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Shear-wave velocity structure of the Tongariro Volcanic Centre, New Zealand: Fast Rayleigh and slow Love waves indicate strong shallow anisotropy


Models of the velocity structure of volcanoes can help define possible magma pathways and contribute to calculating more accurate earthquake locations, which can help with monitoring volcanic activity. However, shear-wave velocity of volcanoes is difficult to determine from traditional seismic techniques, such as local earthquake tomography (LET) or refraction/reflection surveys. Here we use the recently developed technique of noise cross correlation of continuous seismic data to investigate the subsurface shear-wave velocity structure of the Tongariro Volcanic Centre (TgVC) of New Zealand, focusing on the active Ruapehu and Tongariro Volcanoes. We observe both the fundamental and first higher-order modes of Rayleigh and Love waves within our noise dataset, made from stacks of 15 min cross-correlation functions. We manually pick group velocity dispersion curves from over 1900 correlation functions, of which we consider 1373 to be high quality. We subsequently invert a subset of the fundamental mode Rayleigh- and Love-wave dispersion curves both independently and jointly for one dimensional shear-wave velocity (Vs) profiles at Ruapehu and Tongariro Volcanoes. Vs increases very slowly at a rate of approximately 0.2 km/s per km depth beneath Ruapehu, suggesting that progressive hydrothermal alteration mitigates the effects of compaction driven velocity increases. At Tongariro, we observe larger Vs increases with depth, which we interpret as different layers within Tongariro's volcanic system above altered basement greywacke. Slow Vs, on the order of 1–2 km/s, are compatible with P-wave velocities (using a Vp/Vs ratio of 1.7) from existing velocity profiles of areas within the TgVC, and the observations of worldwide studies of shallow volcanic systems that used ambient noise cross-correlation methods.