A lithospheric velocity model for the flat slab region of Argentina from joint inversion of Rayleigh-wave dispersion and teleseismic receiver functions

Tuesday, 16 December 2014
Jean-Baptiste Ammirati1,2, Patricia M Alvarado1,2 and Susan L Beck3, (1)National University of San Juan, Geophysics and Astronomy, San Juan, Argentina, (2)CONICET, CIGEOBIO, Buenos Aires, Argentina, (3)University of Arizona, Tucson, AZ, United States
Receiver Function (RF) analyses using teleseismic P waveforms is a technique to isolate P to S conversions from seismic discontinuities in the lithosphere. Using earthquakes with a good azimuthal distribution, RFs recorded at a three-component seismic station can be inverted to obtain detailed lithospheric velocity structures. The technique, however presents a velocity-depth trade-off, which results in a non-unique model because RFs do not depend on the absolute seismic velocities but rather on relative velocity contrasts. Unlike RF, surface wave dispersion is sensitive to the average shear-wave velocity which makes it well suited for studying long period variations of the lithospheric seismic velocities. We performed a joint inversion of RF and Rayleigh-wave phase velocity dispersion to investigate the structure beneath the SIEMBRA network, a 43-broadband-seismic-station array deployed in the Pampean flat slab region of Argentina. Our results indicate: 1) The presence of several mid-crustal discontinuities probably related with terrane accretion; 2) A high seismic velocity in the lower crust suggesting partial eclogitization; 3) A thicker crust (> 50 km) beneath the western Sierras Pampeanas with an abrupt change in the relative timing of the Moho signal indicating a thinner crust to the east; 4) The presence of the subducting oceanic crust lying at ~100 km depth. We then built a 1D regional velocity model for the flat slab region of Argentina and used it for regional moment tensor inversions for local earthquakes. This technique is notably dependent on small-scale variations of Earth structure when modeling higher frequency seismic waveforms. Eighteen regional focal mechanisms have been determined. Our solutions are in good agreement with GCMT source estimations although our solutions for deep earthquakes systematically resulted in shallower focal depths suggesting that the slab seismicity could be concentrated at the top of the subducting Nazca plate. Solutions corresponding to crustal events match well the geological observations from other studies.