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U.S. Geological Survey Crustal Studies Technical Letter Number 14

In cooperation with the Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency

Preliminary Report on Seismic-Refraction Studies of Crustal Structure in the Western, Central, and Southern United States

By J.C. Roller, O.P. Strozier, W.H. Jackson, and J.H. Healy


Thumbnail of and link to report PDF (24.8 MB)Abstract

During 1963 the U.S. Geological Survey, with the assistance of United ElectroDynamics, Inc., recorded five separate reversed seismic profiles. In addition to these profiles, the U.S. Geological Survey participated in a seismic-calibration program for the DRIBBLE experiment at Tatum Dome, Mississippi, a 20,000-pound shot near Dexter, Missouri, and in a cooperative seismic experiment in the Lake Superior region. This work is a continuation of the program started in 1961; however, the emphasis has shifted from a detailed study of the Earth’s crust in the western United States to a study of crustal structure in various geologic environments including the Wyoming thrust belt, Colorado Plateau, Central Lowlands, the Gulf Coastal Plain, and the southern part of the Canadian Shield. The U.S. Geological Survey has now completed reversed seismic-refraction profiles in nine different geologic provinces.

These data present a promising indication that it may be possible to predict the crustal structure in unexplored areas by considering the regional geologic and physiographic environment.

The following Pn velocities have been determined: 8.2 km/sec in the Wyoming thrust belt, 7.9 km/sec in the Colorado Plateau, 8.1 km/sec in the Central Lowlands, and about 8.2 km/sec in the Gulf Coastal Plain. The data from the Lake Superior region have not yet been interpreted.

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For additional information:
Contact Information, Earthquake Science Center, Menlo Park Science Center
U.S. Geological Survey
345 Middlefield Road, MS 977
Menlo Park, California 94025

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Suggested citation:

Roller, J.C., Strozier, O.P., Jackson, W.H., and Healy, J.H., 1963, Preliminary report on seismic-refraction studies of crustal structure in the western, central, and southern United States: U.S. Geological Survey Crustal Studies Technical Letter Number 14, 55 p. (Available at




Program Objectives

Role of the Contractor

Shooting and Recording



Shotpoint Operations

Shotpoint Refraction-Profiling



Time-Distance Profiles

Preliminary Seismic-Refraction Studies for Project DRIBBLE

Lake Superior Experiment

General Summary



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