Seafloor magnetotelluric (MT) experiments were recently conducted in two areas of the northwestern Pacific to investigate the nature of the old oceanic upper mantle. The areas are far from any tectonic activity, and “normal” mantle structure is therefore expected. The data were carefully analyzed to reduce the effects of coastlines and seafloor topographic changes, which are significant boundaries in electrical conductivity and thus distort seafloor MT data. An isotropic, one-dimensional electrical conductivity profile was estimated for each area. The profiles were compared with those obtained from two previous study areas in the northwestern Pacific. Between the four profiles, significant differences were observed in the thickness of the resistive layer beyond expectations based on cooling of homogeneous oceanic lithosphere over time. This surprising feature is now further clarified from what was suggested in a previous study. To explain the observed spatial variation, dynamic processes must be introduced, such as influence of the plume associated with the formation of the Shatsky Rise, or spatially non-uniform, small-scale convection in the asthenosphere. There is significant room of further investigation to determine a reasonable and comprehensive interpretation of the lithosphere–asthenosphere system beneath the northwestern Pacific. The present results demonstrate that electrical conductivity provides key information for such investigation.[Figure not available: see fulltext.]
Earth, Planets and Space – Springer Journals
Published: Aug 15, 2017
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