Chemical Boundaries in the Mantle

  • Don L. Anderson
Part of the NATO ASI Series book series (ASIC, volume 334)


The seismic discontinuities at depths near 400 and 650 km are primarily due to phase changes, but they are not necessarily equilibrium phase boundaries in a homogeneous mantle. The jump in velocity near 400 km is too small to be the result of phase changes in an olivine or olivine-orthopyroxene rich material such as pyrolite. If this is an equilibrium phase boundary there must be substantially less olivine and orthopyroxene than is typical of mantle lherzolites or peridotites. The alternative is that the shallow mantle is olivine-rich, and the transition region is more eclogitic, with a high clinopyroxene/garnet ratio. Olivine-rich material, such as harzburgite, is buoyant relative to other mantle assemblages and may have accumulated in the shallow mantle during the various processes of mantle differentiation The seismic velocities in the transition region are less than calculated for the high-pressure phases of olivine, β - or γ-spinel. The transition region therefore is olivine-poor, less than about 50% olivine. The properties of the lower mantle are consistent with a “chondritic” Earth, with high FeO and SiO2-contents compared to peridotites. Thus, there is evidence that the shallow mantle, the transition region and the lower mantle may differ in composition, in intrinsic density and in the depths of phase changes. In order to allow for this possibility, I propose that the shallow mantle (<400 km depth) be called the “perisphere” (peri- for around or nearby). This can also be called the peridotite shell. The transition region, or mesosphere, appears to be a garnetite, primarily garnet and majorite. There is no geophysical or geochemical evidence that there is any interchange of material between the mesosphere and the lower mantle, although it is likely that they are thermally coupled.


Transition Region Seismic Velocity Mantle Wedge Oceanic Lithosphere Lower Mantle 
These keywords were added by machine and not by the authors. This process is experimental and the keywords may be updated as the learning algorithm improves.


Unable to display preview. Download preview PDF.

Unable to display preview. Download preview PDF.


