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Computers & Geosciences 44 (2012) 177–183

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MohoIso: A MATLAB program to determine crustal thickness by an isostatic
and a global gravitational model
Mohammad Bagherbandi
Division of Geodesy and Geoinformatics, Royal Institute of Technology (KTH), 10044 Stockholm, Sweden

a r t i c l e i n f o abstract

Article history: This paper focuses on the modeling of the boundary between Earth’s crust and upper mantle using a
Received 25 May 2011 gravimetric–isostatic model. Here a MATLAB code is presented based on the gravimetric–isostatic
Received in revised form model i.e. the Vening Meinesz–Moritz model. Inverse problems in isostasy consist in making the
4 October 2011
isostatic anomalies to be zero under a certain isostatic hypothesis. The Vening Meinesz–Moritz problem
Accepted 4 October 2011
Available online 25 October 2011
is to determine the Moho depth such that the compensating attraction totally compensates the Bouguer
gravity anomaly on the Earth’s surface, implying that the isostatic anomaly vanishes on the Earth’s
Keywords: surface. The main idea is easy but the theoretical analysis is somewhat difficult. Here a practical
Inversion method method to recover the Moho depth from the gravity data is used in the MATLAB code (MohoIso.m) based
on the Vening Meinesz–Moritz method. The code has been designed based on different sub-codes.
The body of the main code works according to the vectorization technique, because this technique causes
Moho depth
Mohorovičič discontinuity that the speed of code increases. One of the important possible limitations for the code is over-flow and
Vening Meinesz–Moritz hypothesis under-flow for higher degrees in the fully normalized associated Legendre function. This problem occurs
in the subroutine applied in this study, it limits the numerical study up to degrees 1800–2000.
& 2011 Elsevier Ltd. All rights reserved.

1. Introduction An alternative algorithm to estimate the Moho depth was
presented by Parker’s (1972), which was based on the relation
Determination of the Mohorovičič discontinuity (Moho), between the vertical gravity effect and its causative topographic
which is the surface separating the crust from the mantle, is a mass in the Fourier domain. The Parker model was constructed
classical problem in geophysics. Some geophysical parameters based on variable Moho depth and the constant density contrast.
vary at this surface, such as density contrast, gravity field, velocity In addition, a method based on loading theory can be employed
of seismic waves, etc. The Moho depth can be determined by the for determining crustal thickness (cf. Sun and Sjöberg, 1999).
seismic or the gravimetric methods. The gravimetric methods are This model is close to the Vening Meinesz model from the
based on assumptions on isostatic equilibrium theories, like conceptual point of view. Oldenburg (1974) deduced a method
varying compensation depth or density contrast or both in the to compute the density contrast of crust and mantle from the
ideal case. For example, Vening Meinesz modified the Airy– gravity anomaly in a Cartesian coordinate system using Parker’s
Heiskanen hypothesis (Heiskanen and Moritz, 1967, p. 135) by method. He defined a method to stabilize the inversion in Parker’s
considering regional/global compensation instead of local com- method. The Parker-Oldenburg method used by Gomez Oritz and
pensation. In the Vening Meinesz isostatic hypothesis, the density Agarwal (2005) and Shin et al. (2006) to estimate the Moho depth
contrast is constant, while the Moho depth is variable. In the in Brittany (France) and Ulleung Basin (South of Korea), respec-
Vening Meinesz model the Bouguer gravity anomaly on the tively, based on Fast Fourier Transform (FFT) technique. Shin et al.
Earth’s surface is totally compensated by the mass attraction (2007) studied the Moho undulations beneath Tibet from the
beneath it. Moritz (1990, Chapter 8) generalized istotatic model to GRACE (Gravity Recovery and Climate Experiment, Tapley et al.,
a spherically shaped sea level. The problem of determination of 2005) gravity data based on the Parker–Oldenburg method.
the Moho depth can be formulated mathematically by solving a For this purpose Gomez Oritz and Agarwal (2005) and Shin
non-linear Fredholm integral equation of the first kind. This et al. (2006) presented MATALB (3DINVER.m) and FORTRAN
method was recently presented by Sjöberg (2009) and called (FW3DFFT.f) codes to determine the Moho depth, respectively.
Vening Meinesz–Moritz (VMM). The main applications of the Moho models can be mentioned
in studying dynamic isostatic effects (see Bagherbandi, 2011,
Chapter 2) such as mantle convection/heat flow, post-glacial
E-mail address: rebound and other long-wavelength geodynamic effects.

