A 3D gravity model of crustal structure in the Central-Eastern Alpine sector

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R. Cassinis
F. Federici
A. Galmozzi
S. Scarascia


Assuming as a starting model the pattern of the Moho boundary as interpreted in a recent study on the basis of the available DSS profiles, a preliminary 3D gravity model of the crustal structures in the Central-Eastern Alpine sector is proposed. The aim of the present work is to confirm the seismic results concerning the Moho and to better shape the main discontinuities in the intermediate and upper crust, where the seismic data are too scattered to allow a reliable interpretation. The gravity field is calculated along twelve cross-sections oriented S-N and crossing the Alpine range from the Padan-Venetian plain to the Bavarian molasse and to the Austrian calcareous Alps. The westernmost section coincides with the European Geotraverse while the easternmost one is positioned at the longitude of about 14ºeast. The assumed density model is very simple (only 6 layers); for each unit the density is maintained constant. The model describes a European mantle dipping southwards underneath an overlapping, uplifted Adriatic mantle. As far as the lower crust is concerned, its top is found at depths between 18 and 28 km, the deepest values being reached in the south-eastern sector; the density appears higher in the Adriatic domain than in the European one and the Adriatic lower crust seems to be deeply indented northwards. The low density surface layers appear very thin in a large area of the northwestern sector, while in the south and southeast their thickness reaches about 10 km. This study must be considered as a complement to the seismic interpretation both as a validation of the model of the deep crust and Moho boundary and as an additional source of information on the upper crust.

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Cassinis, R., Federici, F., Galmozzi, A. and Scarascia, S. (1997) “A 3D gravity model of crustal structure in the Central-Eastern Alpine sector”, Annals of Geophysics, 40(5). doi: 10.4401/ag-3846.