Combined gravimetric-seismic Moho model of Tibet

Alexey Baranov, Mohammad Bagherbandi, Robert Tenzer

Research output: Journal article publicationJournal articleAcademic researchpeer-review

12 Citations (Scopus)


Substantial progress has been achieved over the last four decades to better understand a deep structure in the Himalayas and Tibet. Nevertheless, the remoteness of this part of the world still considerably limits the use of seismic data. A possible way to overcome this practical restriction partially is to use products from the Earth’s satellite observation systems. Global topographic data are provided by the Shuttle Radar Topography Mission (SRTM). Global gravitational models have been derived from observables delivered by the gravity-dedicated satellite missions, such as the Gravity Recovery and Climate Experiment (GRACE) and the Gravity field and steady-state Ocean Circulation Explorer (GOCE). Optimally, the topographic and gravity data should be combined with available results from tomographic surveys to interpret the lithospheric structure, including also a Moho relief. In this study, we use seismic, gravity, and topographic data to estimate the Moho depth under orogenic structures of the Himalayas and Tibet. The combined Moho model is computed based on solving the Vening Meinesz–Moritz (VMM) inverse problem of isostasy, while incorporating seismic data to constrain the gravimetric solution. The result of the combined gravimetric-seismic data analysis exhibits an anticipated more detailed structure of the Moho geometry when compared to the solution obtained merely from seismic data. This is especially evident over regions with sparse seismic data coverage. The newly-determined combined Moho model of Tibet shows a typical contrast between a thick crustal structure of orogenic formations compared to a thinner crust of continental basins. The Moho depth under most of the Himalayas and the Tibetan Plateau is typically within 60–70 km. The maximum Moho deepening of ~76 km occurs to the south of the Bangong-Nujiang suture under the Lhasa terrane. Local maxima of the Moho depth to ~74 km are also found beneath Taksha at the Karakoram fault. This Moho pattern generally agrees with the findings from existing gravimetric and seismic studies, but some inconsistencies are also identified and discussed in this study.

Original languageEnglish
Article number461
JournalGeosciences (Switzerland)
Issue number12
Publication statusPublished - Dec 2018


  • Moho
  • Satellite gravity missions
  • Seismic data
  • Terrain model
  • Tibet

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • General Earth and Planetary Sciences


Dive into the research topics of 'Combined gravimetric-seismic Moho model of Tibet'. Together they form a unique fingerprint.

Cite this