Comparisons Between Seismic Earth Structures and Mantle Flow Models Based on Radial Correlation Functions

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Science  10 Sep 1993:
Vol. 261, Issue 5127, pp. 1427-1431
DOI: 10.1126/science.261.5127.1427


Three-dimensional numerical simulations were conducted of mantle convection in which flow through the transition zone is impeded by either a strong chemical change or an endothermic phase change. The temperature fields obtained from these models display a well-defined minimum in the vertical correlation length at or near the radius where the barrier is imposed, even when the fields were filtered to low angular and radial resolutions. However, evidence for such a feature is lacking in the shear-velocity models derived by seismic tomography. This comparison suggests that any stratification induced by phase or chemical changes across the mid-mantle transition zone has a relatively small effect on the large-scale circulation of mantle material.