  1. Adams, R.D., 1968, Early reflections of P’P’ as an indication of upper mantle structure, Bull. Seismo. Soc. Am., 58, p. 1933.Google Scholar
  2. Akaogi, M., Ito, E. and Navrotsky, A., 1989, Olivine-modified spinel transitions in the system Mg2SiO4-Fe2SiO4, J. Geophys. Res, 94, pp. 15,671–15,685.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  3. Akaogi, M., Navrotsky, A., Yagi, T., Akimoto, S., 1987, Pryoxene-gamet transformations, in Manghnani, M. H., Syono, Y.(eds), High-pressure research in mineral physics, Terra Pub, Tokyo, pp. 251–260.Google Scholar
  4. Akimoto, S., and Fujisawa, H., 1968, Olivine-spinel solid solution equilibrium in the system Mg2SiO4-Fe2SiO4, J. Geophys. Res, 73, pp. 1467–1479.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  5. Anderson, Don L., 1967a, Latest information from seismic observations: Ch. 12, in The Earth’s Mantle, Academic Press Inc., London, pp. 355–420.Google Scholar
  6. Anderson, Don L., 1967b, Phase changes in the upper mantle: Science, v. 157, no. 3793, pp. 1165–1173.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  7. Anderson, Don L., 1970, Petrology of the mantle: Mineralog. Soc. America Spec. Paper, v. 3, pp. 85–93.Google Scholar
  8. Anderson, Don L., 1975, Chemical plumes in the mantle: Geol. Soc. America Bull., v. 86, no. 11, pp. 1593–1600.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  9. Anderson, Don L., 1976, The 650 km mantle discontinuity: Geophys. Res. Lett., v. 3, no. 6, pp. 347–349.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  10. Anderson, Don L., 1977, Composition of the mantle and core: Ann. Rev. of Earth and Planet. Sci., v. 5, pp. 179–202.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  11. Anderson, Don L., 1979, The upper mantle transition region: Eclogite?: Geophys. Res. Lett., v. 6, no. 6, pp. 433–436.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  12. Anderson, Don L., 1979b, Chemical stratification of the mantle: Jour. Geophys. Res., v. 84, no. B11, pp. 6297–6298.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  13. Anderson, Don L., 1980, Early evolution of the mantle: Episodes, v. 1980, no. 3, pp. 3–7.Google Scholar
  14. Anderson, Don L., 1981, Hotspots, basalts and the evolution of the mantle: Science, v. 213, pl. 82–89.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  15. Anderson, Don L., 1981, A global geochemical model for the evolution of the mantle: in AGU Monograph, EVOLUTION OF THE EARTH, Geodynamics Series, v. 5, pp. 6–18.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  16. Anderson, Don L., 1981c, Rise of deep diapirs: Geology, v. 9, no. 1, pp. 7–9.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  17. Anderson, Don L., 1982a, Isotopic evolution of the mantle; the role of magma mixing: Earth Planet. Sci. Lett., v. 57, pp. 1–12.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  18. Anderson, Don L., 1982b, Isotopic evolution of the mantle; a model: Earth Planet. Sci. Lett., v. 57, pp.13–24.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  19. Anderson, Don L., 1982c, The chemical composition and evolution of the mantle: Advances in Earth and Planet Sci., v. 12, High-Pressure Research in Geophysics, edited by S. Akimoto and M. H. Manghnani, pp. 301–318.Google Scholar
  20. Anderson, Don L., 1982d, Hotspots, polar wander, mesozoic convection, and the geoid: Nature, v. 297, no. 5865, pp. 391–393.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  21. Anderson, Don L., 1983, Kimberlite and the evolution of the mantle: Proc. Third Int’l. Kimberlite Conf., “Developments in Petrology” (1982), in Kimberlites and Related Rocks, J. Kornprobst, ed., pp. 395–403.Google Scholar
  22. Anderson, Don L., 1983b, Chemical composition of the mantle: Jour. Geophys. Res., v. 88 supplement, pp. B41–B52.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  23. Anderson, Don L., 1984, The Earth as a planet: paradigms and paradoxes: Science, v. 223, no. 4634, pp. 347–355.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  24. Anderson, Don L., 1985, Hotspot magmas can form by fractionation and contamination of MORB, Nature, v. 318, pp. 145–149.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  25. Anderson, Don L., 1987a, The Depths of Mantle Reservoirs, in Magmatic Processes, ed. B. O. Mysen, Spec. Publ. No. 1, Geochem. Soc.Google Scholar
  26. Anderson, Don L., 1987c, A Seismic Equation of State II. Shear Properties and Thermodynamics of the Lower Mantle, Phys. of the Earth and Planet Int., 45, pp. 307–323.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  27. Anderson, Don L., 1987c, Thermally induced phase changes, lateral heterogeneity of the mantle, continental roots and deep slab anomalies, Jour. Geophys. Res., 92, pp. 13,968–13,980.Google Scholar
  28. Anderson, Don L., 1988a, Temperature and pressure derivatives of elastic constants with application to the mantle, Jour. Geophys. Res., 93, pp. 4688–4700.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  29. Anderson, Don L., 1988b, Correction to Thermally induced phase changes, lateral heterogeneity of the mantle, continental roots and deep slab anomalies, J. Geophys. Res., 93, 1225–1226.Google Scholar
  30. Anderson, Don L., 1989a, Composition of the Earth, Science, 243, 367–370.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  31. Anderson, Don L., 1989b, Theory of the Earth, Blackwell Scientific Publications, Boston, 366 pp.Google Scholar
  32. Anderson, Don L., 1989c, Where on Earth is the Crust?, Physics Today, March 1989, pp. 38–46.Google Scholar
