Upper mantle structure of the northeastern Arabian Platform from teleseismic body-wave tomography

Simone Pilia, Hao Hu, Mohammed Y. Ali, Nicholas Rawlinson, Aiguo Ruan

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

9 Scopus citations


A thick Infra-Cambrian to Phanerozoic sedimentary sequence in eastern Arabia conceals a poorly known Neoproterozoic basement that once separated the currently exposed Arabian Shield (western Arabia) from NW India in Gondwana. In this study, the Arabian Platform (eastern Arabia) is targeted by relatively high-resolution passive-source seismic tomography for the first time, which aims to illuminate crust and upper mantle structure in order to make inferences on their nature and origin. This is facilitated by a new broadband seismic network of 55 stations in the United Arab Emirates (UAE), which has recorded sufficient teleseismic body wave data to allow for the determination of three-dimensional seismic structure. Using a grid-based eikonal solver and a subspace inversion technique implemented in FMTOMO, relative arrival-time residuals from teleseismic earthquakes are mapped as 3-D P-wave velocity perturbations in the upper mantle beneath the seismic network. The resultant tomographic images reveal a marked transition from higher velocities in the Gulf of Oman to lower velocities in the west that we interpret to indicate the lithospheric boundary between Cretaceous Tethyan oceanic lithosphere and the Arabian passive continental margin. The northern extent of Tethyan oceanic lithosphere appears to terminate against a possible offshore continuation of the Dibba fault, until now only identified onshore. Further inland, the tomographic model exhibits a number of low- and high- velocity anomalies with a predominant NW orientation. Significantly, one well-defined high velocity anomaly is situated along strike of the Neoproterozoic exposure of volcanic-arc granodiorites found in northern Oman. We relate this anomaly to an intra-oceanic arc created during the Tonian subduction of the Mozambique Ocean, which strongly support the idea of continental growth in the Arabian Platform via magmatic arc accretion.

Original languageBritish English
Article number106549
JournalPhysics of the Earth and Planetary Interiors
StatePublished - Oct 2020


  • Arabian platform
  • Continental accretion
  • Oceanic lithosphere
  • Semail ophiolite
  • Teleseismic body-wave tomography


Dive into the research topics of 'Upper mantle structure of the northeastern Arabian Platform from teleseismic body-wave tomography'. Together they form a unique fingerprint.

Cite this