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We present a summary of geophysical models of the subcrustal lithosphere of Europe. This includes the results from seismic (reflection and refraction profiles, P- and S-wave tomography, mantle anisotropy), gravity, thermal, electromagnetic, elastic and petrological studies of the lithospheric mantle. We discuss major tectonic processes as reflected in the lithospheric structure of Europe, from Precambrian terrane accretion and subduction to Phanerozoic rifting, volcanism, subduction and continent-continent collision. The differences in the lithospheric structure of Precambrian and Phanerozoic Europe, as illustrated by a comparative analysis of different geophysical data, are shown to have both a compositional and a thermal origin. We propose an integrated model of physical properties of the European subcrustal lithosphere, with emphasis on the depth intervals around 150 and 250 km. At these depths, seismic velocity models, constrained by body-and surface-wave continent-scale tomography, are compared with mantle temperatures and mantle gravity anomalies. This comparison provides a framework for discussion of the physical or chemical origin of the major lithospheric anomalies and their relation to large-scale tectonic processes, which have formed the present lithosphere of Europe. ?? The Geological Society of London 2006.
Additional Publication Details
Deep Europe today: Geophysical synthesis of the upper mantle structure and lithospheric processes over 3.5 Ga