Mantle flow and melting beneath young oceanic lithosphere: Seismic studies of the Galápagos Archipelago and the Juan de Fuca Plate
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In this dissertation, I use seismic imaging techniques to constrain the physical state of the upper mantle beneath regions of young oceanic lithosphere. Mantle convection is investigated beneath the Galápagos Archipelago and then beneath the Juan de Fuca (JdF) plate, with a focus on the JdF and Gorda Ridges before turning to the off-axis asthenosphere. In the Galápagos Archipelago, S-to-p receiver functions reveal a discontinuity in seismic velocity that is attributed to the dehydration of the upper mantle. The depth at which dehydration occurs is shown to be consistent with prior constraints on mantle temperature. A comparison between results from receiver functions, seismic tomography and petrology shows that mantle upwelling and melt generation occur shallower than the depth of the discontinuity, despite the expectation of high viscosities in the dehydrated layer. Beneath the JdF and Gorda Ridge, low Vs anomalies are too large to be explained by the cooling of the lithosphere and are attributed to partial melt. The asymmetry, large Vs gradients, and sinuosity of the anomalies beneath the JdF Ridge are consistent with models of buoyancy-driven upwelling. However, deformation zone processes appear to dominate mantle flow over seafloor spreading beneath the Explorer and Gorda diffuse plate boundaries. Finally, S-to-p receiver functions reveal a seismic discontinuity beneath the JdF plate that can only be attributed to seismic anisotropy. Synthesis of the receiver function results with prior SKS splitting results requires heterogeneous anisotropy between the crust and the discontinuity. Models of anisotropy feature increasing anisotropy before the decrease at the discontinuity, but well below the base of the lithosphere, and a clockwise rotation of the fast direction with increasing depth. In these results and even in the SKS splitting results, additional driving mechanisms for mantle flow such as density or pressure anomalies are required.