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A tree of Indo-African mantle plumes imaged by seismic tomography

Abstract : Mantle plumes were conceived as thin, vertical conduits in which buoyant, hot rock from the lowermost mantle rises to Earth’s surface, manifesting as hotspot-type volcanism far from plate boundaries. Spatially correlated with hotspots are two vast provinces of slow seismic wave propagation in the lowermost mantle, probably representing the heat reservoirs that feed plumes. Imaging plume conduits has proved difficult because most are located beneath the non-instrumented oceans, and they may be thin. Here we combine new seismological datasets to resolve mantle upwelling across all depths and length scales, centred on Africa and the Indian and Southern oceans. Using seismic waves that sample the deepest mantle extensively, we show that mantle upwellings are arranged in a tree-like structure. From a central, compact trunk below ~1,500 km depth, three branches tilt outwards and up towards various Indo-Austral hotspots. We propose that each tilting branch represents an alignment of vertically rising blobs or proto-plumes, which detached in a linear staggered sequence from their underlying low-velocity corridor at the core–mantle boundary. Once a blob reaches the viscosity discontinuity between lower and upper mantle, it spawns a ‘classical’ plume-head/plume-tail sequence.
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Contributor : Guilhem Barruol Connect in order to contact the contributor
Submitted on : Monday, October 18, 2021 - 6:04:16 PM
Last modification on : Wednesday, December 1, 2021 - 3:46:02 PM


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Maria Tsekhmistrenko, Karin Sigloch, Kasra Hosseini, Guilhem Barruol. A tree of Indo-African mantle plumes imaged by seismic tomography. Nature Geoscience, Nature Publishing Group, 2021, 14, pp.612 - 619. ⟨10.1038/s41561-021-00762-9⟩. ⟨hal-03384259⟩



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