The distribution of Moho depths beneath the Arabian plate and margins

J. Mechie*, Z. Ben-Avraham, M. H. Weber, H. J. Götze, I. Koulakov, A. Mohsen, M. Stiller

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalReview articlepeer-review


In this study three new maps of Moho depths beneath the Arabian plate and margins are presented. The first map is based on the combined gravity model, EIGEN 06C, which includes data from satellite missions and ground-based studies, and thus covers the whole region between 31°E and 60°E and between 12°N and 36°N. The second map is based on seismological and ground-based gravity data while the third map is based only on seismological data. Both these maps show gaps due to lack of data coverage especially in the interior of the Arabian plate. Beneath the interior of the Arabian plate the Moho lies between 32 and 45. km depth below sea level. There is a tendency for higher Pn and Sn velocities beneath the northeastern parts of the plate interior with respect to the southwestern parts of the plate interior. Across the northern, destructive margin with the Eurasian plate, the Moho depths increase to over 50. km beneath the Zagros mountains. Across the conservative western margin, the Dead Sea Transform (DST), Moho depths decrease from almost 40. km beneath the highlands east of the DST to about 21-23. km under the southeastern Mediterranean Sea. This decrease seems to be modulated by a slight depression in the Moho beneath the southern DST. The constructive southwestern and southeastern margins of the Arabian plate also show the Moho shallowing from the plate interior towards the plate boundaries. A comparison of the abruptness of the Moho shallowing between the margins of the Arabian plate, the conjugate African margin at 26°N and several Atlantic margins shows a complex picture and suggests that the abruptness of the Moho shallowing may reflect fundamental differences in the original structure of the margins.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)234-249
Number of pages16
StatePublished - 8 Dec 2013


  • Arabian plate
  • Moho depths
  • Receiver functions
  • Red Sea
  • Satellite gravity data
  • Velocity models


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