During the Kenya Rift International Seismic Project (KRISP 90) a 450 km long E-W seismic-refraction/wide-angle-reflection profile involving the deployment of 250 instruments was shot across the Kenya Rift. A reflected phase recorded between distances of 260 and 350 km from a 1000 kg shot at the western end of the line in Lake Victoria has been interpreted as originating from about 60 km beneath the western margin of the rift.
Detailed processing of this phase has resulted in defining its polarity in relation to the first-arrival diving wave at the same range. Extensive kinematic and dynamic modelling shows there is a high-velocity zone at depths below 60 km under the western flank of the rift. We cannot exclude the presence of a layered alternating high-low-velocity structure as found in the upper mantle beneath the northern part of the N-S seismic profile along the rift axis.
Constraints from xenolith studies indicate that anisotropy may explain the high velocity found beneath the reflecting horizon (≥8.40km s(hoch)-1). Petrological modelling shows that if the anisotropy is due to the preferred orientation of olivine crystals, then either a transverse isotropic structure, in which the 'a' and 'c' axes are randomly orientated in the horizontal plane, or an orthorhombic structure, in which the fast 'a' axis is orientated along the direction of the E-W seismic line, is possible. The reflection could also be caused by a pre-rift structure associated with the Proterozoic collisional orogen involving the Mozambique Orogenic Belt and the Archaean Nyanza Craton, whose contact is subparallel to and lies about 70 km to the west of the Tertiary rift. The evidence presented here delimits the lateral extent of the upper-mantle region of anomalously low-velocity material that is confined to below the surface expression of the rift itself at depths below 60 km.
(1996): On the upper mantle beneath the Kenya Rift
. Geophysical Journal International