Lower lithospheric structure beneath the Trans-European Suture Zone from POLONAISE'97 seismic profiles

Grad M, Keller GR, Thybo H, Guterch A, POLONAISE Working Group

Publication type:
Scientific publication reviewed (Science Citation Index)


360(1-4), 2002, 153-168, 10.1016/S0040-1951(02)00350-5

Organization unit:

The large-scale POLONAISE'97 seismic experiment investigated the velocity structure of the lithosphere in the Trans-European Suture Zone (TESZ) region between the Precambrian East European Craton (EEC) and Palaeozoic Platform (PP). In the area of the Polish Basin, the P-wave velocity is very low (Vp <6.1 km/s) down to depths of 15–20 km, and the consolidated basement (Vp∼5.7–5.8 km/s) is 5–12 km deep. The thickness of the crust is ∼30 km beneath the Palaeozoic Platform, 40–45 km beneath the TESZ, and 40–50 km beneath the EEC. The compressional wave velocity of the sub-Moho mantle is >8.25 km/s in the Palaeozoic Platform and ∼8.1 km/s in the Precambrian Platform. Good quality record sections were obtained to the longest offsets of about 600 km from the shot points, with clear first arrivals and later phases of waves reflected/refracted in the lower lithosphere. Two-dimensional interpretation of the reversed system of travel times constrains a series of reflectors in the depth range of 50–90 km. A seismic reflector appears as a general feature at around 10 km depth below Moho in the area, independent of the actual depth to the Moho and sub-Moho seismic velocity. “Ringing reflections” are explained by relatively small-scale heterogeneities beneath the depth interval from ∼90 to 110 km. Qualitative interpretation of the observed wave field shows a differentiation of the reflectivity in the lower lithosphere. The seismic reflectivity of the uppermost mantle is stronger beneath the Palaeozoic Platform and TESZ than the East European Platform. The deepest interpreted seismic reflector with zone of high reflectivity may mark a change in upper mantle structure from an upper zone characterised by seismic scatterers of small vertical dimension to a lower zone with vertically larger seismic scatterers, possible caused by inclusions of partial melt.