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Mantle upwellings and convective instabilities revealed by seismic tomography and helium isotope geochemistry beneath eastern Africa

Abstract : The relationship between intraplate volcanism and continental tectonics has been investigated for North and East Africa using a high resolution three-dimensional anisotropic tomographic model derived from seismic data of a French experiment ''Horn of Africa'' and existing broadband data. The joint inversion for seismic velocity and anisotropy of the upper 400 km of the mantle, and geochemical data reveals a complex interaction between mantle upwellings, and lithosphere. Two kinds of mantle upwellings can be distinguished: The first one, the Afar ''plume'' originates from deeper than 400 km and is characterized by enrichment in primordial 3 He and 3 He/ 4 He ratios higher than those along mid-ocean ridges (MOR). The second one, associated with other Cenozoic volcanic provinces (Darfur, Tibesti, Hoggar, Cameroon), with 3 He/ 4 He ratios similar to, or lower than MOR, is a consequence of shallower upwelling. The presumed asthenospheric convective instabilities are oriented in an east-west direction, resulting from interaction between south-north asthenospheric mantle flow, main plume head and topography on the base of lithosphere.
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Jean-Paul Montagner, Bernard Marty, Eléonore Stutzmann, Déborah Sicilia, Michel Cara, et al.. Mantle upwellings and convective instabilities revealed by seismic tomography and helium isotope geochemistry beneath eastern Africa. Geophysical Research Letters, American Geophysical Union, 2007, 34 (21), pp.L21303. ⟨10.1029/2007GL031098⟩. ⟨insu-01284913⟩

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