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Basal Mantle Flow Over LLSVPs Explains Differences in Pacific and Indo-Atlantic Hotspot Motions
  • Ashley Sarah Bellas,
  • Leigh H. Handy Royden
Ashley Sarah Bellas
University of Colorado at Boulder

Corresponding Author:ashley.bellas@colorado.edu

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Leigh H. Handy Royden
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Surface hotspot motions are approximately a factor of two faster in the Pacific than the Indo-Atlantic, and the Pacific large low shear velocity province (LLSVP) appears to be significantly shorter than the Indo-Atlantic LLSVP. Hypothesizing that surface hotspot motions are correlated with the motion of plume sources on the upper surface of chemically distinct, intrinsically dense LLSVPs, we use 3D spherical mantle convection models to compute the velocity of plume sources and compare with observed surface hotspot motions. No contrast in the mean speed of Pacific and Indo-Atlantic hotspots is predicted if the LLSVPs are treated as purely thermal anomalies and plume sources move laterally across the core-mantle boundary. However, when LLSVP topography is included in the model, the predicted hotspot speeds are, on average, faster in the Pacific than the Indo-Atlantic, even when modest topography is assigned to both LLSVPs (e.g., 100-300 km). The difference in mean hotspot speed increases to a factor of two for larger and laterally variable LLSVP topography estimated from seismic tomographic model S40RTS (up to 1100-1500 km for the Indo-Atlantic region versus 700-1400 km for the Pacific region) and our results also broadly reproduce the convergence of Pacific hotspots toward the center of the Pacific LLSVP. These largescale features of global hotspot motions are only reproduced when ambient mantle material flows over large, relatively stable topographical features, suggesting that LLSVPs are chemically distinct and intrinsically dense relative to ambient mantle material.
10 Aug 2023Submitted to ESS Open Archive
12 Aug 2023Published in ESS Open Archive