Tidal Tomography: Constraining Long-Wavelength Deep Mantle Structure Using Earth’s Body Tide Signal

Thursday, 18 December 2014
Harriet C. P. Lau, Harvard University, Cambridge, MA, United States, Hsin-Ying Yang, NTU National Taiwan University, Taipei, Taiwan, Jeroen Tromp, Princeton University, Princeton, NJ, United States, Jerry X Mitrovica, Harvard University, Department of Earth and Planetary Sciences, Cambridge, MA, United States, James L Davis, Lamont-Doherty Earth Obervator, Lamont-Doherty Earth Observatory, Palisades, NY, United States and Konstantin Latychev, University of Toronto, Toronto, ON, Canada
Luni-solar gravitational forcing drives the Earth’s body-tide response over periods ranging from 8 hours to 18.6 years, a timespan that extends far beyond the seismic band. A finite volume numerical study of body tides in the semi-diurnal (SD) band by Latychev et al. (2008; EPSL) demonstrated that aspherical density and elastic structure inferred from seismic tomography perturbed the radial crustal displacement response by ~1 mm, a level at which they can be observed with modern space-geodetic inferences of body tide signals (Yuan et al., 2012; EPSL). Thus, site-specific estimates of the body-tide response to the known luni-solar forcing potentially provides a new, independent and powerful method for probing long-wavelength, deep mantle structure. To this end, we have used advances in seismic free oscillation theory to derive a new normal mode treatment of the SD body tide response of an aspherical, rotating and anelastic Earth. The accuracy of the theory is demonstrated by benchmarking our body tide predictions against both finite volume treatments of aspherical structure and previous theoretical and observational constraints on the effects of anelasticity. We begin by summarizing these results, as well as a series of synthetic tests that indicate that the body tide response is particularly sensitive to long wavelength, deep mantle structure – a sensitivity that is ideal for investigating the elastic and density structure of the two large low shear velocity provinces (LLSVPs) that exist below the Pacific and southern Africa. Finally, we also present results from a first tidal analysis of the integrated density of the LLSVPs and discuss the implications of these results for the ongoing debate concerning the relative size of thermal and chemical effects on these structures, their net buoyancy and longevity.