Structure of the lithosphere beneath the Barotse Basin, western Zambia, from magnetotelluric data.
Evans, Rob L.
Elsenbeck, James R.
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A magnetotelluric survey in the Barotse Basin of western Zambia shows clear evidence for thinned lithosphere beneath an orogenic belt. The uppermost asthenosphere, at a depth of 60–70 km, is highly conductive, suggestive of the presence of a small amount of partial melt, despite the fact that there is no surface expression of volcanism in the region. Although the data support the presence of thicker cratonic lithosphere to the southeast of the basin, the lithospheric thickness is not well resolved and models show variations ranging from ~80 to 150 km in this region. Similarly variable is the conductivity of the mantle beneath the basin and immediately beneath the cratonic lithosphere to the southeast, although the conductivity is required to be elevated compared to normal lithospheric mantle. In a general sense, two classes of model are compatible with the magnetotelluric data: one with a moderately conductive mantle and one with more elevated conductivities. This latter class would be consistent with the impingement of a stringer of plume‐fed melt beneath the cratonic lithosphere, with the melt migrating upslope to thermally erode lithosphere beneath the orogenic belt that is overlain by the Barotse Basin. Such processes are potentially important for intraplate volcanism and also for development or propagation of rifting as lithosphere is thinned and weakened by melt. Both models show clear evidence for thinning of the lithosphere beneath the orogenic belt, consistent with elevated heat flow data in the region.
Author Posting. © American Geophysical Union, 2019. This article is posted here by permission of American Geophysical Union for personal use, not for redistribution. The definitive version was published in Tectonics, 38(2), (2019):666-686. doi:10.1029/2018TC005246.
Suggested CitationEvans, R. L., Elsenbeck, J., Zhu, J., Abdelsalam, M. G., Sarafian, E., Mutamina, D., Chilongola, F., Atekwana, E. A., & Jones, A. G. (2019). Structure of the lithosphere beneath the Barotse Basin, western Zambia, from magnetotelluric data. Tectonics, 38(2), 666-686.
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