International Journal of Earth Sciences

, Volume 102, Issue 3, pp 857–873 | Cite as

Shear-wave velocity structure of Africa from Rayleigh-wave analysis

Original Paper


The 3D S-velocity structure beneath Africa is shown by means of a 2D S-velocity mapping for depths raging from zero to 500 km, determined by the regionalization and inversion of Rayleigh-wave dispersion. The traces of 94 earthquakes, occurred from 1990 to 2009 in the study area, have been used to obtain the Rayleigh-wave dispersion. These earthquakes were registered by 61 seismic stations located on Africa and the surrounding area. The dispersion curves were obtained for periods between 5 and 300 s, by digital filtering with a combination of MFT and TVF filtering techniques. After that, all seismic events (and some stations) were grouped to obtain a dispersion curve for each source-station path. These dispersion curves were regionalized and after inverted according to generalized inversion theory, to obtain shear-wave velocity models for rectangular blocks with a size of 5° × 5°. The 3D S-velocity structure obtained through this procedure is shown in the 2D S-velocity maps plotted for several depths. These results agree well with the geology and other geophysical results previously obtained. The obtained S-velocity models suggest the existence of lateral and vertical heterogeneity. The zones with consolidated and old structures (as cratons) present greater S-velocity values than the other younger zones. Nevertheless, in the depth range from 20 to 40 km, the different Moho depths present in the study area generate the principal variation of S-velocity. A similar behaviour is found for the depth range from 60 to 230 km, in which the lithosphere–asthenosphere boundary generates the principal variations of S-velocity. Finally, it should be highlighted a new and interesting feature obtained in this study: the definition of the base of the asthenosphere, for depths ranging from 160 to 280 km, in the whole African continent.


Rayleigh wave S wave Crust Lithosphere Asthenosphere Africa 

Supplementary material

531_2012_827_MOESM1_ESM.docx (358 kb)
Supplementary material 1 (DOCX 358 kb)


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Copyright information

© Springer-Verlag Berlin Heidelberg 2012

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Higher Polytechnic SchoolUniversity of AlmeriaAlmeriaSpain

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