Crustal root beneath the highlands of southern Norway resolved by teleseismic receiver functions



Teleseismic data have been collected with temporary seismograph stations on two profiles in southern Norway. Including the permanent arrays NORSAR and Hagfors the profiles are 400 and 500 km long and extend from the Atlantic coast across regions of high topography and the Oslo Rift. A total of 1071 teleseismic waveforms recorded by 24 temporary and 8 permanent stations are analysed. The depth-migrated receiver functions show a well-resolved Moho for both profiles with Moho depths that are generally accurate within ±2 km.

For the northern profile across Jotunheimen we obtain Moho depths between 32 and 43 km (below sea level). On the southern profile across Hardangervidda, the Moho depths range from 29 km at the Atlantic coast to 41 km below the highland plateau. Generally the depth of Moho is close to or above 40 km beneath areas of high mean topography (>1 km), whereas in the Oslo Rift the crust locally thins down to 32 km. At the east end of the profiles we observe a deepening Moho beneath low topography. Beneath the highlands the obtained Moho depths are 4–5 km deeper than previous estimates. Our results are supported by the fact that west of the Oslo Rift a deep Moho correlates very well with low Bouguer gravity which also correlates well with high mean topography.

The presented results reveal a ca. 10–12 km thick Airy-type crustal root beneath the highlands of southern Norway, which leaves little room for additional buoyancy-effects below Moho. These observations do not seem consistent with the mechanisms of substantial buoyancy presently suggested to explain a significant Cenozoic uplift widely believed to be the cause of the high topography in present-day southern Norway.