Sample records for plate subducts beneath

  1. Constraining the hydration of the subducting Nazca plate beneath Northern Chile using subduction zone guided waves (United States)

    Garth, Tom; Rietbrock, Andreas


    Guided wave dispersion is observed from earthquakes at 180-280 km depth recorded at stations in the fore-arc of Northern Chile, where the 44 Ma Nazca plate subducts beneath South America. Characteristic P-wave dispersion is observed at several stations in the Chilean fore-arc with high frequency energy (>5 Hz) arriving up to 3 s after low frequency (first motion dispersion observed at multiple stations, or the extended P-wave coda observed in arrivals from intermediate depth events within the Nazca plate. These signals can however be accurately accounted for if dipping low velocity fault zones are included within the subducting lithospheric mantle. A grid search over possible LVL and faults zone parameters (width, velocity contrast and separation distance) was carried out to constrain the best fitting model parameters. Our results imply that fault zone structures of 0.5-1.0 km thickness, and 5-10 km spacing, consistent with observations at the outer rise are present within the subducted slab at intermediate depths. We propose that these low velocity fault zone structures represent the hydrated structure within the lithospheric mantle. They may be formed initially by normal faults at the outer rise, which act as a pathway for fluids to penetrate the deeper slab due to the bending and unbending stresses within the subducting plate. Our observations suggest that the lithospheric mantle is 5-15% serpentinised, and therefore may transport approximately 13-42 Tg/Myr of water per meter of arc. The guided wave observations also suggest that a thin LVL (∼1 km thick) interpreted as un-eclogitised subducted oceanic crust persists to depths of at least 220 km. Comparison of the inferred seismic velocities with those predicted for various MORB assemblages suggest that this thin LVL may be accounted for by low velocity lawsonite-bearing assemblages, suggesting that some mineral-bound water within the oceanic crust may be transported well beyond the volcanic arc. While older

  2. Dynamics of Caribbean and Nazca Plate Subduction Beneath Colombia from Receiver Function Analysis (United States)

    Porter, R. C.; Warren, L. M.


    The tectonics of northwestern South America are controlled by the complex interactions of the South American, Nazca, and Caribbean plates. In order to better understand subduction within the region, we utilize data recorded by the Colombian National Seismic Network to calculate P-to-S receiver functions at a range of frequencies across the nation of Colombia. Where the station spacing was dense enough, receiver functions were stacked using the Common Conversion Point (CCP) method in order to better image lateral changes in crustal and upper mantle structure. Along the Pacific margin of Colombia, where the Nazca plate is subducting beneath South America, the subducting slab dips too steeply to image it with receiver functions. However, layering and strong negative arrivals are observed in the crust above the subducting slab where active volcanoes are present. The presence of these arrivals is possibly indicative of slab dehydration and the presence of partial melt within the crust. In northeastern Colombia, the Caribbean plate is subducting beneath South America at an oblique angle. Along the direction of convergence, the slab extends ~500 km inland with a relatively shallow dip before steepening. Preliminary receiver function images from this region show a shallowly-dipping negative arrival, interpreted as the top of the slab. This arrival is underlain by a positive conversion, interpreted as the down-going oceanic Moho. As the dip of the seismicity associated with the subducting slab steepens, these arrivals are no longer observed within the receiver function stacks. These cross sections of the Caribbean plate subduction are consistent with the idea that phase changes within the downgoing oceanic crust and mantle are controlling the slab buoyancy and, as a result, the angle of subduction. As the receiver functions are refined and further combined with local earthquake locations, we will better be able to understand the location of earthquakes within the subducting

  3. Geometry of the Subducting Nazca Plate Beneath Colombia From Relocation of Intermediate-Depth Earthquakes (United States)

    Chang, Y.; Warren, L. M.; Prieto, G. A.; Grigsby, I.


    In subduction zones, earthquakes help distinguish the location of the downgoing slab to hundreds of kilometers depth. However, beneath northwestern South America, the distribution of large intermediate-depth earthquakes in the Global CMT catalog has gaps along the subduction zone, so the position of the subducting Nazca plate is uncertain. In addition, the earthquake focal mechanisms, which range from along-strike compression to down-dip extension, vary over short distances, suggesting that the subducting slab may have a complicated morphology. To clarify the geometry of the subducting Nazca plate beneath Colombia, we relocate regional seismicity recorded by the Colombian National Seismic Network (RSNC). Our data set contains 1231 earthquakes with catalog locations from 0°N-6°N and 72°W-81°W at depths of 0-200 km and magnitudes from M2.5-6.5 that occurred between 1/2010-2/2013. Catalog hypocenters show an ~20 km thick slab subducting to the east, as well as vertical columns extending up from the slab. The shape, thickness, and position of the slab and other features can be refined by using differential travel times to relocate the earthquakes relative to each other. We verify and adjust the network P and S wave picks and pick arrivals at additional or temporary stations, and these arrival times are used to relocate the earthquakes. The hypocenters of the relocated earthquakes are used to generate 3D contours of the subducting plate and visualize bends and folds in the slab.

  4. Upper boundary of the Pacific plate subducting beneath Hokkaido, Japan, estimated from ScSp phase


    Osada, Kinue; Yoshizawa, Kazunori; YOMOGIDA, Kiyoshi


    Three-dimensional geometry of the upper boundary of the Pacific plate subducting beneath Hokkaido, Japan, was obtained using the ScSp phase: the phase converted from ScS (S wave reflected at the core-mantle boundary) to P wave at the plate boundary. Taking the advantage of a dense seismic network, "Hi-net", recently deployed across the Japanese islands, we applied several seismic array analyses to the recorded waveform data for a large nearby deep earthquake, in order to enhance very weak ScS...

  5. Upper Mantle Flow Beneath the Subducted Nazca Plate: Slab Contortions and Flattening (Invited) (United States)

    Russo, R. M.


    The form of asthenospheric flow beneath subducted lithospheric slabs can be discerned using splitting of shear waves emanating from earthquakes in the slabs themselves. However, the subducted Nazca plate’s abrupt changes in morphology from a planar slab dipping 30° ENE beneath the central Andes to large areas of flat-lying slab beneath Peru, to the north, and Argentina, to the south, are a potential complication to the sub-slab mantle flow. S waves from earthquakes in the Nazca slab reveal details of the upper mantle flow field below and in the vicinity of the slab. Nazca slab earthquakes large enough to be well recorded (M > 5.4, typically), and deep enough to separate S from pS and sS (30-40 km or more), are suitable for such study, and, for events between 1990 and 2010, recording stations are mostly well-distributed azimuthally about the source event. The S waves were recorded at seismic stations at teleseismic distances from the events, and were corrected for known sub-station seismic anisotropy. Thus, the shear wave splitting engendered during their passage through the asthenospheric upper mantle beneath the slab was isolated, and asthenospheric deformation fabrics resulting from plastic flow beneath the slab mapped in some detail. Shear wave splitting fast directions and upper mantle flow beneath the Nazca plate are most often trench-parallel, consistent with trench-parallel upper mantle flow beneath the slab. Fast splitting polarizations at high angle to the strike of the slab occur in the transition regions from flat to normally dipping slab. Upper mantle flow beneath the slab in these regions appears to be channeled by the slab contortion. Upper mantle flow oceanward of the Nazca slab also appears to change abruptly from trends at a high angle to the Peru-Chile trench to trench-parallel as the top of the Nazca slab attains a depth of around 75 km. Trench-parallel sub-slab flow appears to develop once the asthenosphere beneath the Nazca plate is affected

  6. Mapping the subducted Nazca plate in the lower mantle beneath South America (United States)

    Contenti, S. M.; Gu, Y. J.; Okeler, A.


    Recent improvements in data coverage have enabled high-resolution imaging of the morphology of subduction zones and mantle plumes. In this study, we migrate the SS precursors from over 5000 seismograms to obtain a detailed map of mid- and upper-mantle reflectors beneath the northern portion of the South American subduction zone, where the oceanic Nazca plate is descending below the South American plate. In addition to an elevated 410 and depressed 660 (as expected for a subduction zone), strong mid-mantle reflectors at 800-1100 km depth are also apparent. The amplitudes of these steeply dipping reflectors are comparable to that of the 660-kilometer discontinuity. This anomaly outlines a high-velocity (therefore presumably cold) region present in recent finite-frequency based mantle velocity models, suggesting the extension of slab material into the lower mantle. The strength of the reflection is interpreted to be caused by a relatively sharp velocity change, likely due to a strong temperature gradient in combination with mineral phase transitions, the presence of water, or other chemical heterogeneities. Significant mass and heat exchange is therefore expected between the upper- and lower-mantle beneath the study region.

  7. A Geodynamical Perspective on the Subduction of Cocos and Rivera plates beneath Mexico and Central America (United States)

    Constantin Manea, Vlad; Manea, Marina; Ferrari, Luca


    The Middle America subduction zone (MASZ) is one of the world most complex convergent margins as it involves the subduction of the Rivera and Cocos young oceanic plates beneath the North American and Caribbean plates and is bounded by the Gulf of California rift and the Panama slab window. Characterized by contorted and unusual slab geometry, irregularly distributed seismicity and volcanism, exceptionally large slow slip events (SSE) and non-volcanic tremors (NVT), this subduction system represents a great natural laboratory for better understanding geodynamic processes at a fundamental level. Based on a solid observational foundation, and incorporating the latest experimental results into a coherent geodynamical framework, we shed light on the main processes controlling the subduction system evolution in this region. The tectonics, volcanism, slab geometry and segmentation along the margin are reviewed from a geodynamical perspective. We proposed and discussed a series of evolutionary scenarios for the Mexican and Central American subduction zones, providing a coherent starting base for future geodynamical modeling studies tailored to this active margin. We discuss comparatively the recently discovered SSEs and NVTs along the MASZ, and try to differentiate among the proposed mechanisms responsible for these observations. Finally we discuss the recent seismic anisotropy observations in a geodynamic context, offering an integrated view of mantle flow pattern along the entire active margin. Although the MASZ as a whole may be considered a fairly complicated region with many unusual features and sometimes controversial interpretations, its complexity and unusual characteristics can improve our knowledge about the linkage between deep and surface processes associated with subduction zone dynamics.

  8. Seismic Structure Related to the Philippine Sea Plate Subduction beneath the Nansei-Shoto (Ryukyu) Trench (United States)

    Nishizawa, A.; Kaneda, K.; Oikawa, M.; Horiuchi, D.; Fujioka, Y.; Okada, C.


    The Philippine Sea plate (PHS) subduction develops a trench-arc-backarc system at the Nansei-Shoto island arc, southwest of Japan. Its backarc basin, the Okinawa Trough, is the only area around Japan where rifting has been observed at present. In the north of the Nansei-Shoto island arc, the PHS with large bathymetric highs (e.g. the Amami Plateau and the Daito Ridge) subducts approximately perpendicularly to the trench axis. In the southwest, the PHS obliquely subducts with linear seafloor topographies such as the Okinawa-Luzon fracture zone and the Gagua Ridge. We conducted multichannel seismic reflection and wide-angle seismic surveys to obtain inhomogeneous crustal structures related to such complex features of the plate subduction. The seismic lines that we shot across the Nansei-Shoto arc, consisted of two lines in the north and five lines in the southwest. We also shot two along-arc lines in the island arc and forearc areas in the southwest. Since we could not constrain the crustal structure deeper than 10 km precisely by a tomographic inversion of first arrival traveltimes, we carried out two-dimensional forward modeling using several reflection signals from the inner crust and Moho discontinuity. As a result, a middle crust with P wave velocity (Vp) of 5.9-6.5 km/s was detected between an upper and lower crust beneath the arc for all the seismic lines. However, the inner crustal structure largely differs depending on the survey lines. Distribution of low Vp forearc accretionary wedge also varies regionally along the trench axis. High Vp of 4-5 km/s within 2 km below the seafloor and Vp larger than 6 km/s just on the subducting plate boundary characterize the forearc at 125-127 E in the southwest region, which corresponds distinctive high free-air gravity anomaly. We could also obtain clear seismic images of the subducting bathymetric highs in the north and the Okinawa-Luzon fracture zone in the southwest.

  9. Slab detachment of subducted Indo-Australian plate beneath Sunda arc, Indonesia

    Indian Academy of Sciences (India)

    Bhaskar Kundu; V K Gahalaut


    Necking, tearing, slab detachment and subsequently slab loss complicate the subduction zone processes and slab architecture. Based on evidences which include patterns of seismicity, seismic tomography and geochemistry of arc volcanoes, we have identified a horizontal slab tear in the subducted Indo-Australian slab beneath the Sunda arc. It strongly reflects on trench migration, and causes along-strike variations in vertical motion and geochemically distinct subduction-related arc magmatism. We also propose a model for the geodynamic evolution of slab detachment.

  10. High resolution image of the Lithosphere-Asthenosphere Boundary of the subducting Nazca plate beneath northern Chile (United States)

    Sodoudi, F.; Yuan, X.; Asch, G.; Kind, R.


    Results obtained from S and P receiver functions produced a clear image of the top and bottom of the subducting Nazca lithosphere beneath northern Chile. Using data from the teleseismic events recorded at 15 permanent IPOC (Integrated Plate boundary Observatory Chile) stations, we were able to obtain new constraints on the shape and thickness of the descending Nazca lithosphere. We observed the subducted crust of the Nazca plate at depths ranging from 40 km beneath the Coastal Cordillera down to 110 km beneath the Western Cordillera. We found significant along-strike variations in the geometry of the Nazca plate beneath northern Chile. On closer inspection, it appears that the oceanic Nazca plate is divided into two distinct segments as it descends beneath the continental South American plate. The transition from the relatively steeper and deeper slab to the north of 21° S to the flatter southern segment is shown reasonably clearly by our data. This feature could well be associated with variations in the curvature of the plate margin and the geometry of the Chile trench, which is mainly curved to the north of 21° S. We have also mapped the continental Moho of the South American plate at depths ranging between 60-70 km to the east of the Longitudinal Valley. Beneath the Coastal Cordillera, this boundary becomes invisible, probably due to the serpentinization of the forearc mantle wedge. The Lithosphere-Astheonsphere Boundary (LAB) of the subducted Nazca plate was clearly identified as a sharp boundary in the results obtained from the P and S receiver functions. The LAB lies at a depth of 80 km beneath the coastal area and dips from a depth of 100 km beneath the Coastal Cordillera to about 150 km underneath the Western Cordillera. High frequency PRF data enabled us to make confident estimates of the top and bottom of the Nazca lithosphere, which results in a lithospheric thickness of 57-60 km. In relation to the age of the Nazca plate, which is assumed to be ~ 50

  11. Multiple plates subducting beneath Colombia, as illuminated by seismicity and velocity from the joint inversion of seismic and gravity data (United States)

    Syracuse, Ellen M.; Maceira, Monica; Prieto, Germán A.; Zhang, Haijiang; Ammon, Charles J.


    Subduction beneath the northernmost Andes in Colombia is complex. Based on seismicity distributions, multiple segments of slab appear to be subducting, and arc volcanism ceases north of 5° N. Here, we illuminate the subduction system through hypocentral relocations and Vp and Vs models resulting from the joint inversion of local body wave arrivals, surface wave dispersion measurements, and gravity data. The simultaneous use of multiple data types takes advantage of the differing sensitivities of each data type, resulting in velocity models that have improved resolution at both shallower and deeper depths than would result from traditional travel time tomography alone. The relocated earthquake dataset and velocity model clearly indicate a tear in the Nazca slab at 5° N, corresponding to a 250-km shift in slab seismicity and the termination of arc volcanism. North of this tear, the slab is flat, and it comprises slabs of two sources: the Nazca and Caribbean plates. The Bucaramanga nest, a small region of among the most intense intermediate-depth seismicity globally, is associated with the boundary between these two plates and possibly with a zone of melting or elevated water content, based on reduced Vp and increased Vp/Vs. We also use relocated seismicity to identify two new faults in the South American plate, one related to plate convergence and one highlighted by induced seismicity.

  12. High-resolution Imaging of the Philippine Sea Plate subducting beneath Central Japan (United States)

    Padhy, S.; Furumura, T.


    Thermal models predict that the oceanic crust of the young (PHP) is more prone to melting. Deriving a high-resolution image of the PHP, including slab melting and other features of the subduction zone, is a key to understand the basics of earthquake occurrence and origin of magma in complex subduction zone like central Japan, where both the PHP and Pacific (PAC) Plates subduct. To this purpose, we analyzed high-resolution waveforms of moderate sized (M 4-6), intermediate-to-deep (>150 km) PAC earthquakes occurring in central Japan and conducted numerical simulation to derive a fine-scale PHP model, which is not constrained in earlier studies. Observations show spindle-shaped seismograms with strong converted phases and extended coda with very slow decay from a group of PAC events occurring in northern part of central Japan and recorded by high-sensitivity seismograph network (Hi-net) stations in the region. We investigate the mechanism of propagation of these anomalous waveforms using the finite difference method (FDM) simulation of wave propagation through the subduction zone. We examine the effects on waveform changes of major subduction zone features, such as the melting of oceanic crust in PHP, serpentinized mantle wedge, hydrated layer on the PAC due to slab dehydration, and anomaly in upper mantle between the PAC and PHP. Simulation results show that the waveform anomaly is primarily explained by strong scattering and absorption of high-frequency energy by the low-velocity anomalous mantle structure, with a strong coda excitation yielding spindle-shaped waveforms. The data are secondarily explained by melting of PHP in the basaltic crust. The location of the mantle anomaly is tightly constrained by the observation and evidence of PAC thinning in the region; these localized low-velocity structures aid in ascending the slab-derived fluids around the slab thinning. We expect that the results of this study will enhance our present understanding on the mechanism

  13. Lateral structural change of the subducting Pacific plate beneath Japan inferred from high-frequency body wave analysis (United States)

    Padhy, S.; Furumura, T.; Maeda, T.


