Helmholtz Centre Potsdam
GFZ German Research Centre for Geosciences
Abstract (EDOC: 13449)
Large Igneous Province (LIP) eruption sites of the past 300 My lie vertically above 1% slow shear wave velocity (Vs) contours bounding the African and Pacific Large Low Shear Velocity Provinces (LLSVPs) at the core–mantle boundary (CMB), or in the cases of the Siberian and Columbia River LIPs, bounding one or other of two smaller, Low Shear Velocity Provinces (LSVPs). Steep gradients in Vs at the CMB coincide with those 1% slow contours. The sites of 24 active hotspot volcanoes project down to the same narrowly defined borders of the LLSVPs at the CMB. Plumes that have generated LIPs and major hotspot volcanoes have risen only from the immediate neighbourhoods of the 1% slow Vs contours at the CMB which thus define Plume Generation Zones (PGZs). PGZs projected vertically upward approximately match the + 10 m elevation contour of the geoid showing that the LLSVPs are a dominant control on the positively elevated geoid. Minima in the frequency distribution of shear wave velocities in the lowermost mantle near Vs = − 1% indicate that regions with more negative velocities, forming not, vert, similar 2% of total mantle mass, are likely to be of material compositionally different from the rest of the mantle. Because all LIP eruption sites with ages younger than 300 Ma lie above the borders of LLSVPs or LSVPs at the CMB, PGZ footprints are inferred to have remained in the same places for the past 300 My. Because no plumes have risen from the interior of the LLSVPs and because no lithospheric slabs have penetrated those bodies the volumes of the LLSVPs are inferred to have also remained unchanged for the past 300 My. Because the LLSVPs are the dominant control on the positively elevated areas of the geoid those too must have remained as they now are since 300 Ma. The LLSVPs are not rising buoyant objects but stable features of the deep mantle. LIPs have been erupted throughout the past 2.5 Gy indicating that PGZs comparable to those of the past 0.3 Gy and LLSVPs (of which PGZs mark the margins at the CMB) have also existed for at least that long. LLSVPs could thus form the isolated reservoir invoked by some to explain the distinctive isotopic compositions of terrestrial rocks. PGZs lie at places where the boundaries of: (i) The outer core, (ii) one of the LLSVPs or LSVPs, and (iii) the seismically faster part of the deep mantle meet. Horizontal temperature gradients across the steeply inclined margins to the LLSVPs, the interiors of which are hotter than the surrounding mantle, at the CMB are key controls for the generation of plumes. Near the CMB the association of the high temperature of the outer core with an inclined thermal boundary layer at the margins of LLSVPs facilitates the generation of mantle plumes in the PGZs.
(2008): Plume Generation Zones at the margins of Large Low Shear Velocity Provinces on the the Core-Mantle Boundary. Earth and Planetary Science Letters, 265, 1-2, 49-60.