Upper mantle structures beneath the Carpathian-Pannonian region

Implications for the geodynamics of continental collision

Y. Ren, G. W. Stuart, G. A. Houseman, B. Dando, C. Ionescu, E. Hegedűs, S. Radovanović, Y. Shen

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

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Abstract

The Carpathian-Pannonian system of Eastern and Central Europe represents a unique opportunity to study the interaction between surface tectonic processes involving convergence, extension and convective overturn in the upper mantle. Here, we present high-resolution images of upper mantle structure beneath the region from P-wave finite-frequency teleseismic tomography to help constrain such geodynamical interactions. We have selected earthquakes with magnitude greater than 5.5 in the distance range 30°-95°, which occurred between 2006 and 2011. The data were recorded on 54 temporary stations deployed by the South Carpathian Project (2009-2011), 56 temporary stations deployed by the Carpathian Basins Project (2005-2007), and 131 national network broadband stations. The P-wave relative arrival times are measured in two frequency bands (0.5-2.0. Hz and 0.1-0.5. Hz), and are inverted for Vp perturbation maps in the upper mantle. Our images show a sub-vertical slab of fast material beneath the eastern Alps which extends eastward across the Pannonian basin at depths below ~300. km. The fast material extends down into the mantle transition zone (MTZ), where it spreads out beneath the entire basin. Above ~300. km, the upper mantle below the Pannonian basin is dominated by relatively slow velocities, the largest of which extends down to ~200. km. We suggest that cold mantle lithospheric downwelling occurred below the Pannonian Basin before detaching in the mid-Miocene. In the Vrancea Zone of SE Romania, intermediate-depth (75-180. km) seismicity occurs at the NE end of an upper mantle high velocity structure that extends SW under the Moesian Platform, oblique to the southern edge of the South Carpathians. At greater depths (180-400. km), a sub-circular high velocity anomaly is found directly beneath the seismicity. This sub-vertical high-velocity body is bounded by slow anomalies to the NW and SE, which extend down to the top of the MTZ. No clear evidence of a residual slab is observed above the MTZ beneath the Eastern Carpathians. These observations suggest that intermediate-depth seismicity in Vrancea Zone is unlikely to be due to slab tearing, but rather could be explained by either gravitational instability or delamination of mantle lithosphere.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)139-152
Number of pages14
JournalEarth and Planetary Science Letters
Volume349-350
DOIs
Publication statusPublished - Oct 1 2012

Fingerprint

Geodynamics
mantle structure
continental collision
geodynamics
upper mantle
Earth mantle
mantle
collisions
transition zone
seismicity
slab
basin
P-wave
Broadband networks
Tectonics
anomaly
Image resolution
Delamination
slabs
overturn

Keywords

  • Carpathian-Pannonian system
  • Continental collision
  • Finite-frequency tomography
  • Upper mantle structure

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Geochemistry and Petrology
  • Geophysics
  • Earth and Planetary Sciences (miscellaneous)
  • Space and Planetary Science

Cite this

Upper mantle structures beneath the Carpathian-Pannonian region : Implications for the geodynamics of continental collision. / Ren, Y.; Stuart, G. W.; Houseman, G. A.; Dando, B.; Ionescu, C.; Hegedűs, E.; Radovanović, S.; Shen, Y.

In: Earth and Planetary Science Letters, Vol. 349-350, 01.10.2012, p. 139-152.

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

Ren, Y. ; Stuart, G. W. ; Houseman, G. A. ; Dando, B. ; Ionescu, C. ; Hegedűs, E. ; Radovanović, S. ; Shen, Y. / Upper mantle structures beneath the Carpathian-Pannonian region : Implications for the geodynamics of continental collision. In: Earth and Planetary Science Letters. 2012 ; Vol. 349-350. pp. 139-152.
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AU - Dando, B.

AU - Ionescu, C.

AU - Hegedűs, E.

AU - Radovanović, S.

AU - Shen, Y.

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