Publications

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2011
Wolfe, CJ, Solomon SC, Laske G, Collins JA, Detrick RS, Orcutt JA, Bercovici D, Hauri EH.  2011.  Mantle P-wave velocity structure beneath the Hawaiian hotspot. Earth and Planetary Science Letters. 303:267-280.   10.1016/j.epsl.2011.01.004   AbstractWebsite

Three-dimensional images of P-wave velocity structure beneath the Hawaiian Islands, obtained from a network of seafloor and land seismometers, show an upper-mantle low-velocity anomaly that is elongated in the direction of the island chain and surrounded by a high-velocity anomaly in the shallow upper mantle that is parabolic in map view. Low velocities continue downward to the mantle tansition zone between 410 and 660 km depth and extend into the topmost lower mantle, although the resolution of lower mantle structure from this data set is limited. Comparisons of inversions with separate data sets at different frequencies suggest that contamination by water reverberations is not markedly biasing the P-wave imaging of mantle structure. Many aspects of the P-wave images are consistent with independent tomographic images of S-wave velocity in the region, but there are some differences in upper mantle structure between P-wave and S-wave velocities. Inversions without station terms show a southwestward shift in the location cif lowest P-wave velocities in the uppermost mantle relative to the pattern for shear waves, and inversions with station terms show differences between P-wave and S-wave velocity heterogeneity in the shallow upper mantle beneath and immediately east of the island of Hawaii. Nonetheless, the combined data sets are in general agreement with the hypothesis that the Hawaiian hotspot is the result of an upwelling, high-temperature plume. The broad upper-mantle low-velocity region beneath the Hawaiian Islands may reflect the diverging "pancake" at the top of the upwelling zone; the surrounding region of high velocities could represent a downwelling curtain; and the low-velocity anomalies southeast of Hawaii in the transition zone and topmost lower mantle are consistent with predictions of plume tilt. (C) 2011 Elsevier B.V. All rights reserved.

Laske, G, Markee A, Orcutt JA, Wolfe CJ, Collins JA, Solomon SC, Detrick RS, Bercovici D, Hauri EH.  2011.  Asymmetric shallow mantle structure beneath the Hawaiian Swell-evidence from Rayleigh waves recorded by the PLUME network. Geophysical Journal International. 187:1725-1742.   10.1111/j.1365-246X.2011.05238.x   AbstractWebsite

We present models of the 3-D shear velocity structure of the lithosphere and asthenosphere beneath the Hawaiian hotspot and surrounding region. The models are derived from long-period Rayleigh-wave phase velocities that were obtained from the analysis of seismic recordings collected during two year-long deployments for the Hawaiian Plume-Lithosphere Undersea Mantle Experiment. For this experiment, broad-band seismic sensors were deployed at nearly 70 seafloor sites as well as 10 sites on the Hawaiian Islands. Our seismic images result from a two-step inversion of path-averaged dispersion curves using the two-station method. The images reveal an asymmetry in shear velocity structure with respect to the island chain, most notably in the lower lithosphere at depths of 60 km and greater, and in the asthenosphere. An elongated, 100-km-wide and 300-km-long low-velocity anomaly reaches to depths of at least 140 km. At depths of 60 km and shallower, the lowest velocities are found near the northern end of the island of Hawaii. No major velocity anomalies are found to the south or southeast of Hawaii, at any depth. The low-velocity anomaly in the asthenosphere is consistent with an excess temperature of 200-250 degrees C and partial melt at the level of a few percent by volume, if we assume that compositional variations as a result of melt extraction play a minor role. We also image small-scale low-velocity anomalies within the lithosphere that may be associated with the volcanic fields surrounding the Hawaiian Islands.

2009
Wolfe, CJ, Solomon SC, Laske G, Collins JA, Detrick RS, Orcutt JA, Bercovici D, Hauri EH.  2009.  Mantle Shear-Wave Velocity Structure Beneath the Hawaiian Hot Spot. Science. 326:1388-1390.   10.1126/science.1180165   AbstractWebsite

Defining the mantle structure that lies beneath hot spots is important for revealing their depth of origin. Three-dimensional images of shear-wave velocity beneath the Hawaiian Islands, obtained from a network of sea-floor and land seismometers, show an upper-mantle low-velocity anomaly that is elongated in the direction of the island chain and surrounded by a parabola-shaped high-velocity anomaly. Low velocities continue downward to the mantle transition zone between 410 and 660 kilometers depth, a result that is in agreement with prior observations of transition-zone thinning. The inclusion of SKS observations extends the resolution downward to a depth of 1500 kilometers and reveals a several-hundred-kilometer-wide region of low velocities beneath and southeast of Hawaii. These images suggest that the Hawaiian hot spot is the result of an upwelling high-temperature plume from the lower mantle.

2002
Tong, CH, Pye JW, Barton PJ, White RS, Sinha MC, Singh SC, Hobbs RW, Bazin S, Harding AJ, Kent GM, Orcutt JA.  2002.  Asymmetric melt sills and upper crustal construction beneath overlapping ridge segments: Implications for the development of melt sills and ridge crests. Geology. 30:83-86.   10.1130/0091-7613(2002)030<0083:amsauc>2.0.co;2   AbstractWebsite

A new three-dimensional tomographic velocity model and depth-converted reflection images of the melt sills beneath the 9degrees03'N overlapping spreading center on the East Pacific Rise show that the upper crustal construction at this ridge discontinuity is highly asymmetric with reference to the bathymetric ridge crests of the overlapping limbs. Despite the similarly curved ridge crests, the asymmetries are markedly different under the two limbs and appear to be related to the contrasting evolutionary history of the limbs. The overlap basin is closely related to the propagating eastern limb in terms of its seismic structure. By contrast, the western limb forms a distinct morphologic region that displays little structural relationship to the adjacent overlap basin and other relict basins. As the overlapping spreading center is migrating southward, the differential development of melt sills and ridge crests may be inferred from the results of this study. Ridge propagation appears to involve two major processes: the advancement of the melt sill at the ridge tip and the development of ridge-crest morphology and the neovolcanic axis to the north of the overlap basin region near the existing propagating limb. The latter process may result in the abandonment of the current neovolcanic axis, leading to the self-decapitation of the propagating limb. By contrast, the self-decapitation of the western limb is related to the receding melt sill, which lags behind the anticlockwise rotational motion of the ridge crest.