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Journal Articles Solid Earth Year : 2021

3D crustal structure of the Ligurian Basin revealed by surface wave tomography using ocean bottom seismometer data

Felix N. Wolf
  • Function : Author
Dietrich Lange
Anke Dannowski
  • Function : Author
Martin Thorwart
  • Function : Author
Lars Wiesenberg
  • Function : Author
Ingo Grevemeyer
Heidrun Kopp


The Liguro-Provençal basin was formed as a back-arc basin of the retreating Calabrian-Apennines subduction zone during the Oligocene and Miocene. The resulting rotation of the Corsica-Sardinia block is associated with rifting, shaping the Ligurian Basin. It is still debated whether oceanic or atypical oceanic crust was formed or if the crust is continental and experienced extreme thinning during the opening of the basin. We perform ambient noise tomography, also taking into account teleseismic events, using an amphibious network of seismic stations, including 22 broadband ocean bottom seismometers (OBSs), to investigate the lithospheric structure of the Ligurian Basin. The instruments were installed in the Ligurian Basin for 8 months between June 2017 and February 2018 as part of the AlpArray seismic network. Because of additional noise sources in the ocean, OBS data are rarely used for ambient noise studies. However, we carefully pre-process the data, including corrections for instrument tilt and seafloor compliance and excluding higher modes of the ambient-noise Rayleigh waves. We calculate daily cross-correlation functions for the AlpArray OBS array and surrounding land stations. We also correlate short time windows that include teleseismic earthquakes, allowing us to derive surface wave group velocities for longer periods than using ambient noise only. We obtain group velocity maps by inverting Green's functions derived from the cross-correlation of ambient noise and teleseismic events, respectively. We then used the resulting 3D group velocity information to calculate 1D depth inversions for S-wave velocities. The group velocity and shear-wave velocity results compare well to existing large-scale studies that partly include the study area. In onshore France, we observe a high-velocity area beneath the Argentera Massif, roughly 10 km below sea level. We interpret this as the root of the Argentera Massif. Our results add spatial resolution to known seismic velocities in the Ligurian Basin, thereby augmenting existing seismic profiles. In agreement with existing seismic studies, our shear-wave velocity maps indicate a deepening of the Moho from 12 km at the south-western basin centre to 20-25 km at the Ligurian coast in the north-east and over 30 km at the Provençal coast. The maps also indicate that the south-western and north-eastern Ligurian Basin are structurally separate. The lack of high crustal vP/vS ratios beneath the south-western part of the Ligurian Basin preclude mantle serpentinisation there.
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insu-03589779 , version 1 (26-02-2022)





Felix N. Wolf, Dietrich Lange, Anke Dannowski, Martin Thorwart, Wayne Crawford, et al.. 3D crustal structure of the Ligurian Basin revealed by surface wave tomography using ocean bottom seismometer data. Solid Earth, 2021, 12, pp.2597-2613. ⟨10.5194/se-12-2597-2021⟩. ⟨insu-03589779⟩
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