The geoscience community is increasingly utilizing seismic tomography to interpret mantle heterogeneity and its links to past tectonic and geodynamic processes. To assess the robustness and distribution of positive seismic anomalies, inferred as subducted slabs, we create a set of vote maps for the lower mantle with 14 global P-wave or S-wave tomography models. Based on a depth-dependent threshold metric, an average of 20% of any given tomography model depth is identified as a potential slab. However, upon combining the 14 models, the most consistent positive wavespeed features are identified by an increasing vote count. An overall peak in the most robust anomalies is found between 1000–1400 km depth, followed by a decline to a minimum around 2000 km. While this trend could reflect reduced tomographic resolution in the middle mantle, we show that it may alternatively relate to real changes in the time-dependent subduction flux and/or a mid-lower mantle viscosity increase. An apparent secondary peak in agreement below 2500 km depth may reflect the degree-two lower mantle slow seismic structures. Vote maps illustrate the potential shortcomings of using a limited number or type of tomography models and slab threshold criteria.
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