0098-3004/$ - see front matter & 2011 Elsevier Ltd. All rights reserved.
178 M. Bagherbandi / Computers & Geosciences 44 (2012) 177–183

The crustal thickness can be used for smoothing the gravity field attraction is a function of the Moho depth as well as the position
in downward continuation of the satellite data such as GOCE of point P. We know that the compensating potentials cannot
(Gravity field and steady-state Ocean Circulation Explorer) to compensate all topographic potential (Heiskanen and Vening
recover the gravity anomaly. In this method the topographic– Meinesz, 1958 p. 124). In fact, there is incomplete compensation
isostatic potential can be determined by the Moho depth model somewhere in the Earth. Therefore there is no warranty that
then their effect will removed from the satellite data for smooth- Eq. (1) will be equal zero. This issue is related to the dynamic
ing the satellite data (Eshagh and Bagherbandi, 2011). This is isostatic effects (e.g. plate tectonic, post-glacial rebound, thermal
one geodetic example for the Moho depth. It is also seen that compensation, etc; see Bagherbandi, 2011, Chapter 2 for more
the Moho depth model can be applied for determination of details).
the Moho density contrast (Sjöberg and Bagherbandi, 2011). A general scheme has been presented in Fig. 1 for formulating
The crustal thickness estimated by the VMM model can be the VMM Moho depth. Compensation attraction in Eq. (1) can be
applied to construct a synthetic Earth gravity model (SEGM), by given by Newtonian’s integral:
the topographic–isostatic coefficients (Pavlis and Rapp, 1990; ZZ Z RT 0 2
r ðrr P tÞ
Haagmans, 2000). The main motivation to use the topographic– AC ðPÞ ¼ GDr 3
dr ds ð2Þ
isostatic harmonic coefficients in creating the SEGM, is the large RT lP
correlation of power spectra of the topographic–isostatic and
where G is the Newtonian gravitational constant, r and rP are
Earth gravitational models such as EGM08 (Pavlis et al., 2008). qffiffiffiffiffiffiffiffiffiffiffiffiffiffiffiffiffiffiffiffiffiffiffiffiffiffiffiffiffi
To achieve the SEGM, an existing global geopotential model can r 2P þ r 2 2rr P t .
geocentric distances, s is the unit sphere and lP ¼
be used to describe the low degrees, whereas the medium and Here t ¼ cos c, where c is the geocentric angle between the
high degrees are obtained from a global topographic-isostatically computation and integration points. Hence, if the real and the
induced potential (Haagmans, 2000). mean Moho depths are in disagreement, then an apparent density
To recover the Moho depth using the gravity anomaly, we anomaly Dr occurs within a depth interval between T0 and T
need more realistic model than the traditional isostatic models. (Moritz, 1990). Dr is Moho density contrast (MDC), which is due to
The VMM model because of the global/regional assumption for the different structures of the Earth’s crust and mantle, there is a
computing the topographic potential is close to reality. Some contrast between their densities at the Moho boundary. T0 is
comparisons between different Moho models are performed by normal Moho depth (cf. Sjöberg and Bagherbandi, 2011, appendix).
