Global P-wave tomography: On the effect of various mantle and core phases

Jianshe Lei, Dapeng Zhao

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

88 Citations (Scopus)


In this work, many global tomographic inversions and resolution tests are carried out to investigate the influence of various mantle and core phase data from the International Seismological Center (ISC) data set on the determination of 3D velocity structure of the Earth's interior. Our results show that, when only the direct P data are used, the resolution is good for most of the mantle except for the oceanic regions down to about 1000 km depth and for most of the D″ layer, and PP rays can provide a better constraint on the structure down to the middle mantle, in particular for the upper mantle under the oceans. PcP can enhance the ray sampling of the middle and lower mantle around the Pacific rim and Europe, while Pdiff can help improve the spatial resolution in the lowermost mantle. The outer core phases (PKP, PKiKP and PKKP) can improve the resolution in the lowermost mantle of the southern hemisphere and under oceanic regions. When finer blocks or grid nodes are adopted to determine a high-resolution model, pP data are very useful for improving the upper mantle structure. The resulting model inferred from all phases not only displays the general features contained in the previous global tomographic models, but also reveals some new features. For example, the image of the Hawaiian mantle plume is improved notably over the previous studies. It is imaged as a continuous low velocity anomaly beneath the Hawaiian hotspot from the core-mantle boundary (CMB) to the surface, implying that the Hawaiian mantle plume indeed originates from the CMB. Low-velocity anomalies along some mid-oceanic ridges extend down to about 600 km depth. Our results suggested that later seismic phases are of great importance in better understanding the structure and dynamics of the Earth's interior.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)44-69
Number of pages26
JournalPhysics of the Earth and Planetary Interiors
Issue number1
Publication statusPublished - 2006 Jan 16


  • Global tomography
  • Hotspot
  • ISC data
  • Mantle and core phases
  • Mantle plume
  • Subducting slab


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