Abstract

From seismic tomography and seismic anisotropy, images of the lithosphere-asthenosphere system beneath France for some remarkable tectonic areas have been computed : a continental rift system (the Upper Rhinegraben), an Hercynian structure reactivated by Neogene volcanism (Massif central), a region of a recent continental collision (Pyrenees) and finally a region of an ancient orogeny (Armorican Massif). These images have a horizontal spatial resolution of the order of 10 km and show not only the geometry of the deep geological structures but will also illustrate the link between surface observations and structures detected at depth. The images demonstrate the passive character of the Rhinegraben mainly because no low-velocity was found below the Moho, show the presence of a thermal anomaly beneath the Massif central interpreted as caused by a mantle plume in the decaying phase of its evolution and prove the lithospheric scale of the North Pyrenean fault and of the South-Armorican shear zone. The anisotropic measurements suggest a lithospheric deformation related to the most recent tectonic event. In the Pyrenees, the Armorican Massif or the Rhinegraben areas, the directions of the fast-polarisation azimuth (the polarisation direction of the fast shear wave) are parallel to the tectonic texture of the last events, but suggest also a reactivation of inherited Hercynian discontinuities. In the Massif central, the splitting parameters distinguish between two lithospheric units regions marked by a distinct fast-polarisation azimuth on each side of the Sillon Houiller fault zone.

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