Basaltic reservoirs in the Earth’s mantle transition zone

Benoit Tauzin*, Lauren Waszek, Maxim D. Ballmer, J.C Afonso, Thomas Bodin

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticleAcademicpeer-review

6 Citations (Scopus)
18 Downloads (Pure)


The formation and preservation of compositional heterogeneities inside the Earth affect mantle convection patterns globally and control the long-term evolution of geochemical reservoirs. However, the distribution, nature, and size of reservoirs in the Earth’s mantle are poorly constrained. Here, we invert measurements of travel times and amplitudes of seismic waves interacting with mineralogical phase transitions at 400–700-km depth to obtain global probabilistic maps of temperature and bulk composition. We find large basalt-rich pools (up to 60% basalt fraction) surrounding the Pacific Ocean, which we relate to the segregation of oceanic crust from slabs that have been subducted since the Mesozoic. Segregation of oceanic crust from initially cold and stiff slabs may be facilitated by the presence of a weak hydrated layer in the slab or by weakening upon mineralogical transition due to grain-size reduction.

Original languageEnglish
Article numbere2209399119
JournalProceedings of the National Academy of Sciences of the United States of America
Issue number48
Early online date21 Nov 2022
Publication statusPublished - 29 Nov 2022


  • mantle composition
  • mineral physics
  • seismology


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