Bagherbandi and Sjöberg (2011a). In this study, we use EGM08 to Here we are going to present Sjöberg’s practical method to
determine the Moho depth, because of the lack of the gravity data. recover the Moho depth by the VMM model. Sjöberg (2009)
Presenting a MATLAB code based on the VMM model and using solved Eq. (1) analytically and finally he presented the following
global geopotential and digital topography models is the goal of formula for the approximate Moho depth:
this study. The main code (MohoIso.m) use the vectorization
1   X
technique (Eshagh, 2009), the advantage of this method is the 1 X 1 n
T 1 ðPÞ  2 f Y nm ðPÞ ð3Þ
fast calculation time. Some subroutines have been written based 4p n ¼ 0 n þ 1 m ¼ n nm
on the vectorization technique. Section 2 describes the back-
ground of the VMM model, briefly. Description of the MATLAB
code and its subroutines are presented in Section 3. ½B00 AC 0 =ð4pGDrÞ if n ¼ 0
f nm ¼ ð4aÞ
½Binm Gnm =ð4 pGDrÞ otherwise i ¼ s,c
2. Sjöberg’s direct solution for the crustal thickness Ynm(Q) is the fully normalized spherical harmonic of degree n and
order m, i.e.
In general, recovery of the crustal thickness from gravity (
cos ml if m Z0
anomaly is an ill-posed problem. The main problem in this type Y nm ðPÞ ¼ Pnm ðcos yÞ ð4bÞ
of problems is using the discrete data instead of the continuous sin9m9l otherwise
data. Therefore, stability of the solution and suitable resolution of
Pnm ðcos yÞ is fully normalized associated Legendre function.
the data are the main challenge in the inverse problem. Hence,
The coefficient fnm of Eq. (4a) is obtained by subtracting the
one can use a regularization method (Hansen, 1998, 2008) to
free-air gravity anomaly (Gnm) from the spectral Bouguer reduc-
determine the crustal thickness, which is an iterative method. We
tion term Binm (special care must be taken for the 01 term). The
know that the convergence of the solution is important in the
functions Binm in Eq. (4a) can be obtained based on harmonics of
iterative methods. Here, we use the method presented by Sjöberg
(2009), which is independent from the regularization method and
solid Earth topography
any iteration. This is the main advantage of the VMM model. In
fact, Sjöberg (2009) tried to solve this problem practically. This ρc
method is more practical than other methods such as Parker’s
method that we have to use some filter to regularize it (see
Oldenburg, 1974; Gomez Oritz and Agarwal, 2005). mean sea level
The Vening Meinesz–Moritz problem (Vening Meinesz, 1931; ρ
Moritz, 1990; Sjöberg, 2009; Bagherbandi, 2011; Bagherbandi and crustal thickness
Sjöberg, 2011b) is to determine the Moho depth T(P) such that the Real Moho surface
compensating attraction AC(P) totally compensates the Bouguer ρ Mean Moho
R-T m R
gravity anomaly DgB(P) on the Earth’s surface, implying that the
isostatic anomaly DgI(P) vanishes for point P on the Earth’s below crust layer
surface (Sjöberg, 2009):
Dg I ðPÞ ¼ Dg B ðPÞ þ AC ðPÞ ¼ 0 ð1Þ Earth
Eq. (1) is the fundamental equation for determining the crustal
thickness isostatically. It should be stated that the compensation Fig. 1. General schematic structure of the Earth’s crust.
M. Bagherbandi / Computers & Geosciences 44 (2012) 177–183 179

