Articles | Volume 6, issue 1
Research article
16 Jan 2015
Research article |  | 16 Jan 2015

Upper mantle structure around the Trans-European Suture Zone obtained by teleseismic tomography

I. Janutyte, M. Majdanski, P. H. Voss, E. Kozlovskaya, and PASSEQ Working Group

Abstract. The presented study aims to resolve the upper mantle structure around the Trans-European Suture Zone (TESZ), which is the major tectonic boundary in Europe. The data of 183 temporary and permanent seismic stations operated during the period of the PASsive Seismic Experiment (PASSEQ) 2006–2008 within the study area from Germany to Lithuania was used to compile the data set of manually picked 6008 top-quality arrivals of P waves from teleseismic earthquakes. We used the TELINV nonlinear teleseismic tomography algorithm to perform the inversions. As a result, we obtain a model of P wave velocity variations up to about ±3% with respect to the IASP91 velocity model in the upper mantle around the TESZ. The higher velocities to the east of the TESZ correspond to the older East European Craton (EEC), while the lower velocities to the west of the TESZ correspond to younger western Europe. We find that the seismic lithosphere–asthenosphere boundary (LAB) is more distinct beneath the Phanerozoic part of Europe than beneath the Precambrian part. To the west of the TESZ beneath the eastern part of the Bohemian Massif, the Sudetes Mountains and the Eger Rift, the negative anomalies are observed from a depth of at least 70 km, while under the Variscides the average depth of the seismic LAB is about 100 km. We do not observe the seismic LAB beneath the EEC, but beneath Lithuania we find the thickest lithosphere of about 300 km or more. Beneath the TESZ, the asthenosphere is at a depth of 150–180 km, which is an intermediate value between that of the EEC and western Europe. The results imply that the seismic LAB in the northern part of the TESZ is in the shape of a ramp dipping to the northeasterly direction. In the southern part of the TESZ, the LAB is shallower, most probably due to younger tectonic settings. In the northern part of the TESZ we do not recognize any clear contact between Phanerozoic and Proterozoic Europe, but further to the south we may refer to a sharp and steep contact on the eastern edge of the TESZ. Moreover, beneath Lithuania at depths of 120–150 km, we observe the lower velocity area following the boundary of the proposed paleosubduction zone.