Rayleigh-wave imaging of upper-mantle shear velocities beneath the Malawi Rift; Preliminary results from the SEGMeNT experiment
Friday, 18 December 2015
Poster Hall (Moscone South)
The Malawi Rift (MR) is an immature rift located at the southern tip of the Western branch of the East African Rift System (EARS). Pronounced border faults and tectonic segmentation are seen within the upper crust. Surface volcanism in the region is limited to the Rungwe volcanic province located north of Lake Malawi (Nyasa). However, the distribution of extension and magma at depth in the crust and mantle lithosphere is unknown. As the Western Rift of the EARS is largely magma-poor except for discrete volcanic provinces, the MR presents the ideal location to elucidate the role of magmatism in early-stage rifting and the manifestation of segmentation at depth. This study investigates the shear velocity of the crust and mantle lithosphere beneath the MR to constrain the thermal structure, the amount of total crustal and lithospheric thinning, and the presence and distribution of magmatism beneath the rift. Utilizing 55 stations from the SEGMeNT (Study of Extension and maGmatism in Malawi aNd Tanzania) passive-source seismic experiment operating in Malawi and Tanzania, we employed a multi-channel cross-correlation algorithm to obtain inter-station phase and amplitude information from Rayleigh wave observations between 20 and 80 s period. We retrieve estimates of phase velocity between 9-20 s period from ambient noise cross-correlograms in the frequency domain via Aki’s formula. We invert phase velocity measurements to obtain estimates of shear velocity (Vs) between 50-200 km depth. Preliminary results reveal a striking low-velocity zone (LVZ) beneath the Rungwe volcanic province with Vs ~4.2-4.3 km/s in the uppermost mantle. Low velocities extend along the entire strike of Lake Malawi and to the west where a faster velocity lid (~4.5 km/s) is imaged. These preliminary results will be extended by incorporating broadband data from seven “lake”-bottom seismometers (LBS) to be retrieved from Lake Malawi in October of this year. The crust and mantle modeling will be extended by integrating constraints from broadband body-wave studies and the ongoing analysis of refraction data collected on 27 short-period LBS during the active-source portion of the SEGMeNT.