Mantle Structure Beneath the Damara Belt in South-Central Africa Imaged Using Adaptively Parameterized P-Wave Tomography

Hesam Saeidi, Samantha E. Hansen, Andrew A. Nyblade, Ryan Haag

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Many seismic tomography studies have indicated that the African Large Low Velocity Province (LLVP) extends from the lower mantle beneath southern Africa into the upper mantle beneath eastern Africa; however, it has been questioned whether the LLVP structure may also extend to the north or northwest beneath south-central Africa. Debates regarding the upper mantle structure beneath the Damara Belt contribute to this uncertainty. Some studies suggest the Damara Belt is underlain by thermally perturbed upper mantle; however, other studies indicate the region is not associated with anomalous structure. Here, we use a comprehensive P-wave travel-time data set and an adaptive model parameterization to develop a new tomographic model for the Damara Belt and surrounding regions. Our results show that seismically slow structure beneath the Damara Belt is relegated to depths greater than ∼1,200 km, indicating that the LLVP is not significantly affecting this region. However, further to the northeast, the LLVP structure obliquely rises and crosses the mantle transition zone near the Irumide Belt, where it then extends into the upper mantle. The seismic structure beneath the Damara Belt and neighboring areas in our model correlates well with tectonic observations at the surface, including variations in heat flow, the distribution of geothermal features, the locations of rifts, and estimates of dynamic topography.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Article numbere2023JB027965
JournalJournal of Geophysical Research: Solid Earth
Issue number3
StatePublished - Mar 2024

All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

  • Geophysics
  • Geochemistry and Petrology
  • Space and Planetary Science
  • Earth and Planetary Sciences (miscellaneous)

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