Probing the lateral heterogeneity of the upper mantle seismic velocity structure beneath southern and central Taiwan is critical to understanding the local tectonics and orogeny. A linear broadband array that transects southern Taiwan, together with carefully selected teleseismic sources with the right azimuth provides useful constraints. They are capable of differentiating the lateral heterogeneity along the profile with systematic coverage of ray paths. We implement a scheme based on the genetic algorithm to simultaneously determine the relative delayed times of the teleseismic first arrivals of array data. The resulting patterns of the delayed times systematically vary as a function of the incident angle. Ray tracing attributes the observed variations to a high velocity anomaly dipping east in the mantle beneath the southeast of Taiwan. Combining the ray tracing analysis and a pseudo-spectral method to solve the 2-D wave propagations, we determine the extent of the anomaly that best fits the observations via the forward grid search. The east-dipping fast anomaly in the upper mantle beneath the southeast of Taiwan agrees with the results from several previous studies and indicates that the nature of the local ongoing arc-continent collision is likely characterized by the thin-skinned style. (c) 2010 Elsevier B.V. All rights reserved.