Distinct layering in the hemispherical seismic velocity structure of Earth's upper inner core

Waszek, Lauren and Deuss, Arwen (2011) Distinct layering in the hemispherical seismic velocity structure of Earth's upper inner core. Journal of Geophysical Research, 116. B12313. DOI https://doi.org/10.1029/2011JB008650

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Official URL: http://dx.doi.org/0.1029/2011JB008650


The existence of hemispherical variation in the Earth's inner core is well-documented, but consensus has not yet been reached on its detailed structure. The uppermost layers are a region of particular importance, as they are directly linked to the growth processes and post-solidification mechanisms of the inner core. Here, we use a large PKIKP-PKiKP differential travel time residual data set to derive a model for the upper inner core, providing new constraints on its isotropic and anisotropic velocity, and the amount of scattering. We find that the eastern and western hemisphere are separated by sharp boundaries. This is incompatible with the recently proposed inner core translation model, but might be explained by differences in outer core convection and inner core solidification rates. The eastern hemisphere displays weak anisotropy of 0.5%–1.0%. The western hemisphere, on the other hand, is characterized by the presence of an isotropic upper layer with a thickness of 57.5 km, with anisotropy of 2.8% appearing at deeper depths. The boundary between the isotropic layer and the deeper anisotropy appears sharp. We also detect, for the first time, a high velocity layer at the top of the eastern hemisphere with a thickness of 30 km, which we interpret as being due to an increased amount of light elements. There appears to be no relationship between the layered structure in the two hemispheres, with abrupt changes in velocity with depth in one hemisphere without any significant change at the same depth in the other hemisphere. Our results indicate that there is a difference in composition and mineral structure between the hemispheres, resulting in differing responses to external processes.

Item Type: Article
Additional Information: Copyright 2011 by the American Geophysical Union Correction can be found here: http://dx.doi.org/10.1029/2012JB009770
Uncontrolled Keywords: 2011AREP; IA63;
Subjects: 02 - Geodynamics, Geophysics and Tectonics
Divisions: 02 - Geodynamics, Geophysics and Tectonics
08 - Green Open Access
Journal or Publication Title: Journal of Geophysical Research
Volume: 116
Page Range: B12313
Identification Number: https://doi.org/10.1029/2011JB008650
Depositing User: Sarah Humbert
Date Deposited: 21 Dec 2011 15:42
Last Modified: 10 Jul 2014 13:46
URI: http://eprints.esc.cam.ac.uk/id/eprint/2303

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