Isotopic evidence for chaotic imprint in upper mantle heterogeneity

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Abstract

[1] The intrinsic structure of the isotope data set of samples from the Mid-Atlantic Ridge and East Pacific Rise, believed to represent the isotopic composition of their mantle source, reveals a close relationship between sample spatial distribution and their geochemical features. The spatial distribution of their isotopic heterogeneity is self-similar on a scale between 5000 and 6000 km (about 1/6 of Earth's circumference), suggesting a self-organized structure for the underlying mantle. This implies the imprint of chaotic mantle processes, induced by mantle flow and likely related to an early phase of highly dynamic behavior of the Earth's mantle. The size of the identified self-organized region reflects the large length scale of upper mantle chemical variability, and it is likely frozen since the Proterozoic. The geochemical heterogeneity of the asthenosphere along the ridges is believed to record a transition in the thermal conditions of the Earth's mantle and to be reflected in the l = 6 peak expansion of several geophysical observables.

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