The Turkish-Iranian Plateau and the Zagros highlands are among the most prominent physiographic features in the Middle East and were formed as a result of continental collision between the Arabian and Eurasian plates. To better understand the nature of the lithospheric mantle and the origin of the observed seismic anomalies in this region, we investigated seismic attenuation of the uppermost mantle by detailed measurements of the quality factor of the Sn seismic phase (Sn Q). To that end, we collected a large data set consisting of 30 years (1990-2020) of waveforms recorded by 1266 permanent and temporary seismic stations, applying both the two-station method (TSM) and reverse two-station method (RTM) to measure path-averaged Sn Q. Finally, we performed a tomographic inversion on the path-averaged Sn Q to map the lateral variations of the upper-mantle attenuation across the northern Middle East. Our Sn attenuation maps show moderately low Q (<250) values beneath the Turkish-Iranian Plateau and high Q values (>350) beneath the Zagros and northern edge of the Arabian plate. Furthermore, our Sn Q model is broadly consistent with seismic velocity models in the region suggesting that most of the seismic anomalies are the result of thermal rather than compositional effects.
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