  33. Anderson, Don L., and Bass, J. D., 1984, Mineralogy and composition of the upper mantle: Geophys. Res. Lett., v. 11, pp. 637–640.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  34. Anderson, Don L., and Bass, J. D., 1986, The transition region of the Earth’s upper mantle, Nature, v. 320, pp. 321–328.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  35. Anderson, Don L., and Julian, B. R., 1969, Shear velocities and elastic parameters of the mantle: Jour. Geophys. Research, v. 74, no. 12, pp. 3281–3286.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  36. Anderson, Don L., and Toksöz, M. N., 1963, Surface waves on a spherical earth, 1. Upper mantle structure from Love waves: Jour. Geophys. Res., v. 68, no. 11, pp. 3483–3500.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  37. Anderson, Don L., and Kovach, R. L., 1964, Attenuation in the mantle and rigidity of the core from multiply reflected core phases: Proc. Nat’l. Acad. Sci., v. 51, no. 2, pp. 168–172.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  38. Anderson, O. L., Schreiber, E., and Liebermann, R. C., 1969, Some elastic constant data on minerals relevant to Geophysics, Rev. Geophys., 6, pp. 491–524.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  39. Archambeau, C. B., Flinn, E. A., and Lambert, D. G., 1969, Fine structure of the upper mantle, J. Geophys. Res., 74, p. 5825.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  40. Bass, J. D., and Anderson, Don L., 1984, Composition of the upper mantle: Geophysical tests of two petrological models: Geophys. Res. Lett, v. 11, no. 3, pp. 237–240.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  41. Bernal, J. D., 1936, Discussion, Observatory, 59, pp. 267–268.Google Scholar
  42. Bina, C. R., and Wood, B. J., 1987, Olivine-spinel transitions, J. Geophys. Res., 92, pp. 4853–4866.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  43. Birch, F., 1952, Elasticity and constitution of the Earth’s interior, J. Geophys. Res., v. 57, p. 227.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  44. Burdick, L. J., and Anderson, Don L., 1975, Interpretation of velocity profiles of the mantle: Jour. Geophys. Res., v. 80, no. 8, pp. 1070–1074.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  45. Butler, R., and Anderson, Don L., 1978, Equation of state fits to the lower mantle and outer core: Phys. Earth Planet Inter., v. 17, pp. 147–162.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  46. Cazenave A. and. Sourian, A. and Donink, K., 1989, Glorbal Coupling of Earth surface topography with hotspots, geoid and mantle heterogenities, Nature, 340, pp. 54–57.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  47. Duffy, T. S., and Anderson, Don L., 1989, Seismic velocities in mantle minerals and the mineralogy of the upper mantle, J. Geophys. Res., 94, pp. 1895–1912.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  48. Dziewonski, A.M., and Anderson, Don L., 1981, Preliminary reference Earth model: Phys. Earth Planet Inter., 25, pp. 297–356.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  49. Gaffney, E. S., and Anderson, Don L., 1973, The effect of low-spin Fe on the composition of the lower mantle: Jour. Geophys. Res., 78, no. 29, pp. 7005–7014.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  50. Grand, S. P., and Helmberger, D. V., 1984, Upper mantle shear structure of North America, Geophys. J. R. asrystron. Soc., 76, pp. 399–438.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  51. Gwanmesia, G. D., Rigden, S., Jackson, I., and Liebermann, 1990, Elasticity of the β phase of Mg2SiO4 to 3 GPa, EOS, p. 525.Google Scholar
  52. Helmberger, D. V. and Engen, G. R., 1974, Upper mantle shear structure, J. Geophys. Res., 79, pp. 4017–4028.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  53. Ibrahim, A. K., and Nuttli, O. W., 1967, Travel-time curves and upper mantle structure from long-period S waves, Bull. Seism. Soc. Am., 57, 1063–1092.Google Scholar
  54. Irifune, T., and Ringwood, A. E., 1987, Phase transformations in primitive MORB and pyrolite compositions to 25 GPa and some geophysical implications. In M. H. Manghnani and Y. Syono (Editors), High Pressure Research in Mineral Physics. Am. Geophys. Union, Washington, DC. pp. 231–242.Google Scholar
  55. Irifune, T. and Ringwood, A. E., 1987, Phase transformations in a harzburgite composition to 26 GPa, Earth Planet. Sci. Lett., 86, pp. 365–376.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  56. Jeanloz, R., 1981, Majorite, J. Geophys. Res., 86, pp. 6171–6179.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  57. Jeanloz, R., and Thompson, A. B., 1983, Phase transitions and mantle discontinuities, Rev. Geophys., 21, 51–74.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  58. Jeffreys, H., 1936, The structure of the Earth down to the 20° discontinuity, Monthly Notices Roy. Astro. Soc. Geophys. Supp., 3, pp. 401–422.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  59. Julian, B. R., and Anderson, Don L., 1968, Travel times, apparent velocities and amplitudes of body waves: Seismo. Soc. America Bull., 58, no. 1, pp. 339–366.Google Scholar
