A unified continental thickness from seismology and diamonds suggests a melt-defined plate

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Science  11 Aug 2017:
Vol. 357, Issue 6351, pp. 580-583
DOI: 10.1126/science.aan0741

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A coherent depth for continental plates

The thickness of the continental portion of Earth's cold and rigid surface plates is a source of debate. Tharimena et al. analyzed a specific type of seismic signal called SS precursors to provide a robust estimate of plate thickness under the continents (see the Perspective by Savage). The values range from 130 to 190 km, which lines up well with the depth where diamonds are stable—an independent line of evidence for the depth of continents.

Science, this issue p. 580; see also p. 549