Using an inversion strategy based on adjoint methods, we developed a three-dimensional seismological model of the southern California crust. The resulting model involved 16 tomographic iterations, which required 6800 wavefield simulations and a total of 0.8 million central processing unit hours. The new crustal model reveals strong heterogeneity, including local changes of T30% with respect to the initial three-dimensional model provided by the Southern California Earthquake Center. The model illuminates shallow features such as sedimentary basins and compositional contrasts across faults. It also reveals crustal features at depth that aid in the tectonic reconstruction of southern California, such as subduction-captured oceanic crustal fragments. The new model enables more realistic and accurate assessments of seismic hazard.
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