Welcome to the TUCAN Web Page


TUCAN is Tomography (and other things) Under Costa rica And Nicaragua

TUCAN Network Map
The TUCAN Array, July 2004 - March 2006


TUCAN is a major deployment of 48 broadband seismographs, 2003-2006, to image the mantle wedge and subducting plate in Central America.  The aim is to better understand the processes that control melting beneath arc volcanoes, the flow field and water cycle in subduction zones, and ultimately better understand why arc volcanism occurs.

The Central American convergent margin is an excellent target for seismic imaging because the arc exhibits nearly the complete global range in geochemical indicators of the subducting plate (e.g., 10Be, Ba/La) as well as some of the largest variations in indicators for degree of mantle melting.  Nearly all of these changes occur between western Nicaragua and central Costa Rica.  For these reasons, the Central America arc has been chosen as one of two Focus Areas for the US-MARGINS Subduction Factory Initiative.



The Proposal

(ftp proposal here in 6Mb PDF) or just the (Project Summary PDF)  

Major Collaborators


Boston University   

Brown University

OVSICORI - Universidad National Autonoma Costa Rica

INETER  - Nicaragua

Funding provided by the U.S. National Science Foundation,  MARGINS program

Instruments made available by the IRIS-PASSCAL Instrument Center

Publications (student authors underlined)

MacKenzie, L.M., G.A. Abers, S. Rondenay and K.M. Fischer, Imaging a steeply dipping subducting slab in southern Central America, Earth Planet. Sci. Lett., submitted., 2010.

Abt, D.L., K.M. Fischer, G.A. Abers, J.M. Protti, V. González and W. Strauch, Constraints on upper mantle anisotropy surrounding the Cocos slab from SK(K)S splitting, J. Geophys. Res., in press, 2010.

French, S.W., L.M. Warren, K.M. Fischer, G.A. Abers, W. Strauch, J. M. Protti, and V.Gonzalez. Constraints on upper-plate deformation in the Nicaragua subduction zone from earthquake relocation and directivity analysis, Geochem. Geophys. Geosyst., 11, art. no. 3, doi:10.1029/2009GC002841, 2010.

Abt, D.L., K.M. Fischer, G.A. Abers, W. Strauch, J.M. Protti and V. Gonzalez, Shear-wave anisotropy beneath Nicaragua and Costa Rica:  Implications for flow in the mantle wedge, Geochem. Geophys. Geosyst., 10, Q05S15, doi:10.1029/2009GC002375, 2009. 

Rychert, C.A., K.M. Fischer, G.A. Abers, T. Plank, E.M. Syracuse, J.M. Protti, V. Gonzalez, and W. Strauch, Strong along-arc variations in attenuation in the mantle wedge beneath Costa Rica and Nicaragua, Geochem. Geophys. Geosyst., 9, Q10S10, http://dx.doi.org/10.1029/2008GC002040, 2008.

Harmon, N., P. Gertsoft, C.A. Rychert, G.A. Abers, M. Salas de la Cruz, and K.M. Fischer, Phase velocities from seismic noise using beamforming and cross correlation in Costa Rica and Nicaragua, Geophys. Res. Lett., 35, L19303, doi:10.1029/2008GL035387, 2008.

MacKenzie, L.S., G.A. Abers, K.M. Fischer, E.M. Syracuse, J.M. Protti, V. Gonzalez, and W. Strauch, Crustal structure along the southern Central American volcanic front, Geochem. Geophys. Geosyst., 9, Q08S09, doi:10.1029/2008GC001991, 2008.

Syracuse, E.M., G.A. Abers, K.M. Fischer, McKenzie, L., C. Rychert, J. M. Protti, V. Gonzalez, and W. Strauch, Seismic tomography and earthquake locations in the Nicaraguan and Costa Rican upper mantle, Geochem. Geophys. Geosyst., 9, Q07S08, doi:10.1029/2008GC001963, 2008.

Hoernle, K., D. Abt, K. Fischer, H. Nichols, F. Hauff, G. Abers, P. van den Bogaard, G. Alvarado, M. Protti and W. Strauch, Geochemical and geophysical evidence for arc-parallel flow in the mantle wedge beneath Costa Rica and Nicaragua, Nature, 451, 1094-1097, 2008.

Deployment Information

The initial deployment was completed July-August 2004, and after several service runs, most instruments were removed March 2006, with some remaining another 8 months.  This section was put together during the deployment to help operator teams.  All data are now available at the IRIS Data Management Center.

Station map  -- Updated following the initial deployment, November 2004. 

Station list (text file)

Summary of station SYSTEM POWERUP messages



Current up-time plot  (PDF) showing 96% aggregate up time for data through March 2005 submitted to IRIS