  60. Karoto, S., 1989, Plasticity-crystal structure systematics in dense oxides, Phy. Earth Planet Int., 55, pp. 234–240.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  61. Katsura, T. and Ito, E., 1989, The system Mg2Si04-Fe2Si04 at high pressure and temperatures, J. Geophys. Res., 94, pp. 15,663–15,670.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  62. Kim, Y.-H., Ming, L. C., and Manghnani, M. H., 1989, A study of phase transformation in Hedenbergite to 40 GPa ~ 1200°C, Phys. Chem. Minerals, no. 16, pp. 757–762.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  63. Lees, A., Bukowinski, M. S. T., and Jeanloz, R., 1983, Reflection properties of phase transition and composition change models of the 670 km discontinuity, J. Geophys. Res., 88, pp. 8145–8159.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  64. Liebermann, R. C., Jackson, I., and Ringwood, A. E., 1977, Elasticity and phase equilibria of spinel disproportionation reactions, Geophys. J. R. Astro. Soc., 50, pp. 553–586.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  65. Madon, M., Castex, J. and Peyronneau, J., 1989, A new alumnocalcic high-pressure phase as a possible host of calcium and aluminum in the lower mantle. Nature (London), v. 342, pp. 423–425.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  66. Meijering, J. L. and Rooymans, C. J. M., 1958, On the olivine-spinel transition in the Earth’s mantle, Koninkl. Ned. Akad. Wetenschap. Proc. Ser. B61, pp. 333–344.Google Scholar
  67. Morgan, W. J., 1971, Convective plumes in the lower mantle, Nature, 230, pp. 42–43.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  68. Nakanishi, I., and Anderson, Don L., 1984, Measurements of mantle wave velocities and inversion for lateral heterogeneity and anistropy-II.Analysis by the single-station method: Geophys. J. R. astr. Soc., v. 78, pp. 573–617.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  69. Nataf, H-C., Nakanishi, I., and Anderson, Don L., 1986, Measurements of mantle wave velocities and inversion for lateral heterogeneities and anistropy, Part III: Inversion, Jour. Geophys. Res., v. 91, no. B7, pp. 7261–7307.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  70. Navrotsky, A., 1980, Lower mantle phase transitions may generally have negative pressure-temperature slopes, Geophys. Res. Lett., 7, pp. 709–711.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  71. Niazi, M., and Anderson, Don L., 1965, Upper mantle structure of western North America from apparent velocities of P waves: Jour. Geophys. Res., v. 70, no. 18, pp. 4633–4640CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  72. Richards, M. and Hager, B., 1988, The Earth’s geoid and the large scale structure of mantle convection in S.K. Runcorn (ed.) The Physics of Planets, John Wiley and Sons, Ltd. pp. 247–272.Google Scholar
  73. Ringwood, A.E., 1958, The constitution of the mantle, Geoch. et Cosmoch. Acta, no. 15, pp. 18–29.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  74. Ringwood, A. E., 1969, Phase transformations in the mantle, Earth Planet. Sci. Lett., 5, pp. 401–412.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  75. Ringwood, A. E., 1975, Composition and petrology of the Earth’s mantle, McGraw-Hill, New York, NY 618 p.Google Scholar
  76. Ringwood, A. E., 1982, Phase transformations and differentiation in subducted lithosphere-implications for mantle dynamics, basalt petrogenesis and crustal evolution: J. Geol., v. 90, pp. 611–643.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  77. Ringwood, A. E., 1990, Slab-mantle interactions, Chem.-Geol., v. 82, pp. 187–207.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  78. Ringwood, A. E. and Major, A., 1970, The system Mg2SiO4 -Fe2SiO4 at high pressure and temperature, Phys. Earth Planet. Int., 3, pp. 89–108.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  79. Ruff, L. J., and Anderson, Don L., 1980, Core formation, evolution, and convection: A geophysical model: Phys. Earth and Planet Inter., v. 21, pp. 181–201.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  80. Schubert, G., Yuen, D., and Turcotte, D., 1975, Role of phase transitions in a dynamic mantle, Geophys. J. R. astro. Soc, 42, pp. 705–735.Google Scholar
  81. Wasserburg, G. J., and DePaolo, D. J., 1979, Models of Earth structure inferred from Nd and Sr isotopic abundances, Proc. Nat. Acad. Sci., U.S.A. 76, pp. 3594–3598.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  82. Weidner, D. J., 1986, Mantle model based on measured physical properites of minerals, in Chemistry and Physics of the Terrestrial Planets, ed. S. K. Saxena, pp. 251–274, Springer=Verlag, NY 1986.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  83. Weidner, D. J., Sawamoto, H., and Sasaki, S., 1984, Single-crystal elastic properties of the spinel phase of Mg2Si04, J. Geophys. Res., 89, pp. 7852–7859.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  84. Whitcomb, J. H., and Anderson, Don L., 1970, Reflections of P’P’ seismic waves from discontinuities in the mantle: Jour. Geophys. Research, v. 75, no. 29, pp. 5713–5728.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  85. Zhou, H-W., and Anderson, Don L., 1989, Search for deep slabs in the Northwest Pacific mantle, Proc. of the N.A.S., U.S.A., 86, pp. 8602–8608.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  86. Zhou, H-W, Anderson, Don L., and Clayton, R.W., 1990, Modeling of residual spheres for subduction zone earthquakes. I. Apparent slab penetration signatures in the NW Pacific caused by deep diffuse mantle anomalies, J. Geophys. Res., 95, pp. 6799–6827.CrossRefGoogle Scholar

Copyright information

© Springer Science+Business Media Dordrecht 1991

Authors and Affiliations

  • Don L. Anderson
    • 1
  1. 1.Seismological LaboratoryCalifornia Institute of TechnologyPasadenaUSA

Personalised recommendations