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Extraction of weak PcP phases using the slant-stacklet transform - II: constraints on lateral variations of structure near the core-mantle boundary

Abstract : Resolving the topography of the core-mantle boundary (CMB) and the structure and composition of the D region is key to improving our understanding of the interaction between the Earth's mantle and core. Observations of traveltimes and amplitudes of short-period teleseismic body waves sensitive to lowermost mantle provide essential constraints on the properties of this region. Major challenges are low signal-to-noise ratio of the target phases and interference with other mantle phases. In a previous paper (Part I), we introduced the slant-stacklet transform to enhance the signal of the core-reflected (PcP) phase and to isolate it from stronger signals in the coda of the P wave. Then we minimized a linear misfit between P and PcP waveforms to improve the quality of PcP-P traveltime difference measurements as compared to standard cross-correlation methods. This method significantly increases the quantity and the quality of PcP-P traveltime observations available for the modelling of structure near the CMB. Here we illustrate our approach in a series of regional studies of the CMB and D using PcP-P observations with unprecedented resolution from high-quality dense arrays located in North America and Japan for events with magnitude Mw>5.4 and distances up to 80°. In this process, we carefully analyse various sources of errors and show that mantle heterogeneity is the most significant. We find and correct bias due to mantle heterogeneities that is as large as 1 s in traveltime, comparable to the largest lateral PcP-P traveltime variations observed. We illustrate the importance of accurate mantle corrections and the need for higher resolution mantle models for future studies. After optimal mantle corrections, the main signal left is relatively long wavelength in the regions sampled, except at the border of the Pacific large-low shear velocity province (LLSVP). We detect the northwest border of the Pacific LLSVP in the western Pacific from array observations in Japan, and observe higher than average P velocities, or depressed CMB, in Central America, and slightly lower than average P velocities under Alaska/western Canada.
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Sergi Ventosa, Barbara Romanowicz. Extraction of weak PcP phases using the slant-stacklet transform - II: constraints on lateral variations of structure near the core-mantle boundary. Geophysical Journal International, Oxford University Press (OUP), 2015, 203, pp.1227-1245. ⟨10.1093/gji/ggv364⟩. ⟨insu-03579367⟩

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