Tomographic imaging of the effects of Peruvian flat slab subduction on the Nazca slab and surrounding mantle under central and southern Peru

Tuesday, 16 December 2014
Alissa C Scire1, George Zandt1, Susan L Beck1, Brandon Bishop1, Cemal B Biryol2, Lara S Wagner3, Maureen D Long4, Estela Minaya5 and Hernando Tavera6, (1)University of Arizona, Tucson, AZ, United States, (2)University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill, Chapel Hill, NC, United States, (3)UNC-Chapel Hill, Chapel Hill, NC, United States, (4)Yale University, New Haven, CT, United States, (5)Observatorio San Calixto, La Paz, Bolivia, (6)Instituto GeofĂ­sico del PerĂș, Lima, Peru
The modern central Peruvian Andes are dominated by a laterally extensive region of flat slab subduction. The Peruvian flat slab extends for ~1500 km along the strike of the Andes, correlating with the subduction of the Nazca Ridge in the south and the theorized Inca Plateau in the north. We have used data from the CAUGHT and PULSE experiments for finite frequency teleseismic P- and S-wave tomography to image the Nazca slab in the upper mantle below 95 km depth under central Peru between 10°S and 18°S as well as the surrounding mantle. Since the slab inboard of the subducting Nazca Ridge is mostly aseismic, our results provide important constraints on the geometry of the subducting Nazca slab in this region. Our images of the Nazca slab suggest that steepening of the slab inboard of the subducting Nazca Ridge locally occurs ~100 km further inland than was indicated in previous studies. The region where we have imaged the steepening of the Nazca slab inboard of the Nazca Ridge correlates with the location of the Fitzcarrald Arch, a long wavelength upper plate topographic feature which has been suggested to be a consequence of ridge subduction. When the slab steepens inboard of the flat slab region, it does so at a very steep (~70°) angle. The transition from the Peruvian flat slab to the more normally dipping slab south of 16°S below Bolivia is characterized by an abrupt bending of the slab anomaly in the mantle in response to the shift from flat to normal subduction. The slab anomaly appears to be intact south of the Nazca Ridge with no evidence for tearing of the slab in response to the abrupt change in slab dip. A potential tear in the slab is inferred from an observed offset in the slab anomaly north of the Nazca Ridge extending subparallel to the ridge axis between 130 and 300 km depth. A high amplitude (-5-6%) slow S-wave velocity anomaly is observed below the projection of the Nazca Ridge. This anomaly appears to be laterally confined to the mantle directly below projection of the Nazca Ridge but descends to ~300 km depth in the mantle. This sub-slab slow anomaly may correlate with vertical mantle flow induced by movement of material through the inferred tear in the slab north of the Nazca Ridge or alternately may represent a long-lived feature of the sub-slab mantle possibly associated with the development of the Nazca Ridge at the Easter Island hot spot.