Abstract

A large number of observations of phase velocity of Love and Rayleigh waves have been used in order to determine the crust-mantle structure of the Mediterranean Sea. These velocities have been measured by using records from the Standard Stations located in the Mediterranean borders. The empirical dispersion curves have been compared with those of several models computed for this purpose. Travel-time curves of body waves for paths crossing the Mediterranean region, making use of all possible coastal stations and local earthquakes, have been found to substantiate the results from the surface wave dispersion. Also the value of the Bouguer anomaly in different points of the region was considered in the determination of the crustal thickness, as well as some measurements of group velocity from clear observations of higher modes.

The crust-mantle structure under the Mediterranean Sea was found to be formed by two clearly distinct zones which correspond roughly to the areas to the west and east of Italy. The western zone, between Italy and Spain, is of oceanic type with a thin crust (about 14 km) and a low-velocity channel in the Upper Mantle. In the eastern zone, south of Greece, the crust (some 23 km thick) shows a great thickness of the uppermost sedimentary layers, which gives rise to very low velocities of short-period surface waves in that region. Love waves with group velocities smaller than those of Rayleigh have been clearly observed in a large number of earthquakes in this region. The surface wave dispersion as well as the travel-time curves of P and S waves of this zone indicate the existence of a low-velocity channel in the Upper Mantle.

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