AusMoho: The variation of Moho depth in Australia

B. L.N. Kennett*, M. Salmon, E. Saygin, Ausmoho Working Group

*Corresponding author for this work

    Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

    116 Citations (Scopus)


    Since 2004 more than 7000 km of full-crustal reflection profiles have been collected across Australia to give a total of more than 11000 km, providing valuable new constraints on crustal structure. A further set of hitherto unexploited results comes from 150 receiver functions distributed across the continent, mostly from portable receiver sites. These new data sets provide a dramatic increase in data coverage compared with previous studies, and reveal the complex structure of the Australian continent in considerable detail. A new comprehensive model for Moho depth across Australia and its immediate environment is developed by utilizing multiple sources of information. On-shore and off-shore refraction experiments are supplemented by receiver functions from a large number of portable stations and the recently augmented set of permanent stations, and Moho picks from the full suite of reflection transects. The composite data set provides a much denser sampler of most of the continent than before, though coverage remains low in the remote areas of the Simpson and Great Sandy deserts. The various data sets provide multiple estimates of the depth to Moho in many regions and the consistency between the different techniques is high. In a number of instances, differences in estimates of Moho depth can be associated with the aspects of the structure highlighted by the particular methods. The new results allow considerable refinement of the patterns of Moho depth across the continent. Some of the thinnest crust lies beneath the Archean cratons in the Pilbara and the southern part of the Yilgarn. Thick crust is encountered beneath parts of the Proterozoic in Central Australia, and beneath the Palaeozoic Lachlan fold belt in southeastern Australia. The refined data indicate a number of zones of sharp contrast in depth to Moho, notably in the southern part of Central Australia.

    Original languageEnglish
    Pages (from-to)946-958
    Number of pages13
    JournalGeophysical Journal International
    Issue number2
    Publication statusPublished - Nov 2011


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