Constraints on lithospheric mantle and crustal anisotropy in the NoMelt area from an analysis of long-period seafloor magnetotelluric data Academic Article uri icon


  • Despite strong anisotropy seen in analysis of seismic data from the NoMelt experiment in 70 Ma Pacific seafloor, a previous analysis of coincident magnetotelluric (MT) data showed no evidence for anisotropy in the electrical conductivity structure of either lithosphere or asthenosphere. We revisit the MT data and use 1D anisotropic models of the lithosphere to demonstrate the limits of acceptable anisotropy within the data. We construct 1D models by varying the thickness and the degree of anisotropy within the lithosphere and conduct a series of tests to investigate what types of electrical anisotropy are compatible with the data. We find that electrical anisotropy is possible in a sheared and/or hydrous mantle within the lower lithosphere (60–90 km depth). The data are not compatible with pervasive electrical anisotropy in the crust. Causes of anisotropy within the highly resistive upper and mid-lithosphere, as seen seismically, are not expected to cause measurable impacts on MT response.

publication date

  • December 2017