Scandinavia: A former Tibet?

Authors


Abstract

[1] The Himalaya and the Tibetan Plateau are uplifted by the ongoing northward underthrusting of the Indian continental lithosphere below Tibet resulting in lithospheric stacking. The layered structure of the Tibetan upper mantle is imaged by seismic methods, most detailed with the receiver function method. Tibet is considered as a place where the development of a future craton is currently under way. Here we study the upper mantle from Germany to northern Sweden with seismic S receiver functions and compare the structure below Scandinavia with that below Tibet. Below Proterozoic Scandinavia, we found two low-velocity zones on top of each other, separated by a high-velocity zone. The top of the upper low-velocity zone at about 100 km depth extends from Germany to Archaean northern Sweden. It agrees with the lithosphere-asthenosphere boundary (LAB) below Germany and Denmark. Below Sweden it is known as the 8°discontinuity, or as a mid-lithospheric discontinuity (MLD), similar to observations in North America. Seismic tomography places the LAB near 200 km in Scandinavia, which is close to the top of our deeper low-velocity zone. We also observed the bottom of the asthenosphere (the Lehmann discontinuity) deepening from 180 km in Germany to 260 km below Sweden. Remnants of old subduction in the upper about 100 km below Scandinavia and Finland are known from controlled source seismic experiments and local earthquake studies. Recent tomographic studies indicate delamination of the lithosphere below southern Scandinavia and northern Germany. We are suggesting that the large-scale layered structure in the Scandinavian upper mantle may be caused by processes similar to the ongoing lithospheric stacking in Tibet.

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