Seismic lithosphere–asthenosphere boundary beneath the Baltic Shield

Grad, M., Tiira, T., Olsson, S., Komminaho, K.


136 (4), 2014, 581-598, 10.1080/11035897.2014.959042

The problem of the existence of the asthenosphere for old Precambrian cratons is still discussed. In order to study the seismic lithosphere–asthenosphere boundary (LAB) beneath the Baltic Shield, we used records of nine local earthquakes with magnitudes ranging from 2.7 to 5.9. To model the LAB, original data were corrected for topography and Moho depth using a reference model with a 46-km-thick crust. For two northern events at Spitsbergen and Novaya Zemlya, we observe a low-velocity layer, 60–70-km-thick asthenosphere, and the LAB beneath Barents Sea was found at depth of c. 200 km. Sections for other events show continuous first arrivals of P-waves with no evidence for “shadow zone” in the whole range of registration, which could either be interpreted as the absence of the asthenosphere beneath the central part of the Baltic Shield, or that the LAB in this area occurs deeper (>200 km). The relatively thin low-velocity layer found beneath southern Sweden, 15 km below the Moho, could be interpreted as small-scale lithospheric heterogeneities, rather than asthenosphere. Differentiation of the lower lithosphere velocities beneath the Baltic Shield could be interpreted as regional heterogeneity or as anisotropy of the Baltic Shield lithosphere, with high velocities approximately in the east–west direction, and slow velocities approximately in the south–north direction.