Imaging the Mediterranean upper mantle by p- wave travel time tomography

C. Piromallo, A. Morelli

Abstract


Travel times of P-waves in the Euro-Mediterranean region show strong and consistent lateral variations, which can be associated to structural heterogeneity in the underlying crust and mantle. We analyze regional and tele- seismic data from the International Seismological Centre data base to construct a three-dimensional velocity model of the upper mantle. We parameterize the model by a 3D grid of nodes -with approximately 50 km spacing -with a linear interpolation law, which constitutes a three-dimensional continuous representation of P-wave velocity. We construct summary travel time residuals between pairs of cells of the Earth's surface, both inside our study area and -with a broader spacing -on the whole globe. We account for lower mantle heterogeneity outside the modeled region by using empirical corrections to teleseismic travel times. The tomo- graphic images show generai agreement with other seismological studies of this area, with apparently higher detail attained in some locations. The signature of past and present lithospheric subduction, connected to Euro- African convergence, is a prominent feature. Active subduction under the Tyrrhenian and Hellenic arcs is clearly imaged as high-velocity bodies spanning the whole upper mantle. A clear variation of the lithospheric structure beneath the Northem and Southern Apennines is observed, with the boundary running in correspon- dence of the Ortona-Roccamonfina tectonic lineament. The western section of the Alps appears to have better developed roots than the eastern, possibly reflecting à difference in past subduction of the Tethyan lithosphere and subsequent continental collision.

Keywords


seismology;tomography;travel time;Mediterranean region

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References


DOI: https://doi.org/10.4401/ag-3890
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Published by INGV, Istituto Nazionale di Geofisica e Vulcanologia - ISSN: 2037-416X