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Publication Detail
Anisotropy as cause for polarity reversals of D '' reflections
  • Publication Type:
    Journal article
  • Publication Sub Type:
    Article
  • Authors:
    Thomas C, Wookey J, Brodholt J, Fieseler T
  • Publisher:
    ELSEVIER SCIENCE BV
  • Publication date:
    15/07/2011
  • Pagination:
    369, 376
  • Journal:
    EARTH PLANET SC LETT
  • Volume:
    307
  • Issue:
    3-4
  • Print ISSN:
    0012-821X
  • Language:
    EN
  • Keywords:
    lower mantle, polarity, anisotropy, post-perovskite, POST-PEROVSKITE PHASE, CORE-MANTLE BOUNDARY, EARTHS LOWERMOST MANTLE, SEISMIC ANISOTROPY, SEISMOLOGICAL OBSERVATIONS, AZIMUTHAL ANISOTROPY, LATERAL VARIATIONS, SUBDUCTED SLABS, HIGH-PRESSURE, COCOS PLATE
  • Addresses:
    Thomas, C
    Univ Munster
    Inst Geophys
    D-48149
    Munster
    Germany
Abstract
Recordings of seismic events that sample the deep mantle can test different hypotheses of mantle processes and composition. Seismic reflections from structures in the D '' region the bottom 200-400 km of the Earth's mantle can provide information on the velocity contrasts in this region. By studying the waveforms and polarities of the D '' reflections in P and S-waves, we can potentially distinguish between different explanations for the observed structures, such as phase transitions, mineral texture or thermal anomalies. Here we use source-receiver combinations that contain reflections from D '' in two different regions that are both characterised by fast seismic velocities in tomographic models. Beneath the Caribbean a positive S-velocity contrast but negative P-wave velocity contrast across the D '' reflector has been reported previously, consistent with a model of a phase change in MgSiO3. In the second fast velocity region (Eurasia) we detect positive P- and S-wave velocity contrasts in two orthogonal paths crossing in the lowermost mantle indicating a different scenario for D ''. A path that crosses this region in 45 to the other two great circle paths shows evidence for a negative P velocity contrast. One explanation to reconcile observations in both regions is a phase transition from perovskite to post-perovskite with a fraction of 12% preferred crystal alignment in the post-perovskite phase. Depending on the travel direction of the waves with respect to the flow direction in the lower mantle, positive or negative velocity jumps can be expected. Other anisotropic models are considered but cannot fully explain the range of observations we find in the data. (C) 2011 Elsevier B.V. All rights reserved.
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