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Keywords:

  • Phase transitions;
  • Body waves

SUMMARY

Global mapping of 410 and 660 km discontinuity topography and transition zone thickness has proven to be a powerful tool for constraining mantle chemistry, dynamics and mineralogy. Numerous seismic and mineral physics studies suggest that the 410 km discontinuity results from the phase change of olivine to wadsleyite and the 660 km discontinuity results from the phase change of ringwoodite to perovskite and magnesiowustite. Underside reflections of the 410 and 660 km discontinuities arrive as precursors to SS. With the recent development of a semi-automated method of determining SS arrivals, we have more than tripled the Flanagan and Shearer (1998a) data set of handpicked SS waveforms. We are able to increase resolution by stacking waveforms in 5° rather than 10° radius bins as well as increasing data coverage significantly in the southern hemisphere. The resulting SS-S410S and SS-S660S times are heavily influenced by upper-mantle velocity structure. We perform a joint inversion for discontinuity topography and velocity heterogeneity as well as performing a simple velocity correction to the precursor differential times and find little difference between the two methods. The 660 km discontinuity topography and transition zone thickness are correlated with velocities in the transition zone whereas the 410 km discontinuity topography is not. In addition, the 410 km discontinuity topography is not correlated with the 660 km discontinuity topography, rather anticorrelated, as expected due to the opposite signs of the Clapeyron slopes of their respective phase changes. These results suggest that, whereas the topography of 660 km discontinuity could be dominated by thermal effects, the topography of the 410 km discontinuity is likely dominated by compositional effects. In addition, unlike previous studies which find less topography on the 410 km discontinuity than on the 660 km discontinuity, our 410 and 660 km topography have similar amplitudes.