HyMaTZ: A Python Program for Modeling Seismic Velocities in Hydrous Regions of the Mantle Transition Zone

Fei Wang, Mitchell Barklage, Xiaoting Lou, Suzan van der Lee, Craig R. Bina, Steven D. Jacobsen

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


Mapping the spatial distribution of water in the mantle transition zone (MTZ, 410- to 660-km depth) may be approached by combining thermodynamic and experimental mineral physics data with regional studies of seismic velocity and seismic discontinuity structure. HyMaTZ (Hydrous Mantle Transition Zone) is a Python program with graphical user interface, which calculates and displays seismic velocities for different scenarios of hydration in the MTZ for comparison to global or regional seismic-velocity models. The influence of water is applied through a regression to experimental data on how H2O influences the thermoelastic properties of (Mg,Fe)2SiO4 polymorphs: olivine, wadsleyite, and ringwoodite. Adiabatic temperature profiles are internally consistent with dry phase proportion models; however, modeling hydration in HyMaTZ affects only velocities and not phase proportions or discontinuity structure. For wadsleyite, adding 1.65 wt% H2O or increasing the iron content by 7 mol% leads to roughly equivalent reductions in VS as raising the temperature by 160 K with a pyrolite model in the upper part of the MTZ. The eastern U.S. low-velocity anomaly, which has been interpreted as the result of dehydration of the Farallon slab in the top of the lower mantle, is consistent with hydration of wadsleyite to about 20% of its water storage capacity in the upper MTZ. Velocity gradients with depth in absolute shear velocity models are steeper in all seismic models than all mineralogical models, suggesting that the seismic velocity gradients should be lowered or varied with depth and/or an alternative compositional model is required.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)2308-2324
Number of pages17
JournalGeochemistry, Geophysics, Geosystems
Issue number8
StatePublished - Aug 2018


  • elasticity
  • mantle transition zone
  • olivine
  • ringwoodite
  • wadsleyite
  • water in the mantle

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Geophysics
  • Geochemistry and Petrology


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