Tomographic-Geodynamic Model Comparisons and the Presence of Post-Perovskite and Chemical Heterogeneity in Earth's Lowermost Mantle

Wednesday, 17 December 2014: 11:20 AM
Paula Koelemeijer1,2, Arwen Fedora Deuss1, Jeroen Ritsema3, Hendrik-Jan van Heijst4, Rhodri Davies5, Bernhard S. A. Schuberth6 and Thomas Chust6,7, (1)University of Cambridge, Cambridge, United Kingdom, (2)ETH Swiss Federal Institute of Technology Zurich, Department of Earth Sciences, Zurich, Switzerland, (3)Univ Michigan, Ann Arbor, MI, United States, (4)University of Oxford, Oxford, United Kingdom, (5)Australian National University, Canberra, ACT, Australia, (6)Ludwig Maximilian University of Munich, Munich, Germany, (7)Bayerisches Geoinstitut, Universitaet Bayreuth, Bayreuth, Germany
Dynamic processes occurring in the mantle and core interact at the core-mantle boundary (CMB), which marks the largest thermal and compositional interface inside the Earth. This interplay has produced a myriad of complex structures in the lowermost mantle that offer valuable insights into the dynamics of this region. Large-low-shear velocity provinces (LLSVPs) dominate shear wave velocity (Vs) models of the deep mantle. In addition, global tomography studies generally find an increase in the ratio of shear wave to compressional wave velocity (Vp) variations, accompanied by a significant anti-correlation between shear wave and bulk sound velocity (Vc) variations. These seismic characteristics, also observed in the recent SP12RTS tomographic model, have primarily been interpreted in terms of chemical variations but could potentially also be explained by the presence of the deep mantle post-perovskite (pPv) phase.

In this contribution, we attempt to interpret the observed seismic characteristics by linking them to dynamic processes occurring in the deep mantle. For this purpose, we compare the shear and compressional wave velocity structure of SP12RTS to mantle structure derived from geodynamic models of mantle convection. We project the geodynamic models into the SP12RTS model parametrization and use its resolution operator to account for the limited tomographic resolution. We include geodynamic models with and without the post-perovskite phase and/or chemical variations and in addition vary the CMB temperature. Although the reparametrization and tomographic filtering significantly affect the obtained mantle structure, we demonstrate that the patterns observed in the ratios and correlations of seismic velocities are robust features. Our tomographic-geodynamic model comparison suggests that the seismic characteristics can be explained by the presence of post-perovskite but it allows no discrimination between isochemical and thermochemical models of mantle convection.