Adjoint tomography of the Italian lithosphere

Federica Magnoni, Emanuele Casarotti, Dimitri Komatitsch, Raffaele Di Stefano, Maria Grazia Ciaccio, Carl Tape, Daniele Melini, Alberto Michelini, Antonio Piersanti, Jeroen Tromp

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

8 Scopus citations


The evolution and state of geological structure at Earth’s surface is best understood with an accurate characterization of the subsurface. Here we present seismic tomographic images of the Italian lithosphere based on ground motion recordings and characterized by compressional and shear wavespeed structure at remarkable resolution, corresponding to a minimum period of ~10 s. Enhanced accuracy is enabled by state-of-the-art three-dimensional wavefield simulations in combination with an adjoint-state method. We focus on three primary findings of our model Im25. It highlights the distribution of fluids and gas (CO2) within the Italian subsurface and their correlation with seismicity. It illuminates Mt. Etna volcano and supports the hypothesis of a deep reservoir (~30 km) feeding a shallower magma-filled intrusive body. Offshore of the eastern Italian coast, it reveals that the Adriatic plate is made of two distinct microplates, separated by the Gargano deformation zone, indicating a complex lithosphere and tectonic evolution.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Article number69
JournalCommunications Earth and Environment
Issue number1
StatePublished - Dec 2022

All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

  • General Environmental Science
  • General Earth and Planetary Sciences


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