Tectospheric structure beneath southern Africa

D. E. James*, M. J. Fouch, J. C. VanDecar, S. Van Der Lee

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

321 Scopus citations


P-wave and S-wave delay times from the broadband data of the southern Africa seismic experiment have been inverted to obtain three-dimensional images of velocity perturbations in the mantle beneath southern Africa. High velocity mantle roots appear to extend to depths of at least 250 km, and locally to depths of 300 km beneath the Kaapvaal and Zimbabwe cratons. Thick roots are confined to the Archean cratons, with no evidence for similar structures beneath the adjacent Proterozoic mobile belts. The Kaapvaal craton was modified ca. 2.05 Ga by the Bushveld magmatic event, which affected a broad swath of cratonic mantle beneath and to the west of the exposed Bushveld Complex. The mantle beneath the extended Bushveld province is characterized by seismic velocities lower than those observed in regions of undisturbed cratonic mantle. The mantle beneath the Limpopo Belt, an Archean collisional zone sandwiched between the Kaapvaal and Zimbabwe cratons, exhibits a cratonic signature.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)2485-2488
Number of pages4
JournalGeophysical Research Letters
Issue number13
StatePublished - Jul 1 2001

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Geophysics
  • Earth and Planetary Sciences(all)


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