A seismic investigation of the Kenya Rift Valley
In August of 1985 the crustal structure underlying the Kenya rift valley was investigated by long range explosion seismology. The experiment (KRISP85) consisted of two seismic lines in the central sector of the rift, one along the axis (140 km) and the other across it (50 km). Interpretation of the data, including time-term analysis and ray tracing has yielded the following information. The thickness of rift infill varies from about 6 km below Lake Naivasha to about 2 km and 1.5 km below Lake Magadi and Lake Bogoria respectively. The underlying material has a P-wave velocity of 6.05 +/- 0.03 km/s which suggests the rift is underlain by Precambrian metamorphic basement. A localised high velocity zone identified to the east of Nakuru may be associated with basic intrusive material. The P-wave velocity increases discontinuously to 6.45 +/- 0.05 km/s at a depth of 12.5 +/- 1-0 km. This depth is similar to that inferred for the brittle-ductile transition zone from a study of local seismicity in the Lake Bogoria region. A high P-wave velocity layer (7.1 +/- 0.15 km/s) occurs at 22 +/- 2 km depth which might be associated with a sill-like basic intrusion in the lower crust. An upper mantle velocity of 7.5 +/- 0.2 km/s (unreversed) is reached at a depth of 34.0 +/- 2.0 km. This implies that only moderate crustal attenuation has occurred beneath the central sector of the rift. No evidence was obtained for the existence of an "axial intrusion" reaching to shallow levels below the rift and causing crustal separation as suggested by previous studies. Relative residuals determined for 46 teleseismic events recorded by a 15 station, small aperture seismic array in the vicinity of Lake Bogoria indicate considerable lateral heterogeneity in the upper crust. An Aki inversion of the relative residuals has revealed the existence of two distinct low velocity zones which may be associated with magma chambers.