Preprints
https://doi.org/10.5194/se-2021-116
https://doi.org/10.5194/se-2021-116

  11 Oct 2021

11 Oct 2021

Review status: this preprint is currently under review for the journal SE.

Radial anisotropy and S-wave velocity depict the internal to external zones transition within the Variscan orogen (NW Iberia) 

Jorge Acevedo1, Gabriela Fernández-Viejo1, Sergio Llana-Fúnez1, Carlos López-Fernández1, Javier Olona2, and Diego Pérez-Millán1 Jorge Acevedo et al.
  • 1Department of Geology, University of Oviedo. Arias de Velasco st., 33005, Oviedo, Spain
  • 2TerraDat España, 113 Cristo de las Cadenas Av., 33006, Oviedo, Spain

Abstract. The cross-correlation of ambient noise records registered by seismic networks has proven to be a valuable tool to obtain new insights into the crustal structure at different scales. Based on 2- to 14-s-period Rayleigh and Love dispersion data extracted from the seismic ambient noise recorded by 20 three-component broadband stations belonging to two different temporary experiments, we present the first i) upper crustal (1–14 km) high-resolution shear wave velocity and ii) radial anisotropy variation models of the continental crust in NW Iberia. The area of study represents one of the best exposed cross-sections along the Variscan orogen of western Europe, showing the transition between the external eastern zones towards the internal areas in the west. Both the 2-D maps and an E-W transect reveal a close correspondence with the main geological domains of the Variscan orogen. The foreland-fold and thrust-belt of the orogen, the Cantabrian Zone, is revealed by a zone of relatively low shear wave velocities (2.3–3.0 km/s), while the internal zones generally display higher homogeneous velocities (> 3.1 km/s). The boundary between both zones is clearly delineated in the models, depicting the arcuate shape of the orogen grain. The velocity patterns also reveal variations of the bulk properties of the rocks that can be linked to major Variscan structures, such as the basal detachment of the Cantabrian Zone or the stack of nappes involving pre-Variscan basement; or sedimentary features such as the presence of thick syn-orogenic siliciclastic wedges. Overall, the radial anisotropy magnitude varies between −5 and 15 % and increases with depth. The depth pattern suggests that the alignment of cracks is the main source of anisotropy at < 8 km depths, although the intrinsic anisotropy seems to be significant in the West-Asturian Leonese Zone, the low-grade slate belt adjacent to the Cantabrian Zone. At depths > 8 km, widespread high and positive radial anisotropies are observed, caused by the presence of subhorizontal alignments of grains and minerals in relation to the internal deformation of rocks either during the Variscan orogeny or prior to it.

Jorge Acevedo et al.

Status: open (until 22 Nov 2021)

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Jorge Acevedo et al.

Jorge Acevedo et al.

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Short summary
The NW of the Iberian Peninsula provides one of the most complete Variscan sections in Europe, showing the transition between a sedimentary domain with folds and thrust and a metamorphic domain with igneous intrusions. By processing the seismic ambient noise recorded by several seismograph networks in this area, new 3D S-wave velocity and radial anisotropy models are created. These models reveal the limit between both domains, delineating the core of the large western European Variscan belt.