Kinematics and Dynamics of the Kivu Rift System from Seismic Anisotropy, Seismicity, and Structural Analyses

Friday, 19 December 2014
Hubert Jerzy Zal1, Douglas A Wood2, Cynthia J Ebinger1, Christopher A Scholz3, Nicolas d'Oreye4, Simon A Carn5 and Uwera Rutagarama6, (1)University of Rochester, Rochester, NY, United States, (2)Syracuse University, Syracuse, NY, United States, (3)Syracuse Univ, Syracuse, NY, United States, (4)European Center for Geodynamics and Seismology, Walferdange, Luxembourg, (5)Michigan Technological University, Houghton, MI, United States, (6)Energy Water and Sanitation Authority, Kigali, Rwanda
The westward-tilted Kivu rift in East Africa is bounded by the ~100 km-long, seismically active West Kivu border fault, and dammed at its northern end by flows from the Virunga Volcanic Province. Earlier work delineated faults along the basin margins, but little was known of active faults beneath Lake Kivu, and the lithospheric structure was unexplored. The aims of this study are to determine the kinematics of normal faults and their relation to pre-existing basement structures; to examine the locations of earthquakes with respect to faults in order to delineate zones of active faulting; to evaluate models for the modification of lithosphere by extension and mantle plume processes using seismic shear wave splitting measurements; and to evaluate the role of volcanic loading within the Virunga volcanic province on the evolution of the Kivu basin. We determine rift fault and volcanic fissure locations and orientations using merged high-resolution CHIRP bathymetric and Space Radar Topography Mission data. The majority of faults in the northern sector strike NNE, whereas NE faults are equally important in the southern basin, marking the Kivu-Rusizi accommodation zone. Seismic data was acquired from an 8-station array deployed between March 2012 and April 2013. Although the majority of earthquakes beneath the rift (excluding the active volcanoes) occur at depths of 8-20 km, unusually shallow earthquakes (2-4 km) are located along submerged faults within the East Kivu basin and suggest high pore pressures within the upper crust. Using simple elastic plate flexure model calculations we estimate the maximum deflection of the plate to be ~7 km, using an effective elastic thickness of ~7.5 km. We propose that the rapid subsidence of the ~400 m deep northern Kivu basin occurred in response to volcanic construction. We evaluate models for the modification of lithosphere using shear wave splitting measurements. Splitting results with backazimuths ranging from 88˚ – 98˚ and 240˚ - 286˚ showed fast polarization directions in close agreement with the apparent plate motion (330˚), while results ranging from 32˚ - 48˚ have fast polarization directions consistent with the magmatic fabric of the Eastern Kivu Province (NE), suggesting that fluid flow associated with mantle plume processes have modified the lithosphere.