Imaging pockets and conduits of low velocity material beneath the lithosphere of the Atlas Mountains of Morocco: links to volcanism and orogenesis

Friday, 19 December 2014
Meghan Samantha Miller1, Daoyuan Sun1, Leland O'Driscoll1, Adam Holt1, Amber Butcher1, Thorsten W Becker1, Jordi Diaz Cusi2 and Christine Thomas3, (1)University of Southern California, Los Angeles, CA, United States, (2)ICTJA-CSIC, Barcelona, Spain, (3)University of Münster, Münster, Germany
The Atlas Mountains of Morocco have unusually high topography, with no apparent deep crustal root, and regions of localized Cenozoic alkaline volcanism. Previous seismic imaging and geophysical studies have implied a hot mantle upwelling as the source of the volcanism and high elevation, but the existence and physical properties of such an upwelling are debated. Recent temporary deployments of over 100 broadband seismometers that extended across Morocco as part of the PICASSO, Morocco-Münster, and IberArray experiments along with select permanent stations have provided a dataset to image the detailed mantle and lithospheric structure beneath the Atlas. We present results from S receiver functions (SRF), shear wave splitting, waveform modeling, and geodynamic models that help constrain the tectonic evolution of the Atlas and the localized alkaline volcanism. The receiver functions show that the lithosphere is thin (~65 km) beneath the Atlas, but thickens (~105 km) over a very short length scale at the flanks of the mountains and near the Quaternary volcanoes. These changes in lithospheric thickness also correspond to dramatic decreases in delay times inferred from S and SKS splitting observations. SRFs also indicate a broad, low seismic velocity anomaly (~150 km) below the shallow lithosphere that extends along much of the Atlas and beneath the Anti-Atlas and correlates with the location of Pliocene-Quaternary magmatism. Waveform analysis from the linear array across the Middle and High Atlas constrains the position, shape, and physical characteristics of a localized, low velocity conduit that extends up from the uppermost mantle (~200 km). The shape, position and temperature of the imaged low velocity anomaly, offsets in the lithosphere-asthenosphere boundary, and correlation with mantle flow inferred from shear wave splitting suggest that the unusually high topography of the Atlas Mountains is due to active mantle support.