The structure of the upper mantle beneath the Delamerian and Lachlan orogens from simultaneous inversion of multiple teleseismic datasets

N. Rawlinson, B. L. N. Kennett, E. Vanacore, R. A. Glen, S. Fishwick

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40 Citations (Scopus)


Distant earthquake data recorded by seven sub-arrays of the ongoing WOMBAT rolling seismic array deployment in southeast Australia are combined for the first time to constrain 3-D variations in upper mantle P-wavespeed via teleseismic tomography. The seven arrays comprise a total of 276 short period recorders spaced at intervals of approximately 50 km, thus allowing unprecedented resolution of the upper mantle over a large region. In the mantle lithosphere immediately below the crust (~ 50 km depth), dominant variations in velocity tend to strike east–west, and share little resemblance to Palaeozoic boundaries in the shallow crust inferred from surface geology and potential field data. A broad region of elevated wavespeed beneath northern Victoria may represent the signature of underplated igneous rocks associated with detachment faulting during the break-up of Australia and Antarctica. A distinct low velocity anomaly in southern Victoria appears to correlate well with the Quaternary Newer Volcanic Provinces. Towards the base of the mantle lithosphere, the dominant structural trend becomes north–south, and five distinct velocity zones become apparent. Of particular note is a transition from higher wavespeed in the west to lower wavespeed in the east beneath the Stawell Zone, implying that the Proterozoic lithosphere of the Delamerian Orogen protrudes eastward beneath the Western subprovince of the Lachlan Orogen. This transition zone extends northwards from southern Victoria into central New South Wales (the northward limit of the arrays), and is one of the dominant features of the model. Further east, there is a transition from lower to higher wavespeeds in the vicinity of the boundary between the Western and Central subprovinces of the Lachlan Orogen, which has several plausible explanations, including the existence of a Proterozoic continental fragment beneath the Wagga–Omeo Zone. The presence of elevated wavespeeds beneath the Melbourne Zone in Victoria, although not well constrained due to limited data coverage, provides some support to the Selwyn Block model, which proposes a northward extension beneath Bass Strait of the Proterozoic core of Tasmania.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)788-799
Number of pages12
JournalGondwana Research
Issue number3
Early online date23 Nov 2010
Publication statusPublished - Apr 2011


  • seismic tomography
  • lithosphere
  • Australia
  • Lachlan Orogen
  • Delamerian Orogen


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