Journal Article

Crustal seismic velocity structure from Eratosthenes Seamount to Hecataeus Rise across the Cyprus Arc, eastern Mediterranean

J. Kim Welford, Jeremy Hall, Christian Hübscher, Sönke Reiche and Keith Louden

in Geophysical Journal International

Volume 200, issue 2, pages 935-953
ISSN: 0956-540X
Published online December 2014 | e-ISSN: 1365-246X | DOI:
Crustal seismic velocity structure from Eratosthenes Seamount to Hecataeus Rise across the Cyprus Arc, eastern Mediterranean

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Wide-angle reflection/refraction seismic profiles were recorded across the Cyprus Arc, the plate boundary between the African Plate and the Aegean–Anatolian microplate, from the Eratosthenes Seamount to the Hecataeus Rise immediately south of Cyprus. The resultant models were able to resolve detail of significant lateral velocity variations, though the deepest crust and Moho are not well resolved from the seismic data alone. Conclusions from the modelling suggest that (i) Eratosthenes Seamount consists of continental crust but exhibits a laterally variable velocity structure with a thicker middle crust and thinner lower crust to the northeast; (ii) the Hecataeus Rise has a thick sedimentary rock cover on an indeterminate crust (likely continental) and the crust is significantly thinner than Eratosthenes Seamount based on gravity modelling; (iii) high velocity basement blocks, coincident with highs in the magnetic field, occur in the deep water between Eratosthenes and Hecataeus, and are separated and bounded by deep low-velocity troughs and (iv) one of the high velocity blocks runs parallel to the Cyprus Arc, while the other two appear linked based on the magnetic data and run NW–SE, parallel to the margin of the Hecataeus Rise. The high velocity block beneath the edge of Eratosthenes Seamount is interpreted as an older magmatic intrusion while the linked high velocity blocks along Hecataeus Rise are interpreted as deformed remnant Tethyan oceanic crust or mafic intrusives from the NNW–SSE oriented transform margin marking the northern boundary of Eratosthenes Seamount. Eratosthenes Seamount, the northwestern limit of rifted continental crust from the Levant Margin, is part of a jagged rifted margin transected by transform faults on the northern edge of the lower African Plate that is being obliquely subducted under the Aegean–Anatolian upper plate. The thicker crust of Eratosthenes Seamount may be acting as an asperity on the subducting slab, locally locking up subduction of the Cyprus Arc on its northern margin, while deformed Tethyan oceanic crust remains trapped between its northeastern margin and the Hecataeus Rise.

Keywords: Gravity anomalies and Earth structure; Controlled source seismology; Continental margins: convergent; Continental margins: transform; Crustal structure; Europe

Journal Article.  10013 words.  Illustrated.

Subjects: Geophysics

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