Public Release: 

Understanding the moho and the lithosphere-asthenosphere boundaries

New special paper from The Geological Society of America

Geological Society of America


IMAGE: Cover caption: Example of deep rocks of mantle provenance that can provide important constraints on deep earth reservoirs. The rock on the left is a peridotite crosscut by pyroxenite lenses... view more 

Credit: Courtesy of Gianluca Bianchini.

Boulder, Colo., USA: Too deep to see or reach via drilling, the Moho (crust-mantle transition) remains something of a mystery more than a hundred years after its discovery. This insightful, multidisciplinary volume includes studies from Antarctica, Australia, Morocco, the eastern United States, the Canadian Cordillera, India, Ethiopia, South Africa, and Italy.

Volume editor Gianluca Bianchini (Università di Ferrara) and colleagues explain, "These studies indicate that the geophysical Moho is not a simple feature, with variations at different scale lengths that preclude a single, universally applicable interpretation. A key challenge is to unravel the structural relationship between the lower crust and underlying lithospheric mantle."

Additionally, they note, "At greater depths, the lithosphere-asthenosphere boundary (LAB) represents a first-order structural discontinuity that accommodates differential motion between the tectonic plates and the underlying mantle. This boundary is also irregular and the detection of its location and morphology is complex. For this reason, the seismic proxies must be complemented by petrological investigations of mantle-derived melts and exhumed mantle xenoliths in order to constrain the physical and chemical gradients across the LAB that create differences in mechanical strength."


Individual copies of the volume may be purchased through The Geological Society of America online store,, or by contacting GSA Sales and Service,

Book editors of earth science journals/publications may request a review copy by contacting April Leo,

The Crust-Mantle and Lithosphere-Asthenosphere Boundaries: Insights from Xenoliths, Orogenic Deep Sections, and Geophysical Studies edited by Gianluca Bianchini, Jean-Louis Bodinier, Roberto Braga, and Marjorie Wilson Geological Society of America Special Paper 526 SPE526, 215 p., $55.00; GSA member price $38.00 ISBN 978-0-8137-2526-0 View the table of contents:

Disclaimer: AAAS and EurekAlert! are not responsible for the accuracy of news releases posted to EurekAlert! by contributing institutions or for the use of any information through the EurekAlert system.