Seismic studies in the Southern Puna Plateu and the Peruvian Andes
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I present three studies in two regions, both within the Central Andes. In both regions it is clear that there are significant variations in the subduction geometry. I have used surface wave tomography to investigate the shear wave velocity structure beneath the southern Puna plateau and found evidence of widespread melting of the crust beneath the high elevations which correlates with a gap in intermediate depth seismicity and the recent eruptions of ignimbrite complexes. All of these observations can be explained by the delamination of the lithospheric mantle beneath it. I measured Rayleigh wave phase velocities as a function of frequency and inverted then to obtain shear wave velocities as a function of depth. The results show a high velocity body sitting above the subducting Nazca plate beneath the northern edge of the Cerro Galan ignimbrite. This high velocity body is interpreted to be the delaminated piece of lithosphere that detached and sank leading to a localized upwelling of asthenosphere that, in turn, caused widespread crustal melting leading to the eruption of the most recent ignimbrite complexes. Furthermore it is possible that this upwelling also thermally eroded the slab in this region. It is apparent that there is a significant slab gap or hole where there are very few intermediate depth earthquakes. In addition, I have used shear wave splitting analysis and shear wave splitting tomography in the southern Puna plateau to investigate the patterns of seismic anisotropy and mantle flow. The results show very complex shear wave splitting and seismic anisotropy patterns throughout the southern Puna plateau. The observations suggest that different mechanisms are driving the mantle flow from region to region. The subslab mantle outside the region where delamination took place is mostly driven by slab roll back and small degree of coupling between the subducting slab and the mantle below it. In the region apparently dominated by delamination, the subslab mantle outlines a rotation pattern of a-axis and s
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