The Nature of the 660-Kilometer Upper-Mantle Seismic Discontinuity from Precursors to the PP Phase

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Science  15 Nov 1996:
Vol. 274, Issue 5290, pp. 1179-1182
DOI: 10.1126/science.274.5290.1179


Global Seismic Network data were used to image upper-mantle seismic discontinuities. Stacks of phases that precede the PP phase, thought to be underside reflections from the upper-mantle discontinuities at depths of 410 and 660 kilometers, show that the reflection from 410 kilometers is present, but the reflection from 660 kilometers is not observed. A continuous Lamé's constant λ and seismic parameter at the 660-kilometer discontinuity explain the missing underside P reflections and lead to a P-wave velocity jump of only 2 percent, whereas the S-wave velocity and density remain unchanged with respect to previous global models. The model deemphasizes the role of Lamé's constant λ with regard to the shear modulus and constrains the mineralogical composition across the discontinuity.