S-wave velocity structure beneath the Kaapvaal Craton from surface-wave inversions compared with estimates from mantle xenoliths
Larson, Angela Marie
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Results from two-station surface-wave inversions across the Archean Kaapvaal craton of southern Africa are compared with seismic velocities estimated from approximately 100 mantle xenoliths brought to the surface in kimberlite pipes. As the xenoliths represent a snapshot of the mantle at the time of their eruption, comparison with recently recorded seismic data provides an opportunity to compare and contrast the independently gained results. These cratonic xenoliths from the southern Kaapvaal, all less than 100Ma in age, have been analyzed geothermobarometrically to obtain the equilibrium P-T conditions of the cratonic mantle to about 180km depth [James et al 2004]. Seismic velocity-depth and density-depth profiles calculated on the basis of these P-T data and the mineral modes of the xenoliths are used to produce theoretical surface-wave dispersion curves and to generate roughly the upper 200km of a starting/reference model. A regionally-developed crustal structure [Niu and James 2002] was used for the crust and 300km of mantle values taken from PREM filled in down to 500km depth. This composite model was used as the starting/reference model for a Neighbourhood Algorithm surface-wave inversion using fundamental-mode Rayleigh-wave phase velocities for 16 paths within the Kaapvaal Craton from five events. The velocity structures found by that inversion are consistent with those derived from the xenolith data. Hence the velocity structure (i.e. thermal structure) of the mantle to a depth of 180km beneath the Kaapvaal craton is basically the same today as it was 80-90Ma. Further, synthetics runs show that for this surface-wave dataset, there is no strong low-velocity zone at depths shallower than at least 200km.
- Masters' Theses