the simple Bouguer correction Bsnm : the cap size c0 (Sjöberg, 2009):
Z 2p Z c0 2
Bsnm ¼ 2pGrc Hnm ð4cÞ 1 T ðQ ÞT 2 ðPÞ
Inearzone ¼ sin c dc da
and harmonic of the complete Bouguer correction Bcnm is given by 32pR a ¼ 0 c ¼ 0 sin3 ðc=2Þ
Z 2p Z D0 2
(Sjöberg, 1998) 1 T ðQ ÞT 2 ðPÞ
   dD da ð7aÞ
3 4p a ¼ 0 D ¼ 0 D2
Bcnm ¼ 2pG rHnm  ðrHÞnm ð4dÞ
2n þ 1 where D0 ¼Rc0 and a, D are the azimuth and the distance
where between the computation and integration points, respectively.
( One may expand the numerator of Eq. (7a) into a Taylor series at
rc H if H Z0 the computation point, yielding (Heiskanen and Moritz, 1967,
rH ¼ ð4eÞ
ðrw rc ÞH if H o0 p. 121)

Here rw and rc are the density of water and curst, respectively. D2
T ¼ TðPÞ þ DðT x cos a þ T y sin aÞ þ
H stands for the topographic heights, ðrHÞnm and Gnm are the 2
harmonics of rH and the gravity anomaly, respectively. This ðT xx cos2 a þ T xy sin 2a þ T yy sin aÞ ð7bÞ
method is more practical for using an Earth Gravitational Model
where Tx, Ty, Txx, Txy and Txy are derivatives of T with respect to the
(e.g. EGM08). In addition, the normal compensation attraction
x- and y-axis. The unknowns Tx, Ty, Txx, Txy and Txy can be
AC0(P) can be obtained by (Sjöberg, 2009)
determined by solving the system equation defined in Eq. (7b).
4pGDrR h i For this purpose, T1 can be assumed as initial value in this
A~ C 0 ðPÞ ¼ ðAC 0 ÞrP ¼ R ¼ ð1t0 Þ3 1  4pGDrT 0 ð5Þ
3 equation and we can use least-squares adjustment to determine
Sjöberg (2009) showed that the regional undulations of the the unknowns. We use planner approximation around each point
Moho depth can be recovered by the following formula: in the inner zone area. In fact T(P) in this equation is fix and we
ZZ need at least 5 observations (here they are the approximate Moho
T 2 ðPÞ 1 T 21 ðQ ÞT 21 ðPÞ depths T1 around point P) around the computation point to
TðPÞ ¼ T 1 ðPÞ þ 1  ds ð6Þ
R 32pR s sin3 ðc=2Þ estimate the unknowns.
Finally the inner zone contribution can be obtain by
Eq. (6) is a direct formula for computing the Moho depth from
the approximate Moho T1. As one can see, there is no need to use D0 h i
Inear zone  T P ðT xx þ T yy Þ þ2ðT 2x þ T 2y Þ ð7cÞ
regularization in the inversion of integral formulas in Sjöberg’s 8
direct solution. In fact, Sjöberg (2009) inverted the formulas The cap size c0 can be obtained by comparing the area of
analytically. Eq. (6) has a strong singularity in the third term spherical (j,l) and polar (c,a) coordinate systems (cf.
when c approaches to zero (see Sjöberg, 2009). A cap size should Bagherbandi, 2011):
be considered in inner-most zone (c0) for the third term of  
ðl l Þ9sin j2 sin j1 9
Eq. (6). This type of modeling the crustal thickness is direct and c0 ¼ cos1 1 þ 2 1 ð7dÞ
straightforward without any iteration and the Moho depth can be 2p
obtained at once.
Fig. 2 shows that the kernel, sin3 ðc=2Þ, used in Eq. (6) is well-
behaved and it decreases to zero very quickly around each
computation point. It means that this type of the kernel can 3. Description of the MATLAB code to determine
warranty the small truncation error in the integral equation. The the crustal thickness
figure shows that the integration radius about 31 is enough to
have minimum truncation error. The MohoIso.m code uses some MATLAB (R14) tools for
computing the crustal thickness based on the VMM isostatic
2.1. Inner zone contribution hypothesis. The code is designed to operate under MATLAB
version 7 and later developments. Using MATLAB toolboxes help
Eq. (6) has a strong singularity in third term of Eq. (6) when c us to avoid from making some complicated subroutines. The other
goes to zero. In order to remove this problem, one can determine advantage of using MATLAB toolboxes is using both text and
the near-zone contribution using a planar approximation within graphics outputs simultaneously.
The algorithm (MohoIso.m) allows the user to define the
boundary of the study area (deg.), resolution of the Moho depth
(deg.) and the MDC in land and ocean (kg/m3) through an input
file, which is INPUT.txt. The Moho depth estimates using an Earth
Gravitational Model (EGM), e.g. EGM08 (Pavlis et al., 2008).
In order to fill the input file please see README.txt for more details.
Generally, MohoIso.m function determines the Moho depth by
the following functions. In each the program there are texts,
which explained clearly the necessary input and output para-
meters and their formats.

3.1. Pnm function

The Pnm function computes fully normalized associated
Legendre functions for a selected order m. The inputs of this
function are degree n, order m and co-latitude (deg.) as a vector.
The output of this function is a matrix with Legendre functions.
Fig. 2. Kernel behavior for sin3 ðc=2Þ for rP ¼R and T0 ¼ 30 km. The matrix has a length equal to co-latitude rows and length
180 M. Bagherbandi / Computers & Geosciences 44 (2012) 177–183

