Abstract

We constrain D″ anisotropy beneath the North American continent and northeastern Pacific using two approaches: (1) joint splitting analysis of SKS and SKKS phase pair for a common event, in which we obtain 158 pairs exhibiting discrepant splitting results and 791 pairs nondiscrepant splitting results; and (2) group splitting analysis of SKS (or SKKS) phase from neighboring events recorded at a common station, in which we observe 109 2°×2° grids with consistent splitting parameters, and 164 grids with abrupt changes from splitting to no splitting within 30–100 km. The seismic data from both analyses indicate that small‐scale variations of D″ anisotropy are widespread beneath the studied regions, with a lateral scale up to tens of kilometers. For portion of the data recorded at the stations of simple upper‐mantle anisotropy, we correct for the effects of upper‐mantle anisotropy and obtain the splitting parameters of D″ anisotropy. The inferred D″ anisotropy exhibits a changing geographic pattern and lateral transition of anisotropy to a lateral scale of tens of kilometers. Such a length scale of changing anisotropy is also confirmed by synthetics modeling of the seismic data. We suggest that the inferred small‐scale anisotropies could be best explained by the shape preferred orientation of widespread small‐scale partial melt pockets derived by a composition change produced early in the Earth’s history, a similar compositional origin that was invoked to explain the African anomaly in the lower mantle.

You do not currently have access to this article.