Seismic tomography from local crustal earthquakes beneath eastern Rif Mountains of Morocco

Inmaculada Serrano, Dapeng Zhao, José Morales, Federico Torcal

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

13 Citations (Scopus)


We applied a tomographic method to image an aseismic strike-slip fault in North Morocco and found that the occurrence of earthquakes is not only controlled by the state of tectonic stress but also by material heterogeneity in the crust. We have constructed an integrated model of seismic, electric, magnetic and heat flow properties across northeastern Morocco primarily based on a tomography inversion of local earthquake arrival times. The seismic images obtained show a pronounced low-velocity zone at 5 km depth parallels to the Nekor fault, coinciding with an anomalously high conductive and low gravity structure, which is interpreted as a fault gouge zone and/or a fluid-filled subsurface rock matrix. Below 10 km depth, a weak positive velocity zone indicates that the fault gouge is stable. The seismicity and the seismic velocity results for the Al-Hoceimas region show that the concentrations of earthquakes are confined in the high velocity area. This anomaly is interpreted to be a brittle and competent layer of the upper crust that sustains seismogenic stress. On the eastern coast line of Morocco, we infer that a high density, high velocity body exists in the shallowest layers of the upper crust, probably formed by Miocene volcanic rocks.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)187-201
Number of pages15
Issue number3-4
Publication statusPublished - 2003 Jun 12
Externally publishedYes


  • Alboran Sea
  • Gouge zone
  • Low-velocity zone
  • Seismicity
  • Strike-slip fault
  • Tomography

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Geophysics
  • Earth-Surface Processes


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