columns. This function was published by N. Sneeuw in 1994. This 3.3. Draw map
code works based on the vectorization technique (see also
Sneeuw, 2009). At the end of the MohoIso.m a sub-code is presented for
The main problem to determine the fully normalized asso- drawing the map of output results. This is performed using some
ciated Legendre functions is over- and under-flow for higher excellent MATLAB tools, such as stem, contourfm and worldmap
degrees, which are occur for low and high latitudes (Holmes functions. For example the function setm plots the data sequence
and Featherstone, 2002). In fact, the current recursive techniques as stems that extend from equally spaced and automatically
for computing the associated Legendre functions to be fail. Fully generated values along the x-axis. When the data is a matrix,
normalized associated Legendre functions Pnm that depending on stem plots all elements in a row against the same x value. The
the latitude, this recursion will lead to under-flow after about function worldmap map a country or region using the atlas data.
degrees 1800–2000, unless we take special measures. Thus The function contourfm produces a contour plot of map data
another algorithm should be applied when we use this function projected onto the current map axes. The input latitude and
for higher degrees than n¼ 1800. This issue was solved by Holmes longitude vectors should be the same size of the map (as in a
and Featherstone (2002) up to degree 5400 (to 7451 latitude) geolocated data grid), or can specify the corresponding row and
and degree 2700 (over the whole Earth) using the Clenshaw column dimensions for the map.
summation technique. The technique employed should be stable In this part, some parameters, which are important to deter-
for all latitude and for a certain degree and order (in this study mine the crustal thickness, are defined. Maximum degree and
is 2700). order of EGM and digital terrain model (DTM) is calculated based
According to the Institute of Electrical and Electronic on the resolution of the Moho depth, which is already defined in
Engineers’ (IEEE) standard 754 for binary floating-point arithmetic INPUT.txt , which is defined by nmax (i.e. nmax ¼(1801/D1) where D1
only allocates eight bytes to store each double precision floating- is the grid size). After reading the spherical harmonic coefficients
point number (R). Thus R may only take values within the range of of the Earth’s gravity field by the function ReadEGM.m
(e.g. EGM08), the program subtracts normal GRS80 coefficients
10310 r 9R9 r 10310 ð8Þ from zonal EGMs coefficients to estimate the free-air gravity
anomalies. Here we used the potential derived from GRS80
Any computed value where 9R9r10 will under-flow and model. The ellipsoidal parameters of GRS80 used in the program
be set to zero. Also for the case of 9R9Z10  310R will over-flow can be obtained from text books (e.g. Moritz, 1992).
and the result will be a not a number (NaN). Under-flow in the After storing the EGM data, the gravity anomalies will be
computation of any Pnm excludes the corresponding coefficients. estimated in mGal by the EGM. Then the approximate VMM Moho
depth is determined using Eq. (3). Now two corrections terms, in
Eq. (6), for estimating the final Moho depth are determined by
3.2. Read functions CorrectionProg2.m function. The inner zone contributions around
each computation point are calculated by InnerCoProg2.m function
Here two functions for reading the global models are defined. by Eq. (7c). In this function the unknowns Tx, Ty, Txx, Txy and Txy
The functions need the name of the EGM and DTM to convert the are estimated using the least-square solution around the computa-
column wise geopotential and topographic height coefficients to tion points by Eq. (7b). Here the approximate Moho depth
matrixwise whose rows and columns are related to the degree is used as initial value to estimate the unknown coefficients
and orders of the coefficients. Reading the EGM and the DTM in Eq. (7b).
models is performed by ReadEGM.m and RreadDTM.m functions, An ASCII file is then written for the final results, which consist
which are EGM08 (Pavlis et al., 2008) and DTM2006 (Pavlis et al., of five columns: latitude and longitude (deg.), the VMM Moho
2007) spherical harmonic models up to degree and order 2160 in depth (km), height (km) and free-air gravity anomaly (mGal).
this study. The functions storage the harmonic coefficients in These data are available through RESULTS.txt. The final outputs are
matrices. This technique help us to use the vectorization techni- two the figures, which are the VMM Moho depth and the the
que (see Sneeuw, 2009; Eshagh, 2009). The main advantage of the Bougure gravity anomaly.
vectorization technique is fast calculation of the parameters and Fig. 3 shows a flowchart of the crustal thickness estimation
decreasing the computational time. In fact, by selecting an based on the VMM model using an EGM and DTM models. The
inappropriate algorithm can increase computation time. inputs are showed by the latitudes and longitudes (S, N, W and E)

Input data Plm.m

dϕ d λ
Δρ Y (Q )
G T(P)

c(1:nmax, m+1)


DTM c H(1:nmax, m+1) B
T (P)

Eq. (5)