    We studied the detailed lateral structure of the subducting Pacific plate near Honshu by analyzing waveforms from deep earthquakes recorded at fore-arc Hi-net dense high-gain network and F-net broadband stations in Japan. Such waveforms explain the low-frequency precursors followed by high-frequency energies due to the multiple scattering and diffractions of seismic waves in the stochastic waveguide of the Pacific slab (Furumura and Kennett, 2005). However, recent analysis shows that for some particular source-receiver paths, the waveforms exhibit loss of high frequency energy in P-coda, loss of low-frequency precursor and presence of P-to-P or P-to-S converted phases in P-coda for deep earthquakes occurring in the subeducting Pacific plate. Such complexities in the observed waveforms indicate sudden lateral change in the wave guiding properties of the subducting slab, such as expected to be caused by the thinning or tearing the slab in deeper part. To explain the observations, we employ two-dimensional finite-difference method (FDM) simulations of complete high-frequency P-SV wave propagation taking thinning of the Pacific slab into account. We expect that the observed guided wave energy must decouple from waveguide where the slab is deformed or thin. Low frequency energy leaks out of the slab and travels to the receivers along paths in the low velocity and low-Q mantle surrounding the slab, while high frequency signal of shorter wavelength can travel through thin plate. The results of this study, along with the evidence for weak velocity anomaly as inferred from seismic tomography (Obayashi et al., 2009) and observations of slab tear in the Pacific plate (Kennett and Furumura, 2010), we expect a local velocity anomaly or thinning in the oceanic lithosphere along the junction between Izu-Bonin and Honshu arc. It is necessary to examine these effects further with a 3D FDM simulation for different slab geometries and source depths.

  14. Early Jurassic calc-alkaline magmatism in northeast China: Magmatic response to subduction of the Paleo-Pacific Plate beneath the Eurasian continent (United States)

    Wang, Feng; Xu, Yi-Gang; Xu, Wen-Liang; Yang, Lei; Wu, Wei; Sun, Chen-Yang


    The subduction of the Paleo-Pacific Plate played an important role in the regional evolution of the eastern margin of the Eurasian continent, but the timing and extent of this event remain ambiguous. To address these issues, we examine the geochronology and geochemistry of Early Jurassic intrusive rocks in eastern Jilin Province, NE China. The Early Jurassic gabbro-diorites, diorites, granodiorites, and monzogranites are found to have been emplaced at 183-185 Ma and are characterized by enrichment in large ion lithophile elements and depletion in high field strength elements, similar to calc-alkaline arc-type igneous rocks. The Early Jurassic gabbroic and dioritic rocks have εHf(t) values of +2.1 to +10.1 and Hf single-stage (TDM1) model ages of 430-774 Ma, whereas the monzogranites have εHf(t) values of +6.7 to +8.9 and Hf single-stage (TDM1) ages of 597-718 Ma. The gabbro-diorites, diorites, and granodiorites described in this study are genetically linked and they represent the products of the fractional crystallization of a common mafic magma that was in turn derived from the partial melting of a mantle source that was metasomatized by subduction-related fluids. In contrast, the Early Jurassic monzogranites were generated by partial melting of a depleted lower crustal block that was probably accreted during the Neoproterozoic. More importantly, the Early Jurassic calc-alkaline igneous rocks in the east part of NE China form a NE-trending belt that is oriented perpendicular to the direction of Paleo-Pacific Plate movement at that time. West of this belt, contemporaneous bimodal igneous rocks occur in the Lesser Xing'an-Zhangguangcai Ranges. This magmatic configuration is best explained by continental arc magmatism along the continental margin and extensional magmatism in a back-arc setting, in each case triggered by the initial subduction of the Paleo-Pacific Plate beneath Eurasia in the Early Jurassic.

  15. Imaging of subducted lithosphere beneath South America

    NARCIS (Netherlands)

    Engdahl, E.R.; Hilst, R.D. van der; Berrocal, J.


    Tomographic images are produced for the deep structure of the Andean subduction zone beneath western South America. The data used in the imaging are the delay times of P, pP and pwP phases from relocated teleseismic earthquakes in the region. Regionally, structural features larger than about 150 km

  16. Mantle enrichment by volatiles as the Nazca plate subducts beneath the Payenia backarc of the Southern Volcanic Zone, Argentina

    DEFF Research Database (Denmark)

    Brandt, Frederik Ejvang

    , minerals, fluid and melt inclusions from the Payenia backarc province of the Andean Southern Volcanic Zone. Major emphasis has been on olivine hosted melt inclusions. The study gives evidence for the role of fluids in the metasomatism of the backarc mantle, and outlines the trend of the variation...... of the metasomatism in Payenia, which is also characterized by a variation in oxidation state and other geochemical parameters of the melt inclusions, and is moreover related to mantle lithological variations. The mantle metasomatism by melts of subducted crust and fluid-borne enrichment is quantitatively modelled...

  17. The role of viscoelasticity in subducting plates (United States)

    Farrington, R. J.; Moresi, L.-N.; Capitanio, F. A.


    of tectonic plates into Earth's mantle occurs when one plate bends beneath another at convergent plate boundaries. The characteristic time of deformation at these convergent boundaries approximates the Maxwell relaxation time for olivine at lithospheric temperatures and pressures, it is therefore by definition a viscoelastic process. While this is widely acknowledged, the large-scale features of subduction can, and have been, successfully reproduced assuming the plate deforms by a viscous mechanism alone. However, the energy rates and stress profile within convergent margins are influenced by viscoelastic deformation. In this study, viscoelastic stresses have been systematically introduced into numerical models of free subduction, using both the viscosity and shear modulus to control the Maxwell relaxation time. The introduction of an elastic deformation mechanism into subduction models produces deviations in both the stress profile and energy rates within the subduction hinge when compared to viscous only models. These variations result in an apparent viscosity that is variable throughout the length of the plate, decreasing upon approach and increasing upon leaving the hinge. At realistic Earth parameters, we show that viscoelastic stresses have a minor effect on morphology yet are less dissipative at depth and result in an energy transfer between the energy stored during bending and the energy released during unbending. We conclude that elasticity is important during both bending and unbending within the slab hinge with the resulting stress loading and energy profile indicating that slabs maintain larger deformation rates at smaller stresses during bending and retain their strength during unbending at depth.

  18. Tomographically-imaged subducted slabs and magmatic history of Caribbean and Pacific subduction beneath Colombia (United States)

    Bernal-Olaya, R.; Mann, P.; Vargas, C. A.; Koulakov, I.


    We define the length and geometry of eastward and southeastward-subducting slabs beneath northwestern South America in Colombia using ~100,000 earthquake events recorded by the Colombian National Seismic Network from 1993 to 2012. Methods include: hypocenter relocation, compilation of focal mechanisms, and P and S wave tomographic calculations performed using LOTOS and Seisan. The margins of Colombia include four distinct subduction zones based on slab dip: 1) in northern Colombia, 12-16-km-thick oceanic crust subducts at a modern GPS rate of 20 mm/yr in a direction of 110 degrees at a shallow angle of 8 degrees; as a result of its low dip, Pliocene-Pleistocene volcanic rocks are present 400 km from the frontal thrust; magmatic arc migration to the east records 800 km of subduction since 58 Ma ago (Paleocene) with shallow subduction of the Caribbean oceanic plateau starting ~24-33 Ma (Miocene); at depths of 90-150 km, the slab exhibits a negative velocity anomaly we associate with pervasive fracturing; 2) in the central Colombia-Panama area, we define an area of 30-km-thick crust of the Panama arc colliding/subducting at a modern 30/mm in a direction of 95 degrees; the length of this slab shows subduction/collision initiated after 20 Ma (Middle Miocene); we call this feature the Panama indenter since it has produced a V-shaped indentation of the Colombian margin and responsible for widespread crustal deformation and topographic uplift in Colombia; an incipient subduction area is forming near the Panama border with intermediate earthquakes at an eastward dip of 70 degrees to depths of ~150 km; this zone is not visible on tomographic images; 3) a 250-km-wide zone of Miocene oceanic crust of the Nazca plate flanking the Panama indenter subducts at a rate of 25 mm/yr in a direction of 55 degrees and at a normal dip of 40 degrees; the length of this slab suggests subduction began at ~5 Ma; 4) the Caldas tear defines a major dip change to the south where a 35 degrees

  19. Buckling instabilities of subducted lithosphere beneath the transition zone

    NARCIS (Netherlands)

    Ribe, N.M.; Stutzmann, E.; Ren, Y.; Hilst, R.D. van der


    A sheet of viscous fluid poured onto a surface buckles periodically to generate a pile of regular folds. Recent tomographic images beneath subduction zones, together with quantitative fluid mechanical scaling laws, suggest that a similar instability can occur when slabs of subducted oceanic

  20. Subducted slabs beneath the eastern Indonesia-Tonga region: insights from tomography (United States)

    Hall, Robert; Spakman, Wim


    Tomographic images of mantle structure beneath the region north and northeast of Australia show a number of anomalously fast regions. These are interpreted using a recent plate tectonic reconstruction in terms of current and former subduction systems. Several strong anomalies are related to current subduction. The inferred slab lengths and positions are consistent with Neogene subduction beneath the New Britain and Halmahera arcs, and at the Tonga and the New Hebrides trenches where there has been rapid rollback of subduction hinges since about 10 Ma. There are several deeper flat-lying anomalies which are not related to present subduction and we interpret them as former subduction zones overridden by Australia since 25 Ma. Beneath the Bird's Head and Arafura Sea is an anomaly interpreted to be due to north-dipping subduction beneath the Philippines-Halmahera arc between 45 and 25 Ma. A very large anomaly extending from the Papuan peninsula to the New Hebrides, and from the Solomon Islands to the east Australian margin, is interpreted to be the remnant of south-dipping subduction beneath the Melanesian arc between 45 and 25 Ma. This interpretation implies that a flat-lying slab can survive for many tens of millions of years at the bottom of the upper mantle. In the lower mantle there is a huge anomaly beneath the Gulf of Carpentaria and east Papua New Guinea. This is located above the position where the tectonic model interprets a change in polarity of subduction from north-dipping to south-dipping between 45 and 25 Ma. We suggest this deep anomaly may be a slab subducted beneath eastern Australian during the Cretaceous, or subducted north of Australia during the Cenozoic before 45 Ma. The tomography also supports the tectonic interpretation which suggests little Neogene subduction beneath western New Guinea since no slab is imaged south of the New Guinea trench. However, one subduction zone in the tectonic model and many others, that associated with the Trobriand

  1. The Impact of the Subduction Modeling Beneath Calabria on Seismic Hazard (United States)

    Morasca, P.; Johnson, W. J.; Del Giudice, T.; Poggi, P.; Traverso, C.; Parker, E. J.


    The aim of this work is to better understand the influence of subduction beneath Calabria on seismic hazard, as very little is known about present-day kinematics and the seismogenic potential of the slab interface in the Calabrian Arc region. This evaluation is significant because, depending on stress conditions, subduction zones can vary from being fully coupled to almost entirely decoupled with important consequences in the seismic hazard assessment. Although the debate is still open about the current kinematics of the plates and microplates lying in the region and the degree of coupling of Ionian lithosphere beneath Calabria, GPS data suggest that this subduction is locked in its interface sector. Also the lack of instrumentally recorded thrust earthquakes suggests this zone is locked. The current seismotectonic model developed for the Italian National territory is simplified in this area and does not reflect the possibility of locked subduction beneath the Calabria that could produce infrequent, but very large earthquakes associated with the subduction interface. Because of this we have conducted an independent seismic source analysis to take into account the influence of subduction as part of a regional seismic hazard analysis. Our final model includes two separate provinces for the subduction beneath the Calabria: inslab and interface. From a geometrical point of view the interface province is modeled with a depth between 20-50 km and a dip of 20°, while the inslab one dips 70° between 50 -100 km. Following recent interpretations we take into account that the interface subduction is possibly locked and, in such a case, large events could occur as characteristic earthquakes. The results of the PSHA analysis show that the subduction beneath the Calabrian region has an influence in the total hazard for this region, especially for long return periods. Regional seismotectonic models for this region should account for subduction.

  2. Relations between plate kinematics, slab geometry and overriding plate deformation in subduction zones: insights from statistical observations and laboratory modelling (United States)

    Heuret, A.; Funiciello, F.; Faccenna, C.; Lallemand, S.


    3-D laboratory models have been performed in order to investigate the way plates kinematics (subducting and overriding plate absolute motions and the resulting plate convergence rate) influences the geometry of the slab and the overriding plate deformation in subduction zones. In the experiments a viscous plate of silicone (subducting plate) is pushed beneath another plate, which is itself pushed toward or pulled away from the trench (overriding plate), and sinks into a viscous layer of glucose syrup (upper mantle). The subducting and overriding plate velocities explored the variability field of natural subduction plates kinematics. The overriding plate motion exerts a primary role in the control of slab geometries and overriding plate deformation rates. The experiments have revealed two different subduction behaviours: (Style I) the overriding plate moves toward the trench and shortens at high rates, the slab is flat and deflected when reaching the bottom of the box in a forward direction; (Style II) the overriding plates moves away from the trench and shortens at low rates the slab is steep and deflected on the box bottom in a backward direction. To a lesser extent, increasing subducting plate motion is associated to increasing slab dips and overriding plate shortening. Slab geometry and overriding plate deformation are less sensitive to the overall plate convergence rate. These laboratory models behaviours are consistent with statistical analysis performed on natural subduction zones, and enlighten the first order control exerted by the overriding plate absolute motion, on the geometry adopted by the slab and the way the overriding plate deforms.

  3. Extending Alaska's plate boundary: tectonic tremor generated by Yakutat subduction (United States)

    Wech, Aaron G.


    The tectonics of the eastern end of the Alaska-Aleutian subduction zone are complicated by the inclusion of the Yakutat microplate, which is colliding into and subducting beneath continental North America at near-Pacific-plate rates. The interaction among these plates at depth is not well understood, and further east, even less is known about the plate boundary or the source of Wrangell volcanism. The drop-off in Wadati-Benioff zone (WBZ) seismicity could signal the end of the plate boundary, the start of aseismic subduction, or a tear in the downgoing plate. Further compounding the issue is the possible presence of the Wrangell slab, which is faintly outlined by an anemic, eastward-dipping WBZ beneath the Wrangell volcanoes. In this study, I performed a search for tectonic tremor to map slow, plate-boundary slip in south-central Alaska. I identified ∼11,000 tremor epicenters, which continue 85 km east of the inferred Pacific plate edge marked by WBZ seismicity. The tremor zone coincides with the edges of the downgoing Yakutat terrane, and tremors transition from periodic to continuous behavior as they near the aseismic Wrangell slab. I interpret tremor to mark slow, semicontinuous slip occurring at the interface between the Yakutat and North America plates. The slow slip region lengthens the megathrust interface beyond the WBZ and may provide evidence for a connection between the Yakutat slab and the aseismic Wrangell slab.

  4. Reaction-induced rheological weakening enables oceanic plate subduction (United States)

    Hirauchi, Ken-Ichi; Fukushima, Kumi; Kido, Masanori; Muto, Jun; Okamoto, Atsushi


    Earth is the only terrestrial planet in our solar system where an oceanic plate subducts beneath an overriding plate. Although the initiation of plate subduction requires extremely weak boundaries between strong plates, the way in which oceanic mantle rheologically weakens remains unknown. Here we show that shear-enhanced hydration reactions contribute to the generation and maintenance of weak mantle shear zones at mid-lithospheric depths. High-pressure friction experiments on peridotite gouge reveal that in the presence of hydrothermal water, increasing strain and reactions lead to an order-of-magnitude reduction in strength. The rate of deformation is controlled by pressure-solution-accommodated frictional sliding on weak hydrous phyllosilicate (talc), providing a mechanism for the `cutoff' of the high peak strength at the brittle-plastic transition. Our findings suggest that infiltration of seawater into transform faults with long lengths and low slip rates is an important controlling factor on the initiation of plate tectonics on terrestrial planets.

  5. Effect of aseismic ridge subduction on slab geometry and overriding plate deformation: Insights from analogue modeling


    Martinod, Joseph; Guillaume, Benjamin; Espurt, Nicolas; Faccenna, Claudio; Funiciello, Francesca; Regard, Vincent


    International audience; We present analogue models simulating the subduction of a buoyant ridge beneath an advancing overriding plate whose velocity is imposed by lateral boundary conditions. We analyze the 3D geometry of the slab, the deformation and topography of the overriding plate. Ridge subduction diminishes the dip of the slab, eventually leading to the appearance of a horizontal slab segment. This result contrasts with that obtained in free subduction experiments, in which ridge subdu...

  6. Subduction beneath Eurasia in connection with the Mesozoic Tethys

    NARCIS (Netherlands)

    Spakman, W.


    In this paper we present new results concerning the existence and subduction of Meso-Tethyan oceanic lithosphere in the upper mantle beneath Europe, the Mediterranean and the Middle-East. The results arise from a large scale body wave tomographic analysis of the upper mantle in this region. It is sh

  7. Subducting an old subduction zone sideways provides insights into what controls plate coupling (United States)

    Reyners, Martin; Eberhart-Phillips, Donna; Bannister, Stephen


    The Hikurangi Plateau has had two episodes of subduction beneath New Zealand - firstly at ca. 100 Ma during north-south convergence with Gondwana, and currently during east-west convergence between the Pacific and Australian plates. As a result of this ninety-degree change in convergence direction, an old subduction zone is now being subducted sideways, and the tectonic history of the subducted plate varies dramatically along the strike of the Hikurangi Margin. Here we identify the location of the underplated Hikurangi Plateau along the shallow part of the Hikurangi Margin, using results from both relocated seismicity and seismic tomography. Next we decipher the tectonic history of the plateau along strike, particularly in terms of the hydration state of the plateau, and the nature of any sedimentary rock units capping the plateau. We then use this information to understand plate coupling at two scales: on the large scale, the southward transition from typical subduction in the North Island to continental collision in the South Island; and at a smaller scale, the strong lateral change from a high deficit in slip rate at the plate interface in the southern North Island to a low deficit in slip rate in the northeastern North Island. We find that the southward transition from subduction to continental collision is controlled by the plateau being more dehydrated to the south, as a result of being more deeply subducted at the Gondwana margin. The southward transition from localized slip at the plate interface to distributed upper plate deformation with no active plate interface occurs in Cook Strait and is relatively sharp. The high deficit in slip rate at the plate interface in the southern North Island is likely due to a relatively smooth plate interface from sedimentary rocks capping the Hikurangi Plateau, an impermeable terrane in the overlying plate, and the hydrated plateau acting in concert to produce an interseismically sealed plate interface. Further northeast

  8. Subduction system and flat slab beneath the Eastern Cordillera of Colombia (United States)

    Chiarabba, Claudio; De Gori, Pasquale; Faccenna, Claudio; Speranza, Fabio; Seccia, Danilo; Dionicio, Viviana; Prieto, Germán. A.


