Active-source seismic imaging below Lake Malawi (Nyasa) from the SEGMeNT project
Abstract:Little is known about the controls on the initiation and development of magmatism and segmentation in young rift systems. The northern Lake Malawi (Nyasa) rift in the East African Rift System is an early stage rift exhibiting pronounced tectonic segmentation, which is defined in the upper crust by ~100-km-long border faults. Very little volcanism is associated with rifting; the only surface expression of magmatism occurs in an accommodation zone between segments to the north of the lake in the Rungwe Volcanic Province. The SEGMeNT (Study of Extension and maGmatism in Malawi aNd Tanzania) project is a multidisciplinary, multinational study that is acquiring a suite of geophysical, geological and geochemical data to characterize deformation and magmatism in the crust and mantle lithosphere along 2-3 segments of this rift.
As a part of the SEGMeNT project, we acquired seismic reflection and refraction data in Lake Malawi (Nyasa) in March-April 2015. Over 2000 km of seismic reflection data were acquired with a 500 to 2580 cu in air gun array from GEUS/Aarhus and a 500- to 1500-m-long seismic streamer from Syracuse University over a grid of lines across and along the northern and central basins. Air gun shots from MCS profiles and 1000 km of additional shooting with large shot intervals were also recorded on 27 short-period and 6 broadband lake bottom seismometers from Scripps Oceanographic Institute as a part of the Ocean Bottom Seismic Instrument Pool (OBSIP) as well as the 55-station onshore seismic array. The OBS were deployed along one long strike line and two dip lines.
We will present preliminary data and results from seismic reflection and refraction data acquired in the lake and their implications for crustal deformation within and between rift segments. Seismic reflection data image structures up to ~5-6 km below the lake bottom, including syntectonic sediments, intrabasinal faults and other complex horsts. Some intrabasinal faults in both the northern and central basins offset the youngest sediments, indicating that they are active. These include faults in the area of the 2009 Karonga earthquakes.