The P wavespeed structure below and around the Kaapvaal craton to depths of 800 km, from traveltimes and waveforms of local and regional earthquakes and mining-induced tremors
PublisherOxford University Press, https://academic.oup.com/gji
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An average P-wavespeed model from the surface to depths of 800 km was derived for southern Africa using traveltimes and waveforms from earthquakes recorded at stations of the Kaapvaal and South African National networks. In this first study of the transition zone for the central part of the African superswell, a damped least-squares inversion was used to minimize effects of origin time errors. Triplications were observed for both the 410 and 670 km discontinuities, with crossover points between first arrival branches at average distances of 19.61° and 23.92°, respectively. The Herglotz–Wiechert method combined with ray tracing was used to derive a preliminary model, followed by refinements using phase-weighted stacking and synthetic seismograms to yield the final model BPI1A. This model shows a prominent 410 km discontinuity, but a weakly-defined 670 km discontinuity, in agreement with the SATZ model for a region of southern Africa to the north of the region covered by the present study. The wavespeeds of BPI1A from the base of the crust to 270 km depth lie between those of the SATZ model and the IASP91 model, which have higher and lower wavespeeds respectively. Between depths of 270 km and the 410 km discontinuity, models BPI1A, IASP91 and SATZ have similar wavespeeds but the 410 km discontinuity for BPI1A is about 10 km deeper than in IASP91. Model GNEM for Eurasia has lower wavespeeds than the other three models above the 410 km discontinuity. Within the transition zone models BPI1A and SATZ converge as the depth increases, with wavespeeds that exceed those of IASP91 below 500 km depth. These models and model GNEM all have similar wavespeeds below 750 km depth. The seismic results indicate no regions of anomalous low wavespeeds within the uppermost 800 km of the mantle that could be associated with high temperatures and the uplift of the African superswell. However, higher seismic wavespeeds in the transition zone than elsewhere are suggested for the southern part of the region, which may result from iron depletion and therefore lower densities that might contribute to buoyant uplift of the overlying crust and upper mantle.