High-resolution local earthquake tomography of the southern Dead Sea area



Local earthquake data from a dense temporary seismological network in the southern Dead Sea area have been analysed within the project DESIRE (Dead Sea Integrated Research Project). Local earthquakes are used for the first precise image of the distribution of the P-wave velocity and the vP/vS ratios. 65 stations registered 655 local events within 18 months of observation time. A subset of 530 well-locatable events with 26 730 P- and S-arrival times was used to calculate a tomographic model for the vP and vP/vS distribution. Since the study area is at first-order 2-D, a gradual approach was chosen, which compromised a 2-D inversion followed by a 3-D inversion. The sedimentary basin fill is clearly imaged through high vP/vS ratios and low vP. The basin fill shows an asymmetric structure with average depth of 7 km at the western boundary and depth between 10 and 14 km at the eastern boundary. This asymmetry is reflected by the vertical strike-slip eastern border fault, and the normal faulting at the western boundary, caused by the transtensional deformation within the last 5 Myr. Within the basin fill the Lisan salt diapir is imaged through low vP/vS ratios, reflecting its low fluid content. The extensions were determined to 12 km in E–W and 17 km in N–S direction while its depth is 5–6 km. The thickness of the pre-basin sediments below the basin fill cannot be derived from the tomography data—it is estimated to less than 3 km from former investigations. Below the basin, down to 18 km depth very low P-wave velocities and low vP/vS ratios are observed—most likely caused by fluids from the surrounding crust or the upper mantle.