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Pervasive upper mantle melting beneath the western US

Abstract : We report from converted seismic waves, a pervasive seismically anomalous layer above the transition zone beneath the western US. The layer, characterized by an average shear wave speed reduction of 1.6%, spans over an area of similar to 1.8 x10(6) km(2) with thicknesses varying between 25 and 70 km. The location of the layer correlates with the present location of a segment of the Farallon plate. This spatial correlation and the sharp seismic signal atop of the layer indicate that the layer is caused by compositional heterogeneity. Analysis of the seismic signature reveals that the compositional heterogeneity can be ascribed to a small volume of partial melt (0.5 +/- 0.2 vol% on average). This article presents the first high resolution map of the melt present within the layer. Despite spatial variations in temperature, the calculated melt volume fraction correlates strongly with the amplitude of P-S conversion throughout the region. Comparing the values of temperature calculated from the seismic signal with available petrological constraints, we infer that melting in the layer is caused by release of volatiles from the subducted Farallon slab. This partially molten zone beneath the western US can sequester at least 1.2 x 10(17) kg of volatiles, and can act as a large regional reservoir of volatile species such as H or C. (C) 2017 Elsevier B.V. All rights reserved.
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Submitted on : Wednesday, October 23, 2019 - 3:49:24 PM
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Saswata Hier-Majumder, Benoit Tauzin. Pervasive upper mantle melting beneath the western US. Earth and Planetary Science Letters, Elsevier, 2017, 463, pp.25-35. ⟨10.1016/j.epsl.2016.12.041⟩. ⟨hal-02329507⟩

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