Seismic Velocity and Density Jumps Across the 410- and 660-Kilometer Discontinuities

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Science  03 Sep 1999:
Vol. 285, Issue 5433, pp. 1545-1548
DOI: 10.1126/science.285.5433.1545

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The average seismic velocity and density jumps across the 410- and 660-kilometer discontinuities in the upper mantle were determined by modeling the observed range dependence in long-period seismic wave arrivals that reflect off of these interfaces. The preliminary reference Earth model (PREM) is within the computed 95 percent confidence ellipse for the 410-km discontinuity but outside the allowed jumps across the 660-kilometer discontinuity. Current pyrolite mantle models appear consistent with the constraints for the 410-kilometer discontinuity but overpredict amplitudes for the 660-kilometer reflections. The density jump across the 660-kilometer discontinuity is between 4 and 6 percent, below the PREM value of 9.3 percent commonly used in mantle convection calculations.

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