Imaging of subducted lithosphere beneath South America



Tomographic images are produced for the deep structure of the Andean subduction zone beneath western South America. The data used in the imaging are the delay times of P, pP and pwP phases from relocated teleseismic earthquakes in the region. Regionally, structural features larger than about 150 km are resolved by the data. Presentations of layer anomaly maps and cross sections reveal: (1) The Nazca slab is probably continuous laterally and at depth over most regions; (2) The offset between the north and south deep earthquake zones, containing the 1994 deep Bolivia main shock and its aftershocks, can be modelled by a northwest striking and steeply northeast dipping slab structure; and (3) The Nazca slab clearly penetrates the lower mantle beneath central South America, but is partly deflected in the southern deep zone.