Seismic Detection of Rigid Zones at the Top of the Core

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Science  30 Nov 2001:
Vol. 294, Issue 5548, pp. 1911-1914
DOI: 10.1126/science.1065617

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Data from earthquakes in the Tonga-Fiji region recorded at a seismic array in northern Australia show evidence for rigid zones at the top of the outer core. The ScP waveforms can be modeled by thin (0.12 to 0.18 kilometer) zones of molten iron mixed with solid material with a small, but positive, S-wave velocity (0.6 to 0.8 kilometer per second) that enables the propagation of S-waves in the outermost core. The zones may be topographic highs of the core-mantle boundary filled by light core sediments and might be important for variation of Earth's nutation and for convection of the outer core.

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