Blackwell Publishing Journal Backfiles 1879-2005
Teleseismic P arrivals at seismological stations are inverted into a model of velocity perturbations down to a depth of about 470 km. Directionally independent average residuals, computed from steeply inciding waves, are transformed into a model of lithospheric thickness. Both models show a good correspondence with the main tectonic features of the Italian Peninsula. Positive velocity perturbations are observed beneath the Alps and in depths over 200 km also beneath the Po Basin. A high-velocity anomaly of the Tyrrhenian subduction is less pronounced, probably due to a directional dependence of P velocities in the mantle. Negative velocity perturbations indicate several low-velocity regions, e.g. beneath the Northern Apennines, the Sicily region and in the upper 100 km beneath the Po Basin. The amplitudes of velocity perturbations beneath the depth of 200 km are smaller on the average than those in the upper two layers. The whole region is characterized by large undulations of the lithosphere base which reaches depths from less than 60 km to more than 150 km. The most prominent lithospheric root beneath the Alps is a product of the collision between the European and the Adriatic plates while the lithospheric thickening beneath the Calabrian coast is likely to be connected with the eastern wing of the Tyrrhenian subduction. The dramatic changes of lithosphere thickness between the northern and the southern Apenninic arcs and northern Calabria as well as the thinnings at the western closure of the Po Basin, indicate important deep-seated boundaries of lithospheric blocks of autonomous geodynamic development.
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