Isotropic and radially anisotropic S-velocity structure beneath the Arabian plate inferred from surface wave tomography

Rinhui Kim, Michael Witek, Sung Joon Chang, Jung A. Lim, Paul Martin Mai, Hani Zahran

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

4 Scopus citations


We estimated Rayleigh- and Love-wave group-velocity dispersion curves using dense seismic networks in Saudi Arabia and nearby countries. We merged our data with group- and phase-velocity dispersion curves from previous studies to produce a new isotropic and radially anisotropic S-velocity model for the Arabian plate and nearby regions. Strong negative radial anisotropy (VSH < VSV) is observed in the crustal depth beneath the southern Red Sea, but weak positive radial anisotropy (VSH > VSV) and relatively thick lithosphere are found beneath the northern Red Sea, implying different tectonics between the two regions. We found low-velocity anomalies beneath Cenozoic volcanism in the Arabian Peninsula, but corresponding radial anisotropic perturbations are observed differently in spatiotemporal regimes depending on source origin. From the strong positive radial anisotropy at asthenospheric depth, which correlates with a circular pattern of azimuthal anisotropy from shear-wave splitting, we infer toroidal mantle flow around regions of thick lithosphere including an eastern part of the Arabian platform, the Mesopotamian Plain, and the Zagros belt. On the contrary, weak radial anisotropy is found beneath the thin lithosphere of the Arabian shield and in the thick lithosphere of the Mesopotamian, which may imply vertical flow due to asthenospheric upwelling and cratonic growth, respectively.
Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)229968
StatePublished - Jun 21 2023

Bibliographical note

KAUST Repository Item: Exported on 2023-07-17
Acknowledged KAUST grant number(s): BAS/1/1339-01-01
Acknowledgements: This work was financially supported by the Korea Meteorological Administration Research and Development Program under Grant KMI 2022–00810, by the National Research Foundation of Korea (NRF) grant funded by the Korean government (MSIT) (2019R1A2C208506111), by Basic Science Research Program through the NRF funded by the Ministry of Education (2019R1A6A1A03033167), and by Ministry of the Interior and Safety as Human Resource Development Project in Disaster Management. The research presented in this article is supported by King Abdullah University of Science and Technology (KAUST) in Thuwal, Saudi Arabia, grant BAS/1/1339-01-01. The Generic Mapping Tools software (Wessel et al. 2013) was used to plot figures containing maps.

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Earth-Surface Processes
  • Geophysics


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