The origin of the Cameroon Volcanic Line (CVL), a 1600 km long linear volcanic chain without age progression that crosses the ocean-continent boundary in west-central Africa, is investigated using body wave tomography. Relative arrival times from teleseismic P and S waves recorded on 32 temporary seismic stations over a 2-year period were obtained using a multichannel cross-correlation technique and then inverted for mantle velocity perturbations. The P and S wave models show a tabular low-velocity anomaly directly beneath the CVL extending to at least 300 km depth, with perturbations of -1.0 to -2.0% for P and -2.0 to -3.0% for S. The S wave velocity variation can be attributed to a 280 K or possibly higher thermal perturbation, if composition and other effects on seismic velocity are negligible. The near vertical sides of the anomaly and its depth extent are not easily explained by models for the origin of the CVL that invoke plumes or decompression melting under reactivated shear zones, but are possibly consistent with a model invoking edge-flow convection along the northern boundary of the Congo Craton lithosphere. If edge-flow convection in the sublithospheric upper mantle is combined with lateral flow channeled along a fracture zone beneath the oceanic sector of the CVL, then the oceanic sector can also be explained by flow in the upper mantle deriving from variations in lithospheric thickness.
All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes
- Geochemistry and Petrology