    Seismicity at the northern terminus of the Nazca subduction is diffused over a wide area containing the puzzling seismic feature known as the Bucaramanga nest. We relocate about 5000 earthquakes recorded by the Colombian national seismic network and produce the first 3-D velocity model of the area to define the geometry of the lithosphere subducting below the Colombian Andes. We found lateral velocity heterogeneities and an abrupt offset of the Wadati-Benioff zone at 5°N indicating that the Nazca plate is segmented by an E-W slab tear, that separates a steeper Nazca segment to the south from a flat subduction to the north. The flat Nazca slab extends eastward for about 400 km, before dip increases to ˜50° beneath the Eastern Cordillera, where it yields the Bucaramanga nest. We explain this puzzling locus of intermediate-depth seismicity located beneath the Eastern Cordillera of Colombia as due to a massive dehydration and eclogitization of a thickened oceanic crust. We relate the flat subducting geometry to the entrance at the trench at ca. 10 Ma of a thick - buoyant oceanic crust, likely a volcanic ridge, producing a high coupling with the overriding plate. Sub-horizontal plate subduction is consistent with the abrupt disappearance of volcanism in the Andes of South America at latitudes > 5°N.

  9. Ridge Subduction Beneath the Americas: Synthesis and New Research on Anomalous Tectonism and Magmatism (United States)

    Thorkelson, D. J.; Madsen, J. K.; Breitsprecher, K.; Groome, W. G.; Sluggett, C.


    The west coast of the Americas has been repeatedly affected by ridge-trench interactions from Mesozoic to Recent time. Beneath North America, subduction of the Kula-Farallon, Kula-Resurrection and Farallon- Resurrection spreading ridges resulted in anomalous and time-transgressive forearc to backarc magmatism and related tectonism from the Late Cretaceous to the Eocene. Following consumption and redistribution of the Kula and Resurrection plates, the Neogene Farallon-Pacific ridge system intersected the North American trench in two locations - western Canada and northwestern Mexico / southwestern United States - causing pronounced magmatic and tectonic effects that continue to the present. Beneath Central America, divergent subduction of the Nazca and Cocos plates led to development of a slab window, with a present location beneath Panama and a probable pre-Pliocene position beneath Columbia or Ecuador. Patagonia has been the site of localized ridge subduction from the Eocene to the Recent, with the Phoenix-Farallon ridge subducting from the Eocene to the early Miocene, and the Nazca-Antarctic ridge from the Miocene to the present. Antarctica experienced diverging Antarctic-Phoenix plate subduction from the Eocene to the Pliocene. In all cases, normal arc magmatism was interrupted or eliminated by anomalous igneous activity ranging in signature from adakitic to intraplate. Our current research involves geochemical, tectonic, and thermal modeling of slab window environments. A new geochemical analysis on the effects of Miocene to Recent subduction of the northern segment of the Farallon (Juan de Fuca)-Pacific ridge is underway. A symmetrical arc-intraplate-arc geochemical pattern is evident in a transect from the northern Cascade Arc, through the volcanic fields of British Columbia, Yukon and eastern Alaska, and into the Aleutian Arc. This pattern can be explained by Neogene displacement of the arc-metasomatized mantle wedge caused by upwelling oceanic

  10. Outer rise seismicity of the subducting Nazca Plate: Plate stress distribution, fault orientation and plate hydration (United States)

    Barama, Louisa

    Subduction of the Nazca plate beneath the South American plate drives frequent and sometimes large magnitude earthquakes. During the past 40 years, significant numbers of outer rise earthquakes have occurred in the offshore regions of Colombia and Chile. In this study, we investigate the distribution of stress due to lithospheric bending and the extent of faults within the subducting plate. To calculate more accurate epicenters and to constrain which earthquakes occurred within the outer rise, we use hypocentroidal decomposition to relocate earthquakes with Global Centroid Moment Tensor (GCMT) solutions occurring after 1976 offshore Colombia and Chile. We determine centroid depths of outer rise earthquakes by inverting teleseismic P-, SH-, and SV- waveforms for earthquakes occurring from 1993 to 2014 with Mw ≥ 5.5. In order to further constrain the results of the waveform inversion, we estimate depths by comparing earthquake duration, amplitude, and arrival times for select stations with waveforms with good signal to noise ratios. Our results indicate that tensional earthquakes occur at depths down to 13 km and 24 km depth beneath the surface in the Colombia and Chile regions, respectively. Since faulting within the outer rise can make the plate susceptible to hydration and mantle serpentinization, we therefore infer the extent of possible hydration of the Nazca plate to extend no deeper than the extent of tensional outer rise earthquakes.

  11. Decoupling of Pacific subduction zone guided waves beneath central Japan: Evidence for thin slab (United States)

    Padhy, Simanchal; Furumura, Takashi; Maeda, Takuto


    The fine-scale seismic structure of the northeast Japan subduction zone is studied based on waveform analyses of moderate-sized (M4.5-6), deep-focus earthquakes (h >350 km) and the finite difference method (FDM) simulation of high-frequency (up to 8 Hz) wave propagation. Strong regional S wave attenuation anomalies for specific source-receiver paths connecting the cluster of events occurring in central part of the Sea of Japan recorded at fore arc stations in northern and central Japanese Islands (Honshu) are used to model the deeper structure of the subducting Pacific Plate, where recent teleseismic tomography has shown evidence for a possible slab tear westward beneath the Sea of Japan. The character of the observed anomalous S wave attenuation and the following high-frequency coda can be captured with the two-dimensional (2-D) FDM simulation of seismic waves in heterogeneous plate model, incorporating the thinning of the plate at depth, which is also compared with other possible causes of dramatic attenuation of high-frequency S wave due to low-Q or much weaker heterogeneities in the slab. The results of simulation clearly demonstrate that the dramatic loss of high-frequency S wavefield from the plate into the surrounding mantle occurred due to the variation in the plate geometry (i.e., thinning of the plate) at depth near the source rather than due to variation in physical properties, such as due to the lowered-Q and weaker heterogeneities in the plate. The presence of such a thin zone defocuses the high-frequency slab-guided S wave energy from the subducting plate into the surrounding mantle and acts as a geometric antiwaveguide. Based on the sequence of simulation results obtained, we propose thinning of Pacific Plate at depth subducting beneath northeastern Japan, localized to central part of Honshu, in agreement with the observations.

  12. High-resolution image of the geometry and thickness of the subducting Nazca lithosphere beneath northern Chile (United States)

    Sodoudi, F.; Yuan, X.; Asch, G.; Kind, R.


    Results obtained from S and P receiver functions produced a clear image of the top and bottom of the subducting Nazca lithosphere beneath northern Chile. Using data from the teleseismic events recorded at 15 permanent Integrated Plate Boundary Observatory Chile (IPOC) stations, we obtained new constraints on the geometry and thickness of the descending Nazca lithosphere. We observed the subducted crust of the Nazca plate at depths ranging from 50 km beneath the Coastal Cordillera down to 110 km beneath the Western Cordillera. We found significant along-strike variations in the geometry of the Nazca plate beneath northern Chile. On closer inspection, it appears that the oceanic Nazca plate is divided into two distinct segments as it descends beneath the continental South American plate. The transition from the relatively steeper (˜23°) and deeper slab to the north of 21°S to the flatter southern segment (˜19°) is shown reasonably clearly by our data. This feature could well be associated with variations in the curvature of the plate margin and the geometry of the Chile trench, which is mainly curved to the north of 21°S. We have also mapped the continental Moho of the South American plate at depths ranging between 60 and 70 km to the east of the Longitudinal Valley. Beneath the Coastal Cordillera, this boundary becomes invisible, probably due to the serpentinization of the forearc mantle wedge that reduces the velocity in the uppermost mantle. The base of the subducted Nazca plate was clearly identified as a sharp boundary in the results obtained from the P and S receiver functions. The thickness of the subducted oceanic Nazca plate, which has an age of ˜50 My, is estimated to be ˜50 km. Although this thickness is consistent with that predicted by thermal gradients, the explanation of the sharpness of the lithosphere-asthenosphere boundary may require another mechanism such as hydration or melting.

  13. Effect of aseismic ridge subduction on slab geometry and overriding plate deformation: Insights from analogue modeling (United States)

    Martinod, Joseph; Guillaume, Benjamin; Espurt, Nicolas; Faccenna, Claudio; Funiciello, Francesca; Regard, Vincent


    We present analogue models simulating the subduction of a buoyant ridge oriented perpendicularly or obliquely with respect to the trench, beneath an advancing overriding plate. The convergence velocity is imposed by lateral boundary conditions in this experimental set. We analyze the three-dimensional geometry of the slab, the deformation and topography of the overriding plate. Experiments suggest that ridge subduction diminishes the dip of the slab, eventually leading to the appearance of a horizontal slab segment in case boundary conditions impose a rapid convergence. This result contrasts with that obtained in free subduction experiments, in which ridge subduction diminishes the convergence velocity which, in turn, increases the dip of the slab beneath the ridge. The slab dip decrease is accompanied by the indentation of the overriding plate by the ridge, resulting in arc curvature. Experiments suggest that indentation is larger for small convergence velocity and large slab dip. Ridge subduction also uplifts the overriding plate. Uplift first occurs close to the trench (~ fore-arc area) and is accompanied by the flexural subsidence of the overriding plate behind the uplifted area (~ back-arc subsidence). The uplifted area migrates within the overriding plate interiors following the appearance of a horizontal slab segment. These results are compared with natural examples of ridge subduction in the circum-Pacific area. They explain why ridge subduction may have contrasted effects on the overriding plate dynamics depending on the global conditions that constrain the converging system.

  14. Collapse of the northern Jalisco continental slope:Subduction erosion, forearc slivering, or subduction beneath the Tres Marias escarpment? (United States)

    Bandy, W. L.; Mortera-Gutierrez, C. A.; Ortiz-Zamora, G.; Ortega-Ramirez, J.; Galindo Dominguez, R. E.; Ponce-Núñez, F.; Pérez-Calderón, D.; Rufino-Contreras, I.; Valle-Hernández, S.; Pérez-González, E.


    The Jalisco subduction zone exhibits several interesting characteristics. Among these is that convergence between the Rivera and North American plate is highly oblique, especially north of 20N, the obliquity progressively increasing to the NW. By analogy to other better studied subduction zones, this distribution of forces should produce a NW-SE extension in the overriding plate, especially north of 20N. This has led to the proposal that the trench perpendicular Bahia de Banderas is an expression of this extension [Kostoglodov and Bandy, JGR, vol. 100, 1995]. To further investigate this proposal, multibeam bathymetric data and seafloor backscatter images, seismic reflection sub-bottom profiles and marine magnetic data were collected during the MORTIC08 campaign of the B.O. EL PUMA in March 2009. The bathymetric data provides for 100% coverage (20 to 200 meter spacing of the actual measured depth value depending on the water depth) of the continental slope and trench areas north of 20N. These data indicate that a marked change occurs in the morphology of the continental slope at 20N. To the north the slope consists of a broad, fairly flat plain lying between a steep lower inner trench slope to the west and a steep, concave seaward, escarpment to the east. In contrast, to the south the continental slope exhibits a more gradual deepening until the steep lower inner trench slope. A prominent submarine canyon deeply incises the continental slope between these two morphotectonic domains. This canyon appears to represent the boundary between two NW-SE diverging forearc blocks or slivers, consistent with the presence of oblique convergence. In contrast, the broad, fairly flat plain is better explained by subsidence induced by subduction erosion (i.e. erosion of the base of the overriding plate underneath the continental slope area). The shoaling of the trench axis northward towards the Puerto Vallarta Graben and subsequent deepening may be related to subduction of the

  15. Tomographic evidence for a subducted seamount beneath the Gulf of Nicoya, Costa Rica: The cause of the 1990 Mw = 7.0 Gulf of Nicoya earthquake (United States)

    Husen, S.; Kissling, E.; Quintero, R.


    Tomographic images constrain the existence of a subducted seamount beneath the Gulf of Nicoya, Costa Rica. The subducted seamount is found at a depth of 30 km within the rupture area of the March 25, 1990, Mw = 7.0 Gulf of Nicoya earthquake. The Gulf of Nicoya earthquake was a typical thrust-type subduction earthquake and occurred on a shallow dipping thrust fault parallel or along the boundary between the subducting Cocos plate and the overriding plate. Precise relocation of the mainshock and its aftershocks in a 3-D P-wave velocity model shows that the area of the mainshock rupture is coincident with the imaged subducted seamount. Most of the aftershocks are relocated within or close to the inferred subducted seamount above the subducting oceanic plate. We interpret the subducted seamount as an asperity whose rupture caused the 1990 Gulf of Nicoya earthquake.

  16. Can slabs melt beneath forearcs in hot subduction zones? (United States)

    Ribeiro, J.; Maury, R.; Gregoire, M.


    At subduction zones, thermal modeling predict that the shallow part of the downgoing oceanic crust (test the hypothesis that adakites are pristine slab melts. We find that adakites from Baja California and Philippines formed by two distinct petrogenetic scenarios. In Baja California, hydrous mantle melts mixed/mingled with high-pressure (HP) adakite-type, slab melts within a lower crustal (~30 km depth) magma storage region before stalling into the upper arc crust (~7-15 km depth). In contrast, in the Philippines, primitive mantle melts stalled and crystallized within lower and upper crustal magma storage regions to produce silica-rich melts with an adakitic signature. Thereby, slab melting is not required to produce an adakitic geochemical fingerprint in hot subduction zones. However, our results also suggest that the downgoing crust potentially melted beneath Baja California.

  17. Trench-parallel flow beneath the nazca plate from seismic anisotropy. (United States)

    Russo, R M; Silver, P G


    Shear-wave splitting of S and SKS phases reveals the anisotropy and strain field of the mantle beneath the subducting Nazca plate, Cocos plate, and the Caribbean region. These observations can be used to test models of mantle flow. Two-dimensional entrained mantle flow beneath the subducting Nazca slab is not consistent with the data. Rather, there is evidence for horizontal trench-parallel flow in the mantle beneath the Nazca plate along much of the Andean subduction zone. Trench-parallel flow is attributale utable to retrograde motion of the slab, the decoupling of the slab and underlying mantle, and a partial barrier to flow at depth, resulting in lateral mantle flow beneath the slab. Such flow facilitates the transfer of material from the shrinking mantle reservoir beneath the Pacific basin to the growing mantle reservoir beneath the Atlantic basin. Trenchparallel flow may explain the eastward motions of the Caribbean and Scotia sea plates, the anomalously shallow bathymetry of the eastern Nazca plate, the long-wavelength geoid high over western South America, and it may contribute to the high elevation and intense deformation of the central Andes.

  18. Tomography reveals buoyant asthenosphere accumulating beneath the Juan de Fuca plate (United States)

    Hawley, William B.; Allen, Richard M.; Richards, Mark A.


    The boundary between Earth’s strong lithospheric plates and the underlying mantle asthenosphere corresponds to an abrupt seismic velocity decrease and electrical conductivity increase with depth, perhaps indicating a thin, weak layer that may strongly influence plate motion dynamics. The behavior of such a layer at subduction zones remains unexplored. We present a tomographic model, derived from on- and offshore seismic experiments, that reveals a strong low-velocity feature beneath the subducting Juan de Fuca slab along the entire Cascadia subduction zone. Through simple geodynamic arguments, we propose that this low-velocity feature is the accumulation of material from a thin, weak, buoyant layer present beneath the entire oceanic lithosphere. The presence of this feature could have major implications for our understanding of the asthenosphere and subduction zone dynamics.

  19. Along-strike variation in subducting plate velocity induced by along-strike variation in overriding plate structure: Insights from 3D numerical models (United States)

    Rodríguez-González, Juan; Billen, Magali I.; Negredo, Ana M.; Montesi, Laurent G. J.


    Subduction dynamics can be understood as the result of the balance between driving and resisting forces. Previous work has traditionally regarded gravitational slab pull and viscous mantle drag as the main driving and resistive forces for plate motion respectively. However, this paradigm fails to explain many of the observations in subduction zones. For example, subducting plate velocity varies significantly along-strike in many subduction zones and this variation is not correlated to the age of subducting lithosphere. Here we present three-dimensional and time-dependent numerical models of subduction. We show that along-strike variations of the overriding plate thermal structure can lead to along-strike variations in subducting plate velocity. In turn, velocity variations lead to significant migration of the Euler pole over time. Our results show that the subducting plate is slower beneath the colder portion of the overriding plate due to two related mechanisms. First, the mantle wedge beneath the colder portion of the overriding plate is more viscous, which increases mantle drag. Second, where the mantle wedge is more viscous, hydrodynamic suction increases, leading to a lower slab dip. Both factors contribute to decreasing subducting plate velocity in the region; therefore, if the overriding plate is not uniform, the resulting velocity varies significantly along-strike, which causes the Euler pole to migrate closer to the subducting plate. We present a new mechanism to explain observations of subducting plate velocity in the Cocos and Nazca plates. These results shed new light on the balance of forces that control subduction dynamics and prove that future studies should take into consideration the three-dimensional structure of the overriding plate.

  20. Preliminary results of characteristic seismic anisotropy beneath Sunda-Banda subduction-collision zone (United States)

    Wiyono, Samsul H.; Nugraha, Andri Dian


    Determining of seismic anisotropy allowed us for understanding the deformation processes that occured in the past and present. In this study, we performed shear wave splitting to characterize seismic anisotropy beneath Sunda-Banda subduction-collision zone. For about 1,610 XKS waveforms from INATEWS-BMKG networks have been analyzed. From its measurements showed that fast polarization direction is consistent with trench-perpendicular orientation but several stations presented different orientation. We also compared between fast polarization direction with absolute plate motion in the no net rotation and hotspot frame. Its result showed that both absolute plate motion frame had strong correlation with fast polarization direction. Strong correlation between the fast polarization direction and the absolute plate motion can be interpreted as the possibility of dominant anisotropy is in the asthenosphere..

