Long Indian Slab in the Mantle Transition Zone Under Eastern Tibet: Evidence from Teleseismic Tomography

Monday, 15 December 2014: 9:00 AM
Jianshe Lei1, Dapeng Zhao2 and Xiaohui Zha1, (1)Institute of Crustal Dynamics, China Earthquake Administration, Beijing, China, (2)Tohoku University, Sendai, Japan
We present a new 3-D P-wave velocity model of the upper mantle under eastern Tibet determined from 113,831 high-quality teleseismic arrival-time data. Our data are hand-picked from seismograms of 784 teleseismic events (30o-90o) with magnitudes of 5.2 or greater. These events were recorded by 21 portable seismic stations deployed in Yunnan during April 2010 to July 2011 and 259 permanent stations of Chinese provincial seismic networks during September 2008 to December 2011 in the study region. Our results provide new insights into the mantle structure and dynamics of eastern Tibet. High-velocity (high-V) anomalies are revealed down to 200 km depth under stable cratonic regions, such as Sichuan basin, Ordos and Alashan blocks. Prominent low-velocity (low-V) anomalies are revealed in the upper mantle under the Kunlun-Qinling fold zone, Songpan-Ganzi, Qiangtang, Lahsa, and Chuan-Dian diamond blocks, suggesting that the eastward moving low-V materials are obstructed by Sichuan basin, Ordos and Alashan blocks, and they could be extruded through the Qinling fold zone and the Chuan-Dian block to eastern China. In addition, the extent and thickness of these low-V anomalies are well correlated with the surface topography, suggesting that uplift of eastern Tibet is closely related to the low-V anomalies which may reflect hot materials and have strong buoyancy. In the mantle transition zone, broad high-V anomalies are visible from the Burma arc northward to the Kunlun fault and eastward to the Xiaojiang fault, which extend for a total of approximately 700 km. The high-V anomalies are connected upward to the Wadati-Benioff seismic zone beneath the Burma arc. These results suggest that the Indian slab has subducted horizontally for a long distance in the mantle transition zone after it descended into the mantle, and its deep dehydration has contributed to forming the low-V anomalies in the big mantle wedge above the slab. Our present results shed new light on the formation and evolution of the Tibetan plateau.