Near-vertical seismic reflection image using a novel acquisition technique across the Vrancea Zone and Foscani Basin, south-eastern Carpathians (Romania)

I Pancea, Randell Stephenson, C Knapp, V Mocanu, G Drijkoningen, L Matenco, J Knapp, K Prodehl

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Abstract

The DACIA PLAN (Danube and Carpathian Integrated Action on Process in the Lithosphere and Neotectonics) deep seismic sounding survey was performed in August-September 2001 in south-eastern Romania, at the same time as the regional deep refraction seismic survey VRANCEA 2001. The main goal of the experiment was to obtain new information on the deep structure of the external Carpathians nappes and the architecture of Tertiary/Quaternary basins developed within and adjacent to the seismically-active Vrancea zone, including the Focsani Basin. The seismic reflection line had a VNW-ESE orientation, running from internal East Carpathians units, across the mountainous south-eastern Carpathians, and the foreland Focsani Basin towards the Danube Delta. There were 131 shot points along the profile, with about I km spacing, and data were recorded with stand-alone RefTek-125s (also known as "Texans"), supplied by the University Texas at El Paso and the PASSCAL Institute. The entire line was recorded in three deployments, using about 340 receivers in the first deployment and 640 receivers in each of the other two deployments. The resulting deep seismic reflection stacks, processed to 20 s along the entire profile and to 10 s in the eastern Focsani Basin, are presented here. The regional architecture of the latter, interpreted in the context of abundant independent constraint from exploration seismic and subsurface data, is well imaged. Image quality within and beneath the thrust belt is of much poorer quality. Nevertheless, there is good evidence to suggest that a thick (similar to 10 km) sedimentary basin having the structure of a graben and of indeterminate age underlies the westernmost part of the Focsani Basin, in the depth range 10-25 km. Most of the crustal depth seismicity observed in the Vrancea zone (as opposed to the more intense upper mantle seismicity) appears to be associated with this sedimentary basin. The sedimentary successions within this basin and other horizons visible further to the west, beneath the Carpathian nappes, suggest that the geometry of the Neogene and recent uplift observed in the Vrancea zone, likely coupled with contemporaneous rapid subsidence in the foreland, is detached from deeper levels of the crust at about 10 km depth. The Moho lies at a depth of about 40 km along the profile, its poor expression in the reflection stack being strengthened by independent estimates from the refraction data. Given the apparent thickness of the (meta)sedimentary supracrustal units, the crystalline crust beneath this area is quite thin ( < 20 km) supporting the hypothesis that there may have been delamination of (lower) continental crust in this area involved in the evolution of the seismic Vrancea zone. (c) 2005 Elsevier B.V. All rights reserved.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)293-309
Number of pages17
JournalTectonophysics
Volume410
Issue number1-4
DOIs
Publication statusPublished - 9 Dec 2005

Keywords

  • Romania
  • Carpathian Orogen
  • Vrancea zone
  • Focsani Basin
  • seismicity
  • crustal structure
  • continental lithosphere
  • tectonic evolution
  • Moesian platform
  • SE Carpathians
  • slab
  • subduction
  • mantle
  • model
  • delamination
  • lithosphere

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