Structure and dynamics of earth's lower mantle

  • Garnero E
  • McNamara A
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Abstract

Processes within the lowest several hundred kilometers of Earth's rocky mantle play a critical role in the evolution of the planet. Understanding Earth's lower mantle requires putting recent seismic and mineral physics discoveries into a self-consistent, geodynamically feasible context. Two nearly antipodal large low-shear-velocity provinces in the deep mantle likely represent chemically distinct and denser material. High-resolution seismological studies have revealed laterally varying seismic velocity discontinuities in the deepest few hundred kilometers, consistent with a phase transition from perovskite to post-perovskite. In the deepest tens of kilometers of the mantle, isolated pockets of ultralow seismic velocities may denote Earth's deepest magma chamber.

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