Fig. 3. Flowchart of the gravimetric–isostatic Moho synthesis.
M. Bagherbandi / Computers & Geosciences 44 (2012) 177–183 181

with dimension of 1  kj and 1  kl, respectively. The geopoten- Table 1
tial coefficients c and the harmonic coefficients of topographic The constant values used in MohoIso.m MATLAB code.
height cH matrices are constructed, which have the dimensions
Parameter Value Remarks
nmax  nmax .
After constructing the harmonic coefficients matrices of topo- r 2670 kg/m3 Mean topographic and crustal density
graphy and geopotential, the factor fi (see Eq. (9a) for computing rm 3270 kg/m3 Density of mantle
Dg is calculated by (cf. Eshagh and Abdollahzadeh, 2010) rw 1027 kg/m3 Density of water
h i G 6.674e  11 m3/kg s2 Gravitational constant
GM 0.3986004418Eþ 15 Product of the gravitational constant
DFg ¼ f 2 f 3    f nmax  Ikj 1 ð9aÞ
and Earth
R 6,378,137 m The mean Earth radius
fi ¼ ðn1Þ ð9bÞ
where  stands for Kronecker’s product and I is unit vector. DFg is
a matrix with the same dimension of the Ynm(Q) matrix (Eq. (4b)).
We use the vectorization technique here to increase the speed of
the program. The interested readers can find the details in
Sneeuw (2009) and Eshagh (2009).
According to the vectorization technique the gravity anomaly
harmonics of
Dg nm ¼ ðn1ÞðC nm cos ml þSnm sin mlÞPnm ðcos yÞ ð10aÞ
can be presented as the following form which is using the
advantage of multiplication of vectors
Gnm ¼ ðYnm #DFgÞc nm ð10bÞ
Fig. 4. Topographic height from DTM2006 with resolution of 21  21. Unit: km.
where # is multiplication of each corresponding elements of the
We construct other factor for Eq. (3) as grid as it offers a detailed density structure of the crust and
h i uppermost mantle. The 7th layer of the CRUST2.0 belongs to the
DFt1 ¼ t 2 t 3    t nmax  Ikj 1 ð11aÞ
Moho depth and other layers of this model are (1) ice, (2) water,
  (3) soft sediments, (4) hard sediments, (5) upper crust, (6) middle
1 1 crust and (7) lower crust. This model is available through http://
ti ¼ 2 ð11bÞ
4p n þ1 The mean Moho
Again using vectorization technique Eq. (3) can be written depths (with respect to sea level) are 21.8 km (global), 38.0 km
(continents) and 12.6 km (ocean), see Mooney et al. (1998) for more
ðT 1 Þnm ¼ ðYnm #DFt1Þf nm ð11cÞ details.
According to Bagherbandi and Sjöberg (2011a) assuming 0.6
g/cm3 for the MDC is too large especially for oceanic areas.
Because of this reason, we have to select a realistic MDC in each
4. Numerical results by MohoIso.m region. We can obtain the MDC for a region by comparing the
VMM results with CRUST2.0 for instance by altering the MDC.
In this paper the recent theory of the VMM model is used to Testing the different MDC continues while the rms of difference of
estimate the Moho depth. The results are determined based on the VMM and CRUST2.0 become smaller than other cases. Another
using the Earth Gravitational Model EGM08 (Pavlis et al., 2008) way to introduce the MDC is using CRUST2.0 density layers.
and Digital Topographic Model DTM2006 (Pavlis et al., 2007) up By subtracting the mantle density from the CRUST2.0 density
to degree and order 90 corresponding to 21  21 grid in Iran as the data, we achieve the MDC (Bagherbandi, 2011, Chapter 3). An
default case. The study area is selected between 201 and  451 N alternative method to determine the Moho density contrast is
and 401 to  701 W for instance in INPUT.txt. It is necessary to using the method proposed by Sjöberg and Bagherbandi (2011).
mention that the high degrees in the crustal modeling is mean- They presented some methods to estimate the MDC through
ingless, because the Moho surface is a smooth surface and CRUST2.0 based on the VMM model. The mean value of the
determining the Moho surface in denser resolutions is not MDC based on Sjöberg and Bagherbandi (2011) is 0.43 g/cm3,
realistic. globally. This value show there is large systematic difference
Before presenting the final results for the VMM Moho depth, between the continental and oceanic MDC. The MATLAB code
we review the assumptions used in the MATLAB code. The MohoIso.m works based on two different values for the MDC in
constants used in the MATLAB code are listed in Table 1. Among land and ocean. These values are different for each area, for
these values, the density assumptions for crust, topographic mass example we use 0.43 g/cm3 both in land and ocean in Iran.
and upper mantle can affect our results significantly. In addition, Figs. 4 and 5 show the global solid Earth topography using
the program requires a prior knowledge of two main parameters DTM2006 and the Bouguer gravity anomaly estimated from
i.e. the MDC and normal Moho depth. The normal Moho depth in EGM08 with 21  21 resolution. The statistic of the estimated
Eq. (5) can be estimated by CRUST2.0 (Bassin et al., 2000) in each heights is presented in Table 2. The program uses these data to
region. The global crustal model CRUST2.0, released by the US determine the approximate Moho depth (T1) by Eq. (3).
Geological Survey and Institute for Geophysics at the University The global approximate Moho depth (T1) has been presented
of California, is obtained based on using the travel times of by Fig. 6. It varies between 3.2 km and 61 km. In this figure, we
seismic waves. CRUST2.0 is a global crustal model at a 21  21 have not corrected the gravity anomalies based on the ice
182 M. Bagherbandi / Computers & Geosciences 44 (2012) 177–183

