim Basin to the stations located in central Tibet. In general, the models constructed from P wave tomography are not well suited to predict Rayleigh waves, and vice versa. Possible causes of the differences between observed and synthetic waveforms, and frequency-dependent variations of the "best matching" models with the smallest prediction errors are discussed. This study suggests that simultaneous prediction for body and surface waves requires an integrated velocity model constructed with multiple seismic waveforms and consideration of other important properties, such as anisotropy.

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Journal of Geophysical Research: Solid Earth