Distinguished Speaker Cornelia Class Opens a "Window to the Core-Mantle Boundary"

  • Oct 30, 2017

Dr. Cornelia Class of the Lamont-Doherty Earth Observatory at Columbia University is our distinguished speaker this week. Her talk is titled "South Atlantic Islands and Seamounts - A Window to the Core-Mantle Boundary"

Understanding the longterm geodynamic evolution of the Earth’s mantle requires sampling of the mantle through time which, however, is limited by the inaccessibility of the solid interior of our planet. Mantle plumes are hot upwellings that leave trails of islands and seamounts on the moving tectonic plates and provide our best window into the deep mantle through time. Particularly, mantle plumes that align with the projected edges of the large low shear wave velocity provinces (LLSVPs), have a clear link to the lower mantle. The South Atlantic is a favorable area to study the core-mantle boundary with four closely spaced hotspots that aligned with the edge of the African LLSVP. The Walvis Ridge is a seamount trail linked to the Tristan-Gough mantle plume that once formed the vast flood basalt province of the Parana-Etendeka when South America and Africa were still co-junct. The detailed sampling of the volcanic rocks of this seamount province together with other South Atlantic seamounts gives new insights into the dynamic sampling of the mantle near the core-mantle boundary and possible contributions from the LLSVP, questions that represent current frontiers in mantle geodynamics research.

Join us for this "window" in to core-mantle research on Friday November 3, 2017 at 12:30 PM in Room 204, Natual Science building on the East Lansing Campus.