Mode conversions, such as the P-to-s (Ps) converted waves, are now employed in a routine manner to image the velocity boundaries in Earth's interior. However, there exists an ambiguity in establishing shallow-mantle velocity discontinuities in the depth range 100–300 km through the Ps receiver function approach. This primarily stems from overlap in the time windows of arrivals of direct converted phases from the target depth boundaries (∼100–300 km depth) and reverberations originating from shallow structures (e.g., from crust and/or shallow lithosphere layers). Attempts have been made to address this problem. Classically, limited success has been achieved through methods such as the move-out, which are essentially performed in the measurement space. Recognizing this, we explore generic space-related information theory measures of similarity to extract diagnostics of discrimination between the primary converted waves and the multiply reflected arrivals in Ps receiver functions. Various measures of similarity, such as the mutual information (MI), and associated normalized distance measures, like the normalized variation of information (NVI) and normalized information distance (NID), are successfully applied to receiver function data sampling regions of different tectonic regimes of wide antiquity. Our seismological stations are located in the Archean-Proterozoic craton–mobile belt regions of SE India, Canada, and Phanerozoic United States. Significantly, at several locations in SE India, we interpret the unambiguous presence of midlithospheric discontinuities for the first time. We also either reconfirm or negate the presence of midlithospheric discontinuities beneath stations FFC (Flin Flon) and HRV (Harvard) located in North America. This study reinforces the presence of significant velocity contrast features related to the Lehmann discontinuity depth beneath the Precambrian cratonic stations of India (Hyderabad and Cuddapah) and the Phanerozoic Pasadena station in the United States. Further, multiple deep discontinuities of opposing velocity contrasts are delineated at depths of ∼275 km and ∼320 km beneath station PAS (Pasadena). Our results therefore show tremendous potential to unambiguously detect and distinguish between direct converted seismological phases and multiple reverberations. These information theory approaches discriminate the seismic phases unequivocally. This new approach thus complements the S-to-p (Sp) receiver function technique, which is suitable for detection of shallow-mantle discontinuities (midlithospheric discontinuities, lithosphere-asthenosphere boundary, Lehmann, etc.).
- Received 9 May 2011.
- Revision received 24 June 2011.
- Accepted 24 June 2011.
- © 2011 Geological Society of America