  1. Preliminary results of characteristic seismic anisotropy beneath Sunda-Banda subduction-collision zone

    Energy Technology Data Exchange (ETDEWEB)

    Wiyono, Samsul H., E-mail: [Study Program of Earth Sciences, Faculty of Earth Sciences and Technology, Institute of Technology Bandung, Bandung 40132 (Indonesia); Indonesia’s Agency for Meteorology Climatology and Geophysics, Jakarta 10610 (Indonesia); Nugraha, Andri Dian, E-mail: [Indonesia’s Agency for Meteorology Climatology and Geophysics, Jakarta 10610 (Indonesia); Global Geophysics Research Group, Faculty of Mining and Petroleum Engineering, Institute of Technology Bandung, Bandung 40132, Indonesia, Phone: +62-22 2534137 (Indonesia)


    Determining of seismic anisotropy allowed us for understanding the deformation processes that occured in the past and present. In this study, we performed shear wave splitting to characterize seismic anisotropy beneath Sunda-Banda subduction-collision zone. For about 1,610 XKS waveforms from INATEWS-BMKG networks have been analyzed. From its measurements showed that fast polarization direction is consistent with trench-perpendicular orientation but several stations presented different orientation. We also compared between fast polarization direction with absolute plate motion in the no net rotation and hotspot frame. Its result showed that both absolute plate motion frame had strong correlation with fast polarization direction. Strong correlation between the fast polarization direction and the absolute plate motion can be interpreted as the possibility of dominant anisotropy is in the asthenosphere.

  2. Repeating deep tremors on the plate interface beneath Kyushu, southwest Japan (United States)

    Yabe, Suguru; Ide, Satoshi


    In the subduction zone south of Kyushu Island, at the western extension of the Nankai subduction zone, southwest Japan, the age of the oceanic crust increases toward the south across the subducting Kyushu-Palau ridge. While tremor activity is very high in Nankai, tectonic tremors have only recently been discovered in Kyushu. In this study, we examined tremors beneath Kyushu using an improved version of the envelope correlation method. In doing so, we distinguished tremors from normal earthquakes and background noise using the criteria of source duration and the spectrum ratio between low and high frequencies. Accurate measurement of S- P times, using cross-correlation between vertical and horizontal seismograms, constrains the tremor depth precisely. Tremor activity is low and within a small region in southern Kyushu, where thick crust of the Kyushu-Palau ridge is being subducted, at depths between 35 and 45 km (i.e., shallower than intra-slab earthquakes by about 20 km), which is consistent with the location of the plate interface within uncertainties proposed in previous studies. Establishing precise depth estimates for tectonic tremors beneath Kyushu, which results from shear slip along the plate interface, is useful in defining the plate interface within the Nankai subduction zone.


    Directory of Open Access Journals (Sweden)

    Monsalve J Hugo


    Full Text Available A geometric model for the subduction of the Nazca plate beneath the South American plate in southwestern of Colombia is proposed based on the relocation of hypocenters of local and distant
    earthquakes. By means of the simultaneous inversion of teleseismic P and SH body waves, the depths of the 15 events with Mw ≥ 5.8 were constrained, and the hypocenters of the 250 earthquakes recorded
    between 1990 and 2005 by the International Seismological Centre (ISC and U.S. Geological Survey, National Earthquake Information Center (NEIC were constrained and relocated. A model is proposed
    for the hypocentral sections taking into account the trench along of the Earth and Colombia-Ecuador.
    Three different possible shapes of subduction of the Nazca plate in the Colombia-Ecuador trench were obtained: The first configuration, in the Cali A segment, the dip angle changes from17º to 45º down to a maximum depth of 100km; the second configuration, in the Popayán B and Nariño C segments, the dip angle holds approximately constant at 30º down to a maximum depth of 200 km; and the third configuration, in the Quito D segment, the dip angle changes of 9º to 50º to a maximum depth 220 km. The maximum depth of seismicity along the Colombia-Ecuador trench shows two increases, the first between latitudes 4.5ºN-5ºN and the second between the latitudes 1ºS-2ºS, which suggest that the presence of the Malpelo and Carnegie Ridges may generate a differential blockage at the Pacific Colombia-Ecuador basin.

  4. The Interdependence of Plate Coupling Processes, Subduction Rate, and Asthenospheric Pressure Drop across Subducting Slabs (United States)

    Royden, L.; Holt, A.; Becker, T. W.


    One advantage of analytical models, in which analytic expressions are used for the various components of the subduction system, is the efficient exploration of parameter space and identification of the physical mechanisms controlling a wide breadth of slab kinematics. We show that, despite subtle differences in how plate interfaces and boundary conditions are implemented, results for single subduction from a 3-D semi-analytical model for subduction FAST (Royden & Husson, 2006; Jagoutz et al., 2015) and from the numerical finite-element model CitcomCU (Moresi & Gurnis, 1996, Zhong et al., 2006) are in excellent agreement when plate coupling (via shear stress on the plate interface) takes place in the FAST without the development of topographic relief at the plate boundary. Results from the two models are consistent across a variety of geometries, with fixed upper plate, fixed lower plate, and stress-free plate ends. When the analytical model is modified to include the development of topography above the subduction boundary, subduction rates are greatly increased, indicating a strong sensitivity of subduction to the mode of plate coupling. Rates of subduction also correlate strongly with the asthenospheric pressure drop across the subducting slab, which drives toroidal flow of the asthenosphere around the slab. When the lower plate is fixed, subduction is relatively slow and the pressure drop from below to above the slab is large, inhibiting subduction and slab roll-back. When the upper plate is fixed and when the plate ends are stress-free, subduction rates are approximately 50% faster and the corresponding asthenospheric pressure drop from below to above the slab is small, facilitating rapid subduction. This qualitative correlation between plate coupling processes, asthenospheric pressure drop, and rates of subduction can be extended to systems with more than one subduction zone (Holt et al., 2015 AGU Fall Abstract). Jagoutz, O., Royden, L., Holt, A. & Becker, T. W

  5. Are diamond-bearing Cretaceous kimberlites related to low-angle subduction beneath western North America? (United States)

    Currie, Claire A.; Beaumont, Christopher


    Diamond-bearing Cretaceous kimberlites of western North America were emplaced 1000-1500 km inboard of the Farallon plate subduction margin and overlap with the development of the Western Interior Seaway, shut-down of the Sierra Nevada arc, and the Laramide orogeny. These events are consistent with a decrease in subduction angle along much of the margin, which placed the subducted Farallon plate in close proximity to the continental interior at the time of kimberlite magmatism. Our numerical models demonstrate that low-angle subduction can result from high plate convergence velocities and enhanced westward motion of North America. Further, rapid subduction allows hydrous minerals to remain stable within the cool interior of the subducting plate to more than 1200 km from the trench. Destabilization of these minerals provides a fluid source that can infiltrate the overlying material, potentially triggering partial melting and kimberlite/lamproite magmatism.

  6. Developing the plate tectonics from oceanic subduction to continental collision

    Institute of Scientific and Technical Information of China (English)

    ZHENG YongFei; YE Kai; ZHANG LiFei


    The studies of continental deep subduction and ultrahigh-pressure metamorphism have not only promoted the development of solid earth science in China,but also provided an excellent opportunity to advance the plate tectonics theory.In view of the nature of subducted crust,two types of subduction and collision have been respectively recognized in nature.On one hand,the crustal subduction occurs due to underflow of either oceanic crust (Pacific type) or continental crust (Alpine type).On the other hand,the continental collision proceeds by arc-continent collision (Himalaya-Tibet type) or continent-continent collision (Dabie-Sulu type).The key issues in the future study of continental dynamics are the chemical changes and differential exhumation in continental deep subduction zones,and the temporal-spatial transition from oceanic subduction to continental subduction.

  7. The 2014 Mw6.2 Eketahuna earthquake, Hikurangi subduction zone - normal faulting in the subducted Pacific Plate crust (United States)

    Abercrombie, R. E.; Bannister, S. C.; Francois-Holden, C.; Hamling, I. J.; Ristau, J. P.


    The 2014 January 20th M6.2 Eketahuna earthquake occurred in the subducted crust of the Pacific plate at the Hikurangi subduction zone, beneath North Island, New Zealand. Moment tensor analysis together with aftershock relocations show that this event was an oblique-normal faulting intraplate event, with hypocentre depth ca.30 km, and with rupture on a northwest-dipping fault extending through the subducted crust up to the subduction megathrust at ca.18-20 km depth. More than 3500 aftershocks were subsequently recorded by the New Zealand GeoNet network, with only minor migration of the aftershocks away from the inferred mainshock rupture, and with very few aftershocks within +/- 1 km of the subduction megathrust. The megathrust in this particular region is inferred to be interseismically locked with no seismic or aseismic slip, although slow slip is occurring ca.15-30 km down-dip (Wallace et al, 2013). Similar oblique-normal faulting events have previously occurred along the Hikurangi subduction margin, including in 1985 (ML5.7) and 1990 (Mw6.2). Earlier earthquakes in 1942 (Mw6.8) and 1921 (Mw6.8) are also inferred to have occurred at a similar depth within the subducted crust. The 1990 earthquake sequence occurred ~40 km along-strike from the 2014 Eketahuna event, and involved a Mw6.2 oblique-normal faulting event in the subducted crust, which was quickly followed by a Mw6.4 event in the overlying crust, with both thrust and dextral strike-slip components, possibly responding to deeper aseismic slip. Deeper earthquakes of similar type at other subduction margins are thought to be high stress drop. We calculate the stress drops of the mainshock and larger aftershocks, using a direct wave, empirical Green's function (EGF) approach that includes measurement uncertainties and objective criteria for assessing the quality of each spectral ratio (Abercrombie, 2013). We compare the results to those for earthquakes in other tectonic regions of New Zealand, calculated using

  8. Subduction or delamination beneath the Apennines? Evidence from regional tomography

    NARCIS (Netherlands)

    Koulakov, I.; Jakovlev, A.; Zabelina, I.; Roure, F.; Cloetingh, S.; El Khrepy, S.; Al-Arifi, N.


    In this study we present a new regional tomography model of the upper mantle beneath Italy and the surrounding area derived from the inversion of travel times of P and S waves from the updated International Seismological Centre (ISC) catalogue. Beneath Italy, we identify a high-velocity anomaly whic

  9. Understanding seismic heterogeneities in the lower mantle beneath the Americas from seismic tomography and plate tectonic history

    NARCIS (Netherlands)

    Ren, Y.; Stutzmann, E.; Hilst, R.D. van der; Besse, J.


    We combine results from seismic tomography and plate motion history to investigate slabs of subducted lithosphere in the lower mantle beneath the Americas. Using broadband waveform cross correlation, we measured 37,000 differential P and S traveltimes, 2000 PcP-P and ScS-S times along a wide corrido

  10. Understanding seismic heterogeneities in the lower mantle beneath the Americas from seismic tomography and plate tectonic history

    NARCIS (Netherlands)

    Ren, Y.; Stutzmann, E.; Hilst, R.D. van der; Besse, J.


    We combine results from seismic tomography and plate motion history to investigate slabs of subducted lithosphere in the lower mantle beneath the Americas. Using broadband waveform cross correlation, we measured 37,000 differential P and S traveltimes, 2000 PcP-P and ScS-S times along a wide corrido

  11. The subduction dichotomy of strong plates and weak slabs (United States)

    Petersen, Robert I.; Stegman, Dave R.; Tackley, Paul J.


    A key element of plate tectonics on Earth is that the lithosphere is subducting into the mantle. Subduction results from forces that bend and pull the lithosphere into the interior of the Earth. Once subducted, lithospheric slabs are further modified by dynamic forces in the mantle, and their sinking is inhibited by the increase in viscosity of the lower mantle. These forces are resisted by the material strength of the lithosphere. Using geodynamic models, we investigate several subduction models, wherein we control material strength by setting a maximum viscosity for the surface plates and the subducted slabs independently. We find that models characterized by a dichotomy of lithosphere strengths produce a spectrum of results that are comparable to interpretations of observations of subduction on Earth. These models have strong lithospheric plates at the surface, which promotes Earth-like single-sided subduction. At the same time, these models have weakened lithospheric subducted slabs which can more easily bend to either lie flat or fold into a slab pile atop the lower mantle, reproducing the spectrum of slab morphologies that have been interpreted from images of seismic tomography.

  12. Mantle flow geometry from ridge to trench beneath the Gorda-Juan de Fuca plate system (United States)

    Martin-Short, Robert; Allen, Richard M.; Bastow, Ian D.; Totten, Eoghan; Richards, Mark A.


    Tectonic plates are underlain by a low-viscosity mantle layer, the asthenosphere. Asthenospheric flow may be induced by the overriding plate or by deeper mantle convection. Shear strain due to this flow can be inferred using the directional dependence of seismic wave speeds--seismic anisotropy. However, isolation of asthenospheric signals is challenging; most seismometers are located on continents, whose complex structure influences the seismic waves en route to the surface. The Cascadia Initiative, an offshore seismometer deployment in the US Pacific Northwest, offers the opportunity to analyse seismic data recorded on simpler oceanic lithosphere. Here we use measurements of seismic anisotropy across the Juan de Fuca and Gorda plates to reconstruct patterns of asthenospheric mantle shear flow from the Juan de Fuca mid-ocean ridge to the Cascadia subduction zone trench. We find that the direction of fastest seismic wave motion rotates with increasing distance from the mid-ocean ridge to become aligned with the direction of motion of the Juan de Fuca Plate, implying that this plate influences mantle flow. In contrast, asthenospheric mantle flow beneath the Gorda Plate does not align with Gorda Plate motion and instead aligns with the neighbouring Pacific Plate motion. These results show that asthenospheric flow beneath the small, slow-moving Gorda Plate is controlled largely by advection due to the much larger, faster-moving Pacific Plate.

  13. Stress in the contorted Nazca Plate beneath southern Peru from local earthquakes (United States)

    Schneider, John F.; Sacks, I. Selwyn


    We study earthquake focal mechanisms in a region of highly contorted subducting lithosphere to identify dominant sources of stress in the subduction process. We observe a stress pattern in the contorted Nazca plate beneath southern Peru from an analysis of hypocentral trend and focal mechanisms of intermediate-depth earthquakes. Expanding on previous studies, we examine the hypocentral trend using 1673 of 2178 well-located local events from the nine-station Arequipa network. The dip of the plate beneath southern Peru averages 25°-30° from 25- to 100-km depth. Below this depth there is an 80- to 100-km-wide contortion between a zone of increasing dip (convex) to the southeast and a flat lying (concave) zone to the northwest. Using more than 6000 P wave first motions of events deeper than 50 km, we derive stress orientations from a moving average of composite focal mechanisms across a 200 by 350 km region including the contortion. The in-plate distribution of tension (T) and compression (P) axes reveals a coherent stress pattern. The trend is most clear beneath south-central Peru (NW section) and below 100- km depth in southernmost Peru (SE section). Both T and P axes tend to be dominantly in plate, especially below 100-km depth. T axes orient toward the contortion in a fan-shaped trend, which suggests that the deepest part of the seismic zone, within the convex SE section, is sinking and pulling the more buoyant NW section. We conclude that from 50- to 200-km depth, slab-pull forces are dominant in the observed stress. Our results suggest that a significant amount of plate extension occurs in this region of intermediate-depth subduction.

  14. Imaging the megathrust zone and Yakutat/Pacific plate interface in the Alaska subduction zone (United States)

    Kim, Y.; Abers, G. A.; Li, J.; Christensen, D. H.; Rondenay, S.


    We image the subducted slab underneath a 450 km long transect of the Alaska subduction zone. Dense stations in southern Alaska are set up to investigate (1) the geometry and velocity structure of the downgoing plate and their relationship to slab seismicity, and (2) the interplate coupled zone where the great 1964 earthquake (magnitude 9.3) exhibited the largest amount of rupture. The joint teleseismic migration of two array datasets based on teleseismic receiver functions (RFs) reveals a prominent, shallow-dipping low-velocity layer at ~25-30 km depth in southern Alaska. Modeling of RF amplitudes suggests the existence of a thin (3-5 km) low-velocity layer (shear wave velocity of ~2.0-2.5 km/s) that is ~20-40% slower than underlying oceanic crustal velocities, and is sandwiched between the subducted slab and the overriding North America plate. The observed low-velocity megathrust layer (with P-to-S velocity ratio of 1.9-2.3) may be due to a thick sediment input from the trench in combination with elevated pore fluid pressure in the channel. The subducted crust below the low-velocity channel has gabbroic velocities with a thickness of ~15 km. Both velocities and thickness of the low-velocity channel abruptly increase downdip in central Alaska, which agrees with previously published results. Our image also includes an unusually thick low-velocity crust subducting with a ~20 degree dip down to 130 km depth at approximately 200 km inland beneath central Alaska. The unusual nature of this subducted segment has been suggested to be due to the subduction of the Yakutat terrane. We also show a clear image of the Yakutat and Pacific plate subduction beneath the Kenai Peninsula, and the along-strike boundary between them at megathrust depths. Our imaged western edge of the Yakutat terrane, at 25-30 km depth in the central Kenai along the megathrust, aligns with the western end of a geodetically locked patch with high slip deficit, and coincides with the boundary of

  15. Imaging megathrust zone and Yakutat/Pacific plate interface in Alaska subduction zone (United States)

    Kim, Y.; Abers, G. A.; Li, J.; Christensen, D. H.; Calkins, J. A.


    We image the subducted slab underneath a 450 km long transect of the Alaska subduction zone. Dense stations in southern Alaska are set up to investigate (1) the geometry and velocity structure of the downgoing plate and their relation to slab seismicity, and (2) the interplate coupled zone where the great 1964 (magnitude 9.3) had greatest rupture. The joint teleseismic migration of two array datasets (MOOS, Multidisciplinary Observations of Onshore Subduction, and BEAAR, Broadband Experiment Across the Alaska Range) based on teleseismic receiver functions (RFs) using the MOOS data reveal a shallow-dipping prominent low-velocity layer at ~25-30 km depth in southern Alaska. Modeling of these RF amplitudes shows a thin (plate. The observed low-velocity megathrust layer (with P-to-S velocity ratio (Vp/Vs) exceeding 2.0) may be due to a thick sediment input from the trench in combination of elevated pore fluid pressure in the channel. The subducted crust below the low-velocity channel has gabbroic velocities with a thickness of 11-12 km. Both velocities and thickness of the low-velocity channel abruptly increase as the slab bends in central Alaska, which agrees with previously published RF results. Our image also includes an unusually thick low-velocity crust subducting with a ~20 degree dip down to 130 km depth at approximately 200 km inland beneath central Alaska. The unusual nature of this subducted segment has been suggested to be due to the subduction of the Yakutat terrane. We also show a clear image of the Yakutat and Pacific plate subduction beneath the Kenai Peninsula, and the along-strike boundary between them at megathrust depths. Our imaged western edge of the Yakutat terrane, at 25-30 km depth in the central Kenai along the megathrust, aligns with the western end of the geodetically locked patch with high slip deficit, and coincides with the boundary of aftershock events from the 1964 earthquake. It seems plausible that this sharp change in the nature of

  16. Complex morphology of subducted lithosphere in the mantle beneath the Tonga trench

    NARCIS (Netherlands)

    Hilst, R.D. van der


    At the Tonga trench, old Pacific sea floor subducts at a rapid rate below the Indo-Australia plate, generating most of the world's deep earthquakes and producing a deep slab of former oceanic lithosphere.

