Transportable seismic array tomography in southeast Australia: illuminating the transition from Proterozoic to Phanerozoic lithosphere

Nicholas Rawlinson, Michelle Salmon, Brian L N Kennett

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

30 Citations (Scopus)


The Phanerozoic Tasmanides of eastern Australia is comprised of a series of orogenic belts that developed along the east margin of Gondwana following the breakup of the supercontinent Rodinia and subsequent formation of the Pacific Ocean. The tectonic complexities of this region have been well studied, but most work has been confined to evidence collected from the near surface, where extensive Mesozoic and Cenozoic basin cover masks large tracts of Palaeozoic basement. We apply teleseismic tomography to distant earthquake data recorded by WOMBAT – the largest transportable seismic array experiment in the southern hemisphere – to image P-wavespeed variations in the mantle lithosphere beneath the southern portion of the Tasmanides in detail. In order to seamlessly suture together the teleseismic datasets from each of the 14 sub-arrays of WOMBAT, we use P-wavespeeds from the AuSREM model to construct a laterally heterogeneous starting model that captures the long wavelength structural variations that would otherwise be lost through the use of relative arrival time residuals. Synthetic resolution tests indicate good horizontal resolution of ~ 50 km within most of the array between depths of 50–350 km. A key feature of the 3-D P-wave model is a pronounced easterly high velocity salient in the mantle lithosphere beneath the northern limit of the New England Orocline, which may indicate the presence of underpinning Proterozoic lithosphere that was instrumental in its formation. Another pronounced high velocity anomaly underlies the Curnamona Province, a large crustal block with a strong Archean provenance, which is clearly separated from the Gawler Craton to the west at upper mantle depths by a low velocity zone beneath the Adelaide Fold Belt. We also estimate the location of the eastern boundary of Precambrian Australia at depth, and show that it extends eastward further than previously thought.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)65-76
Number of pages12
Early online date15 Jun 2013
Publication statusPublished - 15 Feb 2014

Bibliographical note


This work was supported by the Australian Research Council Discovery Grant DP120103673. G. Randy Keller and an anonymous reviewer are thanked for their constructive comments which significantly improved the paper.


  • seismic tomography
  • body waves
  • Australian lithosphere
  • Gondwana evolution


Dive into the research topics of 'Transportable seismic array tomography in southeast Australia: illuminating the transition from Proterozoic to Phanerozoic lithosphere'. Together they form a unique fingerprint.

Cite this