Insights on Upper Mantle Melting, Rheology, and Anelastic Behavior From Seismic Shear Wave Tomography
- Journal Article
In seismic tomography we map the wave speed structure inside the Earth, but we ultimately seek to interpret those images in terms of physical parameters. This is challenging because many parameters can trade‐off with each other to produce a given wave speed. The problem is compounded by the convention of mapping seismic structures as perturbations relative to a 1‐D reference model, rather than absolute wave speeds. Using a full waveform tomography model of Europe as a case study, we quantify the extent to which thermochemical and dynamic properties can be constrained using only S wave speed, expressed in absolute values. The wave speed distributions of this tomography model are compared with 4 million thermochemical models, whose seismic properties are computed via thermodynamic modeling. These models sample the full range of realistic mantle compositions, including variable water and melt contents, and mineral intrinsic anelasticity is taken into account. Intrinsic anelasticity causes waves to travel more slowly at higher temperatures, leading to seismic attenuation, but the sensitivity of the wave speed reduction to temperature is, in turn, controlled by the wave frequency. Global studies of surface waves indicate an anticorrelation between S wave speed and attenuation. We therefore only retain thermochemical models satisfying this anticorrelation. Our study indicates that the frequency dependence of anelasticity, α, depends on temperature or rheology, with α ≈ 0.1 being most appropriate in cold or lithospheric mantle and α ≈ 0.3 in warmer regions (i.e., the asthenosphere). Additionally, the slowest regions require specific compositions and/or a velocity‐weakening mechanism, such as partial melting, elastically accommodated grain boundary sliding, or water. Show more
Journal / seriesGeochemistry, Geophysics, Geosystems
Pages / Article No.
Subjectseismic tomography: anelasticity; lithosphere‐asthenosphere boundary; partial melt
Organisational unit03971 - Fichtner, Andreas / Fichtner, Andreas
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