Crustal Vp-Vs ratios and thickness for Ross Island and the Transantarctic Mountain front, Antarctica

Marco Finotello, Andrew Nyblade, Jordi Julia, Douglas Wiens, Sridhar Anandakrishnan

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

24 Scopus citations


We investigate crustal Vp-Vs ratios and thickness along the Transantarctic Mountain (TAM) front and on Ross Island, Antarctica to determine if the TAM crust has been modified by the Neogene magmatism associated with Ross Island. A seismic low velocity zone (LVZ) in the upper mantle beneath Ross Island extends laterally ∼80 km under the TAM front, and mantle temperatures within the LVZ may be sufficiently elevated for partial melting to have occurred and modified the crust. Data for the study come from 16 temporary seismic stations that were part of the TAM Seismic Experiment and three permanent stations. Estimates of Vp/Vs (κ) and crustal thickness (H) have been obtained from receiver functions analysed using the H-κ stacking method for 10 of the stations, and for the remaining stations, crustal thickness has been calculated by using the Moho Ps arrival time with an assumed Vp/Vs value. A Vp/Vs value of 1.88 is obtained for Ross Island, consistent with the mafic composition of the volcanic rocks from Mt. Erebus. Vp/Vs values for stations in the TAM situated away from the LVZ range from 1.63 to 1.78, with a mean of 1.73, while values for stations in the TAM lying above the LVZ range from 1.67 to 1.78, with a mean of 1.72. This result indicates that there is little difference in bulk crustal composition for areas above and away from the LVZ, and together with a Vp/Vs value (1.73) that is typical for felsic to intermediate composition crust, suggests that the crust along the TAM front has not been altered significantly by mafic magmatism. Crustal thickness estimates along the coast are quite variable, ranging from 18 to 33 km, and increase to 39 km inland beneath the crest of the TAM. On Ross Island, crustal thickness estimates range between 19 and 27 km.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)85-92
Number of pages8
JournalGeophysical Journal International
Issue number1
StatePublished - Apr 2011

All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

  • Geophysics
  • Geochemistry and Petrology


Dive into the research topics of 'Crustal Vp-Vs ratios and thickness for Ross Island and the Transantarctic Mountain front, Antarctica'. Together they form a unique fingerprint.

Cite this