Seismic anisotropy has been documented in many portions of the lowermost mantle, with particularly strong anisotropy thought to be present along the edges of large low shear velocity provinces (LLSVPs). The region surrounding the Pacific LLSVP, however, has not yet been studied extensively in terms of its anisotropic structure. In this study, we use seismic data from southern Peru, northern Bolivia and Easter Island to probe lowermost mantle anisotropy beneath the eastern Pacific Ocean, mostly relying on data from the Peru Lithosphere and Slab Experiment and Central Andean Uplift and Geodynamics of High Topography experiments. Differential shear wave splitting measurements from phases that have similar ray paths in the upper mantle but different ray paths in the lowermost mantle, such as SKS and SKKS, are used to constrain anisotropy in D". We measured splitting for 215 same station-event SKS-SKKS pairs that sample the eastern Pacific LLSVP at the base of the mantle.We used measurements of splitting intensity(SI), a measure of the amount of energy on the transverse component, to objectively and quantitatively analyse any discrepancies between SKS and SKKS phases. While the overall splitting signal is dominated by the upper-mantle anisotropy, a minority of SKS-SKKS pairs (~10 per cent) exhibit strongly discrepant splitting between the phases (i.e. the waveforms require a difference in SI of at least 0.4), indicating a likely contribution from lowermost mantle anisotropy. In order to enhance lower mantle signals, we also stacked waveforms within individual subregions and applied a waveform differencing technique to isolate the signal from the lowermost mantle. Our stacking procedure yields evidence for substantial splitting due to lowermost mantle anisotropy only for a specific region that likely straddles the edge of Pacific LLSVP. Our observations are consistent with the localization of deformation and anisotropy near the eastern boundary of the Pacific LLSVP, similar to previous observations for the African LLSVP.
All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes
- Geochemistry and Petrology
- Kinematics of crustal and mantle deformation
- Pacific Ocean
- Seismic anisotropy