Deep electrical resistivity structure of northwestern Costa Rica



[1] First long-period magnetotelluric investigations were conducted in early 2008 in northwestern Costa Rica, along a profile that extends from the coast of the Pacific Ocean, traverses the volcanic arc and ends currently at the Nicaraguan border. The aim of this study is to gain insight into the electrical resistivity structure and thus fluid distribution at the continental margin where the Cocos plate subducts beneath the Caribbean plate. Preliminary two-dimensional models map the only moderately resistive mafic/ultramafic complexes of the Nicoya Peninsula (resistivity of a few hundred Ωm), the conductive forearc and the backarc basins (several Ωm). Beneath the backarc basin the data image a poor conductor in the basement with a clear termination in the south, which may tentatively be interpreted as the Santa Elena Suture. The volcanic arc shows no pronounced anomaly at depth, but a moderate conductor underlies the backarc with a possible connection to the upper mantle. A conductor at deep-crustal levels in the forearc may reflect fluid release from the downgoing slab.