A Preliminary Crustal Model of Bougainville Papua New Guinea

Organization: The Australasian Institute of Mining and Metallurgy
Pages: 4
Publication Date: Jan 1, 1987
Models of the genesis of existing ore oodles and targetting of exploration for new mines are greatly enhanced by an-understanding of the plate tectonic environment existing at the time of mineral emplacement. In areas of recent or active tectonism, a study of the present-day crustal and upper mantle structure is an obvious starting point in unravelling the evolution of the accessible upper crust. Bougainville is the northern-most island in the Solomon Islands arc. A 7km deep trench almost 100km off its western coast marks the commencement of subduction of the Solomon Sea plate beneath the Pacific plate. As outlined by the seismicity, the subducted crustal slab under the southern half of Bougainville reaches the axis of the island at about 100km depth, from which point it dips near vertically another 300km into the upper mantle. Large surface blasts at the Bougainville Copper Mine at Panguna, Bougainville, Papua New Guinea were used to derive an unreversed upper crustal profile of the island. The crust appears to be relatively simple, being comprised of a 5km deep layer with a P-wave velocity of 4.5km/sec, overlying a l0km thick layer with a P-wave velocity of 7.2km/sec. Constraints on the 15km mantle depth were provided by the identification of both P to and S to P phase conversions of seismic waves from local shallow earthquakes at the Moho boundary. An upper mantle velocity of 7.95(¦ 0.15) km/sec was measured from travel times of selected shallow earthquakes along the strike of the island arc.
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