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Title: Rolling hills on the core-mantle boundary

Recent results suggest that an iron-rich oxide may have fractionally crystallized from a primordial magma ocean and settled on the core–mantle boundary (CMB). Based on experimental results, the presence of only a few percent of Fe-rich oxide could slow seismic waves down by several percent. This heavy layer can become highly undulating as predicted from dynamic modeling but can remain as a distinct structure with uniform velocity reductions. Here, we use the large USArray seismic network to search for such structures. Strong constraints on D" are provided by the core-phase SKS where it bifurcates, containing a short segment of P-wave diffractions (Pd) when crossing the CMB, called SKSd. Synthetics from models with moderate velocity drops (less than 10%) involving a layer with variable thickness, perhaps a composite of sharp small structures, with strong variation in thickness can explain both the observed SKSd waveforms and large scatter in differential times between SKKS and SKS. A smooth 3D image is obtained from inverting SKSd waveforms displaying rolling-hills with elongated dome-like structures sitting on the CMB. The most prominent one has an 80-km height, ~8° length, and ~4° width, thus adding still more structural complexity to the lower mantle. We suggest that thesemore » results can be explained by a dynamically-stabilized material containing small amounts (~5%) iron-rich (Mg,Fe)O providing a self-consistent physical interpretation.« less
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Publication Date:
OSTI Identifier:
Resource Type:
Journal Article
Resource Relation:
Journal Name: Earth Planet. Sci. Lett.; Journal Volume: 361; Journal Issue: 01, 2013
Research Org:
Advanced Photon Source (APS), Argonne National Laboratory (ANL), Argonne, IL (US)
Sponsoring Org:
Country of Publication:
United States