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Published November 1984 | public
Journal Article

Anisotropic models of the upper mantle


Long period Rayleigh wave and Love wave dispersion data, particularly for oceanic areas, have not been simultaneously satisfied by an isotropic structure. In this paper available phase and group velocity data are inverted by a procedure which includes the effects of transverse anisotropy, anelastic dispersion, sphericity, and gravity. We assume that the surface wave data represents an azimuthal average of actual velocities. Thus, we can treat the mantle as transversely isotropic. The resulting models for average Earth, average ocean, and oceanic regions divided according to the age of the ocean floor, are quite different from previous results which ignore the above effects. The models show a low-velocity zone with age dependent anisotropy and velocities higher than derived in previous surface wave studies. The correspondence between the anisotropy variation with age and a physical model based on flow aligned olivine is suggestive. For most of the Earth SH > SV in the vicinity of the low-velocity zone. Neat the East Pacific Rise, however, SV > SH at depth, consistent with ascending flow. Anisotropy is as important as temperature in causing radial and lateral variations in velocity. The models have a high velocity nearly isotropic layer at the top of the mantle that thickens with age. This layer defines the LID, or seismic lithosphere. In the Pacific, the LID thickens with age to a maximum thickness of ∼50 km. This thickness is comparable to the thickness of the elastic lithosphere. The LID thickness is thinner than derived using isotropic or pseudo-isotropic procedures. A new model for average Earth is obtained which includes a thin LID. This model extends the fit of a PREM, type model to shorter period surface waves.

Additional Information

© 1984 Elsevier Science Publishers B.V. Received November 15, 1983; accepted March 15, 1984. We thank Adam Dziewonski for use of a program, and Jeff Given for his assistance. This research was supported by National Science Foundation grant number EAR811-5236 and National Aeronautics and Space Administration grant number NSG-7610. Contribution number 4015, Division of Geological and Planetary Sciences, California Institute of Technology, Pasadena, CA 91125.

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