  17. Dynamics and Upper Mantle Structure Beneath the Northwestern Andes: Subduction Segments, Moho Depth, and Possible Relationships to Mantle Flow (United States)

    Monsalve, G.; Yarce, J.; Becker, T. W.; Porritt, R. W.; Cardona, A.; Poveda, E.; Posada, G. A.


    The northwestern South American plate shows a complex tectonic setting whose causes and relationship to mantle structure are still debated. We combine different techniques to elucidate some of the links between slabs and surface deformation in Colombia. Crustal structure beneath the Northern Andes was inferred from receiver functions where we find thicknesses of nearly 60 km beneath the plateau of the Eastern Cordillera and underneath the southern volcanic area of the Central Cordillera. We infer that such crustal thickening resulted from shortening, magmatic addition, and accretion-subduction. Analyses of relative teleseismic travel time delays and estimates of residual surface topography based on our new crustal model suggest that there are at least two subduction segments underneath the area. The Caribbean slab lies at a low angle beneath northernmost Colombia and steepens beneath the Eastern Cordillera. Such steepening is indicated by negative travel time relative residuals in the area of the Bucaramanga Nest, implying a cold anomaly in the upper mantle, and by positive residual topography just off the east of this area, perhaps generated by slab-associated return flow. Results for the western Andes and the Pacific coastal plains are consistent with "normal" subduction of the Nazca plate: travel time relative residuals there are predominantly positive, and the residual topography shows an W-E gradient, going from positive at the Pacific coastline to negative at the Magdalena Valley, which separates the eastern cordillera from the rest of the Colombian Andean system. Azimuthal analysis of relative travel time residuals further suggests the presence of seismically slow materials beneath the central part of the Eastern Cordillera. Azimuthal anisotropy from SKS splitting in that region indicates that seismically fast orientations do not follow plate convergence, different from what we find for the western Colombian Andes and the Caribbean and Pacific coastal plains

  18. Tectonic implications of tomographic images of subducted lithosphere beneath northwestern South America

    NARCIS (Netherlands)

    Hilst, R.D. van der; Mann, P.


    We used seismic tomography to investigate the complex structure of the upper mantle below northwestern South America. Images of slab structure not delineated by previous seismicity studies help us to refine existing tectonic models of subducted Caribbean-Pacific lithosphere beneath the study area. B

  19. Three-dimensional numerical modeling of temperature and mantle flow fields associated with subduction of the Philippine Sea plate, southwest Japan (United States)

    Ji, Yingfeng; Yoshioka, Shoichi; Matsumoto, Takumi


    We investigated temperature and mantle flow distributions associated with subduction of the Philippine Sea (PHS) plate beneath southwest Japan, by constructing a three-dimensional parallelepiped model incorporating a past clockwise rotation, the bathymetry of the Philippine Sea plate, and distribution of the subducting velocity within its slab. The geometry of the subducting plate was inferred from contemporary seismic studies and was used as a slab guide integrated with historical plate rotation into the 3-D simulation. Using the model, we estimated a realistic and high-resolution temperature field on the subduction plate interface, which was constrained by a large number of heat flow data, and attempted to clarify its relationship with occurrences of megathrust earthquakes, long-term slow slip events (L-SSEs), and nonvolcanic low-frequency earthquakes (LFEs). Results showed that the oblique subduction coupled with the 3-D geometry of subducting PHS plate was a key factor affecting the interplate and intraplate temperature distributions, leading to a cold anomaly in the plate interface beneath western Shikoku, the Bungo Channel, and the Kii Peninsula. Temperatures in the slab core in these regions at a depth near the continental Moho were nearly 200°C lower than that in eastern Shikoku, indicating a high thermal lateral heterogeneity within the subducting plate. The geothermal control of the LFEs beneath western Shikoku was estimated to be within a range from 400 to 700°C, and the interplate temperature for the L-SSEs with a slip larger than 15 cm beneath the Bungo Channel was estimated to be approximately 350-500°C. A large horizontal temperature gradient of 2.5 ~ °C/km was present where the LFEs occurred repeatedly. The steep temperature change was likely to be related to the metamorphic phase transformation from lawsonite or blueschist to amphibolite of hydrous minerals of the mid-ocean ridge basalt of the subducting PHS plate.

  20. Evidence for a large-scale remnant of subducted lithosphere beneath Fiji. (United States)

    Chen, W P; Brudzinski, M R


    We combine spatial variations of P- and S-wave speeds, 1000 fault plane solutions, and 6600 well-determined hypocenters to investigate the nature of subducted lithosphere and deep earthquakes beneath the Tonga back-arc. We show that perplexing patterns in seismicity and fault plane solutions can be accounted for by the juxtaposition of a steep-dipping Wadati-Benioff zone and a subhorizontal remnant of slab that is no longer attached to the actively subducting lithosphere. The detached slab may be from a previous episode of subduction along the fossil Vitiaz trench about 5 to 8 million years ago. The juxtaposition of slabs retains a large amount of subducted material in the transition zone of the mantle. Such a configuration, if common in the past, would allow the preservation of a primordial component in the lower mantle.

  1. Subduction of oceanic plate irregularities and seismicity distribution along the Mexican Subduction Zone (United States)

    Manea, Marina; Constantin Manea, Vlad; Gerya, Taras; Wong, Raul-Valenzuela; Radulian, Mircea


    It is known that oceanic plates morphology is not a simple one, but rather complicated by a series of irregularities as seamounts, fracture zones and mid-ocean ridges. These features present on the oceanic floor form part of the fabric of oceanic crust, and once formed they move together with the oceanic plates until eventually enter a subduction zone. Offshore Mexico the oceanic Cocos plate seafloor is littered with relatively small but numerous seamounts and seamount chains, and also large fracture zones. In this study we investigate the relationship between these oceanic irregularities located in the vicinity of the trench in Mexico and the distribution of subduction seismicity, including the rupture history of large subduction zone earthquakes. Since the interseismic locking degree is influenced by the rheological properties of crustal and mantle rocks, any variations along strike will result in significant changes in seismic behavior due to a change in frictional stability. Our preliminary study shows a direct relationship between the presence of seamounts chains on the incoming oceanic plate and the subduction seismicity distribution. We also found a clear relationship between the subduction of the Tehuantepec fracture zone (TFZ) and the low seismic activity in the region where this fracture zone intersects the trench. This region is also long term conspicuously quiet and considered a seismic gap where no significant large earthquake has occurred in more than 100 years. Using high-resolution three-dimensional coupled petrological-thermomechanical numerical simulations specifically tailored for the subduction of the Cocos plate in the region of TFZ we show that the weakened serpentinized fracture zone is partially scraped out in the forearc region because of its low strength and positive buoyancy. The presence of serpentinite in the fore arc apparently lowers the degree of interseismic locking, producing a seismic gap in southern Mexico.

  2. Are diamond-bearing Cretaceous kimberlites related to shallow-angle subduction beneath western North America? (United States)

    Currie, C. A.; Beaumont, C.


    The origin of deep-seated magmatism (in particular, kimberlites and lamproites) within continental plate interiors remains enigmatic in the context of plate tectonic theory. One hypothesis proposes a relationship between kimberlite occurrence and lithospheric subduction, such that a subducting plate releases fluids below a continental craton, triggering melting of the deep lithosphere and magmatism (Sharp, 1974; McCandless, 1999). This study provides a quantitative evaluation of this hypothesis, focusing on the Late Cretaceous- Eocene (105-50 Ma) kimberlites and lamproites of western North America. These magmas were emplaced along a corridor of Archean and Proterozoic lithosphere, 1000-1500 km inboard of the plate margin separating the subducting Farallon Plate and continental North America Plate. Kimberlite-lamproite magmatism coincides with tectonic events, including the Laramide orogeny, shut-down of the Sierra Nevada arc, and eastward migration of volcanism, that are commonly attributed to a change in Farallon Plate geometry to a shallow-angle trajectory (trench, where they may break down and release fluids that infiltrate the overlying craton lithosphere. This is supported by geochemical studies that indicate metasomatism of the Colorado Plateau and Wyoming craton mantle lithosphere by an aqueous fluid and/or silicate melt with a subduction signature. Through Cretaceous shallow-angle subduction, the Farallon Plate was in a position to mechanically and chemically interact with North American craton lithosphere at the time of kimberlite-lamproite magmatism, making the subduction hypothesis a viable mechanism for the genesis of these magmas. REFERENCES: McCandless, T.E., Proceedings of the 7th International Kimberlite Conference, v.2, pp.545-549, 1999; Sharp, W.E., Earth Planet. Sci. Lett., v.21, pp.351-354, 1974.

  3. Seismic evidence for tearing in the subducting Indian slab beneath the Andaman arc (United States)

    Kumar, Prakash; Srijayanthi, G.; Ravi Kumar, M.


    Segmentation of a subduction zone through tearing is envisaged as an inevitable consequence of the differential rate of slab rollback along the strike of convergent plate boundaries. It is a key feature that controls plate tectonics and seismogenesis in a subduction setting. Globally, lithospheric tears are mostly recognized by seismic tomography and seismicity trends. However, such an intriguing feature has never been imaged with high resolution. Here we present seismological evidence for tearing of the Indian oceanic plate at shallow depths along the Andaman arc. Our image of the subducted plate using the shear-wave receiver function technique reveals three distinct plate segments. The middle lithospheric chunk has an abrupt offset of ~20 km relative to the northern and southern segments along the entire stretch of Andaman-Nicobar Islands. We interpret that this abrupt offset in the base of the lithosphere is caused by the tearing of the subducted oceanic plate. For the plate age of ~80 to 60 Myr, the lithospheric thickness varies from ~40 to 70 km.

  4. Did growth of high Andes slow down Nazca plate subduction? (United States)

    Quinteros, J.; Sobolev, S. V.


    The convergence velocity rate of the Nazca and South-American plate and its variations during the last 100 My are quite well-known from the global plate reconstructions. The key observation is that the rate of Nazca plate subduction has decreased by about 2 times during last 20 Myr and particularly since 10 Ma. During the same time the Central Andes have grown to its present 3-4 km height. Based on the thin-shell model, coupled with mantle convection, it was suggested that slowing down of Nazca plate resulted from the additional load exerted by the Andes. However, the thin-shell model, that integrates stresses and velocities vertically and therefore has no vertical resolution, is not an optimal tool to model a subduction zone. More appropriate would be modeling it with full thermomechanical formulation and self-consistent subduction. We performed a set of experiments to estimate the influence that an orogen like the Andes could have on an ongoing subduction. We used an enhanced 2D version of the SLIM-3D code suitable to simulate the evolution of a subducting slab in a self-consistent manner (gravity driven) at vertical crossections through upper mantle, transition zone and shallower lower mantle. The model utilizes non-linear temperature- and stress-dependant visco-elasto-plastic rheology and phase transitions at 410 and 660 km depth. We started from a reference case with a similar configuration as both Nazca and South-America plates. After some Mys of slow kinematicaly imposed subduction, to develop a coherent thermo-mechanical state, subduction was totally dynamic. On the other cases, the crust was slowly thickened artificially during 10 My to generate the Andean topography. Although our first results show no substantial changes on the velocity pattern of the subduction, we, however, consider this result as preliminary. At the meeting we plan to report completed and verified modeling results and discuss other possible cases of the late Cenozoic slowing down of

  5. Investigation of mantle kinematics beneath the Hellenic-subduction zone with teleseismic direct shear waves (United States)

    Confal, Judith M.; Eken, Tuna; Tilmann, Frederik; Yolsal-Çevikbilen, Seda; Çubuk-Sabuncu, Yeşim; Saygin, Erdinc; Taymaz, Tuncay


    The subduction and roll-back of the African plate beneath the Eurasian plate along the arcuate Hellenic trench is the dominant geodynamic process in the Aegean and western Anatolia. Mantle flow and lithospheric kinematics in this region can potentially be understood better by mapping seismic anisotropy. This study uses direct shear-wave splitting measurements based on the Reference Station Technique in the southern Aegean Sea to reveal seismic anisotropy in the mantle. The technique overcomes possible contamination from source-side anisotropy on direct S-wave signals recorded at a station pair by maximizing the correlation between the seismic traces at reference and target stations after correcting the reference stations for known receiver-side anisotropy and the target stations for arbitrary splitting parameters probed via a grid search. We obtained splitting parameters at 35 stations with good-quality S-wave signals extracted from 81 teleseismic events. Employing direct S-waves enabled more stable and reliable splitting measurements than previously possible, based on sparse SKS data at temporary stations, with one to five events for local SKS studies, compared with an average of 12 events for each station in this study. The fast polarization directions mostly show NNE-SSW orientation with splitting time delays between 1.15 s and 1.62 s. Two stations in the west close to the Hellenic Trench and one in the east show N-S oriented fast polarizations. In the back-arc region three stations exhibit NE-SW orientation. The overall fast polarization variations tend to be similar to those obtained from previous SKS splitting studies in the region but indicate a more consistent pattern, most likely due to the usage of a larger number of individual observations in direct S-wave derived splitting measurements. Splitting analysis on direct shear waves typically resulted in larger split time delays compared to previous studies, possibly because S-waves travel along a longer path

  6. Influence of Subducting Plate Geometry on Upper Plate Deformation at Orogen Syntaxes: A Thermomechanical Modeling Approach (United States)

    Nettesheim, Matthias; Ehlers, Todd; Whipp, David


    Syntaxes are short, convex bends in the otherwise slightly concave plate boundaries of subduction zones. These regions are of scientific interest because some syntaxes (e.g., the Himalaya or St. Elias region in Alaska) exhibit exceptionally rapid, focused rock uplift. These areas have led to a hypothesized connection between erosional and tectonic processes (top-down control), but have so far neglected the unique 3D geometry of the subducting plates at these locations. In this study, we contribute to this discussion by exploring the idea that subduction geometry may be sufficient to trigger focused tectonic uplift in the overriding plate (a bottom-up control). For this, we use a fully coupled 3D thermomechanical model that includes thermochronometric age prediction. The downgoing plate is approximated as spherical indenter of high rigidity, whereas both viscous and visco-plastic material properties are used to model deformation in the overriding plate. We also consider the influence of the curvature of the subduction zone and the ratio of subduction velocity to subduction zone advance. We evaluate these models with respect to their effect on the upper plate exhumation rates and localization. Results indicate that increasing curvature of the indenter and a stronger upper crust lead to more focused tectonic uplift, whereas slab advance causes the uplift focus to migrate and thus may hinder the emergence of a positive feedback.

  7. The temporal evolution of a subducting plate in the lower mantle (United States)

    Loiselet, C.; Grujic, D.; Braun, J.; Fullsack, P.; Thieulot, C.; Yamato, P.


    It is now widely accepted that some subducting slabs may cross the lower/upper mantle boundary to ground below the 660 km discontinuity. Indeed, geophysical data underline long and narrow traces of fast materials, associated with subducting slabs, from the upper mantle transition zone to mid-mantle depths that are visible beneath North and South America and southern Asia (Li et al, 2008). Furthermore, seismic tomography data (Van der Hilst et al., 1997; Karason and van der Hilst, 2000, 2001) show a large variety of slab geometries and of mantle flow patterns around subducting plate boundaries (e.g. the slab geometry in the lower mantle in the Tonga subduction zone). However, seismic tomography does not elucidate the temporal evolution of the slab behaviour and geometry during its descent through the upper and lower mantle. In this work, we therefore propose to study the deformation of a thin plate (slab) falling in a viscous fluid (mantle) by means of both analogue and numerical modelling. The combination of both analogue and numerical experiments provides important insights into the shape and attitude evolution of subducting slabs. Models bring information into the controls exerted by the rheology of the slab and the mantle and other physical parameters such as the density contrast between the slab and the surrounding mantle, on the rate at which this deformation takes place. We show that in function of a viscosity ratios between the plate and the surrounding fluid, the plate will acquire a characteristic shape. For the isoviscous case, the plate shape tends toward a bubble with long tails: a "jellyfish" form. The time necessary for the plate to acquire this shape is a function of the viscosity and density contrast between the slab and the mantle. To complete our approach, we have developed a semi-analytical model based on the solution of the Hadamar-Rybinski equations for the problem of a dense, yet isoviscous and thus deforming sphere. This model helps to better

  8. Structure of the Lithosphere-Asthenosphere System Beneath the Juan de Fuca Plate: Results of Body Wave Imaging Using Cascadia Initiative Data (United States)

    Byrnes, J. S.; Toomey, D. R.; Hooft, E. E. E.


    The plate-scale deployment of ocean bottom seismometers (OBS) as part of the Cascadia Initiative (CI) of NSF provides a unique opportunity to study the structure and dynamics of the lithosphere-asthenosphere system beneath an entire oceanic plate, from its birth at a spreading center to its subduction beneath a continent. Here we present tomographic images of the seismic structure of oceanic upper mantle beneath the Juan de Fuca (JdF) and Gorda plates derived from body wave delay times. The results constrain structural anomalies beneath the JdF and Gorda spreading centers, the Blanco and Mendocino transform faults, near ridge hotspots such as Axial Seamount, and the upper mantle structure beneath the subducting oceanic lithosphere. We measured delay times of teleseismic P and S wave phases for the first two years of the CI. Our tomographic analysis assumes both isotropic and anisotropic starting models and accounts for finite-frequency effects and three-dimensional ray bending. Preliminary results indicate that the upper mantle structure beneath the JdF spreading center is asymmetric, with lower shear wave velocities beneath the Pacific plate (also the direction of ridge migration). On a regional scale, regions of lower seismic velocities beneath the JdF and Gorda spreading centers correlate with shallower ridge depths. Beneath the southern Gorda plate a low velocity anomaly is detected, which is absent to the north; this anomaly is bounded to the south by the Mendocino transform. Ongoing work includes analysis of the third year of CI data, which will improve resolution of structure and allow better definition of anomalies in the vicinity of the Blanco transform. In addition, we will combine ocean and continental data to obtain images of the Cascadia subduction zone.

