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A seismic network operated from December 2008 to November 2009 in south-central Chile covering the Chile subduction zone from c. 39°S to 40°S. This segment of the subduction zone includes the highly active Villarrica volcano and the maximum slip area of the 1960 Mw 9.5 earthquake. We applied surface wave dispersion analysis to data from a linear array of broadband stations and to records of four areal sub-arrays. Fifty regional and teleseismic events were used to produce dispersion curves of Rayleigh waves. From the dispersion curves, we determined depth functions of the shear-wave velocity for 4 subregions of the subduction zone: the Coastal Range, the Central Valley, the Volcanic Arc and the Back-arc Region in Argentina. The resulting models reveal the structure of the crust and the depth of the Moho discontinuity. Below the volcanic arc, the shear-wave velocities of the continental mantle are reduced by c. 7% with respect to a background value of 4.3 km s−1. This low-velocity zone coincides with a zone of reduced electrical resistivity that was previously determined from magnetotelluric measurements. The combined occurrences of minima in the S-wave velocity and resistivity can be interpreted as an indicator of partial melts.

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