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The Pacific and African Deep-Mantle Anomalies are not Superplumes Bruce R. Julian Dept. of Earth Sciences University of Durham Durham, U.K.

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Presentation on theme: "The Pacific and African Deep-Mantle Anomalies are not Superplumes Bruce R. Julian Dept. of Earth Sciences University of Durham Durham, U.K."— Presentation transcript:

1 The Pacific and African Deep-Mantle Anomalies are not Superplumes Bruce R. Julian Dept. of Earth Sciences University of Durham Durham, U.K.

2 Large Low Shear-Velocity Provinces (LLSVPs of Lay, 2005) First deep-mantle features reliably resolved by seismic tomography “commonly referred to as superplumes” (Romanowicz & Gung, 2002) Suggested source of plumes & flood basalts (e.g. Torsvik et al., 2006) Della Mora et al., 2011

3 Large Low Shear-Velocity Provinces (LLSVPs of Lay, 2005) Anomaly much weaker for V P than for V S. Della Mora et al., 2011

4 Seismic-Wave Speeds

5 V S & V φ anomalies have opposite signs! Trampert et al., 2004

6 Density anomaly is positive! Trampert et al., 2004

7 Anomalies are chemical, not thermal Trampert et al., 2004

8 Is there some kind of error? Anelasticity can make V S more sensitive to temperature, perhaps make chemical variation unnecessary. Effect is quantitatively inadequate (Brodholt et al., 2007). Can’t explain V P, let alone V φ.

9 Is there some kind of error (cont.)? Is the resolution of seismic tomography adequate? Yes (Della Mora et al., 2011).

10 Is there some kind of error (cont.)? Is the resolution of seismic tomography adequate? Yes (Della Mora et al., 2011). Bottom line: No, there isn’t an error. The “superplumes” are not hot.

11 Large Igneous Provinces (LIPs) Torsvik et al., 2006

12 LIP/LLSVP Correlation? Torsvik et al., 2006

13 Hotspot/LLSVP Correlation? Torsvik et al., 2006

14 The “Hindsight Heresy” Constructing a hypothesis after looking at a data set, then using the same data set to test the hypothesis.

15 An Example From U.S. History Thomas Jefferson and John Adams died on the same day: July 4, (P < 3 X ) That was the 50 th anniversary of the U.S. Declaration of Independence, which they co-wrote. (P < ) Exactly 5 years later, on July 4, 1831, James Monroe (U.S. Founding Father) died. (P < ) Joint Probability < 3 X

16 Another Example Abraham Lincoln’s secretary was named Kennedy. (P = ) John F. Kennedy’s secretary was named Lincoln. (P < ) Joint Probability < 8 X 10 -8

17 Inadvertent Selection? Which LIPs/plumes to include? Many catalogs, of widely differing sizes, exist. A new one was generated. Which tomographic model? Three models were averaged, with differing weights. The definition of “margin” was a variable. Geometry: within anomalies?, outside anomalies?, near anomaly margins?, … Excluding worst-fit LIPs (e.g. Siberian Traps) from statistics(!).

18 Large Igneous Provinces (LIPs) Torsvik et al., 2006

19 Systematic Errors? Age of crust: Sandwell et al., 2005

20 Conclusions The LLSVPs are dense, not buoyant. They cannot be solely thermal effects. They appear to be primarily chemical effects. Correlation with LIPs or hot spots is probably not real, but a case of the hindsight heresy and/or an artifact of systematic influences such as the age of the crust.

21 THE END


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