EGU2020-7491, updated on 08 Jan 2024
EGU General Assembly 2020
© Author(s) 2024. This work is distributed under
the Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 License.

Probing mantle plumes using seismic arrays

Laura Cobden1, Michael Afanasiev2, Frederic Deschamps3, Fabienne Stockmann4, Christine Thomas4, Sebastian Rost5, and Andreas Fichtner2
Laura Cobden et al.
  • 1Department of Earth Sciences, Utrecht University, Utrecht, Netherlands (
  • 2Department of Earth Sciences, ETH Zurich, Zurich, Switzerland
  • 3Institute of Earth Sciences, Academia Sinica, Taipei, Taiwan
  • 4Institut fur Geophyskik, University of Muenster, Muenster, Germany
  • 5School of Earth and Environment, University of Leeds, Leeds, UK

Elucidating the role of deep mantle plumes in mantle convection is challenging because their influence on seismic waveforms – which could be used to map their location – is subtle. Previous seismic studies have mainly focused on waveform modelling and inversion (i.e. tomography). In this study we instead consider the potential visibility of mantle plumes using array methods. We investigate, in particular, how plumes deviate seismic energy from the great-circle path. This requires a multidisciplinary approach: first, we perform geodynamic modelling to generate thermochemical plumes, and convert them to “seismic” plumes via thermodynamic modelling of mineral physics data. Next, spectral element methods are used to model the interaction of seismic waves with the plumes and generate synthetic seismograms. These seismograms are divided into arrays and we generate slowness-backazimuth plots for each array. With recent advances in computational methods and resources, we investigate wave behaviour at previously unattainable frequencies.  We find that plumes do indeed cause seismic waves to change direction, although the exact behaviour may be frequency-dependent, and at low frequencies we observe waves apparently bending around the plume conduit.  We consider how and where these results may be applied to real seismic arrays, to provide new constraints on the location and structure of mantle plumes.

How to cite: Cobden, L., Afanasiev, M., Deschamps, F., Stockmann, F., Thomas, C., Rost, S., and Fichtner, A.: Probing mantle plumes using seismic arrays, EGU General Assembly 2020, Online, 4–8 May 2020, EGU2020-7491,, 2020.

This abstract will not be presented.