Research ArticleGEOPHYSICS

Satellite tidal magnetic signals constrain oceanic lithosphere-asthenosphere boundary

Science Advances  30 Sep 2016:
Vol. 2, no. 9, e1600798
DOI: 10.1126/sciadv.1600798

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The tidal flow of electrically conductive oceans through the geomagnetic field results in the generation of secondary magnetic signals, which provide information on the subsurface structure. Data from the new generation of satellites were shown to contain magnetic signals due to tidal flow; however, there are no reports that these signals have been used to infer subsurface structure. We use satellite-detected tidal magnetic fields to image the global electrical structure of the oceanic lithosphere and upper mantle down to a depth of about 250 km. The model derived from more than 12 years of satellite data reveals a ≈72-km-thick upper resistive layer followed by a sharp increase in electrical conductivity likely associated with the lithosphere-asthenosphere boundary, which separates colder rigid oceanic plates from the ductile and hotter asthenosphere.

  • Oceans
  • tidal flow
  • magnetic signals
  • lithosphere-asthenospere
  • satellite

This is an open-access article distributed under the terms of the Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial license, which permits use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, so long as the resultant use is not for commercial advantage and provided the original work is properly cited.

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