The mechanism and pattern of deformation beneath western Tibet are still an issue of debate. In this work we present 3-D P- and S-wave velocity tomography as well as P-wave radial and azimuthal anisotropy along the ANTILOPE-I profile and surrounding areas in western Tibet, which are determined by using a large number of P and S arrival-time data of local earthquakes and teleseismic events. Our results show that low-velocity (low-V) zones exist widely in the middle crust, whereas low-V zones are only visible in the lower crust beneath northwestern Tibet, indicating the existence of significant heterogeneities and complex flow there. In the upper mantle, a distinct low-V gap exists between the Indian and Asian plates. Considering the P- and S-wave tomography and P-wave azimuthal and radial anisotropy results, we interpret the gap to be caused mainly by shear heating. Depth-independent azimuthal anisotropy and high-velocity zones exist beneath the northern part of the study region, suggesting a vertically coherent deformation beneath the Tarim Basin. In contrast, tomographic and anisotropic features change with depth beneath the central and southern parts of the study region, which reflects depth-dependent (or decoupled) deformations there. At the northern edge of the Indian lithospheric mantle (ILM), P-wave azimuthal anisotropy shows a nearly east-west fast-velocity direction, suggesting that the ILM was re-built by mantle materials flowing to the north.
- Tibetan plateau
- anisotropic tomography
- crustal and uppermantle structures
- diverse deformation patterns
- lateral heterogeneities