Springer Nature is making Coronavirus research free. View research | View latest news | Sign up for updates

The main characteristics of the lithosphere-asthenosphere system in Italy and surrounding regions

  • 200 Accesses

  • 123 Citations


We present a summary of the available information on Rayleigh-wave dispersion data for the Italian area. The dispersion curves can be grouped into two main families according to their shape: one with an almost linear trend in the period range from 40 to 150 sec the other with a relatively flat portion in the period range from 40 to 80 sec. The inversion of these data shows that there are strong lateral variation in the lithosphere system: a very rapid transition in the lithospheric thickness, from about 130 km to about 30 km, as well as in the S-wave velocity of the lithosphere and asthenosphere.

Some cross-sections are described in order to have a more direct insight on the gross features of the upper mantle.

An attempt is made to discuss the properties of the upper mantle taking into account the tectonic evolution of the Mediterranean.

This is a preview of subscription content, log in to check access.


  1. Alpine Explosion Seismology Group (1976),A Lithospheric Seismic Profile Along the Axis of the Alps, 1975. I: First Results, Pure appl. Geophys.114, 1109–1130.

  2. Biju-Duval, B., Dercourt, J., andLe Pichon, X.,From the Tethys Ocean to the Mediterranean Seas: a Plate Tectonic Model of the Evolution of the Western Alpine System InStructural History of the Mediterranean Basins (eds. B. Biju-Duval and L. Montadert) (Technip, Paris 1977), pp. 143–164.

  3. Biswas, N. N., andKnopoff, L. (1974),The Structure of the Upper Mantle under the United States from the Dispersion of Rayleigh Waves, Geophys. J. R. astr. Soc.36, 515–539.

  4. Calcagnile, G., D'Ingeo, F., andPanza, G. F. (1979),On the Properties of the lithosphere in South-Eastern Europe as Deduced from Rayleigh Wave Group Velocity Data, VI Europ. Geophys. Soc., Vienna.

  5. Calcagnile, G., andPanza, G. F. (1979),Crustal and Upper Mantle Structure Beneath, the Apennines Region as Inferred from the Study of Rayleigh Waves, J. Geophys.45, 319–327.

  6. Channel, J. E. T., andHorvath, F. (1976),The African/Adriatic Promontory as a Paleogeographical Premise for Alpine Orogeny and Plate Movements in the Carpatho-Balkan Region, Tectonoph.35, 75–101.

  7. Colombi, B., Guerra, I., andScarascia, S. (1977),Crustal Structure Along Two Seismic Refraction Lines in the Northern Apennines (Line 16 and 2), Boll. Geofis. teor. appl.19, 214–224.

  8. Dewey, J. F., Pitman, W. C., III, Ryan, W. B. F., andBonin J. (1973),Plate Tectonics and the Evolution of the Alpine System, Bull. geol. Soc. Am.84, 3137–3180.

  9. Finetti, I., andMorelli, C. (1973),Geophysical Exploration of the Mediterranean Sea, Boll. Geofis. teor. appl.15, 263–340.

  10. Giese, P., andMorelli, C. (1975),Crustal Structure in Italy, Quaderni de ‘La Ricerca scientifica’, CNR Roma,90, 453–489.

  11. Giese, P., Morelli, C., andNicolich, R. (1977),Review on the Crustal Structure of the Ligurian Sea and Adjacent Areas, Boll. Geofis. teor. appl.19, 253–258.

  12. Hsü, K. J.,Tectonic Evolution of the Mediterranean Basins. In:The Oceanic Basins and Margins,4A (eds. A. E. M. Nairn, W. H. Kanes and F. G. Stehli) (Plenum, London 1977).

  13. Hsü, K. J., andBernoulli, D.,Genesis of the Tethys and the Mediterranean. InInitial Reports on the Deep Sea Drilling Project, 17 (eds K. J. Hsü, L. Montadert et al.) (U.S. Govt. Printing Office, Washington, D.C. 1978), pp. 943–949.

  14. Illies, J. H. (1975a),Recent and Paleo-Interplate Tectonics in Stable Europe and the Rhinegraben Rift System, Tectonoph.29, 251–264.

  15. Illies, J. H. (1975b),Intraplate Tectonics in Stable Europe as Related to Plate Tectonics in the Alpine System, Geol. Rdsch.64, 677–699.

