Effect of windowing on lithosphere elastic thickness estimates obtained via the coherence method: Results from northern South America Article

cited authors

  • Ojeda, GY; Whitman, D

fiu authors


  • The effective elastic thickness (Te) of the lithosphere is a parameter that describes the flexural strength of a plate. A method routinely used to quantity this parameter is to calculate the coherence between the two-dimensional gravity and topography spectra. Prior to spectra calculation, data grids must be "windowed" in order to avoid edge effects. We investigated the sensitivity of Te estimates obtained via the coherence method to mirroring, Hanning and multitaper windowing techniques on synthetic data as well as on data from northern South America. These analyses suggest that the choice of windowing technique plays an important role in Te estimates and may result in discrepancies of several kilometers depending on the selected windowing method. Te results from mirrored grids tend to be greater than those from Hanning smoothed or multitapered grids. Results obtained from mirrored grids are likely to be over-estimates. This effect may be due to artificial long wavelengths introduced into the data at the time of mirroring. Coherence estimates obtained from three subareas in northern South America indicate that the average effective elastic thickness is in the range of 29-30 km, according to Hanning and multitaper windowed data. Lateral variations across the study area could not be unequivocally determined from this study. We suggest that the resolution of the coherence method does not permit evaluation of small (i.e., ∼5 km), local Te variations. However, the efficiency and robustness of the coherence method in rendering continent-scale estimates of elastic thickness has been confirmed.

publication date

  • November 10, 2002


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