Anisotropy and mantle flow in the Chile-Argentina subduction zone from shear wave splitting analysis

Megan L. Anderson, George Zandt, Enrique Triep, Matthew Fouch, Susan Beck

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

86 Scopus citations


We examine shear wave splitting in teleseismic phases to observe seismic anisotropy in the South American subduction zone. Data is from the CHARGE network, which traversed Chile and western Argentina across two transects between 30°S and 36°S. Beneath the southern and northwestern parts of the network, fast polarization direction is consistently trench-parallel, while in the northeast is trench-normal; the transition between these two zones is gradual. We infer that anisotropy sampled by teleseismic phases is localized within or below the subducting slab. We explain our observations with a model in which eastward, Nazca-entrained asthenospheric flow is deflected by retrograde motion of the subducting Nazca plate. Resulting southward flow through this area produces N-S observed in the south and northwest; E-W result from interaction of this flow with the local slab geometry producing eastward mantle flow under the actively flattening part of the slab.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)1-4
Number of pages4
JournalGeophysical Research Letters
Issue number23
StatePublished - Dec 16 2004


  • 7203 Seismology: Body wave propagation
  • 7218 Seismology: Lithosphere and upper mantle
  • 8123 Tectonophysics: Dynamics, seismotectonics
  • 8150 Tectonophysics: Plate boundary - General (3040)
  • 9360 Information Related to Geographic Region: South America

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Geophysics
  • General Earth and Planetary Sciences


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