Are there superposed Mohos in the south-western Alps New seismic data from fan-profiling reflectionsReport as inadecuate

Are there superposed Mohos in the south-western Alps New seismic data from fan-profiling reflections - Download this document for free, or read online. Document in PDF available to download.

1 LGIT - Laboratoire de Géophysique Interne et Tectonophysique 2 IPGS - Institut de physique du globe de Strasbourg 3 GEOAZUR - Géoazur

Abstract : The Moho preserves imprints of the regional geodynamic evolution of the lithosphere. As such, its detailed topography in divergence or convergence zones has a strong bearing on any geodynamic model. This is still more critical where 3D effects are expected, as in the case of the Alpine chain which exhibits in its western part a short radius of curvature while its trend rotates by 180°. The deep structure of this zone, characterized by a peculiar imbrication of highdensity material of lower crust or mantle origin, remains a puzzle. In September 1999 a new controlled-source-seismology experiment was carried out in the south-western Alps, in the area between the Pelvoux, Dora Maira and Argentera massifs. Five shots were recorded with 130 seismic stations deployed on a total of nine fan- and one in-line profiles. It aimed at getting information on the Moho depth in a hitherto blank area, and discussing the existence of the hypothetical Briançonnais mantle flake mapped in 1986 by the ECORS-CROP experiment. Fan profiles recorded at critical distance for reflections from the European Moho allowed us to map in detail the thickening of the crust from the Mediterranean coastline 27 km to the root zone 55 km. The zone just south of the Pelvoux massif is characterized by a rather flat, 40-km-deep Moho, which distorts the isobaths in thickening the crust along the Durance valley. Beneath the Argentera massif and just north of it, we evidence a strong dip of the Moho down to 51 km, whereas previous maps predicted depths of 40–46 km only. A new, detailed map of the European Moho can be drawn, which integrates depth data measured at ~ 300 reflection midpoints. However the experiment could not establish the continuity of the Briançonnais mantle flake over a large area in the internal Alps. We observed several reflectors in the 15–31-km depth range. One of them is the Ubaye reflector, a 20-km-long, 23–31-km-deep structure. It might correspond to the Briançonnais mantle flake, although it is located much farther south than the reflector mapped in 1986. New investigations will be necessary to state whether its origin is crustal or due to wedging of mantle material.

Keywords : western Alps crust Moho controlled-source seismology fan profiling wide-angle reflection

Author: François Thouvenot - Anne Paul - Julien Frechet - N. Bethoux - Liliane Jenatton - Robert Guiguet -



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