Isostatic GOCE Moho model for Iran

Mehdi Eshagh, Sahar Ebadi, Robert Tenzer

Research output: Journal article publicationJournal articleAcademic researchpeer-review

12 Citations (Scopus)


In case of selecting a small value of the mean compensation depth, the pattern of deep Moho structure might not be reproduced realistically. Moreover, the definition of the mean compensation depth in existing isostatic models affects only low-degrees of the Moho spectrum. To overcome this problem, in this study we reformulate the Sjöberg and Jeffrey's methods of solving the Vening-Meinesz isostatic problem so that the mean compensation depth contributes to the whole Moho spectrum. Both solutions are then defined for the vertical gravity gradient, allowing estimating the Moho depth from the GOCE satellite gravity-gradiometry data. Moreover, gravimetric solutions provide realistic results only when a priori information on the crust and upper mantle structure is known (usually from seismic surveys) with a relatively good accuracy. To investigate this aspect, we formulate our gravimetric solutions for a variable Moho density contrast to account for variable density of the uppermost mantle below the Moho interface, while taking into consideration also density variations within the sediments and consolidated crust down to the Moho interface. The developed theoretical models are applied to estimate the Moho depth from GOCE data at the regional study area of the Iranian tectonic block, including also parts of surrounding tectonic features. Our results indicate that the regional Moho depth differences between Sjöberg and Jeffrey's solutions, reaching up to about 3 km, are caused by a smoothing effect of Sjöberg's method. The validation of our results further shows a relatively good agreement with regional seismic studies over most of the continental crust, but large discrepancies are detected under the Oman Sea and the Makran subduction zone. We explain these discrepancies by a low quality of seismic data offshore.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)12-24
Number of pages13
JournalJournal of Asian Earth Sciences
Publication statusPublished - 1 May 2017
Externally publishedYes


  • Crust
  • Integral inversion
  • Isostasy
  • Moho
  • Satellite gradiometry

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Geology
  • Earth-Surface Processes


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