Origin of lateral variation of seismic wave velocities and density in the deep mantle

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Strong constraints can be placed on the origin of heterogeneity of seismic wave velocities and density if the observed ratios of various parameters are compared with mineral physics predictions. They include the shear to compressional wave velocity heterogeneity ratio, R ≡ δ log V / δ log V , the bulk sound to shear wave velocity heterogeneity ratio, R ≡ δ log V / δ log V , and the density to velocity heterogeneity ratio, R ≡ δ log ρ / δ log V . Using mineral physics considerations, we calculate these ratios in the lower mantle corresponding to the thermal and chemical origin of velocity and density heterogeneity. Both anharmonic and anelastic effects are considered for thermal origin. Anharmonic effects are estimated from the theoretical calculations as well as from laboratory measurements which show a marked increase in R with pressure from ∼1.5 to ∼2.1 in the lower mantle. Such a trend is marginally consistent with seismological observations showing an increase in R with depth (from ∼1.7 to ∼3.2 in the lower mantle). However, anharmonic effect alone cannot explain inferred low R (<0.2-0.4), and the values of R predicted from anharmonic effects are systematically smaller than seismological observations. Anelastic effects must be included to account for these geophysical observations. A new formulation of anelastic effect is developed in which the role of nonlinear temperature dependence of anelasticity is included. When anharmonic and anelastic effects are combined, thermal effects on velocity and density can account for most of the geophysical observations in Earth's lower mantle. Effects other than temperature variations (such as chemical heterogeneity) are required only in the very deep portions of the mantle (deeper than ∼2000-2300 km). A puzzling observation is very large values of R (>2.7) and corresponding negative values of R (and R ) in the deep lower mantle which cannot be accounted for by thermal or simple chemical heterogeneity such as the heterogeneity in the Fe/(Fe+Mg) and/or Mg/(Mg+Si) ratios. Possible causes of anomalies in this region are discussed, including the role of anisotropy and a combined effect of heterogeneity in Fe and Ca content. Copyright 2001 by the American Geophysical Union. s/p s p φ/s φ s ρ/s,p s,p s/p s/p ρ/s s/p s/p φ/s ρ/s

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Journal of Geophysical Research: Solid Earth

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