Multidisciplinary Constraints on the Thermal-Chemical Boundary Between Earth's Core and Mantle

Daniel A. Frost, Margaret S. Avery, Bruce A. Buffett, Bethany A. Chidester, Jie Deng, Susannah M. Dorfman, Zhi Li, Lijun Liu, Mingda Lv, Joshua F. Martin

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

15 Scopus citations


Heat flux from the core to the mantle provides driving energy for mantle convection thus powering plate tectonics, and contributes a significant fraction of the geothermal heat budget. Indirect estimates of core-mantle boundary heat flow are typically based on petrological evidence of mantle temperature, interpretations of temperatures indicated by seismic travel times, experimental measurements of mineral melting points, physical mantle convection models, or physical core convection models. However, previous estimates have not consistently integrated these lines of evidence. In this work, an interdisciplinary analysis is applied to co-constrain core-mantle boundary heat flow and test the thermal boundary layer (TBL) theory. The concurrence of TBL models, energy balance to support geomagnetism, seismology, and review of petrologic evidence for historic mantle temperatures supports QCMB ∼15 TW, with all except geomagnetism supporting as high as ∼20 TW. These values provide a tighter constraint on core heat flux relative to previous work. Our work describes the seismic properties consistent with a TBL, and supports a long-lived basal mantle molten layer through much of Earth's history.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Article numbere2021GC009764
JournalGeochemistry, Geophysics, Geosystems
Issue number3
StatePublished - Mar 2022
Externally publishedYes

All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

  • Geophysics
  • Geochemistry and Petrology


  • geodynamics
  • geomagnetics
  • heat budget
  • petrology
  • seismology
  • thermal boundary layer


Dive into the research topics of 'Multidisciplinary Constraints on the Thermal-Chemical Boundary Between Earth's Core and Mantle'. Together they form a unique fingerprint.

Cite this