Fig. 5. Bouguer gravity anomaly (DgB) from EGM08 with resolution of 21  21.
Unit: mGal.
Fig. 7. Final VMM Moho depth with resolution of 21  21 in Iran. Unit: km.

Fig. 6. Approximate crustal thickness from the VMM model (T1) with resolution of
21  21. Unit: km.

Fig. 8. Percentages of the corrections terms for updating the approximate Moho
Table 2 depth T1 with respect to T1 in Iran. Unit: %.
Statistical analysis of topographic height (H), approximate Moho depth (T1),
CRUST2.0 (TSM), final VMM Moho depth (TVMM) and difference between VMM
Moho depth and CRUST2.0 in Iran with 21  21 resolution. Unit: km. depth are similar to CRUST2.0. As mentioned already CRUST2.0 is
an external crustal model in this study.
Quantities Max Mean Min Std rms As discussed before, we should consider the first and second-
order corrections to the approximate Moho depth T1 because they
H 5.5  1.9  6.6 2.6 –
T1 47.6 36.9 21.4 4.4 – have significant role in some areas. Fig. 8 shows the percentage of
TVMM 49.4 37.1 20.8 4.8 – each one with respect to T1 from south-west to north-east of Iran.
TSM 48.8 38.7 11.8 5.2 – The maximum, mean, minimum and standard deviation of the
TSM  TVMM 10.5 1.6  12.3 4.1 4.4
percentages are 8.5%, 0.8%,  2.5% and 1.6%, respectively. As we
can observe in some points the corrections terms are important to
consider for determining the final Moho depth.
thicknesses in Antarctica and Greenland. In order to remove this
problem we can use the ice thickness to obtain pure topographic
data. For this issue one can use the CRUST2.0 and British 5. Conclusions
Antarctica Survey (BAS) ice data (cf. Bagherbandi, 2011).
In addition, the topographic masses need to introduce the true The MATLAB code presented in this paper needs global Earth
density instead of constant values assumed, which we have Gravitational Model and solid Earth topography data for deter-
considered a constant value (see Table 2). T1 updates using two mining the crustal thickness by a gravimetric–isostatic model
correction terms, which have been presented in Eq. (6). i.e. the VMM model. The code (MohoIso.m) is designed to contain
The correction terms are the second and third terms in Eq. (6). a number of different subroutines. Using vectrization technique is
Here we focus on the Moho depth determination in Iran for very useful because of the speed of the calculation in this case. In
instance. Fig. 7 shows the final VMM Moho depth. There are large addition applying the vectorization technique can compete with
correlation and similarities between the VMM Moho depth and fast Fourier transform technique. The obtained results are pro-
CRUST2.0 as a known Moho model. This relationship is remark- mising because of the small rms obtained in comparison with
able except some differences appear, which are due to the lack of CRUST2.0. Generally, we found a good agreement between the
data for defining the realistic density of crust and topography. Moho geometry obtained from EGM08 and DTM2006 with the
Other problem is related to seismic data gap in Iran. CRUST2.0 can rms of 4.4 km in Iran for instance. Some differences are due to our
help us to test the VMM Moho depth in study area. assumptions for density of crust, topographic mass, upper mantle
Table 2 shows the statistic of the results. The last row of the and the data gaps in the CRUST2.0 model. In addition, the isostatic
table compares the VMM Moho depth with CRUST2.0. By compar- hypothesis assumes that all topographic potential compensate by
ing the results we observe that the statistics of the VMM Moho variable density and crustal thickness, which is not the case in
M. Bagherbandi / Computers & Geosciences 44 (2012) 177–183 183

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