  16. Italian Explosion Seismology Group, (1978),Preliminary Interpretation of the Profile HD Across the Eastern Alps, Boll. Geofis. teor. appl.20, 287–302.

  17. Keilis-Borok, V. I., andYanovskaya, T. B. (1967),Inverse Problems in Seismology (Structural Review), Geophys. J. R. astr. Soc.,56, 223–234.

  18. Knopoff, L., andPanza, G. F. (1977),Resolution of Upper Mantle Structure Using Higher Modes of Rayleigh Waves, Annali Geofis.30, 491–505.

  19. Letz, H., Reichert, C., andWigger, P. (1977),Results of Two Seismic Refraction Lines in the Northern Apennines (Lines 1 and 3), Boll. Geofis. teor. appl.19, 225–232.

  20. McKenzie, D. (1972),Active Tectonics of the Mediterranean Region, Geophys. J. R. astr. Soc.30, 109–185.

  21. Morelli, C., Carrozzo, M. T., Ceccherini, P., Finetti, I., Gantar, C., Pisani, M., andSchmidt di Friedberg, P. (1969),Regional Geophysical Study of the Adriatic Sea, Boll. Geofis. teor. appl.11, 3–48.

  22. Morelli, C., andGiese, P. (1977),Seimic Refraction Measurements between the Northern Apennines and Corsica, 1974, Boll. Geofis. teor. appl.19, 201–206.

  23. Morelli, C., Giese, P., Cassinis R., Colombi, B., Guerra, I. Luongo, G., Scarascia, S., andSchütte, K.-G., (1975),Crustal Structure of Southern Italy. A Seismic Refraction Profile between Puglia-Calabria-Sicily, Boll. Geofis. teor. appl.17, 183–210.

  24. Morelli, C., Giese, P., Hirn, A., Colombi, B., Eva, C., Guerra, I., Letz, H., Nicolich, R., Reichert, C., andWigger, P.,Seismic Investigations of Crustal and Upper Mantle Structure of the Northern Apennines and Corsica. International Symposium on the Structural History of the Mediterranean Basins, Split. (Edition Technip., Paris 1976), pp. 281–286.

  25. Panza, G. F. (1978),The Crust and Upper Mantle in Southern Italy from Geophysical Data, Riv. It. Geof.5, 17–22.

  26. Panza, G. F.,The Resolving Power of Seismic Surface Waves with Respect to Crust and Upper Mantle Structural Models. InThe Solution of the Inverse Problem in Geophysical Interpretation (ed. R. Cassinis) (Plenum Press, New York, in press).

  27. Panza, G. F., andCalcagnile, G. (1979),The Upper Mantle Structure in Balearic and Tyrrhenian Bathyal Plains and the Messinian Salinity Crisis, PALEO 3,29, 3–14.

  28. Panza, G. F., andCalcagnile, G. (1980),The Crust and Upper Mantle Beneath the Central, Eastern and Southern Alps, Submitted to Boll. Geofis. teor appl.

  29. Panza, G. F., Calcagnile, G., Scandone, P., andMueller, St. (1980b),La struttura profonda dell'area mediterranea, Le Scienze24, 60–69.

  30. Panza, G. F., andMueller, St. (1978),The Plate Boundary Between Eurasia and Africa in the Alpine Area, Mem. Sc. Geol.33, 43–50.

  31. Panza, G. F., Mueller, St., andCalcagnile, G.,The Gross Features of the Lithospere-Asthenosphere System in the European-Mediterranean Area. Paper presented at the ESC/EGS Symposium: Joint Interpretation of Earthquake and Deep Seismic Sounding Data, Strasbourg, 1978.

  32. Panza, G. F., Mueller, St., andCalcagnile, G. (1980a),The Gross Features of the Lithosphere-Asthenosphere System in Europe from Seismic Surface Waves and Body Waves, Pure appl. Geophys.118, 1209–1213.

  33. Sclater, J. C., andTapscott, C. (1979),La storia dell'Oceano Atlantico, Le Scienze23, 80–93.

Download references

Author information

Rights and permissions

Reprints and Permissions

About this article

Cite this article

Calcagnile, G., Panza, G.F. The main characteristics of the lithosphere-asthenosphere system in Italy and surrounding regions. PAGEOPH 119, 865–879 (1980).

Download citation

Key words

  • Rayleigh-wave dispersion in Italy
  • Lithosphere-Asthenosphere of Italy
  • Italy, Rayleigh-wave dispersion