Report

The Seismic 8° Discontinuity and Partial Melting in Continental Mantle

Science  14 Mar 1997:
Vol. 275, Issue 5306, pp. 1626-1629
DOI: 10.1126/science.275.5306.1626

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Abstract

Strong, scattered reflections beyond 8 degrees (8°) offset are characteristic features of all high-resolution seismic sections from the continents. The reflections identify a low-velocity zone below approximately 100 kilometers depth beneath generally stratified mantle. This zone may be caused by partial melting, globally initiated at equal depth in the continental mantle. Solid state is again attained at the Lehmann discontinuity in cold, stable areas, whereas the zone extends to near the 400-kilometer discontinuity in hot, tectonically active areas. Thus, the depth to the Lehmann discontinuity may be an indicator of the thermal state of the continental mantle.

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