Mantle earthquakes in the Crimea-Black Sea-Caucasus regions
Keywords:hypocenters, earthquakes, travel-time curves, seismic waves
The question of the existence of foci of deep earthquakes in the region of the Crimea-Black Sea-Caucasus is extremely important from the point of view of the geodynamics of the region. Previously it was thought that only crustal earthquakes could occur in this region. Recently, results have been obtained that show that earthquakes with depths of at least 300 km occur in this region.
The article discusses the question of how plausible these results are and why they were not obtained earlier. Seven specific examples of the ambiguous determination of the depth of earthquake hypocenters in the Crimea-Black Sea-Caucasus region are considered. These examples clearly show that determining the coordinates of earthquake hypocenters using algorithms based on the Geiger method does not allow one to uniquely determine the depth of the hypocenters. The article gives an idea of the authors about the origin of mantle earthquakes in the Caucasian and Crimean-Black Sea regions. For the Caucasus region, mantle earthquakes are associated with two reasons: submersion of the lithospheric layer; in the asthenospheric layer, represented in the seismotomographic sections by a low-velocity anomaly, the nature of earthquake foci is associated with fluids formed during phase transition reactions. In the Crimean-Black Sea region, earthquake foci are located in the lithosphere layer, and the sliding of the lithosphere along the less viscous underlying layer of the upper mantle causes tectonic movements in the lithosphere accompanied by earthquakes. In addition, to determine the coordinates of the hypocenters of the Crimean and Caucasian earthquakes during routine processing, hodographs were used for depths not exceeding 35 km for the Crimea and 50 km for the Caucasus and 150 for the North Caucasus. This circumstance is the main reason why deep earthquakes could not be detected.
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