RomUkrSeis: seismic model of the crust and upper mantle across the Eastern Carpathians – from the Apuseni Mountains to the Ukrainian Shield

Vitaly Starostenko, Tomasz Janik, Victor Mocanu, Randell Stephenson*, Tamara Yegorova, Tatiana Amashukeli, Wojciech Czuba, Piotr Środa, Anna Murovskaya, Katerina Kolomiyets, Dmytro Lysynchuk, Jan Okoń, Alina Dragut, Victor Omelchenko, Olga Legostaieva, Dmytro Gryn, James Mechie, Anatoly Tolkunov

*Corresponding author for this work

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RomUkrSeis is a controlled source wide-angle reflection and refraction (WARR) profile acquired in August 2014. It is 675 km long, running roughly SW-NE from the Apuseni Mountains in Romania and the Transylvanian Basin, crossing the arc of the Eastern Carpathian orogen and terminating in the East European Craton (EEC) in SW Ukraine. Well-constrained 2-D ray-tracing P- and partly S-wave velocity models have been constructed along the profile from 348 single-component seismic recorders and eleven shot points. The Eastern Carpathian arc formed in the Cenozoic and have obscured the pre-existing Teisseyre-Tornquist Zone (TTZ), which is a transition zone between the Precambrian EEC and continental terranes accreted to it from the southwest in the Palaeozoic. The TTZ is characterised by low-velocity through its entire crust (6.0-6.3 km/s) and a considerable width (~140 km). It is interpreted as EEC crust stretched during rifting and continental margin formation in the Neoproterozoic and early Palaeozoic. The crust of the TTZ has a “trough in trough” structure wherein an upper body of ~40 km width comprising Outer Carpathian (Vp 4.9 km/s) and Late Palaeozoic-Mesozoic (Vp 5.4 km/s) units to 15 km depth lies above a wider, deeper one of inferred Neoproterozoic-early Palaeozoic strata. The crust of the Transylvanian Basin and Apuseni Mountains is relatively thin (~32 km). A high-velocity body at 4-12 km depth in this area is interpreted as a rootless fragment of an ophiolite complex exposed at the surface in this area. The lower crust beneath the Transylvanian Basin displays higher velocities than adjacent segments. Moho topography is strongly differentiated along the profile, varying from 32 to 50 km. The Moho shape, especially in the area between the Inner and Outer Carpathians, suggests a NE dip and, hence, thrusting of the Tisza-Dacia lowermost crustal and upper mantle units under the TTZ domain which, in turn, could be thrust under the cratonic (EEC) block.
Original languageEnglish
Article number228620
Number of pages28
Early online date10 Sept 2020
Publication statusPublished - 5 Nov 2020

Bibliographical note

RomUkrSeis was carried out by a consortium of organisations, the Faculty of Geology and Geophysics and the Doctoral School of Geology of the University of Bucharest (Romania), the Subbotin Institute of Geophysics of the National Academy of Sciences of Ukraine (Kiev), the Institute of Geophysics of the Polish Academy of Sciences (Warsaw), the Deutsches GeoForschungsZentrum (Potsdam) and the School of Geosciences of the University of Aberdeen (Scotland). Financial support for drilling/shooting works on the territory of Romania came from S.C. Prospectiuni S.A. (with a special mention to former CEO Gehrig Stannard Schultz, currently at EPI Group, United Kingdom), Hunt Oil of Romania, Repsol Romania and on the territory of Ukraine from Ukrgeofizika. Participation of the Polish group in this work was supported within statutory activities No 3841/E-41/S/2014-2020 of the Ministry of Science and Higher Education of Poland. The authors express their sincere appreciation of the activities of many people who took part in field work and data acquisition. A large part of the instrumentation was provided by the Geophysical Instrument Pool of the Deutsches GeoForschungsZentrum (GFZ), Potsdam, Germany. Christian Haberland is thanked for his support and kindness facilitating the loan of this equipment to the RomUkrSeis consortium. The public domain packages GMT (Wessel and Smith, 1995) and Seismic Unix (Cohen and Stockwell Jr., 1997) were used in the preparation of maps and for seismic data processing. Tesseral Technologies Inc. (Calgary) developed the software for the full waveform modelling and we express our gratitude to their staff for technical support. The authors also wish to thank Professor Richard England (University of Leicester) and an anonymous reviewer for their constructive comments on an earlier version of this manuscript. This version is much improved as a result.


  • Apuseni Mountains
  • Transylvanian Basin
  • TTZ
  • Eastern Carpathians
  • East European Craton
  • lithospheric structure
  • WARR profile
  • TTL
  • Lithospheric structure


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