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Analysing partial melting in the Réunion mantle plume


IPGP - Îlot Cuvier


Soutenances de thèses

Salle P07 Outremer

Thijs Franken

Dynamique des fluides géologiques (DFG)

Partial melting in the upper mantle is prevalent in areas of mantle upwelling such as rifts, mid-ocean ridges and hotspots. The presence of low shear-wave velocity zones in the shallow mantle (? 80km) are often associated with these locations, revealing velocity anomalies of ?4 to ?5% which are generally attributed to the presence of melt. However, studies on the quantity of melt responsible for the velocity reduction are divided, where experimental results from petrology, geochemical observations and geodynamical models suggest melt retention of %. In this thesis I attempt to resolve the disagreement on melt retention in the asthenosphere by combining forward modelling of melt production and seismic wave propagation to relate geodynamic condition of partial melting directly to seismic observations of the Réunion mantle plume. I developed a 1D model of melt production that approximates melt retention for a range of permeability coefficients, initial mantle temperatures and upwelling velocities through a set of modified Stokes equations assuming porous flow. 210 melting model scenarios are converted to anharmonic seismic P- and S-wave velocities using a mineral parameter database, which are embedded into the ak135 earth reference model to generate synthetic seismograms of the melting scenarios for 21 source events using the Direct Solution Method for a laterally homogeneous and spherically symmetrical Earth. I explore the effect of melt presence on the radial, transverse and vertical wave component for the P, S, Pdiff and SKS phase arrivals, band-pass filtered to upper corner frequencies of 0.05, 0.1, 0.15 and 0.2 Hz. Through an automated cross-correlation procedure I compute relative traveltime differences between the observed seismograms and the 210 synthetic model traces for each iteration of the 21 source events, 4 phase arrivals, 3 wave components, and 4 band-pass filter frequencies. I analyse 70,896 relative traveltime datapoints to reach a solution for the minimised relative traveltimes between the model traces and the seismic observations, in order to discover which melting model scenario describes the upper mantle beneath Réunion. The solution to the best-fit model scenario is non-unique, since several combinations of the permeability coefficient, temperature and upwelling velocity give the same solution. By seperately analysing the parameter distribution of the free model parameters over the minimised relative traveltime solution of the 70,896 datapoints for the different phase arrivals and wave components, two likely regimes of upper mantle conditions can be constrained that can resolve the seismic observations. These regimes indicate that mantle conditions beneath Réunion are either in the 1300?1350 °C temperature range with melt fractions of ? 1%, or in the 1400?1450 °C temperature range with melt fractions of < 0.3%. Constraints from studies on upper mantle temperature, permeability and melt transportation velocities correspond to the latter case, showing that low retention of melt in the shallow mantle beneath Réunion simultaneously satisfy seismic observations and the expected geodynamic conditions.