Composition of the crust and upper-mantle in the Central Andes (19°30'S) inferred from P wave velocity and Poisson's ratio
The present-day crustal structure of the Andean chain results from deformation processes and magmatic activity since the onset of subduction. One line of investigation to resolve questions about the mechanism of crustal thickening is to get information about the composition of the crust and upper-mantle by imaging the structures in velocity and Poisson's ratio (or Vp/ Vs). A high density seismic network was operated during six months in 1994 across the whole Andean chain. The P and S travel times of the best located local earthquakes, mainly situated in the subduction zone, have been inverted for Vp and Vp/ Vs using Thurber's 3D iterative simultaneous inversion method. The resulting models, giving short-scale information about the crustal and upper-mantle composition, provide new limits on the respective involvement of crustal shortening and magmatism in the thickening of the Andean crust. Beneath the Western Cordillera, the seismic properties are well explained by typical active volcanic arc processes, and the thickening of the crust is explained by magmatic addition. Conversely, beneath the Central Altiplano Basin and the Eastern Cordillera, our results preclude significant volume of magmatic addition from the mantle and reinforce crustal shortening as the main thickening process. Moreover, cratonic lower crust and subcontinental lithospheric upper-mantle are observed under the Eastern Cordillera up to 67°W, evidence of the underthrusting of the Brazilian craton, which drives the crustal shortening. Beneath the Central Altiplano Basin, a thin lithospheric mantle is observed above a well marked asthenospheric wedge which extends in depth below the western part of the Eastern Cordillera. Thus partial melt is observed in the shallow mantle west of the Western Cordillera up to the Brazilian craton.