Crustal structure of the Peruvian continental margin from wide-angle seismic studies.

Krabbenhöft, Anne, Bialas, Jörg , Kopp, Heidrun , Kukowski, Nina and Hübscher, C. (2004) Crustal structure of the Peruvian continental margin from wide-angle seismic studies. Open Access Geophysical Journal International, 158 (2). pp. 749-764. DOI 10.1111/j.1365-246X.2004.02425.x.

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Active seismic investigations along the Pacific margin off Peru were carried out using ocean bottom hydrophones and seismometers. The structure and the P-wave velocities of the obliquely subducting oceanic Nazca Plate and overriding South American Plate from 8°S to 15°S were determined by modelling the wide-angle seismic data combined with the analysis of reflection seismic data. Three detailed cross-sections of the subduction zone of the Peruvian margin and one strike-line across the Lima Basin are presented here.

The oceanic crust of the Nazca Plate, with a thin pelagic sediment cover, ranging from 0–200 m, has an average thickness of 6.4 km. At 8°S it thins to 4 km in the area of Trujillo Trough, a graben-like structure. Across the margin, the plate boundary can be traced to 25 km depth. As inferred from the velocity models, a frontal prism exists adjacent to the trench axis and is associated with the steep lower slope. Terrigeneous sediments are proposed to be transported downslope due to gravitational forces and comprise the frontal prism, characterized by low seismic P-wave velocities. The lower slope material accretes against a backstop structure, which is defined by higher seismic P-wave velocities, 3.5–6.0 km s−1. The large variations in surface slope along one transect may reflect basal removal of upper plate material, thus steepening the slope surface. Subduction processes along the Peruvian margin are dominated by tectonic erosion indicated by the large margin taper, the shape and bending of the subducting slab, laterally varying slope angles and the material properties of the overriding continental plate. The erosional mechanisms, frontal and basal erosion, result in the steepening of the slope and consequent slope failure.

Document Type: Article
Keywords: continental margin, forward mode, Peru, Subduction zone, velocity model, wide-angle seismic data
Research affiliation: OceanRep > GEOMAR > FB4 Dynamics of the Ocean Floor > FB4-GDY Marine Geodynamics
Refereed: Yes
Open Access Journal?: No
Publisher: Wiley
Projects: GEOPECO
Date Deposited: 24 Feb 2009 10:42
Last Modified: 17 Jul 2018 10:09

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