This study uses seismic receiver functions, surface wave phase velocities, and airborne gravity measurements to investigate the structure of the Transantarctic Mountains (TAM) and adjacent regions of the Ross Sea (RS) and East Antarctica (EA). Forty-one broadband seismometers deployed during the Transantarctic Mountain Seismic Experiment provide new insight into the differences between the TAM, RS, and EA crust and mantle. Combined receiver function and phase velocity inversion with niching genetic algorithms produces accurate crustal and upper mantle seismic velocity models. The crustal thickness increases from 20 ± 2 km in the RS to a maximum of 40 ± 2 km beneath the crest of the TAM at 110 ± 10 km inland. Farther inland, the crust of EA is uniformly 35 ± 3 km thick over a lateral distance greater than 1300 km. Upper mantle shear wave velocities vary from 4.5 km s-1 beneath EA to 4.2 km s-1 beneath RS, with a transition between the two at 100 ± 50 km inland near the crest of the TAM. The ̃5 km thick crustal root beneath the TAM has an insufficient buoyant load to explain the entire TAM uplift, suggesting some portion of the uplift may result from flexure associated with a buoyant thermal load in the mantle beneath the edge of the TAM lithosphere.
All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes
- Geochemistry and Petrology