Key words: Passive seismology, central Mediterranean, Italy, seismic tomography, seismic anisotropy, receiver function, upper mantle structure, geodynamics.
Springer Online Journal Archives 1860-2000
Abstract —In the last decade temporary teleseismic transects have become a powerful tool for investigating the crustal and upper mantle structure. In order to gain a clearer picture of the lithosphere-asthenosphere structure in peninsular Italy, between 1994 and 1996, we have deployed three teleseismic transects in northern, central, and southern Apennines, in the framework of the project GeoModAp (European Community contract EV5V-CT94–0464). Some hundreds of teleseisms were recorded at each deployment which lasted between 3 and 4 months. Although many analyses are still in progress, the availability of this high quality data allowed us to refine tomographic images of the lithosphere-asthenosphere structure with an improved resolution in the northern and central Apennines, and to study the deformation of the upper mantle looking at seismic anisotropy through shear-wave splitting analysis. Also, a study of the depth and geometry of the Moho through the receiver function technique is in progress. Tomographic results from the northernmost 1994 and the central 1995 teleseismic experiments confirm that a high-velocity anomaly (HVA) does exist in the upper 200–250 km and is confined to the northern Apenninic arc. This HVA, already interpreted as a fragment of subducted lithosphere is better defined by the new temporary data, compared to previous works, based only on data from permanent stations. No clear high-velocity anomalies are detected in the upper 250 km below the central Apennines, suggesting either a slab window due to a detachment below southern peninsular Italy, or a thinner, perhaps continental slab of Adriatic lithosphere not detectable by standard tomography. We found clear evidence of seismic anisotropy in the uppermost mantle, related to the main tectonic processes which affected the studied regions, either NE–SW compressional deformation of the lithosphere beneath the mountain belt, or arc-parallel asthenospheric flow (both giving NW–SE fast polarization direction), and successive extensional deformation (∼E–W trending) in the back-arc basin of northern Tyrrhenian and Tuscany. Preliminary results of receiver function studies in the northern Apennines show that the Moho depth is well defined in the Tyrrhenian and Adriatic regions while its geometry underneath the mountain belt is not yet well constrained, due to the observed high complexity.
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