Seismic anisotropy in eastern Africa, mantle flow, and the African superplume

Authors

  • Brian Bagley,

    Corresponding author
    1. Department of Geosciences, Pennsylvania State UniversityUniversity Park, Pennsylvania, USA
    2. Department of Earth Sciences, University of Minnesota, Minneapolis, Minnesota, USA
    • Corresponding author: Brian Bagley, Department of Earth Sciences, University of Minnesota, Minneapolis, MN 55455, USA. (bagley@umn.edu)

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  • Andrew A. Nyblade

    1. Department of Geosciences, Pennsylvania State UniversityUniversity Park, Pennsylvania, USA
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Abstract

[1] New estimates of seismic anisotropy from shear wave splitting measurements in eastern Africa reveal a pattern of seismic anisotropy dominated by a NE alignment of fast polarization directions with local changes around the thick Archean lithosphere of the Tanzania craton. The overall pattern is consistent with mantle flow from the African superplume but not with absolute plate motion, a plume head, or fossil anisotropy in the lithosphere. In combination with tomographic images of the African superplume, this finding suggests that plateau uplift, volcanism, and continental breakup along the Afro-Arabian rift system is strongly influenced by flow from the lower mantle and indicates a connection between lower mantle processes and the tectonic deformation of the Earth's surface.

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