Project Information
Thermal and Compositional Structure of Antarctica from Probabilistic Joint Inversion of Seismic, Gravity, and Topography Data and Petrological Modelling
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The thermochemical structure of the lithosphere beneath Antarctica is fundamental for understanding the geological evolution of the continent and its relationship to surrounding Gondwana continents. In addition, the thermal structure controls the solid earth response to glacial unloading, with important implications for ice sheet models and the future of the West Antarctic Ice Sheet. However, it is challenging to get an accurate picture of temperature and composition from only sparse petrological/geochemical analysis, and most previous attempts to solve this problem geophysically have relied on seismic or gravity data alone. Here, we propose to use a probabilistic joint inversion (high resolution regional seismic data, satellite gravity data, topography) and petrological modelling approach to determine the 3D thermochemical structure of the mantle. The inversion will be carried out using a Markov-chain Bayesian Monte Carlo methodology, providing quantitative estimates of uncertainties. Mapping the 3-D thermochemical structure (thermal and composition) will provide a comprehensive view of the horizontal (50-100 km resolution) and vertical (from the surface down to 380 km) variations. This new model will give us the temperature variation from the surface down to 380 km and the degree of depletion of the lithospheric mantle and the sub-lithospheric mantle. This new model will also be compared to recent models of Gondwana terranes 200 Myrs to build a new model of the thermochemical evolution of the cratonic mantle. The new thermal and chemical structures can be used to better understand the geothermal heat flux beneath the ice sheet as well as improve glacial isostatic adjustment and ice sheet models.
Person Role
Ben-Mansour, Walid Investigator and contact
Wiens, Douglas Co-Investigator
Antarctic Earth Sciences Award # 2203487
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