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P-wave velocity structure beneath the northern Antarctic Peninsula: evidence of a steeply subducting slab and a deep-rooted low-velocity anomaly beneath the central Bransfield Basin



Upper-mantle structure between 100 and 300 km depth below the northern Antarctic Peninsula is imaged by modelling P-wave traveltime residuals from teleseismic events recorded on the King Sejong Station (KSJ), the Argentinean/Italian stations (JUBA and ESPZ), an IRIS/GSN Station (PMSA) and the Seismic Experiment in Patagonia and Antarctica (SEPA) broad-band stations. For measuring traveltime residuals, we applied a multichannel cross-correlation method and inverted for upper-mantle structure using VanDecar's method. The new 3-D velocity model reveals a subducted slab with a ∼70° dip angle at 100–300 km depth and a strong low-velocity anomaly confined below the SE flank of the central Bransfield Basin. The low velocity is attributed to a thermal anomaly in the mantle that could be as large as 350–560 K and which is associated with high heat flow and volcanism in the central Bransfield Basin. The low-velocity zone imaged below the SE flank of the central Bransfield Basin does not extend under the northern Bransfield Basin, suggesting that the rifting process in that area likely involves different geodynamic processes.