Compositional dependence of the elastic wave velocities of mantle minerals: Implications for seismic properties of mantle rocks

Sergio Speziale, Fuming Jiang, Thomas S. Duffy

Research output: Chapter in Book/Report/Conference proceedingChapter

14 Scopus citations


Using single-crystal elasticity data we constrain the effect of chemical substitutions on the elastic properties of mantle minerals and estimate the consequences for the seismic properties of mantle rocks. At ambient conditions the calculated relative variation of compressional and shear velocities ∂1nvP/∂XFe and ∂1nvS/∂XFe due to Fe-Mg substitution, range between -0.05 and -0.46 and between -0.08 and -0.74 respectively in the main mantle minerals. The corresponding heterogeneity ratios R = ∂1nvS/∂1nvP for Fe-Mg substitution range between 0.9 and 1.7 suggesting that the effect of this substitution is very different in different solid solutions systems. More limited experimental results for Ca-Mg substitution and Al enrichment in pyroxenes and garnets were also evaluated. Only Ca-Mg substitution in garnets is found to produce large (>2.0) values of R. Heterogeneity parameters at upper mantle and transition zone conditions can be substantially different from ambient P-T values in some cases. Using a first-order approximation of the effect of Fe-Mg substitution on the elastic properties of the most relevant upper mantle rocks, we find that the sensitivities of seismic velocities to Fe enrichment can vary as much as 2 -3 times between the different rock types. We estimate that in the upper mantle the value of ∂lnvS/∂1nvP for pyrolite, piclogite and harzburgite decreases from 1.5 to 1.0 at the base of the transition zone, while it only decreases from 1.5 to 1.3 in mid ocean ridge basalt eclogite, which is enriched in garnet. We also estimate that the seismic effect of lateral changes in lithology from average mantle to subducted slab rocks decreases in intensity at upper mantle and transition zone depths, in agreement with seismic tomographic models. Information about the effects of Ca and Al enrichment are still too incomplete to make predictions of their effects on whole rocks, but they could be relevant based on our limited information.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Title of host publicationEarth?s Deep Mantle
Subtitle of host publicationStructure, Composition, and Evolution, 2005
EditorsJay D. Bass, Robert D. Van Der Hilst, Jan Matas, Jeannot Trampert
PublisherBlackwell Publishing Ltd.
Number of pages20
ISBN (Electronic)9781118666258
ISBN (Print)9780875904252
StatePublished - 2005

Publication series

NameGeophysical Monograph Series
ISSN (Print)0065-8448
ISSN (Electronic)2328-8779

All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

  • Geophysics


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