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Understanding the Iceland mantle plume: Imaging deep Earth processes with seismic waves

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Iceland sits on a mid-ocean ridge where two of the Earth’s tectonic plates are rifting apart. It is also thought to be underlain by a mantle plume – a hot convective upwelling within the convecting system of the Earth’s mantle. Many unanswered questions remain about the detailed structure of the Iceland mantle plume – what is it’s depth extent, structure and composition? And how does it effect volcanism and the formation of new crust at the surface?

Here I will present new images of seismic discontinuities beneath iceland which can be used to infer plume characteristics. Results sheds new light on to the structure of the plume from crustal to mid-mantle depths (20-1000km), and have implications for the role such upwellings have within the large-scale convecting system of the Earth’s mantle.

About the Speaker: Dr Jennifer Jenkins is a research associate at the Department of Earth Sciences in Cambridge. Her PhD research was on the deep Earth structure beneath Iceland, and she is currently investigating both this and shallower features, such as the structure of the Icelandic crust. An important part of her work involves assisting in the running and maintenance of the University of Cambridge’s large network of seismometers, which are deployed across Iceland.

(Follow @earthscicam for Twitter & @cambridgeeathsciences for Instagram)

This talk is part of the Cambridge University Physics Society series.

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