Using over 310,000 high-quality radial receiver functions recorded by the USArray and other seismic stations in the contiguous United States, the depths of the 410 km and 660 km discontinuities (d410 and d660) are mapped in over 1,000 consecutive overlapping circles with a radius of 1⁰. The average mantle transition zone (MTZ) thickness for both the western and central/eastern U.S. is within 3 km from the global average of 250 km, suggesting an overall normal MTZ temperature beneath both areas. The Pacific Coast Ranges and the southern Basin and Range Province are underlain by a depressed d410, indicating higher-than-normal temperature in the upper MTZ. The proposed Yellowstone and Raton hot spots are not associated with clear undulations of the MTZ discontinuities, but d410 beneath another proposed hot spot, Bermuda, is depressed significantly and d660 has a normal depth. Low-temperature regions are found in the upper MTZ associated with the subducted Juan de Fuca slab beneath the northern Rocky Mountains and in two circular areas beneath the northern Basin and Range Province and the southern Colorado Plateau. Part of the Great Plains is characterized by a depressed d660. This observation, when combined with results from seismic tomography, suggests the existence of a cold region in the lower MTZ, probably associated with subducted Farallon slab segments.


Geosciences and Geological and Petroleum Engineering

Research Center/Lab(s)

Center for High Performance Computing Research

Keywords and Phrases

Hot Spot; Low Temperature; Mantle Discontinuity; Mantle Structure; Seismic Tomography; Seismology; Slab; Transition Zone; Basin and Range Province; Bermuda; Coast Ranges; Colorado Plateau; Great Plains; Pacific Coast [North America]; United States

International Standard Serial Number (ISSN)


Document Type

Article - Journal

Document Version

Final Version

File Type





© 2014 John Wiley & Sons Ltd, All rights reserved.

Publication Date

01 Aug 2014