Articles | Volume 6, issue 1
Research article
04 Feb 2015
Research article |  | 04 Feb 2015

Receiver function images of the Hellenic subduction zone and comparison to microseismicity

F. Sodoudi, A. Brüstle, T. Meier, R. Kind, W. Friederich, and EGELADOS working group

Abstract. New combined P receiver functions and seismicity data obtained from the EGELADOS network employing 65 seismological stations within the Aegean constrained new information on the geometry of the Hellenic subduction zone. The dense network and large data set enabled us to estimate the Moho depth of the continental Aegean plate across the whole area. Presence of a negative contrast at the Moho boundary indicating the serpentinized mantle wedge above the subducting African plate was seen along the entire forearc. Furthermore, low seismicity was observed within the serpentinized mantle wedge. We found a relatively thick continental crust (30–43 km) with a maximum thickness of about 48 km beneath the Peloponnese Peninsula, whereas a thinner crust of about 27–30 km was observed beneath western Turkey. The crust of the overriding plate is thinning beneath the southern and central Aegean and reaches 23–27 km. Unusual low Vp / Vs ratios were estimated beneath the central Aegean, which most likely represent indications on the pronounced felsic character of the extended continental Aegean crust. Moreover, P receiver functions imaged the subducted African Moho as a strong converted phase down to a depth of about 100 km. However, the converted Moho phase appears to be weak for the deeper parts of the African plate suggesting nearly complete phase transitions of crustal material into denser phases. We show the subducting African crust along eight profiles covering the whole southern and central Aegean. Seismicity of the western Hellenic subduction zone was taken from the relocated EHB-ISC catalogue, whereas for the eastern Hellenic subduction zone, we used the catalogues of manually picked hypocentre locations of temporary networks within the Aegean. Accurate hypocentre locations reveal a significant change in the dip angle of the Wadati–Benioff zone (WBZ) from west (~ 25°) to the eastern part (~ 35°) of the Hellenic subduction zone. Furthermore, a zone of high deformation can be characterized by a vertical offset of about 40 km of the WBZ beneath the eastern Cretan Sea. This deformation zone may separate a shallower N-ward dipping slab in the west from a steeper NW-ward dipping slab in the east. In contrast to hypocentre locations, we found very weak evidence for the presence of the slab at larger depths in the P receiver functions, which may result from the strong appearance of the Moho multiples as well as eclogitization of the oceanic crust. The presence of the top of a strong low-velocity zone at about 60 km depth in the central Aegean may be related to the asthenosphere below the Aegean continental lithosphere and above the subducting slab. Thus, the Aegean mantle lithosphere seems to be 30–40 km thick, which means that its thickness increased again since the removal of the mantle lithosphere about 15 to 35 Ma ago.