New insights into the P- and S-wave velocity structure of the D″ discontinuity beneath the Cocos plate

Tadashi Kito, Sebastian Rost, Christine Thomas, Edward Garnero

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

37 Scopus citations


Broad-band P- and S-waves from earthquakes in South America recorded at Californian network stations are analysed to image lateral variations of the D″-discontinuity beneath the Cocos plate. We apply two array processing methods to the data set: a simplified migration method to the P-wave data set and a double-array method to both the P- and S-wave data sets, allowing us to compare results from the two methods. The double-array method images a dipping reflector at a depth range from 2650 to 2700 km in the southern part of the study area. We observe a step-like topography of 100 km to a shallower reflector at about 2600 km depth to the north, as well as evidence for a second (deeper) reflector at a depth range from 2700 to 2750 km in the north. Results from the simplified migration agree well with those from the double-array method, similarly locating a large step in reflector depth in a similar location (about 2650 km depth in the south and about 2550 km in the north) as well as the additional deeper reflector at the depth of about 2750 km in the north. Waveform modelling of the reflected waves from both methods suggests a positive velocity contrast for S waves, but a negative velocity contrast for P waves for the upper reflector in agreement with predictions from mineral physical calculations for a post-perovskite phase transition. The data also show some evidence for the existence of another deeper reflector that could indicate a double intersection of the geotherm with the post-perovskite stability field, that is, the back-transformation of post-perovskite to perovskite close to the core-mantle boundary.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)631-645
Number of pages15
JournalGeophysical Journal International
Issue number2
StatePublished - May 2007


  • D″ discontinuity
  • Seismic array

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Geophysics
  • Geochemistry and Petrology


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