Seismic evidence for a sharp lithospheric base persisting to the lowermost mantle beneath the Caribbean

Tadashi Kito, Christine Thomas, Andreas Rietbrock, Edward Garnero, Stuart E J Nippress, Andy E. Heath

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

25 Citations (Scopus)

Abstract

Broad-band data from South American earthquakes recorded by Californian seismic networks are analysed using a newly developed seismic wave migration method-the slowness backazimuth weighted migration (SBWM). Using the SBWM, out-of-plane seismic P-wave reflections have been observed. The reflection locations extend throughout the Earth's lower mantle, down to the core-mantle boundary (CMB) and coincide with the edges of tomographically mapped high seismic velocities. Modelling using synthetic seismograms suggests that a narrow (10-15 km) low- or high-velocity lamella with about 2 per cent velocity contrast can reproduce the observed reflected waveforms, but other explanations may exist. Considering the reflection locations and synthetic modelling, the observed out-of-plane energy is well explained by underside reflections off a sharp reflector at the base of the subducted lithosphere. We also detect weaker reflections corresponding to the tomographically mapped top of the slab, which may arise from the boundary between the Nazca plate and the overlying former basaltic oceanic crust. The joint interpretation of the waveform modelling and geodynamic considerations indicate mass flux of the former oceanic lithosphere and basaltic crust across the 660 km discontinuity, linking processes and structure at the top and bottom of the Earth's mantle, supporting the idea of whole mantle convection.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)1019-1028
Number of pages10
JournalGeophysical Journal International
Volume174
Issue number3
DOIs
StatePublished - 2008

Fingerprint

Earth mantle
mantle
seismic wave
lithosphere
modeling
broadband data
Nazca plate
crusts
waveforms
wave reflection
core-mantle boundary
mantle convection
synthetic seismogram
oceanic lithosphere
lower mantle
seismic velocity
oceanic crust
geodynamics
Earth (planet)
P-wave

Keywords

  • Body waves
  • Dynamics of lithosphere and mantle
  • Mantle processes
  • Subduction zone processes
  • Wave scattering and diffraction

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Geochemistry and Petrology
  • Geophysics

Cite this

Seismic evidence for a sharp lithospheric base persisting to the lowermost mantle beneath the Caribbean. / Kito, Tadashi; Thomas, Christine; Rietbrock, Andreas; Garnero, Edward; Nippress, Stuart E J; Heath, Andy E.

In: Geophysical Journal International, Vol. 174, No. 3, 2008, p. 1019-1028.

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

Kito, Tadashi ; Thomas, Christine ; Rietbrock, Andreas ; Garnero, Edward ; Nippress, Stuart E J ; Heath, Andy E. / Seismic evidence for a sharp lithospheric base persisting to the lowermost mantle beneath the Caribbean. In: Geophysical Journal International. 2008 ; Vol. 174, No. 3. pp. 1019-1028.
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