# Characterizing the 410 km Discontinuity Low-Velocity Layer Beneath the La Ristra Array in the North American Southwest

journal contribution

posted on 12.03.2010, 00:00 by J. J. Jasbinsek, Ken Dueker, S. M. HansenReceiver functions recorded by the 54-station 920 km long Program for Array Seismic Studies of the Continental Lithosphere-Incorporated Research Institutions for Seismology Colorado Plateau/Rio Grande Rift Seismic Transect Experiment (LA RISTRA) line array display a pervasive negative polarity P to S conversion (Pds) arrival preceding the positive polarity 410 km discontinuity arrival. These arrivals are modeled as a low-velocity layer atop the 410 km discontinuity (410-LVL) and are inverted for a velocity profile via a grid search using a five-parameter linear gradient velocity model. Model parameter likelihood and correlations are assessed via calculation of one-and two-dimensional marginal posterior probability distributions. The maximum likelihood model parameter values found are top velocity gradient thickness of 0.0 km with a 4.6% (-0.22 km/s) shear velocity reduction, a 19.8 km constant velocity layer, and bottom gradient thickness of 25.0 km with a 3.5% (+0.17 km/s) shear velocity increase. The estimated mean thickness of the 410-LVL is 32.3 km. The top gradient of the 410-LVL is sharp within vertical resolution limits of P to S conversion (<10 >km), and the diffuse 410 km velocity gradient is consistent with hydration of the olivine-wadsleyite phase transformation. The 410-LVL is interpreted as a melt layer created by the Transition Zone Water Filter model. Two secondary observations are found: (1) the 410-LVL is absent from the SE end of the array and (2) an intermittent negative polarity P525s arrival is observed. We speculate that upper mantle shear velocity anomalies above the 410 km discontinuity may manifest Rayleigh-Taylor instabilities nucleated from the 410-LVL melt layer that are being shed upward on time scales of tens of millions of years.