Upper mantle seismic structure in the Ordos Block, China

S. H. Huang, H. Thybo*, S. W. Dong, I. M. Artemieva, R. Z. He, B. F. Han, Q. Zhou, W. Shi

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

1 Citation (Scopus)


The Ordos Block in the western part of the North China Craton is enigmatic in having contrasting topographic structure in the northern and southern parts, while previous geophysical studies show little difference in crustal and upper mantle structure across the region. Here we present a new model of upper mantle structure in the Ordos Block region in order to test the importance of mantle heterogeneity for topographic differences. Our model is based on P- and S-wave seismic receiver functions calculated for data from 171 stations. It documents the presence of an uppermost mantle low-velocity zone between the Mid Lithospheric Discontinuity (MLD) and the Lehmann discontinuity. Clear converters at the 410 and 660 km discontinuities show constant Mantle Transition Zone (MTZ) thickness within the Ordos Block region, which indicates that no deep mantle thermal anomaly affects its present dynamics. However, the amplitude of the MTZ-converters is higher in the southern than the northern Ordos Block. In contrast, the conversions from MLD and the Lehmann discontinuity are strongest in Northern Ordos, which we interpret as a block with essentially preserved cratonic lithospheric mantle. We speculate that smaller amplitudes of the MLD and Lehmann converters in Southern than Northern Ordos may be related to either rheological weakening of cratonic lithosphere during the Mesozoic convergence between the North and South (Yangtze) China Cratons, or northeast extrusion of Tibetan lower crust and upper mantle in the Cenozoic caused by the India-Asia collision.

Original languageEnglish
Article number101921
JournalJournal of Geodynamics
Publication statusPublished - May 2022

Bibliographical note

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© 2022 Elsevier Ltd


  • Lehmann discontinuity
  • Mantle transition zone
  • Mid-lithospheric discontinuity
  • Ordos Block
  • Receiver functions
  • Upper mantle structure


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