Joint Inversion of Seismic and Gravity Data for Velocity Structure and Hypocentral Locations of the Colombian Subduction Zone

Monday, 15 December 2014
Ellen M Syracuse1, Monica Maceira1, German A Prieto2, Haijiang Zhang3 and Charles J Ammon4, (1)Los Alamos National Laboratory, Los Alamos, NM, United States, (2)Massachusetts Institute of Technology, Cambridge, MA, United States, (3)University of Science and Technology of China, Hefei, China, (4)Pennsylvania State University Main Campus, Department of Geosciences, University Park, PA, United States
Joint inversions of geophysical data recover models that simultaneously fit multiple types of constraints while playing upon the various sensitivities of each data type. Here, we combine body wave arrival times with surface wave dispersion measurements and gravity observations to develop a combined 3D P- and S-wave velocity model for the crust and upper mantle of Colombia. P- and S-wave arrival times were obtained for local earthquakes from instruments in the Colombian National Seismic Network. Rayleigh wave dispersion curves were inverted for using a subset of network stations and larger local earthquakes. Gravity observations were extracted from the global satellite-based model EGM2008.

Preliminary results using body waves only show reduced velocities beneath the volcanic arc in the upper 25 km of the crust. Crustal velocities are also reduced from the 1D starting model beneath the Eastern Cordillera in the northern half of the country. Relocations of intermediate-depth seismicity clearly indicate a discontinuity in the slab centered 5° N latitude, where the southern portion of the slab is ~200 km trenchward of the northern portion, coincident with the termination of arc volcanism and in recent years interpreted as due to a slab tear [Vargas and Mann, 2013]. Seismicity below 100 km depth in the southern portion of the subduction zone­­­ is surrounded by a ~100-km-thick region of elevated velocities, associated with the subduction of the Nazca Plate, and embedded within a broader region of reduced velocities. The northern portion of the subduction zone at 100 km depth and below is characterized by a broad region of elevated velocities, which may be consistent with a slab of an old, thickened Caribbean Plate origin. The overlapping of the edges of the Nazca and Caribbean slabs may contribute to the seismicity of the Bucaramanga nest.