Scientific Reports 5

Moho topography, ranges and folds of Tibet by analysis of global gravity models and GOCE data

Young Hong Shin, C.K. Shum, Carla Braitenberg, Sang Mook Lee, Sung -Ho Na, Kwang Sun Choi, Houtse Hsu, Young-Sue Park, Mutaek Lim.
The determination of the crustal structure is essential in geophysics, as it gives insight into the geohistory, tectonic environment, geohazard mitigation, etc. Here we present the latest advance on three-dimensional modeling representing the Tibetan Mohorovičić discontinuity (topography and ranges) and its deformation (fold), revealed by analyzing gravity data from GOCE mission. Our study shows noticeable advances in estimated Tibetan Moho model which is superior to the results using the earlier gravity models prior to GOCE. The higher quality gravity field of GOCE is reflected in the Moho solution: we find that the Moho is deeper than 65 km, which is twice the normal continental crust beneath most of the Qinghai-Tibetan plateau, while the deepest Moho, up to 82 km, is located in western Tibet. The amplitude of the Moho fold is estimated to be ranging from −9 km to 9 km with a standard deviation of ~2 km. The improved GOCE gravity derived Moho signals reveal a clear directionality of the Moho ranges and Moho fold structure, orthogonal to deformation rates observed by GPS. This geophysical feature, clearly more evident than the ones estimated using earlier gravity models, reveals that it is the result of the large compressional tectonic process.