Italian and Alpine crustal structure imaged by ambient-noise surface-wave dispersion
Tuesday, 16 December 2014: 11:20 AM
Surface-wave dispersion measurements based on seismic background signal (ambient noise) are a very effective means to image S-wave velocity at crustal and lithospheric depths. The goal of our study is to integrate new ambient noise data for central Europe with more traditional models of crustal heterogeneity and discontinuity depths. We find that the reference crustal model EPcrust (Molinari and Morelli, 2011) is in good agreement with the large database of one-year-long records of European ambient noise compiled by Verbeke et al. (2012). We use the same data to further improve EPcrust, obtaining a new three-dimensional model of Italian and Alpine crustal structure. We first conduct a linear least squares inversion of the available phase-velocity observations, resulting in a set of Rayleigh-wave phase-velocity maps at periods between 5 and 37 s. At relatively short periods, these maps clearly reflect the surface geology of the region, e.g. low velocity zones at the Po Plain; longer-period maps reveal deeper structures such as Moho topography under Alps and Appennines, and lower crustal anomalies. The phase-velocity maps are next inverted via the Neighbourhood Algorithm to determine a set of one-dimensional shear-velocity models (one per phase-velocity pixel), which are in turn interpolated to build a new three-dimensional model and Moho depth. The reconstructed model shows the low velocity area beneath the Po Plain; the contrast between the low-velocity crust of the Adriatic domain and the high-velocity crust of the Tyrrhenian domain is clearly seen, as well as an almost uniform crystalline crust beneath the Alpine belt. Our results are physically consistent with the information for velocity structure and Moho depth independently obtained by other seismic methods.