Multiple-frequency tomography of the upper mantle beneath the African/Iberian collision zone

Research areas:
Year:
2014
Authors:
  • Mickaël Bonnin
  • Guust Nolet
  • Antonio Villasenor
  • Josep Gallart
  • Christine Thomas
Journal:
GEOPHYSICAL JOURNAL INTERNATIONAL
Volume:
198
Number:
3
Pages:
1458-1473
Month:
September
ISSN:
0956-540X
Abstract:
During the Cenozoic, the geodynamics of the western Mediterranean domain has been characterized by a complex history of subduction of Mesozoic oceanic lithosphere. The final stage of these processes is proposed to have led to the development of the Calabria and Gibraltar arcs, whose formation is still under debate. In this study, we take advantage of the dense broad-band station networks now available in the Alboran Sea region, to develop a high-resolution 3-D tomographic P velocity model of the upper mantle beneath the African/Iberian collision zone that will better constraint the past dynamics of this zone. The model is based on 13200 teleseismic arrival times recorded between 2008 and 2012 at 279 stations for which cross-correlation delays are measured with a new technique in different frequency bands centred between 0.03 and 1.0 Hz, and for the first time interpreted using multiple frequency tomography. Our model shows, beneath the Alboran Sea, a strong (4 per cent) fast vertically dipping anomaly observed to at least 650 km depth. The arched shape of this anomaly, and its extent at depth, are coherent with a lithospheric slab, thus favouring the hypothesis of a westward consumption of the Ligurian ocean slab by roll-back during Cenozoic. In addition to this fast anomaly in the deep upper mantle, high intensity slow anomalies are widespread in the lithosphere and asthenosphere beneath Morocco and southern Spain. These anomalies are correlated at the surface with the position of the Rif and Atlas orogens and with Cenozoic volcanic fields. We thus confirm the presence, beneath Morocco, of an anomalous (hot?) upper mantle, but without clear indication for a lateral spreading of the Canary plume to the east.