The structure of the crust and uppermost mantle beneath Madagascar

Fenitra Andriampenomanana, Andrew A. Nyblade, Michael E. Wysession, Raymond J. Durrheim, Frederik Tilmann, Jordi Julià, Martin J. Pratt, Ǵerard Rambolamanana, Ghassan Aleqabi, Patrick J. Shore, Tsiriandrimanana Rakotondraibe

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The lithosphere ofMadagascar was initially amalgamated during the Pan-African events in the Neoproterozoic. It has subsequently been reshaped by extensional processes associated with the separation from Africa and India in the Jurassic and Cretaceous, respectively, and been subjected to several magmatic events in the late Cretaceous and the Cenozoic. In this study, the crust and uppermost mantle have been investigated to gain insights into the present-day structure and tectonic evolution ofMadagascar.We analysed receiver functions, computed from data recorded on 37 broad-band seismic stations, using the H-κ stacking method and a joint inversion with Rayleigh-wave phase-velocity measurements. The thickness of the Malagasy crust ranges between 18 and 46 km. It is generally thick beneath the spine of mountains in the centre part (up to 46 km thick) and decreases in thickness towards the edges of the island. The shallowest Moho is found beneath the western sedimentary basins (18 km thick), which formed during both the Permo-Triassic Karro rifting in Gondwana and the Jurassic rifting of Madagascar from eastern Africa. The crust below the sedimentary basin thickens towards the north and east, reflecting the progressive development of the basins. In contrast, in the east there was no major rifting episode. Instead, the slight thinning of the crust along the east coast (31-36 km thick) may have been caused by crustal uplift and erosion when Madagascar moved over the Marion hotspot and India broke away from it. The parameters describing the crustal structure of Archean and Proterozoic terranes, including average thickness (40 km versus 35 km), Poisson's ratio (0.25 versus 0.26), average shear-wave velocity (both 3.7 km s-1), and thickness of mafic lower crust (7 km versus 4 km), show weak evidence of secular variation. The uppermost mantle beneathMadagascar is generally characterized by shear-wave velocities typical of stable lithosphere (~4.5 km s-1). However, markedly slow shear-wave velocities (4.2-4.3 km s-1) are observed beneath the northern tip, central part and southwestern region of the island where the major Cenozoic volcanic provinces are located, implying the lithosphere has been significantly modified in these places.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)1525-1544
Number of pages20
JournalGeophysical Journal International
Issue number3
StatePublished - Sep 1 2017

All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

  • Geophysics
  • Geochemistry and Petrology


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