Welcome to the new version of CaltechAUTHORS. Login is currently restricted to library staff. If you notice any issues, please email coda@library.caltech.edu
Published July 1967 | Published
Journal Article Open

Inhomogeneities in the Earth's Mantle


Using seismic body and surface waves, the velocity structure of the Earth's mantle is determined with the emphasis on regions of anomalous variations (so-called 'discontinuities'). In the upper mantle, the interpretation of Rayleigh and Love wave dispersion curves yields shear velocity profiles with discontinuities at depths 350 km and 700 km, and a low-velocity zone extending to 350km. In the lower mantle P-velocity profile is determined from dt/dΔ measurements using large aperture seismic array and travel times from Long Shot nuclear explosion for the Japan-Kuriles-Aleutian-Montana path. The velocity structure shows anomalous gradients or 'discontinuities' at depths 700, 1200 and 1900km, indicating that the lower mantle is not homogeneous. Lateral variations of the velocity structures are investigated. For the upper mantle studies the Earth is divided into three regions: oceanic areas, continental shields, and tectonic zones. Pure path phase velocities of Love waves are extracted from the composite dispersion data. The pure path shear velocity profiles obtained from these data are characterized by lower velocities under the oceans in the uppermost portion of the mantle. Shields have the highest velocities. These velocity differences are interpreted in terms of temperature variations. At a depth of 110 km the temperature of the oceanic mantle is higher (by 100–500° C depending on the temperature coefficient of the velocity) than that of the mantle under the shields. The presence of lateral heterogeneities in the mantle is demonstrated qualitatively by the differences of dt/dΔ vs Δ curves for two separate paths. Undulations of the geoid as determined from satellite observations are investigated for determining the sources of the anomalies. It is concluded that the main sources of lateral density variations must be in the mantle at depths greater than about 100km.

Additional Information

© 1967 Royal Astronomical Society. This work was supported by the Advanced Research Projects Agency (and monitored by the Air Force Office of Scientific Research) under Contract No. AF 49(638)-1632 at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology and Contract No. AF 49(638)-1337 at the California Institute of Technology. The authors are grateful to Professor Francis Birch for his critical review of the manuscript and suggestions.

Attached Files

Published - DLAgjras67c.pdf


Files (1.6 MB)
Name Size Download all
1.6 MB Preview Download

Additional details

August 19, 2023
October 26, 2023