Summary of project TOR: delineation of a stepwise, sharp, deep lithosphere transition across Germany-Denmark-Sweden

Gregersen S, Voss P, TOR Working Group

Publication type:
Scientific publication reviewed (Science Citation Index)


360(1-4), 2002, 61-73, 10.1016/S0040-1951(02)00347-5

Organization unit:

Project Tor (Teleseismic Tomography across the Tornquist Zone in Germany–Denmark–Sweden) is now producing results. We are able to detect very significant deep lithosphere differences, and we can now discuss the sharpness laterally. In 1996–1997, our 120 seismographs constituted the largest seismic antenna ever in Europe. The Tor area was chosen along a well-studied crustal profile of an earlier project, and the inversion efforts are concentrated on the deep lithosphere and asthenosphere differences to depths around 300 km. The Tor investigation can be called two-and-a-half-dimensional, as it has a 900-km profile length with 100 km width plus a few seismographs off the profile. The Tor data have been subjected to P-wave travel time tomography, surface wave and receiver function analysis as well as anisotropy and scattering measurements. Through ray tracing in a compiled crustal model and subtraction of the modelled travel time anomalies, the influence of the lower lithosphere/asthenosphere on the seismic rays from distant earthquakes is being established. Travel time tomography results confirm very large lateral lithosphere differences of 4–6% in P-wave velocity. For several events of the large data base, it is demonstrated that the observed P-wave travel time anomalies of 1–2 s can be divided almost equally between known crustal effects and lower lithosphere/asthenosphere differences, which then must account for about 1 s of the travel time differences. The transition is interpreted to be sharp and steep in two places. It goes all the way through the lithosphere at the northern rim of the Tornquist Zone near the border between Sweden and Denmark, and here the lithosphere difference is large. A smaller lithosphere difference is found near the southern edge of the Ringkøbing-Fyn High just north of the border between Denmark and Germany. Also, this transition is sharp and steep, and goes all through the lithosphere. These two sharp transitions divide the Tor region into three different lithosphere structures distinguishable in P-wave travel time tomography, surface wave dispersion, P- and S-wave anisotropy, and partly in P-wave scattering.