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Journal Articles Geophysical Journal International Year : 2014

Seismic waveform inversion for core-mantle boundary topography


The topography of the core–mantle boundary (CMB) is directly linked to the dynamics of both the mantle and the outer core, although it is poorly constrained and understood. Recent studies have produced topography models with mutual agreement up to degree 2. A broad-band waveform inversion strategy is introduced and applied here, with relatively low computational cost and based on a first-order Born approximation. Its performance is validated using synthetic waveforms calculated in theoretical earth models that include different topography patterns with varying lateral wavelengths, from 600 to 2500 km, and magnitudes (∼10 km peak-to-peak). The source–receiver geometry focuses mainly on the Pdiff, PKP, PcP and ScS phases. The results show that PKP branches, PcP and ScS generally perform well and in a similar fashion, while Pdiff yields unsatisfactory results. We investigate also how 3-D mantle correction influences the output models, and find that despite the disturbance introduced, the models recovered do not appear to be biased, provided that the 3-D model is correct. Using cross-correlated traveltimes, we derive new topography models from both P and S waves. The static corrections used to remove the mantle effect are likely to affect the inversion, compromising the agreement between models derived from P and S data. By modelling traveltime residuals starting from sensitivity kernels, we show how the simultaneous use of volumetric and boundary kernels can reduce the bias coming from mantle structures. The joint inversion approach should be the only reliable method to invert for CMB topography using absolute cross-correlation traveltimes.


Earth Sciences

Dates and versions

hal-01392382 , version 1 (04-11-2016)



Andrea Colombi, Tarje Nissen-Meyer, Lapo Boschi, Domenico Giardini. Seismic waveform inversion for core-mantle boundary topography. Geophysical Journal International, 2014, 198 (1), pp.55-71. ⟨10.1093/gji/ggu112⟩. ⟨hal-01392382⟩
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