Mantle Shear-Wave Velocity Structure Beneath the Hawaiian Hot Spot

TitleMantle Shear-Wave Velocity Structure Beneath the Hawaiian Hot Spot
Publication TypeJournal Article
Year of Publication2009
AuthorsWolfe, CJ, Solomon, SC, Laske, G, Collins, JA, Detrick, RS, Orcutt, JA, Bercovici, D, Hauri, EH
Date Publisheddec

Defining the mantle structure that lies beneath hot spots is important for revealing their depth of origin. Three-dimensional images of shear-wave velocity beneath the Hawaiian Islands, obtained from a network of sea-floor and land seismometers, show an upper-mantle low-velocity anomaly that is elongated in the direction of the island chain and surrounded by a parabola-shaped high-velocity anomaly. Low velocities continue downward to the mantle transition zone between 410 and 660 kilometers depth, a result that is in agreement with prior observations of transition-zone thinning. The inclusion of SKS observations extends the resolution downward to a depth of 1500 kilometers and reveals a several-hundred-kilometer-wide region of low velocities beneath and southeast of Hawaii. These images suggest that the Hawaiian hot spot is the result of an upwelling high-temperature plume from the lower mantle.


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