Integrated seismic model of the crust and upper mantle of the Trans-European Suture zone between the Precambrian craton and Phanerozoic terranes in Central Europe

Wilde-Piórko M., Świeczak M., Grad M., Majdański M.


481(1-4), 2010, 108-115, 10.1016/j.tecto.2009.05.002

The structure and evolution of the Trans-European Suture zone (TESZ), contact between Precambrian Europe to the northeast and Phanerozoic terranes to the southwest is one of the main tectonic questions in Europe. The knowledge of the crustal structure, lithosphere–asthenosphere boundary and mantle transition zone between two seismic discontinuities at depths “410” and “660” km, is one of the most important issues to understand the Earth's dynamics. To create a mantle model of the TESZ and surroundings we used different seismic data collected along the 950 km long POLONAISE'97 profile P4. Previous results of 2-D ray-tracing and P-wave travel time modelling and new results of P-wave travel time residuals methods and receiver function sections provide facts about the seismic structure from the surface down to 900 km depth. In the TESZ a large basin, about 125 km wide, is filled with sedimentary strata (Vp < 6.0 km s− 1) to about 20 km depth. This basin is asymmetric with its northeast margin being most abrupt. The crystalline crust under this basin is only about 20 km thick today indicating that the lithosphere of Baltica was either thinned drastically or terminated along the northeast margin of the basin. The East European craton (EEC) has a ~ 45 km thick three-layered crust. The crust of the accreted terranes to the southwest is relatively thin (~ 30 km) and similar to that found in other non-cratonal areas of Western Europe. The lower crust is relatively fast (Vp > 7.0 km s− 1) along most of the P4 profile. However, lower values to the southwest may indicate the termination of Baltica. High velocity (~ 8.35 km s− 1) uppermost mantle lies beneath the Avalonia/Variscan terranes, and may be due to rifting and/or subduction. The seismic lithosphere thickness for the EEC is about 200 km, while it is only 90 km in the Palaeozoic platform (PP). The mantle transition zone is shallower and about 30 km thicker under the EEC, which could be due to thermal conditions (lower temperature) and/or the presence of water and FeO. The result of this paper is a new compiled and integrated seismic velocity model, available in digital form down to 900 km depth (http://www.igf.fuw.edu.pl/p4-mantle), which can be used as a preliminary model of the crust and upper mantle in the TESZ area in Central Europe.