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Upper-mantle water stratification inferred from observations of the 2012 Indian Ocean earthquake

Water, the most abundant volatile in Earth’s interior, preserves the young surface of our planet by catalysing mantle convection, lubricating plate tectonics and feeding arc volcanism. Since planetary accretion, water has been exchanged between the hydrosphere and the geosphere, but its depth distribution in the mantle remains elusive. Water drastically reduces the strength of olivine and this effect can be exploited to estimate the water content of olivine from the mechanical response of the asthenosphere to stress perturbations such as the ones following large earthquakes.
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