Abstract

Oceanic and continental lithosphere distribution within the eastern Mediterranean is not well understood. A gravity inversion, incorporating a lithosphere thermal gravity anomaly correction, has been used to map Moho depth, crustal thickness and lithosphere thinning for the eastern Mediterranean, from which the distribution of oceanic and continental lithosphere, the structure of the ocean–continent transition (OCT) and the location of the continent–ocean boundary (COB) can be determined. The gravity inversion results show thin crust and high continental lithosphere thinning under the Ionian Sea and the Herodotus Basin, consistent with these basins being underlain by oceanic crust. Moho depths from gravity inversion are in agreement with seismic refraction estimates in these basins. Highly thinned continental crust is predicted under the offshore Sirte and Levant basins. The sharp decrease in crustal thickness predicted by gravity inversion off the Libyan and Egyptian coast gives an indication of COB location. Crustal thickness and continental lithosphere thinning determined from gravity inversion have also been used to explore the relationship between the Cretaceous West and Central African Rift System (WCARS: Benue Trough, Chad, Central African Shear Zone (CASZ) and Sudan basins) and the eastern Mediterranean basins; continuity between the Cretaceous WCARS and the eastern Mediterranean basins is not apparent in the gravity inversion results.

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