  9. Thermal structure, coupling and metamorphism in the Mexican subduction zone beneath Guerrero (United States)

    Manea, V. C.; Manea, M.; Kostoglodov, V.; Currie, C. A.; Sewell, G.


    Temperature is one of the most important factors that controls the extent and location of the seismogenic coupled and transition, partially coupled segments of the subduction interplate fault. The width of the coupled fault inferred from the continuous GPS observations for the steady interseismic period and the transient width of the last slow aseismic slip event (Mw~ 7.5) that occurred in the Guerrero subduction zone in 2001-2002 extends up to 180-220 km from the trench. Previous thermal models do not consider this extremely wide coupled interface in Guerrero subduction zone that is characterized by shallow subhorizontal plate contact. In this study, a finite element model is applied to examine the temperature constraints on the width of the coupled area. The numerical scheme solves a system of 2-D Stokes equation and 2-D steady-state heat transfer equations. The updip limit of the coupling zone is taken between 100 and 150 °C, while the downdip limit is accepted at 450 °C as the transition from partial coupling to stable sliding. From the entire coupled zone, the seismogenic zone extends only up to ~82 km from the trench (inferred from the rupture width of large subduction thrust earthquakes), corresponding to the 250 °C isotherm. Only a small amount of frictional heating is needed to fit the intersection of the 450 °C isotherm and the subducting plate surface at 180-205 km from the trench. The calculated geotherms in the subducting slab and the phase diagram for MORB are used to estimate the metamorphic sequences within the oceanic subducting crust. A certain correlation exists between the metamorphic sequences and the variation of the coupling along the interplate fault.

  10. Topographies of seismic velocity discontinuities and penetrations of subducting slabs beneath the Sea of Okhotsk

    Institute of Scientific and Technical Information of China (English)


    The existence of discontinuities, the topographies of the 410 km and 660 km discontinuities, and the penetrations of subducting slabs near the 660 km discontinuities beneath the Sea of Okhotsk were studied using Nth root slant stack and digital records from networks in Germany and the western United States. Results show the obvious evidence for reflected and refractive phases associated with the 410 km and 660 km discontinuities. There may be discontinuities at other depths such as 150 km, 220 km and 520 km. The 410 km discontinuity is elevated and the 660 km discontinuity is depressed respectively, consistent with the expected thermal signature of the phase transitions. The subducting slab has penetrated into the lower mantle in the northern part of the Sea of Okhotsk, while it is stagnant on the 660 km discontinuity in the southern part.

  11. Seismic attenuation structure associated with episodic tremor and slip zone beneath Shikoku and the Kii peninsula, southwestern Japan, in the Nankai subduction zone (United States)

    Kita, Saeko; Matsubara, Makoto


    The three-dimensional seismic attenuation structure (frequency-independent Q) beneath southwestern Japan was analyzed using t* estimated by applying the S coda wave spectral ratio method to the waveform data from a dense permanent seismic network. The seismic attenuation (Qp-1) structure is clearly imaged for the region beneath Shikoku, the Kii peninsula, and eastern Kyushu at depths down to approximately 50 km. At depths of 5 to 35 km, the seismic attenuation structure changes at the Median tectonic line and other geological boundaries beneath Shikoku and the southwestern Kii peninsula. High-Qp zones within the lower crust of the overlying plate are found just above the slip regions at the centers of the long-term slow-slip events (SSEs) beneath the Bungo and Kii channels and central Shikoku. Beneath central Shikoku, within the overlying plate, a high-Qp zone bounded by low-Qp zones is located from the land surface to the plate interface of the subducting plate. The high-Qp zone and low-Qp zones correspond to high-Vp and low-Vp zones of previous study, respectively. The boundaries of the high- and low-Qp zones are consistent with the segment boundaries of tremors (segment boundaries of short-term SSEs). These results indicated that the locations of the long- and short-term SSEs could be limited by the inhomogeneous distribution of the materials and/or condition of the overlying plate, which is formed due to geological and geographical process. The heterogeneity of materials and/or condition within the fore-arc crust possibly makes an effect on inhomogeneous rheological strength distribution on the interface.

  12. Nazca plate subduction, mantle flow and Cordilleras formation (United States)

    Capitanio, Fabio A.


    The Nazca-South America convergence represents a unique natural laboratory to probe our understanding of subduction, mantle flow and stress coupling at Andean-type margins. Here, it is shown that the most fundamental balance of forces associated with the downgoing slab, the upper plates and the mantle can account for the Nazca plate motions, although it does not adequately explain the variations of the Cordilleran tectonics found along the ~6000 km wide margin. Using three-dimensional numerical models it is shown that trench-parallel gradients in both the driving and resisting forces are an essential component of the force balance, and necessary to reproduce the macroscopic features observed. When along-trench buoyancy variations similar to the Nazca plate's are included, the slab dips and upper plate deformations observed in the Nazca slab, in the Cordilleras and South American continent interiors can be reproduced. The models show that gradients in the resisting shear force along the trench can be as relevant, as they modulate the trench retreat to form the concave Bolivian Orocline. Pressure gradients in the mantle follow the Nazca buoyancy gradients, and effectively rearrange the flow introducing a trench-parallel component, similar to what suggested by seismic anisotropy in this area. Although they introduce only secondary variations to the primary subduction and mantle flow dynamics, the regional features of the Nazca and South American plates exert a primary control at the margin-local scale. This suggests that far-field forces, e.g. from spreading Atlantic or large-scale convection, should play a minor role in the formation of the Cordilleras.

  13. Plate tectonics on the Earth triggered by plume-induced subduction initiation. (United States)

    Gerya, T V; Stern, R J; Baes, M; Sobolev, S V; Whattam, S A


    Scientific theories of how subduction and plate tectonics began on Earth--and what the tectonic structure of Earth was before this--remain enigmatic and contentious. Understanding viable scenarios for the onset of subduction and plate tectonics is hampered by the fact that subduction initiation processes must have been markedly different before the onset of global plate tectonics because most present-day subduction initiation mechanisms require acting plate forces and existing zones of lithospheric weakness, which are both consequences of plate tectonics. However, plume-induced subduction initiation could have started the first subduction zone without the help of plate tectonics. Here, we test this mechanism using high-resolution three-dimensional numerical thermomechanical modelling. We demonstrate that three key physical factors combine to trigger self-sustained subduction: (1) a strong, negatively buoyant oceanic lithosphere; (2) focused magmatic weakening and thinning of lithosphere above the plume; and (3) lubrication of the slab interface by hydrated crust. We also show that plume-induced subduction could only have been feasible in the hotter early Earth for old oceanic plates. In contrast, younger plates favoured episodic lithospheric drips rather than self-sustained subduction and global plate tectonics.

  14. Imaging fluid-related subduction processes beneath Central Java (Indonesia) using seismic attenuation tomography (United States)

    Bohm, Mirjam; Haberland, Christian; Asch, Günter


    We use local earthquake data observed by the amphibious, temporary seismic MERAMEX array to derive spatial variations of seismic attenuation (Qp) in the crust and upper mantle beneath Central Java. The path-averaged attenuation values (t∗) of a high quality subset of 84 local earthquakes were calculated by a spectral inversion technique. These 1929 t∗-values inverted by a least-squares tomographic inversion yield the 3D distribution of the specific attenuation (Qp). Analysis of the model resolution matrix and synthetic recovery tests were used to investigate the confidence of the Qp-model. We notice a prominent zone of increased attenuation beneath and north of the modern volcanic arc at depths down to 15 km. Most of this anomaly seems to be related to the Eocene-Miocene Kendeng Basin (mainly in the eastern part of the study area). Enhanced attenuation is also found in the upper crust in the direct vicinity of recent volcanoes pointing towards zones of partial melts, presence of fluids and increased temperatures in the middle to upper crust. The middle and lower crust seems not to be associated with strong heating and the presence of melts throughout the arc. Enhanced attenuation above the subducting slab beneath the marine forearc seems to be due to the presence of fluids.

  15. Modeling of slow slip events and their interaction with large earthquakes along the subduction interfaces beneath Guerrero and Oaxaca, Mexico (United States)

    Shibazaki, B.; Cotton, F.; Matsuzawa, T.


    Recent high-resolution geodetic observations have revealed the occurrence of slow slip events (SSEs) along the Mexican subduction zone. In the Guerrero gap, large SSEs of around Mw 7.5 repeat every 3-4 years (Lowry et al., 2001; Kostoglodov et al., 2003; Radiguet et al., 2012). The 2006 Guerrero slow slip was analyzed in detail (Radiguet et al., 2011): the average velocity of propagation was 0.8 km/day, and the maximum slip velocity was 1.0E-8 m/s. On the other hand, in the Oaxaca region, SSEs of Mw 7.0-7.3 repeat every 1-2 years and last for 3 months (Brudzinski et al., 2007; Correa-Mora et al., 2008). These SSEs in the Mexican subduction zone are categorized as long-term (long-duration) SSEs; however, their recurrence interval is relatively short. It is important to investigate how SSEs in Mexico can be reproduced using a theoretical model and determine the difference in friction law parameters when compared to SSEs in other subduction zones. An Mw 7.4 subduction earthquake occurred beneath the Oaxaca-Guerrero border on March 20, 2012. The 2012 SSE coincided with this thrust earthquake (Graham et al., 2012). SSEs in Mexico can trigger large earthquakes because their magnitudes are close to that of earthquakes. The interaction between SSEs and large earthquakes is an important problem, which needs to be investigated. We model SSEs and large earthquakes along the subduction interfaces beneath Guerrero and Oaxaca. To reproduce SSEs, we use a rate- and state-dependent friction law with a small cut-off velocity for the evolution effect based on the model proposed by Shibazaki and Shimamoto (2007). We also consider the 3D plate interface, which dips at a very shallow angle at a horizontal distance of 50-150 km from the trench. We set the unstable zone from a depth of 10 to 20 km. By referring to analytical results, we set a Guerrero SSE zone, which extends to the shallow Guerrero gap. Because the maximum slip velocity is around 1.0E-8 m/s, we set the cut-off velocity

  16. A plate tectonics oddity: Caterpillar-walk exhumation of subducted continental crust

    NARCIS (Netherlands)

    Tirel, C.; Brun, J.-P.; Burov, E.; Wortel, M.J.R.; Lebedev, S.


    Since plate tectonics began on Earth, grandiose "subduction factories" have continually shaped the continents, accreting continental blocks and new crust at the convergent plate boundaries. An enigmatic product of subduction factories is the high-pressure to ultrahigh-pressure (HP-UHP) metamorphic

  17. A thermo-mechanical model of horizontal subduction below an overriding plate

    NARCIS (Netherlands)

    Hunen, Jeroen van; Berg, A.P. van den; Vlaar, N.J.


    Subduction of young oceanic lithosphere cannot be explained by the gravitational driving mechanisms of slab pull and ridge push. This deficiency of driving forces can be overcome by obduction of an actively overriding plate, which forces the young plate either to subduct or to collide. This

  18. A plate tectonics oddity: Caterpillar-walk exhumation of subducted continental crust

    NARCIS (Netherlands)

    Tirel, C.; Brun, J.-P.; Burov, E.; Wortel, M.J.R.; Lebedev, S.


    Since plate tectonics began on Earth, grandiose "subduction factories" have continually shaped the continents, accreting continental blocks and new crust at the convergent plate boundaries. An enigmatic product of subduction factories is the high-pressure to ultrahigh-pressure (HP-UHP) metamorphic c

  19. A plate tectonics oddity: Caterpillar-walk exhumation of subducted continental crust

    NARCIS (Netherlands)

    Tirel, C.; Brun, J.-P.; Burov, E.; Wortel, M.J.R.; Lebedev, S.


    Since plate tectonics began on Earth, grandiose "subduction factories" have continually shaped the continents, accreting continental blocks and new crust at the convergent plate boundaries. An enigmatic product of subduction factories is the high-pressure to ultrahigh-pressure (HP-UHP) metamorphic c

  20. A thermo-mechanical model of horizontal subduction below an overriding plate

    NARCIS (Netherlands)

    Hunen, Jeroen van; Berg, A.P. van den; Vlaar, N.J.


    Subduction of young oceanic lithosphere cannot be explained by the gravitational driving mechanisms of slab pull and ridge push. This deficiency of driving forces can be overcome by obduction of an actively overriding plate, which forces the young plate either to subduct or to collide. This mechanis

  1. Pathway from subducting slab to surface for melt and fluids beneath Mount Rainier (United States)

    McGary, R. Shane; Evans, Rob L.; Wannamaker, Philip E.; Elsenbeck, Jimmy; Rondenay, Stéphane


    Convergent margin volcanism originates with partial melting, primarily of the upper mantle, into which the subducting slab descends. Melting of this material can occur in one of two ways. The flow induced in the mantle by the slab can result in upwelling and melting through adiabatic decompression. Alternatively, fluids released from the descending slab through dehydration reactions can migrate into the hot mantle wedge, inducing melting by lowering the solidus temperature. The two mechanisms are not mutually exclusive. In either case, the buoyant melts make their way towards the surface to reside in the crust or to be extruded as lava. Here we use magnetotelluric data collected across the central state of Washington, USA, to image the complete pathway for the fluid-melt phase. By incorporating constraints from a collocated seismic study into the magnetotelluric inversion process, we obtain superior constraints on the fluids and melt in a subduction setting. Specifically, we are able to identify and connect fluid release at or near the top of the slab, migration of fluids into the overlying mantle wedge, melting in the wedge, and transport of the melt/fluid phase to a reservoir in the crust beneath Mt Rainier.

  2. The thermal influence of the subducting slab beneath South America from 410 and 660 km discontinuity observations (United States)

    Collier, J. D.; Helffrich, G. R.


    Regional seismic network data from deep South American earthquakes to western United States and western European seismic arrays is slant stacked to detect weak near-source interactions with upper mantle discontinuities. These observations are complemented by an analysis of earlier work by Sacks & Snoke (1977) who observed S to P conversions from deep events to stations in South America, and similar observations from 1994-95 events using the BANJO and SEDA networks. Observations of the depth of the 410km discontinuity are made beneath central South America in the vicinity of the aseismic region of the subducting Nazca Plate. These results image the 410km discontinuity over a lateral extent of up to 850km perpendicular to the slab and over a distance of 2700km along the length of the slab. Away from the subducting slab the discontinuity is mainly seen near its global average depth, whilst inside the slab there is evidence for its elevation by up to around 60km but with significant scatter in the data. These results are consistent with the presence of a continuous slab through the aseismic region with a thermal anomaly of 900°C at 350km depth. This value is in good agreement with simple thermal models though our data are too sparse to accurately constrain them. Sparse observations of the 660km discontinuity agree with tomographic models suggesting penetration of the lower mantle by the slab in the north but stagnation at the base of the transition zone in the south. The geographical distribution of the data, however, does not allow us to rule out the possibility of slab stagnation at the base of the transition zone in the north. These observations, together with the presence of deep earthquakes, require more complicated thermal models than previously used to explain them, possibly including changes in slab dip and age with depth.

  3. Alaska Megathrust 2: Imaging the megathrust zone and Yakutat/Pacific plate interface in the Alaska subduction zone (United States)

    Kim, YoungHee; Abers, Geoffrey A.; Li, Jiyao; Christensen, Douglas; Calkins, Josh; Rondenay, Stéphane


    We image the slab underneath a 450 km long transect of the Alaska subduction zone to investigate (1) the geometry and velocity structure of the downgoing plate and their relationship to slab seismicity and (2) the interplate coupled zone where the great 1964 earthquake (Mw 9.2) exhibited the largest amount of rupture. The joint teleseismic migration of two array data sets based on receiver functions (RFs) reveals a prominent, shallow-dipping low-velocity layer at ~25-30 km depth in southern Alaska. Modeling of RF amplitudes suggests the existence of a thin layer (Vs of ~2.1-2.6 km/s) that is ~20-40% slower than underlying oceanic crustal velocities, and is sandwiched between the subducted slab and the overriding plate. The observed megathrust layer (with Vp/Vs of 1.9-2.3) may be due to a thick sediment input from the trench in combination with elevated pore fluid pressure in the channel. Our image also includes an unusually thick low-velocity crust subducting with a ~20° dip down to 130 km depth at ~200 km inland beneath central Alaska. The unusual nature of this subducted segment results from the subduction of the Yakutat terrane crust. Our imaged western edge of the Yakutat terrane aligns with the western end of a geodetically locked patch with high slip deficit, and coincides with the boundary of aftershock events from the 1964 earthquake. It appears that this sharp change in the nature of the downgoing plate could control the slip distribution of great earthquakes on this plate interface.

  4. The role of harzburgite layers in the morphology of subducting plates and the behavior of oceanic crustal layers (United States)

    Yoshida, Masaki


    viscosity contrast between the harzburgite layer and the underlying mantle are larger, the volumes of crustal and harzburgite materials trapped in the mantle transition zone (MTZ) are also larger, although almost all of the materials penetrate into the lower mantle. These materials are trapped in the MTZ for over tens of millions of years. The bending of crustal layers numerically observed in the present study is consistent with seismological evidence that there is a piece of subducted oceanic crust in the uppermost lower mantle beneath the subducting slab under the Mariana trench [Niu et al., 2003, JGR]. The results of the present study suggest that when the viscosity increase at the boundary of the upper and lower mantle is larger than 60-100, a seismically observed stagnant slab is reproduced. This result is consistent with the previous independent geodynamic studies. For instance, a 2D geodynamic model with lateral viscosity variations suggested that it would need to be substantially greater than 30, say, around 100, to explain the positive geoid anomaly in the subduction zones where the subducting slab reaches the boundary between the upper and lower mantle such as that of the western Pacific [Tosi et al., 2009, GJI]. References: [1] Tajima, F. Yoshida, M. and Ohtani, E., Conjecture with water and rheological control for subducting slab in the mantle transition zone, Geoscience Frontiers, doi:10.1016/j.gsf.2013.12.005, 2014. [2] Yoshida, M. The role of harzburgite layers in the morphology of subducting plates and the behavior of oceanic crustal layers, Geophys. Res. Lett., 40(20), 5387-5392, doi:10.1002/2013GL057578, 2013. [3] Yoshida, M. and Tajima, F., On the possibility of a folded crustal layer stored in the hydrous mantle transition zone, Phys. Earth Planet. Inter., 219, 34-48, doi:10.1016/j.pepi.2013.03.004, 2013.

  5. 3-D simulation for the tectonic evolution around the Kanto Region of Japan using the kinematic plate subduction model (United States)

    Hashima, A.; Sato, T.; Ito, T.; Miyauchi, T.; Kameo, K.; Yamamoto, S.


