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Geophysical Research Letters

Mantle transition zone thinning beneath eastern Africa: Evidence for a whole-mantle superplume structure

Authors

  • Gabriel D. Mulibo,

    Corresponding author
    1. Department of Geosciences, Pennsylvania State University, University Park, Pennsylvania, USA
    2. School of Earth Sciences and Engineering, Nelson Mandela African Institute of Science and Technology, Arusha, Tanzania
    • Corresponding author: G. D. Mulibo, Department of Geosciences, Pennsylvania State University, 402 Deike Bldg., University Park, PA 16802, USA. (gdm135@psu.edu)

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  • Andrew A. Nyblade

    1. Department of Geosciences, Pennsylvania State University, University Park, Pennsylvania, USA
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Abstract

[1] P to S conversions from the 410 and 660 km discontinuities observed in receiver function stacks reveal a mantle transition zone that is ~30–40 km thinner than the global average in a region ~200–400 km wide extending in a SW-NE direction from central Zambia, across Tanzania and into Kenya. The thinning of the transition zone indicates a ~190–300 K thermal anomaly in the same location where seismic tomography models suggest that the lower mantle African superplume structure connects to thermally perturbed upper mantle beneath eastern Africa. This finding provides compelling evidence for the existence of a continuous thermal structure extending from the core-mantle boundary to the surface associated with the African superplume.

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