Mantle Flow Revisited

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Science  29 Aug 2003:
Vol. 301, Issue 5637, pp. 1190-1191
DOI: 10.1126/science.1088835

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Seismic data from Earth's mantle have been interpreted in terms of high-strain deformation and recrystallization of mantle minerals, allowing conclusions about mantle flow to be drawn. In his Perspective, Bystricky argues that new data reported by Holtzman et al . necessitate a reinterpretation of these flow patterns in partially molten or hydrated regions. Earlier laboratory studies have been performed on dry olivine (the most common mantle mineral), but the new results show that partially molten and hydrated olivine shows very different flow behavior. This may be particularly important near ocean ridges and in subduction zones.