    In the Kanto region of Japan, we can observe one of the most active crustal deformations on the earth. In the southern part of the Boso peninsula to the south, the uplift rate is estimated to be 5 mm/yr from the height of marine terraces. From geological evidence, the Kanto mountains to the west are considered to uplift at 1mm/yr. In contrast, the center part of the Kanto region is stable or subsiding, covered by the Holocene sediments. The depth of the basement reaches 3 km at the deepest. Vertical deformation in the timescale of 1 Myr is being revealed by the analysis of the recent seismic reflection experiments compared with the heights of the dated sediment layers exposed on land. These crustal deformation occurs in a highly complex tectonic setting with four plates interacting with each other: beneath Kanto, situated on the Eurasian and North American plates, the Philippine sea plate subducts and the Pacific plate further descends beneath the North American and Philippine sea plates, forming the unique trench-trench-trench triple junction on the earth. In addition, the Izu-Bonin (Ogasawara) arc on the Philippine sea plate is colliding with the Japan islands due to the buoyancy of the arc crust. At the plate boundaries near the Izu-Bonin arc, large interplate earthquakes occurred at the Sagami trough in 1703 and 1923 (Kanto earthquake) and at the Nankai trough in 1707, 1854 and 1944. To reveal the crustal deformation under these plate-to-plate interactions, we use the kinematic plate subduction model based on the elastic dislocation theory. This model is based on the idea that mechanical interaction between plates can rationally be represented by the increase of the displacement discontinuity (dislocation) across plate interfaces. Given the 3-D geometry of plate interfaces, the distribution of slip rate vectors for simple plate subduction can be obtained directly from relative plate velocities. In collision zones, the plate with arc crust cannot easily descend

  6. Imaging the Juan de Fuca plate beneath southern Oregon using teleseismic P wave residuals (United States)

    Harris, R.A.; Iyer, H.M.; Dawson, P.B.


    Images the Juan de Fuca plate in southern Oregon using seismic tomography. P wave travel time residuals from a 366-km-long seismic array operated in southern Oregon in 1982 are inverted. The southeast striking array extended from the Coast ranges to the Modoc Plateau and crossed the High Cascades at Crater Lake, Oregon. Three features under the array were imaged: one high-velocity zone and two low-velocity zones. The high-velocity zone is 3-4% faster than the surrounding upper mantle. It dips steeply at 65?? to the east beneath the Cascade Range and extends down to at least 200 km. It is proposed that this high-velocity feature is subducted Juan de Fuca plate. Two low-velocity zones were also imaged, both of which are 3-4% slower than the surrounding earth structure. The southeastern low-velocity zone may be caused by partially molten crust underlying the Crater Lake volcano region. -from Authors

  7. Imaging the Juan de Fuca subduction plate using 3D Kirchoff Prestack Depth Migration (United States)

    Cheng, C.; Bodin, T.; Allen, R. M.; Tauzin, B.


    We propose a new Receiver Function migration method to image the subducting plate in the western US that utilizes the US array and regional network data. While the well-developed CCP (common conversion point) poststack migration is commonly used for such imaging; our method applies a 3D prestack depth migration approach. The traditional CCP and post-stack depth mapping approaches implement the ray tracing and moveout correction for the incoming teleseismic plane wave based on a 1D earth reference model and the assumption of horizontal discontinuities. Although this works well in mapping the reflection position of relatively flat discontinuities (such as the Moho or the LAB), CCP is known to give poor results in the presence of lateral volumetric velocity variations and dipping layers. Instead of making the flat layer assumption and 1D moveout correction, seismic rays are traced in a 3D tomographic model with the Fast Marching Method. With travel time information stored, our Kirchoff migration is done where the amplitude of the receiver function at a given time is distributed over all possible conversion points (i.e. along a semi-elipse) on the output migrated depth section. The migrated reflectors will appear where the semicircles constructively interfere, whereas destructive interference will cancel out noise. Synthetic tests show that in the case of a horizontal discontinuity, the prestack Kirchoff migration gives similar results to CCP, but without spurious multiples as this energy is stacked destructively and cancels out. For 45 degree and 60 degree dipping discontinuities, it also performs better in terms of imaging at the right boundary and dip angle. This is especially useful in the Western US case, beneath which the Juan de Fuca plate subducted to ~450km with a dipping angle that may exceed 50 degree. While the traditional CCP method will underestimate the dipping angle, our proposed imaging method will provide an accurate 3D subducting plate image without

  8. Geochemical evidence for the melting of subducting oceanic lithosphere at plate edges. (United States)

    Yogodzinski, G M; Lees, J M; Churikova, T G; Dorendorf, F; Wöerner, G; Volynets, O N


    Most island-arc magmatism appears to result from the lowering of the melting point of peridotite within the wedge of mantle above subducting slabs owing to the introduction of fluids from the dehydration of subducting oceanic crust. Volcanic rocks interpreted to contain a component of melt (not just a fluid) from the subducting slab itself are uncommon, but possible examples have been recognized in the Aleutian islands, Baja California, Patagonia and elsewhere. The geochemically distinctive rocks from these areas, termed 'adakites, are often associated with subducting plates that are young and warm, and therefore thought to be more prone to melting. But the subducting lithosphere in some adakite locations (such as the Aleutian islands) appears to be too old and hence too cold to melt. This implies either that our interpretation of adakite geochemistry is incorrect, or that our understanding of the tectonic context of adakites is incomplete. Here we present geochemical data from the Kamchatka peninsula and the Aleutian islands that reaffirms the slab-melt interpretation of adakites, but in the tectonic context of the exposure to mantle flow around the edge of a torn subducting plate. We conclude that adakites are likely to form whenever the edge of a subducting plate is warmed or ablated by mantle flow. The use of adakites as tracers for such plate geometry may improve our understanding of magma genesis and thermal structure in a variety of subduction-zone environments.

  9. Seismological Features of the Subducting Slab Beneath the Kii Peninsula, Central Japan, Revealed by Receiver Functions (United States)

    Shiomi, K.; Park, J.


    We report seismological evidence that the subducting Philippine Sea slab (PHS) beneath the Kii Peninsula, central Japan, can be divided into three segments. Offshore the Kii Peninsula, the "Tonankai" and "Nankai" fault segments suffer mega-thrust earthquakes that repeat every 100 to 150 years. The structure of the young, thin, contorted PHS is important to the seismo-tectonics in this region. We apply the receiver function (RF) analysis to 26 Hi-net short-period and 4 F-net broad-band seismographic stations. In the case that dipping velocity discontinuities and/or anisotropic media exist beneath seismometer, both radial RFs and transverse RFs contain useful information to estimate underground structure. For isotropic media with a dipping-slab interface, back- azimuthal variation in RFs depends largely on three parameters, the downdip azimuth, dip angle and the depth of the interface. We stack both radial and transverse RFs with allowance a time-shift caused by the dipping interface, searching for optimal parameters based on the grid-search technique at each station. At some stations located near the eastern coastline of the Kii Peninsula, the dip angle of the interface inferred from RF stacking is much steeper than that estimated by the local seismicity. This discrepancy arises from the interference of two slab-converted phases, suggesting a layer atop the slab. In these cases we refine the stack to distinguish two slab phases and estimate three parameters of each dipping interface separately. Two interfaces with the same dip direction and low dip angle are estimated at these stations, with depth difference near 6 km. Thus, the shallower interface may be related to the layer within the oceanic crust and the deeper one is the slab Moho. These double-layered interfaces are detected only at stations located up-dip of a belt-like distribution of non- volcanic low-frequency tremor. Comparing the interface dips estimated in this study with the direction of slab motion

  10. Multichannel Seismic Imaging of the Rivera Plate Subduction at the Seismogenic Jalisco Block Area (Western Mexican Margin) (United States)

    Bartolome, Rafael; Górriz, Estefanía; Dañobeitia, Juanjo; Cordoba, Diego; Martí, David; Cameselle, Alejandra L.; Núñez-Cornú, Francisco; Bandy, William L.; Mortera-Gutiérrez, Carlos A.; Nuñez, Diana; Castellón, Arturo; Alonso, Jose Luis


    During the TSUJAL marine geophysical survey, conducted in February and March 2014, Spanish, Mexican and British scientists and technicians explored the western margin of Mexico, considered one of the most active seismic zones in America. This work aims to characterize the internal structure of the subduction zone of the Rivera plate beneath the North American plate in the offshore part of the Jalisco Block, to link the geodynamic and the recent tectonic deformation occurring there with the possible generation of tsunamis and earthquakes. For this purpose, it has been carried out acquisition, processing and geological interpretation of a multichannel seismic reflection profile running perpendicular to the margin. Crustal images show an oceanic domain, dominated by subduction-accretion along the lower slope of the margin with a subparallel sediment thickness of up to 1.6 s two-way travel time (approx. 2 km) in the Middle American Trench. Further, from these data the region appears to be prone to giant earthquake production. The top of the oceanic crust (intraplate reflector) is very well imaged. It is almost continuous along the profile with a gentle dip (continental crust presents a well-developed accretionary prism consisting of highly deformed sediments with prominent slumping towards the trench that may be the result of past tsunamis. Also, a bottom simulating reflector (BSR) is identified in the first half a second (twtt) of the section. High amplitude reflections at around 7-8 s twtt clearly image a discontinuous Moho, defining a very gentle dipping subduction plane.

  11. Crustal Structure of the Caribbean-South American Diffuse Plate Boundary: Subduction Zone Migration and Polarity Reversal Along BOLIVAR Profile 64W (United States)

    Clark, S. A.; Levander, A.; Magnani, M.; Zelt, C. A.; Sawyer, D. S.; Ave Lallemant, H. G.


    The BOLIVAR (Broadband Ocean-Land Investigation of Venezuela and the Antilles arc Region) project is an NSF funded, collaborative seismic experiment in the southeast Caribbean region. The purpose of the project is to understand the diffuse plate boundary created by the oblique collision between the Caribbean and South American plates. Profile 64W of the BOLIVAR experiment, a 450 km-long, N-S transect onshore and offshore Venezuela located at ~64°W longitude, images the deep crustal structures formed by this collision. The active source components of profile 64W include 300 km of MCS reflection data, 33 coincident OBSs, and 344 land seismic stations which recorded 7500 offshore airgun shots and 2 explosive land shots. Results from the reflection and refraction seismic data along 64W show complex crustal structure across the entire span of the diffuse plate boundary. The onshore portion of 64W crosses the fold and thrust belt of the Serrania del Interior, which formed at ~16 Ma by collision of the Caribbean forearc with the northern South American passive margin. Underlying the Serrania del Interior is a south-vergent, remnant Lesser Antillean subduction zone. As this Lesser Antilles subduction impinged on continental crust, it caused a polarity reversal and jump offshore to the north. Convergence was initially localized in the closure and inversion of the Grenada Basin. However, subduction could not develop because of the ~20-km-thick crust of the Aves Ridge; instead, north-vergent subduction initiated further to the north, where ~12-km-thick Caribbean oceanic crust of the Venezuela Basin began to subduct beneath the Aves Ridge in the Pliocene (~4 Ma) and appears to continue subducting today. Between the remnant subduction zone and the modern one, the El Pilar and Coche dextral strike-slip faults accommodate most of the transform motion of the plate boundary. From the Serrania del Interior to the Aves Ridge, ~260 km of accreted orogenic float comprises the diffuse

  12. Philippine Sea Plate inception, evolution, and consumption with special emphasis on the early stages of Izu-Bonin-Mariana subduction (United States)

    Lallemand, Serge


    We compiled the most relevant data acquired throughout the Philippine Sea Plate (PSP) from the early expeditions to the most recent. We also analyzed the various explanatory models in light of this updated dataset. The following main conclusions are discussed in this study. (1) The Izanagi slab detachment beneath the East Asia margin around 60-55 Ma likely triggered the Oki-Daito plume occurrence, Mesozoic proto-PSP splitting, shortening and then failure across the paleo-transform boundary between the proto-PSP and the Pacific Plate, Izu-Bonin-Mariana subduction initiation and ultimately PSP inception. (2) The initial splitting phase of the composite proto-PSP under the plume influence at ˜54-48 Ma led to the formation of the long-lived West Philippine Basin and short-lived oceanic basins, part of whose crust has been ambiguously called "fore-arc basalts" (FABs). (3) Shortening across the paleo-transform boundary evolved into thrusting within the Pacific Plate at ˜52-50 Ma, allowing it to subduct beneath the newly formed PSP, which was composed of an alternance of thick Mesozoic terranes and thin oceanic lithosphere. (4) The first magmas rising from the shallow mantle corner, after being hydrated by the subducting Pacific crust beneath the young oceanic crust near the upper plate spreading centers at ˜49-48 Ma were boninites. Both the so-called FABs and the boninites formed at a significant distance from the incipient trench, not in a fore-arc position as previously claimed. The magmas erupted for 15 m.y. in some places, probably near the intersections between back-arc spreading centers and the arc. (5) As the Pacific crust reached greater depths and the oceanic basins cooled and thickened at ˜44-45 Ma, the composition of the lavas evolved into high-Mg andesites and then arc tholeiites and calc-alkaline andesites. (6) Tectonic erosion processes removed about 150-200 km of frontal margin during the Neogene, consuming most or all of the Pacific ophiolite

  13. Multichannel Seismic Imaging of the Rivera Plate Subduction at the Seismogenic Jalisco Block Area (Western Mexican Margin) (United States)

    Bartolome, R.; Gorriz, E.; Danobeitia, J.; Barba, D. C., Sr.; Martí, D.; L Cameselle, A.; Nuñez-Cornu, F. J.; Bandy, W. L.; Mortera, C.; Nunez, D.; Alonso, J. L.; Castellon, A.; Prada, M.


    During the TSUJAL marine geophysical survey, conducted in February and March 2014 Spanish, Mexican and British scientists and technicians explored the western margin of Mexico, considered one of the most active seismic zones in America. This work aims to characterize the internal structure of the subduction zone of the Rivera plate beneath the North American plate in the offshore part of the Jalisco Block, to link the geodynamic and the recent tectonic deformation occurring there with the possible generation of tsunamis and earthquakes. For this purpose, it has been carried out acquisition, processing and geological interpretation of a multichannel seismic reflection profile running perpendicular to the margin. Crustal images show an oceanic domain, dominated by subduction-accretion along the lower slope of the margin with a subparallel sediment thickness of up to 1.6 s two way travel time (approx. 2 km) in the Middle American Trench. Further, from these data the region appears to be prone to giant earthquake production. The top of the oceanic crust (intraplate reflector) is very well imaged. It is almost continuous along the profile with a gentle dip (<10°); however, it is disrupted by normal faulting resulting from the bending of the plate during subduction. The continental crust presents a well-developed accretionary prism consisting of highly deformed sediments with prominent slumping towards the trench that may be the result of past tsunamis. Also, a Bottom Simulating Reflector (BSR) is identified in the first half a second (twtt) of the section. High amplitude reflections at around 7-8 s twtt clearly image a discontinuous Moho, defining a very gentle dipping subduction plane.

  14. Multichannel Seismic Imaging of the Rivera Plate Subduction at the Seismogenic Jalisco Block Area (Western Mexican Margin) (United States)

    Bartolome, Rafael; Górriz, Estefanía; Dañobeitia, Juanjo; Cordoba, Diego; Martí, David; Cameselle, Alejandra L.; Núñez-Cornú, Francisco; Bandy, William L.; Mortera-Gutiérrez, Carlos A.; Nuñez, Diana; Castellón, Arturo; Alonso, Jose Luis


    During the TSUJAL marine geophysical survey, conducted in February and March 2014, Spanish, Mexican and British scientists and technicians explored the western margin of Mexico, considered one of the most active seismic zones in America. This work aims to characterize the internal structure of the subduction zone of the Rivera plate beneath the North American plate in the offshore part of the Jalisco Block, to link the geodynamic and the recent tectonic deformation occurring there with the possible generation of tsunamis and earthquakes. For this purpose, it has been carried out acquisition, processing and geological interpretation of a multichannel seismic reflection profile running perpendicular to the margin. Crustal images show an oceanic domain, dominated by subduction-accretion along the lower slope of the margin with a subparallel sediment thickness of up to 1.6 s two-way travel time (approx. 2 km) in the Middle American Trench. Further, from these data the region appears to be prone to giant earthquake production. The top of the oceanic crust (intraplate reflector) is very well imaged. It is almost continuous along the profile with a gentle dip (<10°); however, it is disrupted by normal faulting resulting from the bending of the plate during subduction. The continental crust presents a well-developed accretionary prism consisting of highly deformed sediments with prominent slumping towards the trench that may be the result of past tsunamis. Also, a bottom simulating reflector (BSR) is identified in the first half a second (twtt) of the section. High amplitude reflections at around 7-8 s twtt clearly image a discontinuous Moho, defining a very gentle dipping subduction plane.

  15. Do magnitudes of great subduction earthquakes depend on strength of mechanical coupling between the plates? (United States)

    Sobolev, Stephan; Muldashev, Iskander


    The common thinking is that the magnitude of a great subduction earthquake correlates with the strength of mechanical coupling between slab and overriding plate. Based on this idea, Ruff and Kanamori (1980) suggested that maximum earthquake's magnitude is controlled by two parameters: age of subducting plate and plate convergence rate, when the youngest and the fastest slabs generate the largest earthquakes. This view was supported by many researches since then. However, since 1980 a number of great earthquakes, and particularly two largest earthquakes of the last 12 years, i.e. Great Sumatra/Andaman 2004 Earthquake and Tohoku 2011 earthquake, have violated the suggested correlation. We address the relation between strength of mechanical coupling and earthquake magnitude directly by cross-scale geodynamic modeling of seismic cycles of great subduction earthquakes. This modeling technique employs elasticity, non-linear transient viscous rheology, and rate-and-state friction at slab interface. It generates spontaneous earthquake sequences, and, by using an adaptive time-step algorithm, recreates the deformation process as observed naturally over single and multiple seismic cycles. We model seismic cycles for the great subduction earthquakes with different geometries of subducting plates, different static friction coefficients in subduction channels and different subduction velocities. Under the assumption that rupture length scales with the rupture width, our models demonstrate that maximum magnitudes of the earthquakes are exclusively controlled by the factors that increase rupture width. These factors are: low slab's dipping angle (the largest effect), low friction coefficient in subduction channel (smaller effect) and high subduction velocity (the smallest effect). Models suggest that maximum magnitudes of earthquakes do not correlate significantly with the magnitudes of normal and shear stresses at subduction interface. In agreement with observations, our models

  16. Intermediate-depth seismicity in northern Colombia and western Venezuela and its relationship to Caribbean plate subduction (United States)

    Malavé, Gustavo; SuáRez, Gerardo


    suggests that the Bucaramanga nest lies on the same subducted slab where the other earthquakes occur. There is not enough shallow seismicity to define the location where the Caribbean lithosphere subducted beneath the South American plate. However, the extension of the slab toward the surface, inferred from the intermediate-depth seismicity, suggests that the subducted lithosphere may still be attached to the Caribbean plate.

