Seismic discontinuities in the Mediterranean mantle

M. van der Meijde*, S. van der Lee, D. Giardini

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

47 Scopus citations


Layering in the upper and lower mantle across the Mediterranean has been determined using P-to-S converted phases identified through receiver function analysis. Conversion of the receiver function's time axis to depth was based on local 1D S-velocity models. The 1D velocity model for each station was extracted from a three-dimensional S-velocity model for the Mediterranean region (EAV03), enhanced with crustal structure derived from receiver function analysis. Under the Mediterranean region we observed a mantle transition zone thickness of 261 ± 10 km, on average, which agrees with a dominance of high velocities imaged in tomographic models at these depths. A thick mantle transition zone (> 270km) was observed in regions with ongoing or past subduction: eastern Spain, southern Italy, southern Greece and the north-western African coast. Conversions from the 410 km and 660km discontinuities were clearly observed for most stations. Amplitudes of both discontinuities are anomalously large throughout the Mediterranean region, 4.9% and 5.7%, respectively. We observed significant conversions from the 520km discontinuity. The lower mantle showed strong lateral variations resulting in spatially incoherent converted phases from discontinuities near 860km, between 900km and 1200km, and 1320km depth.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)233-250
Number of pages18
JournalPhysics of the Earth and Planetary Interiors
Issue number2-4
StatePublished - Feb 2005


  • Discontinuities
  • Lower mantle
  • Mediterranean
  • Receiver functions
  • Transition zone
  • Upper mantle

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Astronomy and Astrophysics
  • Geophysics
  • Physics and Astronomy (miscellaneous)
  • Space and Planetary Science


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