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

    Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

    33 Citations (Scopus)

    Abstract

    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
    Volume15
    Issue number3-4
    DOIs
    Publication statusPublished - Jun 1 2009

    Keywords

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

    ASJC Scopus subject areas

    • Geology

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