Does the core leak?



Appreciable geophysical evidence has accumulated to suggest that some slabs subduct into the Earth's deep mantle and that certain mantle plumes originate in the lower mantle. Despite this progress in understanding geophysical geodynamics, debate continues on corroborating geochemical evidence. If some plumes rise from the core-mantle boundary and there is chemical interaction between the core and mantle, it is possible that such plumes could contain a unique fingerprint that is characteristic of the core.

Unequivocal identification of a core component in a plume-derived rock could potentially settle major questions in geodynamics. This article reviews geochemical tools that would likely be sensitive to such interactions, and considers possible mechanistic causes for core-mantle interaction.