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Density structure of Earth's lowermost mantle from Stoneley mode splitting observations

Koelemeijer, P; Deuss, A; Ritsema, J; (2017) Density structure of Earth's lowermost mantle from Stoneley mode splitting observations. Nature Communications , 8 , Article 15241. 10.1038/ncomms15241. Green open access

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Abstract

Advances in our understanding of Earth’s thermal evolution and the style of mantle convection rely on robust seismological constraints on lateral variations of density. The large-low-shear-wave velocity provinces (LLSVPs) atop the core–mantle boundary beneath Africa and the Pacific are the largest structures in the lower mantle, and hence severely affect the convective flow. Here, we show that anomalous splitting of Stoneley modes, a unique class of free oscillations that are perturbed primarily by velocity and density variations at the core–mantle boundary, is explained best when the overall density of the LLSVPs is lower than the surrounding mantle. The resolved density variations can be explained by the presence of post-perovskite, chemical heterogeneity or a combination of the two. Although we cannot rule out the presence of a ∼100-km-thick denser-than-average basal structure, our results support the hypothesis that LLSVPs signify large-scale mantle upwelling in two antipodal regions of the mantle.

Type: Article
Title: Density structure of Earth's lowermost mantle from Stoneley mode splitting observations
Open access status: An open access version is available from UCL Discovery
DOI: 10.1038/ncomms15241
Publisher version: https://doi.org/10.1038/ncomms15241
Language: English
Additional information: This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 International License. The images or other third party material in this article are included in the article’s Creative Commons license, unless indicated otherwise in the credit line; if the material is not included under the Creative Commons license, users will need to obtain permission from the license holder to reproduce the material. To view a copy of this license, visit http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by/4.0/
UCL classification: UCL > Provost and Vice Provost Offices
UCL > Provost and Vice Provost Offices > UCL BEAMS
UCL > Provost and Vice Provost Offices > UCL BEAMS > Faculty of Maths and Physical Sciences
UCL > Provost and Vice Provost Offices > UCL BEAMS > Faculty of Maths and Physical Sciences > Dept of Earth Sciences
URI: http://discovery.ucl.ac.uk/id/eprint/10063441
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