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THE STANDARD EARTH MODEL AND SEISMOLOGICAL EVIDENCE OF DISTINCT LAYERS.(BY BADA PASCAL)

STRUCTURE OF THE INTERIOR OF THE EARTH.

The earth’s interior lies just below us, yet its accessibility to direct observation is limited.

Most of our knowledge of the earth results from the study of P and S waves that travel through the earth and emerge at some distant point. To understand this we need to accurately measure the time travelled by these waves.

Before any seismic wave recorded at a seismograph station can be meaningfully analyzed, it is essential to first have a working model of the Earth's interior through which the waves travel.

PRINCIPAL SUBDIVISIONS OF THE SOLID EARTH.

For seismological purposes, the solid earth can conveniently be assumed to be constituted of:

Crust,

Mantle

Core

purposes, the solid earth can conveniently be assumed to be constituted of:  Crust,  Mantle

Two major boundaries are defined by this model.

Mantle-crust Boundary

Core-mantle boundary

These two boundaries are:

Distinct discontinuities in seismic-wave velocities

Efficient Reflectors/Refractors of the Incident Seismic Energy.

THE CRUST

Is a very tin outer layer. The average thickness of the crust varies:

25 to 40 km below the continents.

60 to 70 km under high mountains.

5 km Under the deep ocean

The mantle-crust boundary: this boundary is named as the Mohorovicic discontinuity (M or Moho) and it separates rocks at the base of the crust with compressional-wave velocities of about 6.5 km/s, from the underlying mantle rocks where compressional-wave velocities are about 8 km/s

THE MANTLE

Mantle extends from Moho to the core-mantle boundary at 2900 km depth and is essentially solid and to a large extent radially homogeneous. Compressional, P-wave velocity is 8 km/s just beneath the Moho while compressional, P-wave velocity is 13.7 km/s at the core-mantle boundary.

The mantle may be subdivided into;

Upper mantle and the

Lower mantle.

The upper mantle extends to a depth of about 700 km, where the velocity gradient suddenly

decreases, and contains several discontinuities.

THE MAJOR MANTLE DISCONTINUITIES The major mantle discontinuities are set at:  410 km depth

THE MAJOR MANTLE DISCONTINUITIES

The major mantle discontinuities are set at:

410 km depth

660 km depth

are set at:  410 km depth  660 km depth These discontinuities all are; Less

These discontinuities all are; Less precisely determined than the Moho and are treated like transition zones of thickness. It is assumed that within the transition zones the velocity increases with depth more rapidly than in the surrounding layers.

LOW VELOCITY LAYERS.

One of the important features of the upper mantle is the world-wide existence of a low-velocity layer (LVL) between about 100 and 250 km below the surface. Within these L VL;

The rocks are partially molten

The rigidity is low

The attenuation is the largest of the whole mantle.

Seismic wave velocities fall by about 6% when compared with the velocity just under the Moho.

This low velocity associated with the low strength could allow the observed movement of lithospheric plates.

could allow the observed movement of lithospheric plates. THE LOWER MANTLE . The lower mantle extends

THE LOWER MANTLE.

The lower mantle extends from about 700 km depth to the core-mantle boundary at 2900 km depth, first recognized by R.D. Oldham in 1906 and accurately located by B. Gutenberg in 1913.

Seismic velocities in the lower mantle increase gradually with increasing depth although at a significantly lower rate than in the upper mantle. There are no distinct reflectors/refractors in the lower mantle.

THE CORE. The core of the Earth has radius of 3500 km. The core-mantle boundary

THE CORE.

The core of the Earth has radius of 3500 km. The core-mantle boundary represents a sharp thin discontinuity. At the core-mantle boundary there is a precipitous fall of the P-wave velocity from 13.7 to 8.1 km/s also there is a cessation of shear waves in the core in spite of great observational efforts that are made, no shear waves that have traveled through the core have yet been identified on seismograms.

It is generally accepted that shear waves cease to exist at this depth due to the fluid character of the core.

The core is further divided into an outer and inner core based on seismic study

In relation to seismic waves:

The outer core acts as a liquid and

The inner core acts as a solid.

And a sharp discontinuity in the compressional-wave velocity exists at the bottom of the outer core. This compressional-wave velocity in the inner core is significantly higher than that in the surrounding.

SIESMOLOGICAL EVIDENCE FOR A DISTINCT CORE OF THE EARTH.

The most direct evidence is the observation of earthquake waves called PcP waves recorded at stations not too distant from the seismic source. The time of travel of these waves indicates that

they have propagated almost vertically downward in the earth and have been reflected back to the recording station from a rather sharp discontinuity at a depth of about 2,900 km.

S waves reflected from the core boundary, called ScS, are also observed

from the core boundary, called ScS, are also observed EVIDENCE THAT THE OUTER CORE IS LIQUID

EVIDENCE THAT THE OUTER CORE IS LIQUID

The most direct evidence of solid rocks in the earth's interior is the observation of seismic S- waves that have passed through them, because these waves cannot propagate in a liquid.

S waves are seen at all distances through the mantle of the earth, from angular distances of 0° to distances of at least 100°.

In contrast, seismologists have never been able to detect S waves that have passed through material deeper than the mantle-core boundary. This result give support to the inference of a liquid core.

More direct evidence for a liquid outer core is found from the tidal response of the earth as a whole and from the free oscillations of the earth.

EVIDENCE FOR THE INNER CORE OF THE EARTH.

Just as with the PcP reflections from the outer core, seismograms show that certain P waves must be reflected from some object deep within the core with a diameter about that of the moon. These reflections, called PKiKP, may be tracked back from 140° to within 10° of the earthquake epicenter.

The evidence for a solid inner core is based on two main arguments;

First, P waves that have passed through the inner core have a greater velocity within it than within the liquid outer core. This greater velocity can best be accounted for by assuming that the material of the inner core is rigid.

The second argument comes from matching observed periods of free oscillations of the earth with theoretical periods calculated from assumed models of the earth. These

matches are

incorporated in the model.

closest when a liquid outer core and a solid inner core are

EVIDENCE FOR FINE STRUCTURE NEAR THE TOP OF THE EARTH'S MANTLE

Evidence for a small but sharp change of properties at depths of about 400 km and 650 km has accumulated over the years. Waves that traveled from one side of the earth through the earth's core and have been reflected back at these structural changes before reaching the surface at the other side of the earth have been detected. Some evidence showed waves have reflected from the underside of these boundaries as PdP. Finally, these have been recorded at stations as they travel upward again from the interior.

of these boundaries as PdP. Finally, these have been recorded at stations as they travel upward