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Origin and evolution of the deep thermochemical structure beneath Eurasia

Flament, N. and Williams, S. and Müller, R. D. and Gurnis, M. and Bower, D. J. (2017) Origin and evolution of the deep thermochemical structure beneath Eurasia. Nature Communications, 8 . Art. No. 14164. ISSN 2041-1723. PMCID PMC5253668.

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A unique structure in the Earth’s lowermost mantle, the Perm Anomaly, was recently identified beneath Eurasia. It seismologically resembles the large low-shear velocity provinces (LLSVPs) under Africa and the Pacific, but is much smaller. This challenges the current understanding of the evolution of the plate–mantle system in which plumes rise from the edges of the two LLSVPs, spatially fixed in time. New models of mantle flow over the last 230 million years reproduce the present-day structure of the lower mantle, and show a Perm-like anomaly. The anomaly formed in isolation within a closed subduction network ∼22,000 km in circumference prior to 150 million years ago before migrating ∼1,500 km westward at an average rate of 1 cm year^(−1), indicating a greater mobility of deep mantle structures than previously recognized. We hypothesize that the mobile Perm Anomaly could be linked to the Emeishan volcanics, in contrast to the previously proposed Siberian Traps.

Item Type:Article
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URLURL TypeDescription CentralArticle
Müller, R. D.0000-0002-3334-5764
Gurnis, M.0000-0003-1704-597X
Additional Information:© 2017 The Author(s). This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 International License. The images or other third party material in this article are included in the article’s Creative Commons license, unless indicated otherwise in the credit line; if the material is not included under the Creative Commons license, users will need to obtain permission from the license holder to reproduce the material. To view a copy of this license, visit Received: 12 May 2016; Accepted: 05 December 2016; Published online: 18 January 2017. This research was undertaken with the assistance of resources from the National Computational Infrastructure (NCI), which is supported by the Australian Government. N.F. and R.D.M. were supported by ARC IH130200012. S.W. was supported by SIEF RP 04-174. M.G. and D.J.B. were supported by Statoil ASA and by the NSF under grants CMMI-1028978, EAR-1161046 and EAR-1247022. Figures were constructed using the Generic Mapping Tools and matplotlib. We thank T.C.W. Landgrebe for advice in calculating accuracy and sensitivity, D. Steinberg for advice on cluster analysis, J. Ritsema for sharing the seismic filter for S40RTS, and three anonymous reviewers for comments that improved the quality of the manuscript. Author Contributions: N.F. ran and analysed the models, S.W. instigated the study and implemented the cluster analysis, R.D.M. and M.G. developed the concepts of the study and D.J.B., M.G. and N.F. developed the framework to assimilate tectonic reconstructions in CitcomS. All authors contributed to the writing of the manuscript, led by N.F. Data availability: Maps of the geographic distribution of tomography and flow model clusters reported are available at The computer code that supports the findings of this study is available from the corresponding author upon reasonable request. The authors declare no competing financial interests.
Funding AgencyGrant Number
Australian GovernmentUNSPECIFIED
Australian Research CouncilIH130200012
Science and Industry Endowment Fund (SIEF)RP 04-174
PubMed Central ID:PMC5253668
Record Number:CaltechAUTHORS:20170123-075227268
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Official Citation:Flament, N. et al. Origin and evolution of the deep thermochemical structure beneath Eurasia. Nat. Commun. 8, 14164 doi: 10.1038/ncomms14164 (2017).
Usage Policy:No commercial reproduction, distribution, display or performance rights in this work are provided.
ID Code:73607
Deposited By: Tony Diaz
Deposited On:23 Jan 2017 16:45
Last Modified:24 Oct 2017 19:14

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