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Deep Structure and Dynamics of the Central Balkan Peninsula from Seismic Data

  • Vinnik, L. P.1
  • Georgieva, G. D.2
  • Oreshin, S. I.1
  • Makeyeva, L. I.1
  • Dragomirov, D. N.3
  • Buchakchiev, V. D.3
  • Dimitrova, L. D.3
  • 1 Schmidt Institute of Physics of the Earth, Russian Academy of Sciences, Moscow, 123242, Russia , Moscow (Russia)
  • 2 Faculty of Physics, Sofia University “St. Kliment Ohridski”, Sofia, 1164, Bulgaria , Sofia (Bulgaria)
  • 3 National Institute of Geophysics, Geodesy and Geography, Sofia, 1113, Bulgaria , Sofia (Bulgaria)
Published Article
Izvestiya, Physics of the Solid Earth
Pleiades Publishing
Publication Date
Nov 01, 2021
DOI: 10.1134/S1069351321060124
Springer Nature
  • Article


Abstract—Analysis of P- and S-receiver functions for 19 seismic stations on the Balkan Peninsula has been performed. Half of the stations are in Bulgaria. The crustal thickness varies from 28–30 to 50 km. The ratio of longitudinal and shear wave velocities in the upper crust reaches 2.0 in some places. In the southwest of the study area, the 410-km seismic boundary is uplifted by 10 km relative to nominal depth. The elevation may be caused by hydration and/or cooling of the mantle transition zone under the influence of the Hellenic subduction zone. A low S-wave velocity layer related to the 410-km boundary may be located atop this boundary. In the northwestern part of the study area this layer is present in spite of the absence of the 410-km boundary. A similar paradox has been previously noted in central Anatolia. Indications of a low-velocity layer are present at a depth exceeding 410 km. The simultaneous inversion of the receiver functions of the two types (P and S) and the Rayleigh wave phase velocities reveals a large (7–9%) decrease in the S-wave velocity in the upper mantle of southern Bulgaria and northern Greece. The thickness of the low-velocity layer (asthenosphere) is about 50 km. The lithosphere-asthenosphere boundary (LAB) is at depths of 40 to 60 km. In terms of tectonics, this zone is characterized as the South Balkan extension system. To the north of 43° N, the S-wave velocity in the upper mantle is usually at least 4.4 km/s and the LAB is not detected or is detected at a depth of over 80 km. The SKS analysis of azimuthal anisotropy reveals lateral zoning in the upper mantle that is correlated to velocity zoning. Probably, the mechanically weak low-velocity mantle of the South Balkan system is easily deformed, and the azimuth of the fast direction of anisotropy (20°) indicates the direction of extension. At the northern stations, the fast direction (about –30°) may be a reflection of an older process.

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