Mantle transition zone variations beneath the Ethiopian Rift and Afar: Chemical heterogeneity within a hot mantle?

D.G. Cornwell (Corresponding Author), G. Hetényi, T.D. Blanchard

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The mantle transition zone (MTZ) structure beneath the Ethiopian Rift and Afar is mapped using receiver functions. The 410 discontinuity is flat and regionally depressed by 30-40 km, most likely due to a hot (=+250 °C) and slow (average dV > 3 %) upper mantle. The 660 discontinuity is shown to have variations in depth (665-705 km) over short length scales (260 km) indicate possible compositional/chemical heterogeneities and elevated ambient temperatures near the base of the MTZ. These observations provide evidence for a link between the low velocity anomalies of the Ethiopian upper mantle and the African Superplume in the lower mantle.
Original languageEnglish
JournalGeophysical Research Letters
Issue number16
Publication statusPublished - Aug 2011



  • Ethiopia
  • mantle
  • rift
  • transition

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