Mantle plumes and associated flow beneath Arabia and East Africa

Sung Joon Chang*, Suzan van der Lee

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

132 Scopus citations

Abstract

We investigate mantle plumes and associated flow beneath the lithosphere by imaging the three-dimensional S-velocity structure beneath Arabia and East Africa. This image shows elongated vertical and horizontal low-velocity anomalies down to at least mid mantle depths. This three-dimensional S-velocity model is obtained through the joint inversion of teleseismic S- and SKS-arrival times, regional S- and Rayleigh waveform fits, fundamental-mode Rayleigh-wave group velocities, and independent Moho constraints from receiver functions, reflection/refraction profiles, and gravity measurements. In the resolved parts of our S-velocity model we find that the Afar plume is distinctly separate from the Kenya plume, showing the Afar plume's origin in the lower mantle beneath southwestern Arabia. We identify another quasi-vertical low-velocity anomaly beneath Jordan and northern Arabia which extends into the lower mantle and may be related to volcanism in Jordan, northern Arabia, and possibly southern Turkey. Comparing locations of mantle plumes from the joint inversion with fast axes of shear-wave splitting, we confirm horizontal mantle flow radially away from Afar. Low-velocity channels in our model support southwestward flow beneath Ethiopia, eastward flow beneath the Gulf of Aden, but not northwestwards beneath the entire Red Sea. Instead, northward mantle flow from Afar appears to be channeled beneath Arabia.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)448-454
Number of pages7
JournalEarth and Planetary Science Letters
Volume302
Issue number3-4
DOIs
StatePublished - Feb 1 2011

Keywords

  • Arabia
  • East Africa
  • Joint inversion
  • Mantle flow
  • Mantle plume
  • Seismic tomography

ASJC Scopus subject areas

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

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