Crustal and uppermost mantle structure of the NW Namibia continental margin and the Walvis Ridge derived from ambient seismic noise

Wilfried.Jokat [ at ]


The Walvis Ridge (WR) is the most prominent hotspot track related to the opening in the South Atlantic Ocean. Several hypotheses have been developed to explain its origin and evolution. The presence of a massive magmatic structure at the landfall of the WR in Northwest Namibia raised speculation about the role of a hotspot during the opening of the South Atlantic ocean. To investigate its deeper velocity structure at the junction of the WR with the African continent was the focus of the amphibious seismological WALPASS experiment. In total 12 oceanbottom seismometers and 28 broad-band land stations were installed between 2010 and 2012 to acquire seismological data. Here,we present the results of seismic ambient noise tomography to investigate to which extent the Tristan hotspot modified the crustal structure in the landward prolongation of the ridge and in the adjacent oceanic basins. For the tomography, vertical and hydrophone component cross correlations for >300 d for OBS stations and between 1 and 2 yr for land stations data were analysed. More than 49 000 velocity measurements (742 dispersion curves) were inverted for group velocity maps at 75 individual signal periods, which then had been inverted for a regional 3-D shear wave velocity model. The resulting 3-D model reveals structural features of the crust related to the continent–ocean transition and its disturbance caused by the initial formation of the WR ∼130 Ma. We found relatively thick continental crust below Northwest Namibia and below the near-shore part of the WR, a strong asymmetry offshore with typical, thin oceanic crust in the Namibe Basin (crossing over into the Angola Basin further offshore) to the North and a wide zone of transitional crust towards the Walvis Basin south of the WR.

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DOI 10.1093/gji/ggac08

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Ryberg, T. , Geissler, W. , Jokat, W. , Yuan, X. , Fromm, T. , Pandey, S. and Heit, B. (2022): Crustal and uppermost mantle structure of the NW Namibia continental margin and the Walvis Ridge derived from ambient seismic noise , Geophysical Journal International, 230 , pp. 277-391 . doi: 10.1093/gji/ggac08

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