Joint inversion of normal mode and body wave data for inner core anisotropy 2. Possible complexities

Miaki Ishii, Adam M. Dziewoński, Jeroen Tromp, Göran Ekström

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

29 Scopus citations


In this study we focus on inner core sensitive body wave data to investigate lateral and radial heterogeneity within the inner core. Normal mode data are used to constrain a global model and to monitor if complexities introduced by body wave data are compatible with mode measurements. In particular, we investigate the possibilities of an isotropic layer near the inner core boundary and large-scale variations in anisotropy such as hemispheric dependence proposed in studies based upon differential travel time data. Travel time data from distances between 130° and 140° require anisotropy near the inner core boundary. This evidence is supported by differential travel time data based upon diffracted waves, contrasting the previous inferences of isotropy at the surface of the inner core. Our experiments also show that variations at a hemispheric scale are not necessary and that the sources of apparent hemispheric differences can be localized. A comparison of differential and absolute travel time data suggests that differences in inferred inner core anisotropy models arise mainly from a few anomalous paths. These paths are responsible for the strong anisotropy which is characteristic of models based upon differential data. Assuming constant anisotropy in the inner core, we investigate the distribution of residual differential travel times at the entry and exit points of rays turning within the outer core. The results are consistent with existing models of structure near the core-mantle boundary. Placing the source of the difference between differential and absolute travel time data in the lowermost mantle gives a more satisfactory result than attempting to model it with a complex inner core.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)ESE 21-1 - 21-17
JournalJournal of Geophysical Research: Solid Earth
Issue number12
StatePublished - Dec 10 2002
Externally publishedYes

All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

  • Geophysics
  • Geochemistry and Petrology
  • Earth and Planetary Sciences (miscellaneous)
  • Space and Planetary Science


  • Anisotropy
  • Differential travel times
  • Hemispheric variations
  • Inner core


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