Upper Mantle Heterogeneity and Radial Anisotropy Beneath the Western Tibetan Plateau

Heng Zhang, Dapeng Zhao, Junmeng Zhao, Yunyue Elita Li, Hongbing Liu, Min Ding, Yong Jiang, Xin Xu

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

6 Citations (Scopus)


P-wave radial anisotropy (RAN) tomography of the upper mantle beneath the western Tibetan Plateau is determined using teleseismic arrival time data recorded at 71 temporal seismic stations of the ANTILOPE-I and Y2 arrays, which reveals a complex deformation pattern in the upper mantle. A high-velocity anomaly with prominent positive RAN is visible to the south of 31°N, which may reflect the underthrusting Indian lithospheric mantle (ILM). Further north, another high-velocity zone appears at depths >200 km, which is possibly related to the foundering ILM, or the northward advancing ILM affected by previously attached Tethyan oceanic slab. Considering the continuity of the high-velocity zones and similarity of the RAN anomalies, we suggest that there is no slab tearing or breakoff at present beneath western Tibet. To the north of 31°N, E-W trending variations of velocity and RAN at shallow depths (<150 km) suggest that small-scale convection occurs between 79°E and 81°E, whereas the residue of the Eurasian lithospheric mantle is located in the eastern side. We deem that the formation of the Ya-Re Rift and Puran Graben was caused by variations of the lithospheric thickness instead of slab tearing or asthenospheric upwelling, considering locations of the rift and the graben and our present results.

Original languageEnglish
Article numbere2020TC006403
Issue number2
Publication statusPublished - 2021 Feb


  • geodynamic model
  • radial anisotropy
  • rift and graben
  • seismic tomography
  • western Tibet

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Geophysics
  • Geochemistry and Petrology


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