Palomeras, I., Ayarza, P., Andrés, J., Álvarez-Valero, A. M., Gómez-Barreiro, J., Díaz, J., et al. (2021). Mapping and Interpreting the Uppermost Mantle Reflectivity Beneath Central and South-West Iberia. Journal of Geophysical Research: Solid Earth, 126, e2020JB019987.


At least two sub-Moho reflectors have been identified in different seismic refraction and wide-angle reflection experiments conducted in western Iberia since the early 1990s. The wavelet kinematics and characteristics of the shallowest event are probably produced by an increase in P-wave velocity that forward modeling places at ~70–75 km depth beneath the Ossa-Morena Zone (OMZ) shallowing up to 50–60 km beneath the Central Iberian Zone (CIZ). Synthetic modeling suggests that the coda and amplitude of this arrival may correspond to a ~10-km-thick heterogeneous layer. We used a two-dimensional second-order finite-difference acoustic full wavefield modeling scheme with an input model which includes a layer of randomly distributed bodies thinner than one-fourth of the wavelength of the source waves and ?Vp = ±0.1 km/s at the considered depth range. The resulting synthetic data reproduce well the observed amplitudes and codas because of the constructive interferences caused by this heterogeneous zone. The origin of this layer also discussed here in detail, is very likely related to the phase transition from spinel to garnet lherzolite, the so-called Hales discontinuity. A second reflection also observed in some of the experiments suggests the presence of a velocity inversion at greater depths. Forward modeling places this discontinuity at around 90 km depth beneath the OMZ, deepening to 105–110 km depth beneath the southeast CIZ and shallowing up to 80 km depth in the northeast CIZ. The observed characteristics of this event are consistent with those of the lithosphere-asthenosphere boundary.

Reference article

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