Helmholtz Centre Potsdam
GFZ German Research Centre for Geosciences
Abstract (EDOC: 14442)
Installation of observatories in northern Chile started in 2006 in a close cooperation of the Universidad de Chile (Santiago), the Universidad Catolica del Norte (Antofagasta), the IPGP (Paris), and the GFZ Potsdam. Currently we operate 16 modern seismological stations equipped with STS-2 broadband seismometers. All seismic stations are located in northern Chile at 19°-24° S between Arica in the North and Antofagasta in the South. Due to the large amount of the available data, it is now possible to obtain detailed geometry of the subducting Nazca plate as well as that of the continental South American plate in northern Chile with so far unprecedented resolution. The lower boundary of the lithospheric plates, which is poorly observed by seismic means, has remained as an exotic boundary. Even though, seismic surface waves can image the asthenosphere as a low velocity zone. The Lithosphere-Asthenosphere Boundary (LAB) resolved by surface waves can be only considered as a broad transition zone due to the large wavelength of the surface waves. Seismic techniques which use converted body waves are now far enough developed to be successful in observing the LAB with a higher resolution than known so far. The principle of the receiver function technique is that a strong teleseismic mother phase (e.g. P or S) incident on the discontinuity beneath a station produces a small converted phase (P-to-S or S-to-P) which indicates its properties. We combined here these two methods (P and S receiver function) to have the best vertical as well as horizontal coverage of the area. P receiver function analysis using P-to-S converted waves was used as the main tool to map the crustal structure. More than 120 P receiver functions obtained from each station enabled us to detect even small azimuthal structural differences. While P receiver functions provided a clear Image of the Moho topography, S receiver functions (using S-to-P converted waves) were used to detect the Lithosphere-Asthenosphere Boundary (LAB). This boundary could not be observed by P receiver functions due to the crustal multiples, which arrive at the same time and mask the conversion from this boundary. By combining our P and S receiver function results a high-resolution image of the subduction was provided. The resulted LAB topography map could clearly demonstrate the Nazca lithosphere subducting beneath the South American lithosphere.
(2009): High resolution receiver function Images of the lithosphere beneath the Central Andes between 19°and 24° S using data of Integrated Plate boundary Observatory Chile (IPOC). AGU 2009 Fall Meeting (San Francisco 2009).