Allen CV
Seismo Lab
Earth & Planetary
UC Berkeley

The elusive mantle plume

Jeroen Ritsema
Seismological Laboratory,
California Institute of Technology.

Richard M. Allen
Dept. Geology and Geophysics,
University of Wisconsin - Madison.

Earth Planet. Sci. Lett. 207 1-12, 2003.

Download a reprint: RitsemaAllenPlumesEPSL2003.pdf (0.9Mb)

Abstract Mantle plumes are hypothetical hot, narrow mantle upwellings that are often invoked to explain hotspot volcanism with unusual geophysical and geochemical characteristics. The mantle plume is a well established geological structure in computer modeling and laboratory experiments but an undisputed seismic detection of one has yet to be made. Vertically continuous low shear velocity anomalies in the upper mantle, expected for plumes, are present beneath the Afar, Bowie, Easter, Hawaii, Iceland, Louisville, McDonald, and Samoa hotspots but not beneath the other 29 hotspots in Sleep's 1990 catalog. Whether and how plumes form remain fundamental multi-disciplinary research questions. Should they exist, detection of whole-mantle plumes will depend on deployments of dense (50-100 km station spacing), wide-aperture (> 1000 km) seismic networks to maximize model resolution in the transition zone and uppermost lower mantle since plume impingement upon the 660-km phase transition leaves a unique seismic imprint.

Download a reprint: RitsemaAllenPlumesEPSL2003.pdf (0.9Mb)

© Richard M Allen