Constraining composition and temperature variations in the mantle transition zone. Academic Article uri icon


  • The mantle transition zone connects two major layers of Earth's interior that may be compositionally distinct: the upper mantle and the lower mantle. Wadsleyite is a major mineral in the upper mantle transition zone. Here, we measure the single-crystal elastic properties of hydrous Fe-bearing wadsleyite at high pressure-temperature conditions by Brillouin spectroscopy. Our results are then used to model the global distribution of wadsleyite proportion, temperature, and water content in the upper mantle transition zone by integrating mineral physics data with global seismic observations. Our models show that the upper mantle transition zone near subducted slabs is relatively cold, enriched in wadsleyite, and slightly more hydrated compared to regions where plumes are expected. This study provides direct evidence for the thermochemical heterogeneities in the upper mantle transition zone which is important for understanding the material exchange processes between the upper and lower mantle.

published proceedings

  • Nat Commun

altmetric score

  • 7

author list (cited authors)

  • Zhou, W., Hao, M., Zhang, J. S., Chen, B., Wang, R., & Schmandt, B.

citation count

  • 5

complete list of authors

  • Zhou, Wen-Yi||Hao, Ming||Zhang, Jin S||Chen, Bin||Wang, Ruijia||Schmandt, Brandon

publication date

  • January 2022