Intermittent and lateral varying ULVZ structure at the northeastern margin of the Pacific LLSVP

Chunpeng Zhao, Edward Garnero, Mingming Li, Allen McNamara, Shule Yu

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

23 Scopus citations


Thin patches with ultralow velocities have been proposed to exist at the core-mantle boundary (CMB). The detection and mapping of ultralow velocity zones (ULVZs) are difficult, in part, because of limited source-receiver geometries of seismic phases used in ULVZ modeling. Here we develop a new approach that simultaneously utilizes ScS precursor and postcursor energies to investigate the CMB region for ULVZ structure. We stacked source-deconvolved ScS waveforms within 1.5° geographic bins to extract ScS precursor and postcursor energies, if present, with ScS effectively removed from waveforms. We investigate the CMB beneath the central Pacific Ocean, and evidence for ULVZs is clearly apparent. Geographic bin stacks possessing similar ScS precursor-plus-postcursor behavior are grouped by using cluster analysis to produce more robust waveforms by enhancing the signal-to-noise ratios. Synthetic seismograms that demonstrate the amplitude and timing of the ULVZ arrivals are sensitive to ULVZ thickness and internal velocities. To pursue local ULVZ properties we processed 13,850 1-D synthetic models with various ULVZ thicknesses and internal properties, using the identical ScS-stripping method as with the data. A best fitting model was found for each geographical bin cluster by using an amplitude-sensitive cross-correlation algorithm. While limitations exist due to 1-D modeling, strong lateral variations are clearly apparent in ULVZ thickness and properties across the large low shear velocity province (LLSVP) margin in our study area. Inside hypothesized LLSVP edges, ULVZs appear to distribute unevenly, suggesting 3-D variations of convection currents.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)1198-1220
Number of pages23
JournalJournal of Geophysical Research: Solid Earth
Issue number2
StatePublished - Feb 1 2017


  • ScS
  • ULVZ
  • core-mantle boundary
  • seismology

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Geophysics
  • Geochemistry and Petrology
  • Earth and Planetary Sciences (miscellaneous)
  • Space and Planetary Science


Dive into the research topics of 'Intermittent and lateral varying ULVZ structure at the northeastern margin of the Pacific LLSVP'. Together they form a unique fingerprint.

Cite this