Seismic structure beneath the Gulf of Aqaba and adjacent areas based on the tomographic inversion of regional earthquake data
Abstract. We present the first 3-D model of seismic P and S velocities in the crust and uppermost mantle beneath the Gulf of Aqaba and surrounding areas based on the results of passive travel time tomography. The tomographic inversion was performed based on travel time data from ∼ 9000 regional earthquakes provided by the Egyptian National Seismological Network (ENSN), and this was complemented with data from the International Seismological Centre (ISC). The resulting P and S velocity patterns were generally consistent with each other at all depths. Beneath the northern part of the Red Sea, we observed a strong high-velocity anomaly with abrupt limits that coincide with the coastal lines. This finding may indicate the oceanic nature of the crust in the Red Sea, and it does not support the concept of gradual stretching of the continental crust. According to our results, in the middle and lower crust, the seismic anomalies beneath the Gulf of Aqaba seem to delineate a sinistral shift (∼ 100 km) in the opposite flanks of the fault zone, which is consistent with other estimates of the left-lateral displacement in the southern part of the Dead Sea Transform fault. However, no displacement structures were visible in the uppermost lithospheric mantle.