Mantle transition zone thickness beneath Ross Island, the Transantarctic Mountains, and East Antarctica



[1] The thickness of the mantle transition zone beneath Ross Island, and parts of the Transantarctic Mountains and East Antarctic Craton has been mapped using data from the 2000–2003 Transantarctic Mountain Seismic Experiment to determine if, as indicated by some tomographic images, an upper mantle thermal anomaly centered beneath Ross Island is a deep-seated feature extending into the mantle transition zone. Some 2700 receiver functions have been stacked using a 3D velocity model, revealing Ps conversions from the mantle transition zone discontinuities at depths of 410 and 660 km. Results yield an average nearly uniform transition zone thickness (266 ± 10 km) that is slightly larger than the global average, implying that the upper mantle thermal anomaly does not likely extend into the transition zone. This finding favors explanations for the upper mantle thermal anomaly invoking a plume head or small-scale convection.