Lithospheric structure of Iberia and Morocco using finite-frequency Rayleigh wave tomography from earthquakes and seismic ambient noise
We present a new 3-D shear velocity model of the western Mediterranean from the Pyrenees, Spain, to the Atlas Mountains, Morocco, and the estimated crustal and lithospheric thickness. The velocity model shows different crustal and lithospheric velocities for the Variscan provinces, those which have been affected by Alpine deformation, and those which are actively deforming. The Iberian Massif has detectable differences in crustal thickness that can be related to the evolution of the Variscan orogen in Iberia. Areas affected by Alpine deformation have generally lower velocities in the upper and lower crust than the Iberian Massif. Beneath the Gibraltar Strait and surrounding areas, the crustal thickness is greater than 50 km, below which a high-velocity anomaly (>4.5 km/s) is mapped to depths greater than 200 km. We identify this as a subducted remnant of the NeoTethys plate referred to as the Alboran and western Mediterranean slab. Beneath the adjacent Betic and Rif Mountains, the Alboran slab is still attached to the base of the crust, depressing it, and ultimately delaminating the lower crust and mantle lithosphere as the slab sinks. Under the adjacent continents, the Alboran slab is surrounded by low upper mantle shear wave velocities (Vs < 4.3) that we interpret as asthenosphere that has replaced the continental margin lithosphere which was viscously removed by Alboran plate subduction. The southernmost part of the model features an anomalously thin lithosphere beneath the Atlas Mountains that could be related to lateral flow induced by the Alboran slab.