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Key, K, Constable S, Liu L, Pommier A.  2013.  Electrical image of passive mantle upwelling beneath the northern East Pacific Rise. Nature. 495:499-502.: Nature Publishing Group, a division of Macmillan Publishers Limited. All Rights Reserved.   10.1038/nature11932   AbstractWebsite

Melt generated by mantle upwelling is fundamental to the production of new oceanic crust at mid-ocean ridges, yet the forces controlling this process are debated1, 2. Passive-flow models predict symmetric upwelling due to viscous drag from the diverging tectonic plates, but have been challenged by geophysical observations of asymmetric upwelling3, 4, 5 that suggest anomalous mantle pressure and temperature gradients2, 6, 7, and by observations of concentrated upwelling centres8 consistent with active models where buoyancy forces give rise to focused convective flow2. Here we use sea-floor magnetotelluric soundings at the fast-spreading northern East Pacific Rise to image mantle electrical structure to a depth of about 160 kilometres. Our data reveal a symmetric, high-conductivity region at depths of 20–90 kilometres that is consistent with partial melting of passively upwelling mantle9, 10, 11. The triangular region of conductive partial melt matches passive-flow predictions, suggesting that melt focusing to the ridge occurs in the porous melting region rather than along the shallower base of the thermal lithosphere. A deeper conductor observed east of the ridge at a depth of more than 100 kilometres is explained by asymmetric upwelling due to viscous coupling across two nearby transform faults. Significant electrical anisotropy occurs only in the shallowest mantle east of the ridge axis, where high vertical conductivity at depths of 10–20 kilometres indicates localized porous conduits. This suggests that a coincident seismic-velocity anomaly12 is evidence of shallow magma transport channels13, 14 rather than deeper off-axis upwelling. We interpret the mantle electrical structure as evidence that plate-driven passive upwelling dominates this ridge segment, with dynamic forces being negligible.

Khan, A, Connolly JAD, Pommier A, Noir J.  2014.  Geophysical evidence for melt in the deep lunar interior and implications for lunar evolution. Journal of Geophysical Research-Planets. 119:2197-2221.   10.1002/2014je004661   AbstractWebsite

Analysis of lunar laser ranging and seismic data has yielded evidence that has been interpreted to indicate a molten zone in the lowermost mantle overlying a fluid core. Such a zone provides strong constraints on models of lunar thermal evolution. Here we determine thermochemical and physical structure of the deep Moon by inverting lunar geophysical data (mean mass and moment of inertia, tidal Love number, and electromagnetic sounding data) in combination with phase-equilibrium computations. Specifically, we assess whether a molten layer is required by the geophysical data. The main conclusion drawn from this study is that a region with high dissipation located deep within the Moon is required to explain the geophysical data. This region is located within the mantle where the solidus is crossed at a depth of approximate to 1200 km (1600 degrees C). Inverted compositions for the partially molten layer (150-200 km thick) are enriched in FeO and TiO2 relative to the surrounding mantle. The melt phase is neutrally buoyant at pressures of similar to 4.5-4.6 GPa but contains less TiO2 (<15 wt %) than the Ti-rich (similar to 16 wt %) melts that produced a set of high-density primitive lunar magmas (density of 3.4 g/cm(3)). Melt densities computed here range from 3.25 to 3.45 g/cm(3) bracketing the density of lunar magmas with moderate-to-high TiO2 contents. Our results are consistent with a model of lunar evolution in which the cumulate pile formed from crystallization of the magma ocean as it overturned, trapping heat-producing elements in the lower mantle.

Khan, A, Pommier A, Neumann GA, Mosegaard K.  2013.  The lunar moho and the internal structure of the Moon: A geophysical perspective. Tectonophysics. 609:331-352.   10.1016/J.Tecto.2013.02.024   AbstractWebsite

Extraterrestrial seismology saw its advent with the deployment of seismometers during the Apollo missions that were undertaken from July 1969 to December 1972. The Apollo lunar seismic data constitute a unique resource being the only seismic data set which can be used to infer the interior structure of a planetary body besides the Earth. On-going analysis and interpretation of the seismic data continues to provide constraints that help refine lunar origin and evolution. In addition to this, lateral variations in crustal thickness (similar to 0-80 km) are being mapped out at increasing resolution from gravity and topography data that have and continue to be collected with a series of recent lunar orbiter missions. Many of these also carry onboard multi-spectral imaging equipment that is able to map out major-element concentration and surface mineralogy to high precision. These results coupled with improved laboratory-based petrological studies of lunar samples provide important constraints on models for lunar magma ocean evolution, which ultimately determines internal structure. Whereas existing constraints on initial depth of melting and differentiation from quantitative modeling suggested only partial Moon involvement (<500 km depth), more recent models tend to favor a completely molten Moon, although the former cannot be ruled out sensu stricto. Recent geophysical analysis coupled with thermodynamical computations of phase equilibria and physical properties of mantle minerals suggest that the Earth and Moon are compositionally distinct. Continued analysis of ground-based laser ranging data and recent discovery of possible core reflected phases in the Apollo lunar seismic data strengthens the case for a small dense lunar core with a radius of <400 km corresponding to 1-3% of lunar mass. (C) 2013 Elsevier B.V. All rights reserved.