S-Velocity Mantle Structure at the Subducting Chile Ridge

S-Velocity Mantle Structure at the Subducting Chile Ridge We deployed 39 broad- band seismic stations from PASSCAL in southern Chile, aiming to investigate the possible existence and effects of slab windows.
<p>
At the triple junction between the Nazca, Antarctica and South American plate an actively spreading ridge is currently being subducted. The ridge continues to spread as it gets subducted beneath South America. However, no new lithosphere is formed in the process. As a result slab windows likely exist beneath the overiding plate. These gaps allow asthenospheric mantle to flow through the slab, effecting mantle chemistry and thermal regime, seismic velocities and anisotropy as well as surface geology (e.g. gaps in arc volcanism).
</p><p>Slab windows have successfully been imaged using P wave tomography [Russo et al., 2009]. In this study we analyze Rayleigh waves as they traverse the Chile Ridge Subduction Project (CRSP) array, in order to determine if additional constraints may be obtained from surface wave analysis.
</p><p>We easily cross-correlated waveforms from an event at different stations to determine the relative arrival times, which allowed us to image the wavefront as it passes through the array. Typical for many events recorded at the CRSP array are wavepaths following the boundary between the Nazca and South American plates. For these events the incoming wavefront is not perpendicular to the great circle paths connecting the source and the receivers.
</p><p>In order to get a first order estimate of the Rayleigh wave phase velocities we split the array into four regions defined by the 73°W meridian and 46°S parallel. We then invert relative arrival times for the average phase velocity within the defined regions. We repeat the inversion for several events, and combine the results. We conclude that
</p><p>• Imaging Rayleigh wavefronts as they traverse the array region shows that particularly at shorter periods (e.g. 30 s) they are not perpendicular to the great circle path connecting the earthquake source and the seismometers.
</p><p>• This needs to be taken into consideration when determining the phase velocities.
</p><p>• A strong velocity contrast between the E (slow) and the W (fast) is derived from the delay times.
</p><p>• Possibly a similar distinction can be made between the N (fast) and the S (slow).
</p><p>References:
</p><p>Russo, R.M., VanDecar, J.C., Comte, D., Mocanu, V.I., Gallego, A. Murdie, R.E., 2010. Subduction of the Chile Ridge: upper mantle structure and flow, GSA Today, in press.
</p><p>Acknowledgements: This work was supported by National Science Foundation grant EAR 0538267.</p>

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