Implications of a non-adiabatic density gradient for the Earth's viscoelastic response to surface loading

M. Nakada

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8 Citations (Scopus)


The response of a viscoelastic Earth to the melting of the Late Pleistocene ice sheets has been the subject of a number of investigations employing PREM. In PREM, a non-adiabatic density gradient (NADG) exists in the upper mantle, and to understand the implications of this model it is thus important to examine the effects of this NADG on the Earth's response to surface loads. This paper is based on the assumption that the contribution to the depth dependence of the density that is not due to self-compression is due to compositional change. This contribution is referred to as 'non-adiabatic'. We evaluate the effects of a non-adiabatic density jump (NADJ) for the 670 km discontinuity and the NADG in the upper mantle by adopting a compressible earth model with both a compositional density gradient and a density jump. Numerical calculations based on these models indicate that the magnitude of the Earth's response associated with the NADG is much smaller than that associated with the NADJ at 670 km depth. It is also confirmed that the higher modes associated with the NADJ and the NADG are much more sensitive to the existence of an elastic lithosphere than the fundamental modes associated with the density jumps at the surface and core-mantle boundary.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)663-674
Number of pages12
JournalGeophysical Journal International
Issue number3
Publication statusPublished - 1999

All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

  • Geophysics
  • Geochemistry and Petrology


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