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Content archived on 2024-05-29

Inversion of seismic and gravity data to infer the density and thermal structure under the European continent


In the European continent, large scale structural heterogeneities, probably related to its thermal regime, coexist with local specific tectonic structures, some of them like the Alpine-Carpathian-Pannonian system, still to be definitely understood. With this project, we aim to constrain the bulk seismic and density structure of the Earth's upper mantle beneath the European continent through the joint inversion of body and surface seismic waves and satellite gravity measurements.

The recovered density model will then be used as a reference in order to infer the upper mantle thermal structure of the studied area. In relationship to "state of the art" of research in the field, three goals for this project may be identified: - to exploit the complementary information carried by body waves and surface waves, and gravity measurements, when applied to continental-scale studies of the deep Earth structure, to infer variations of elastic parameters and density (k, mu, rho); - to constrain the mantle geotherm by density anomalies, recovered with the independent contribution of gravity measurements; - to recover the European upper mantle geotherm, constrained by two independent geophysical data-sets.

The need of this research is primarily scientific, as the Earth's average profiles of temperature are key parameters to understand mantle dynamics, and a number of still unresolved tectonic and magmatic activities (e.g. generation and upwellings of mantle plumes). As a result, the comprehension of these activities, is also fundamental for the assessment of the seismic and volcanological risk in the continent. The completion of the research project will be relevant for a number of Earth sciences disciplines like Seismology, Geodesy, Petrology, Geochemistry.


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Via di Vigna Murata 605

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