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Crustal structure of a young margin pair: New results across the Liguro–Provencal Basin from wide-angle seismic tomography

Abstract : Tomographic inversion of two wide-angle seismic profiles acquired during the Sardinia cruise (2006) on the conjugate Gulf of Lions–West Sardinia margins pair offers insight into the deep structure of this young basin. It is the first combined conjugate margins study in this area based on deep seismic data. Modelling of the two conjugate profiles reveals that the conjugate margins are symmetric in term of crustal velocity structure, with a partitioning in three similar regions: (1) a zone of low crustal vertical velocity gradients and a crustal thickness of 18 to 10 km, interpreted to be thinned continental crust, (2) a transitional zone characterised by high lower crustal velocities, non-typical of continental or normal oceanic crust, and (3) a 4- to 5-km-thick crust showing vertical velocity gradients and relative velocity ranges typical of oceanic crust. This latter region is interpreted to be a thin oceanic crust resulting from a tectonic heritage and the possible influence of a cool slab back-arc basin. Although the three regions are found on both sides of the margin, they are asymmetric in terms of the width of these domains, wide and smooth along the Gulf of Lions margin, and narrow and abrupt along its conjugate Sardinia side. The width of Region 2 is larger on the Gulf of Lions side (~ 90 km) than on the Sardinia side (~ 40 km). Crustal thickness in Region 3 is about 1 km thinner on the Sardinia side than on its conjugate. In Region 1 the crustal thickness is lower on the Sardinia side at a given distance from the shelf break. The differences in width of Region 2 and in crustal thickness might be due to the origin as a back-arc basin of the NW-Mediterranean basin, with the final breakup located closer to the Western Sardinia margin, also probably linked to the complex tectonic history of the region. Our results do not support a simple shear mechanism of the opening of the basin along a lithospheric detachment fault.
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A. Gailler, Frauke Klingelhoefer, Jean-Louis Olivet, Daniel Aslanian. Crustal structure of a young margin pair: New results across the Liguro–Provencal Basin from wide-angle seismic tomography. Earth and Planetary Science Letters, Elsevier, 2009, 286 (1-2), pp.333-345. ⟨10.1016/j.epsl.2009.07.001⟩. ⟨insu-00429494⟩



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