A speculation on the structure of the D″ layer: The growth of anti-crust at the core-mantle boundary through the subduction history of the Earth

Tetsuya Komabayashi, Shigenori Maruyama, Shuji Rino

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32 Citations (Scopus)


The growth curve of the continental crust shows that large amounts of continental crust formed in the early part of the Earth history are missing. In order to test a hypothesis that the former crust was subducted to the deep mantle, we performed phase assemblage analysis in the systems of mid-oceanic ridge basalt (MORB), anorthosite, and tonalite-trondhjemite-granite (TTG) down to the core-mantle boundary (CMB) conditions. Results show that all these materials can be subducted to the CMB leading to the development of a compositional layering in the D″ layer. We speculate that there could be five layers of FeO-enriched melt from partial melting of MORB, MORB crust, anorthosite, TTG, and slab or mantle peridotite in ascending order. Although the polymorphic transformation of perovskite to post-perovskite in (Mg,Fe)SiO3 may explain the seismic discontinuity at the top of the D″ layer (D″ discontinuity), the effects of solid solution on the sharpness of the transformation suggest that the compositional layering is more plausible for the origin of the D″ discontinuity. The D″ layer can be an "anti-crust" made up mostly of TTG + anorthosite derived from the former continental crust. Tectonic style of the anti-crust at the CMB is similar to that at the surface. At both places, chemically distinct layers are density stratified and are also characterized by the processes of accretion, magmatism, and metasomatism.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)342-353
Number of pages12
JournalGondwana Research
Issue number3-4
Publication statusPublished - Jun 2009
Externally publishedYes



  • Anti-crust
  • Continental subduction
  • Core-mantle boundary
  • D″ layer
  • Seismic discontinuity

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Geology

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