  17. Faulting within the Pacific plate at the Mariana Trench: Implications for plate interface coupling and subduction of hydrous minerals


    Emry, E.L; Wiens, D.A; García-Castellanos, Daniel


    We investigate faulting within the incoming Pacific plate at the Mariana subduction trench to understand stresses within the bending plate, regional stresses acting upon the plate interface, and the extent of possible faulting-induced mantle serpentinization. We determine accurate depths by inverting teleseismic P and SH waveforms for earthquakes occurring during 1990-2011 with Global Centroid Moment Tensor (GCMT) solutions. For earthquakes with Mw 5.0+, we determine centroid depths and sourc...

  18. Interplate coupling at oblique subduction zones: influence on upper plate erosion. (United States)

    Malatesta, Cristina; Gerya, Taras; Crispini, Laura; Federico, Laura; Scambelluri, Marco; Capponi, Giovanni


    In active subduction zones, when the converging plates cannot slip freely past each other, "plate coupling" occurs. The moving subducting slab and therefore the coupling/decoupling relationship between plates control both short- and long-term deformation of the upper plate. Short-term deformation is dominantly elastic, occurs at human timescales and can be directly associated with earthquakes. Long-term deformation is cumulative, permanent and prevails at the geological timescale (Hoffman-Rothe et al., 2006, Springer Berlin Heidelberg). Here we used 3D numerical simulations to test oblique subduction zones and to investigate: 1) how long-term deformation and coupling relationship vary along the trench-axis; 2) how this relationship influences erosion and down-drag of upper plate material. Our models are based on thermo-mechanical equations solved with finite differences method and marker-in-cell techniques combined with a multigrid approach (Gerya, 2010, Cambridge Univ. Press). The reference model simulates an intraoceanic subduction close to the continental margin (Malatesta et al., 2013, Nature Communications, 4:2456 DOI:10.1038/ncomms3456). The oceanic crust is layered with a 5-km-thick layer of gabbro overlain by a 3-km-thick layer of basalt. The ocean floor is covered by 1-km-thick sediments. Plates move with a total velocity of 3.15 cm/yr; the oblique convergence is obtained using velocity vectors that form an angle of 45° with the initial starting point of subduction (weak zone in the lithosphere). After initiation of plate convergence, part of sediments on top of the incoming plate enters the subduction zone and is buried; another part is suddenly transferred along strike at shallow depths and along the subducting slab according to the direction of the along-trench velocity component of subduction. The lateral migration of sediment causes the evolution of the trench along its strike from sediment-poor to sediment-rich. As soon as subduction starts, where

  19. Seismic slip on an upper-plate normal fault during a large subduction megathrust rupture (United States)

    Hicks, Stephen P.; Rietbrock, Andreas


    Quantification of stress accumulation and release during subduction zone seismic cycles requires an understanding of the distribution of fault slip during earthquakes. Reconstructions of slip are typically constrained to a single, known fault plane. Yet, slip has been shown to occur on multiple faults within the subducting plate owing to stress triggering, resulting in phenomena such as earthquake doublets. However, rapid stress triggering from the plate interface to faults in the overriding plate has not been documented before. We have analysed seismic data from the magnitude 7.1 Araucania earthquake that occurred in the Chilean subduction zone in January 2011. We find that the earthquake, which was reported as a single event in global moment tensor solutions, was instead composed of two ruptures on two separate faults. We use 3-D full waveform simulations to better constrain the centroid of the second rupture. Within 12 s, a thrust earthquake (Mw 6.8) on the plate interface triggered a second large rupture on a normal fault 30 km away in the overriding plate (Mw 6.7). We define this set of events as a 'closely spaced doublet' (CSD). This configuration of partitioned rupture is consistent with normal-faulting mechanisms in the ensuing aftershock sequence. We conclude that plate interface rupture can trigger almost instantaneous slip in the overriding plate of a subduction zone. This shallow upper-plate rupture may be masked from teleseismic data, posing a challenge for real-time tsunami warning systems.

  20. Geological record of fluid flow and seismogenesis along an erosive subducting plate boundary. (United States)

    Vannucchi, Paola; Remitti, Francesca; Bettelli, Giuseppe


    Tectonic erosion of the overriding plate by the downgoing slab is believed to occur at half the Earth's subduction zones. In situ investigation of the geological processes at active erosive margins is extremely difficult owing to the deep marine environment and the net loss of forearc crust to deeper levels in the subduction zone. Until now, a fossil erosive subduction channel-the shear zone marking the plate boundary-has not been recognized in the field, so that seismic observations have provided the only information on plate boundary processes at erosive margins. Here we show that a fossil erosive margin is preserved in the Northern Apennines of Italy. It formed during the Tertiary transition from oceanic subduction to continental collision, and was preserved by the late deactivation and fossilization of the plate boundary. The outcropping erosive subduction channel is approximately 500 m thick. It is representative of the first 5 km of depth, with its deeper portions reaching approximately 150 degrees C. The fossil zone records several surprises. Two décollements were simultaneously active at the top and base of the subduction channel. Both deeper basal erosion and near-surface frontal erosion occurred. At shallow depths extension was a key deformation component within this erosive convergent plate boundary, and slip occurred without an observable fluid pressure cycle. At depths greater than about 3 km a fluid cycle is clearly shown by the development of veins and the alternation of fast (co-seismic) and slow (inter-seismic) slip. In the deepest portions of the outcropping subduction channel, extension is finally overprinted by compressional structures. In modern subduction zones the onset of seismic activity is believed to occur at approximately 150 degrees C, but in the fossil channel the onset occurred at cooler palaeo-temperatures.

  1. Slow and delayed deformation and uplift of the outermost subduction prism following ETS and seismogenic slip events beneath Nicoya Peninsula, Costa Rica (United States)

    Davis, Earl E.; Villinger, Heinrich; Sun, Tianhaozhe


    Two ODP CORK (Ocean Drilling Program circulation obviation retrofit kit) borehole hydrologic observatory sites deployed in 2002 at the toe of the subduction prism off Nicoya Peninsula, Costa Rica were visited in December 2013. The five years of seafloor and formation fluid pressure data collected since the previous visit include clear signals associated with an episodic tremor and slip (ETS) event off the coast of Nicoya Peninsula in 2009, and a Mw 7.6 subduction thrust earthquake beneath the Peninsula in 2012. Formation pressure anomalies associated with the ETS event are similar to ones observed following ETS events observed previously here, as well as ones following very low frequency earthquake swarms within the Nankai accretionary prism off southwestern Japan. Positive and negative impulsive transients in the hanging wall and foot wall of the subduction thrust, respectively, suggest contractional and dilatational strain generated by local slip propagating up the thrust fault beneath the outermost prism. In the case of the 2009 event, the transients occurred roughly two weeks after the initiation of slip observed at GPS sites along the adjacent coast. At the same time, a decrease in seafloor pressure at the prism site relative to the subducting plate was observed, indicating concurrent uplift of the prism of 1.2 cm. Other events at the prism toe following ETS events closer to the coast are seen in 2006, 2007, 2008, 2010, and 2011. The time between the initiation of ETS slip constrained by GPS and the onset of the prism toe transients suggest up-dip “rupture” propagation along the seaward part of the subduction thrust at rates of a few km/day. In the case of the 2009 event, the slip at the prism toe (c. 11 cm), estimated from the 1.2 cm uplift and the local dip on the decollement (6°), is roughly a factor of 5 greater than the slip further landward estimated from GPS data by Dixon et al. (in press). In other cases, slip at the toe is less or unresolvable

  2. Effect of a weak layer at the base of an oceanic plate on subduction dynamics (United States)

    Carluccio, Roberta; Kaus, Boris


    The plate tectonics model relies on the concept of a relatively rigid lithospheric lid moving over a weaker asthenosphere. In this frame, the lithosphere asthenosphere boundary (LAB) is a first-order discontinuity that accommodates differential motions between tectonic plates and the underlying mantle. Recent seismic studies have revealed the existence of a low velocity and high electrical conductivity layer at the base of subducting tectonic plates. This thin layer has been interpreted as being weak and slightly buoyant and was suggested to affect the dynamics of subducting plates. However, geodynamically, the role of a weak layer at the base of the lithosphere remains poorly studied, especially at subduction zones. Therefore, we here use numerical models to investigate the first-order effects of a weak buoyant layer at the LAB on subduction dynamics. We employ both 2-D and 3-D models in which the slab and mantle are either linear viscous or have a more realistic temperature-dependent visco-elastic-plastic rheology. Results show that a weak layer affects the dynamics of the plates, foremost by increasing the subduction speed. The impact of this effect depends on the thickness of the layer and the viscosity contrast between the mantle and the weak layer. For moderate viscosity contrasts (1000), it can also change the morphology of the subduction itself, perhaps because this changes the overall effective viscosity contrast between the slab the and the mantle. For thinner layers, the overall effect is reduced. Yet, if seismological observations are correct that suggests that this layer is 10 km thick and partially molten, such that the viscosity is 1000 times lower than that of the mantle, our models suggest that this effect should be measurable. Some of our models also show a pile-up of weak material in the bending zone of the subducting plate, consistent with recent seismological observations.

  3. Fluid activity during exhumation of deep-subducted continental plate

    Institute of Scientific and Technical Information of China (English)

    ZHENG Yongfei


    It is well known that a great deal of fluid was released during subduction of oceanic crust, resulting in arc magmatism, quartz veining and metamorphic mineralization of syn-subduction. In contrast, the process of continental subduction is characterized by the relative lack of fluid and thus no arc magmatism has been found so far. During exhumation of deep-subducted continental crust, nevertheless,significant amounts of aqueous fluid became available from the decomposition of hydrous minerals, the decrepitation of primary fluid inclusions, and the exsolution of structural hydroxyls. This kind of metamorphic fluid has recently attracted widespread interests and thus been one of the most important targets in deciphering the geological processes concerning metamorphism, magmatism and mineralization in collisional orogens. A large number of studies involving stable isotopes, fluid inclusions and petrological phase relationships have been accomplished in past a few years with respect to the mobility and amount of metamorphic fluid in UHP metamorphic rocks from the Dabie-Sulu orogenic belt.The results demonstrate that the fluid activity during the exhumation of deep-subducted continental crust has the following effects: (1) amphibolite-facies retrogression due to pervasive fluid flow; (2) formation of HP quartz veins within eclogites due to channelized fluid flow; and (3) partial melting of overlying crustal rocks due to focused fluid flow, producing syn-exhumation magmatism within the orogenic belt.In particular, the aqueous fluid released by decompression exsolution of hydroxyl from UHP minerals is characterized by low salinity and is capable of resulting in pervasive and channellized flow. Therefore, the intensive study of fluid activity during exhumation of UHP metamorphic rocks can not only provide insight into geodynamic processes that occurred in continental collisional belts, but also shed light on understanding of crust-mantle recycling and relevant magmatism in

  4. The role of frictional strength on plate coupling at the subduction interface

    KAUST Repository

    Tan, Eh


    At a subduction zone the amount of friction between the incoming plate and the forearc is an important factor in controlling the dip angle of subduction and the structure of the forearc. In this paper, we investigate the role of the frictional strength of sediments and of the serpentinized peridotite on the evolution of convergent margins. In numerical models, we vary thickness of a serpentinized layer in the mantle wedge (15 to 25km) and the frictional strength of both the sediments and serpentinized mantle (friction angle 1 to 15, or static friction coefficient 0.017 to 0.27) to control the amount of frictional coupling between the plates. With plastic strain weakening in the lithosphere, our numerical models can attain stable subduction geometry over millions of years. We find that the frictional strength of the sediments and serpentinized peridotite exerts the largest control on the dip angle of the subduction interface at seismogenic depths. In the case of low sediment and serpentinite friction, the subduction interface has a shallow dip, while the subduction zone develops an accretionary prism, a broad forearc high, a deep forearc basin, and a shallow trench. In the high friction case, the subduction interface is steep, the trench is deeper, and the accretionary prism, forearc high and basin are all absent. The resultant free-air gravity and topographic signature of these subduction zone models are consistent with observations. We believe that the low-friction model produces a geometry and forearc structure similar to that of accretionary margins. Conversely, models with high friction angles in sediments and serpentinite develop characteristics of an erosional convergent margin. We find that the strength of the subduction interface is critical in controlling the amount of coupling at the seismogenic zone and perhaps ultimately the size of the largest earthquakes at subduction zones. © 2012. American Geophysical Union. All Rights Reserved.

  5. Development and propagation of a subduction plate interface: insight from hydro-thermo-mechanical models (United States)

    Bauville, Arthur; Furuichi, Mikito


    The deformation mechanisms of the subduction zone plate interface varies along its length, from seismic brittle deformation near the surface to aseismic viscous deformation further at depth. However, the initiation of a subduction interface, as well as the interplay between viscous and brittle deformation is still incompletely understood. Furthermore, in the shallower portions of the subduction zone, in particular in the accretion prism, water might play an important role in the localization of the decollement (i.e. shallower part of the subduction interface). In this study we model the development of a subduction plate interface from subduction initiation to prism development. We employ a numerical algorithm that solves the fully coupled hydro-thermo-mechanical using the staggered grid finite difference/marker-in-cell method. We first performed a parameter study varying the thermal age of the plate, shortening speed, sediment thickness and initial porosity distribution. In a second step numerical results are compared with geophysical data and samples from the Japan trench and the Nankai trough. Early results and numerical implementation will be presented.

  6. Geometry and brittle deformation of the subducting Nazca Plate, Central Chile and Argentina (United States)

    Anderson, Megan; Alvarado, Patricia; Zandt, George; Beck, Susan


    We use data from the Chile Argentina Geophysical Experiment (CHARGE) broad-band seismic deployment to refine past observations of the geometry and deformation within the subducting slab in the South American subduction zone between 30°S and 36°S. This region contains a zone of flat slab subduction where the subducting Nazca Plate flattens at a depth of ~100 km and extends ~300 km eastward before continuing its descent into the mantle. We use a grid-search multiple-event earthquake relocation technique to relocate 1098 events within the subducting slab and generate contours of the Wadati-Benioff zone. These contours reflect slab geometries from previous studies of intermediate-depth seismicity in this region with some small but important deviations. Our hypocentres indicate that the shallowest portion of the flat slab is associated with the inferred location of the subducting Juan Fernández Ridge at 31°S and that the slab deepens both to the south and the north of this region. We have also determined first motion focal mechanisms for ~180 of the slab earthquakes. The subhorizontal T-axis solutions for these events are almost entirely consistent with a slab pull interpretation, especially when compared to our newly inferred slab geometry. Deviations of T-axes from the direction of slab dip may be explained with a gap within the subducting slab below 150 km in the vicinity of the transition from flat to normal subducting geometry around 33°S.

  7. Neo-Alpine orogeny: a case study for micro-ocean micro-plate subduction and collision (United States)

    Kissling, E.; Lippitsch, R.; Regenauer-Lieb, K.; Schmid, S.


    In the tectonically complex Alpine region, three different plates (European, Adriatic, and Ligurian) amalgamated when the orogen formed. Knowledge of the actual structure of the lithosphere-asthenosphere system is of great importance for understanding the evolution of this orogen and the interactions between the three lithospheric blocks. In order to illuminate the structure of the uppermost mantle high-resolution teleseismic tomography was performed. At the temporary TRANSALP array, waveforms from teleseismic earthquakes were recorded and by including wave forms registered at permanent regional stations throughout the Alpine region, a high-quality data set of 4200 manually picked P-arrivals from 22 teleseismic events with even azimuthal distribution was compiled. In a previous study, a 3D crustal model was established based on controlled-source seismology data representing the large-scale shallow Alpine structure, which clearly reflects the effects of the Africa-Europe plate collision by crustal indentations. Tests with synthetic data document that the combination of (1) non-linear inversion, (2) high-quality teleseismic data, and (3) usage of an a priori 3D crustal model in assessing incoming teleseismic wave front distortion, does allow for reliably resolving structures of about 60 km minimal length with a velocity variation in the order of +/- 1% in the upper mantle. Tomographic results clearly reveal two separate lithospheric slabs beneath the Alpine orogen. In the western and central Alps, the slab is partly attached to the European lithosphere and dips steeply toward SSW. From beneath the Tauern window on eastward beneath the Eastern Alps (EA), the second slab is attached to the Adriatic lithosphere and gently dips toward NE. Results of numerical dynamic modelling of internal lithosphere structure and slab geometries suggest, that subduction of European oceanic lithosphere continued in the west, while early transpression-collision occurred in the Eastern

  8. Subduction of young oceanic plates: A numerical study with application to aborted thermal-chemical plumes (United States)

    Blanco-Quintero, Idael Francisco; Gerya, Taras V.; GarcíA-Casco, Antonio; Castro, Antonio


    We investigated numerical models of initiation and subsequent evolution of subduction of young (10-30 Myr) oceanic lithosphere. Systematic numerical experiments were carried out by varying the age of the subducting plate (10, 12.5, 15, 17.5, 20, 25 and 30 Myr), the rate of induced convergence (2, 4 and 5 cm/yr) and the degree of hydration (0 and 2 wt% H2O) of the pre-existing weak oceanic fracture zone along which subduction is initiated. Despite the prescribed plate forcing, spontaneously retreating oceanic subduction with a pronounced magmatic arc and a backarc basin was obtained in a majority of the experiments. It was also found that the younger age of oceanic lithosphere results in more intense dehydration and partial melting of the slab during and after the induced subduction initiation due to the shallow dispositions of the isotherms. Partial melting of the subducted young crust may create thermal-chemical instabilities (cold plumes) that ascend along the slab-mantle interface until they either freeze at depth or detach from the slab and penetrate the upper plate lithosphere contributing to the nucleation and growth of a volcanic arc. Freezing of the plumes in the slab-mantle interface is favored by subduction of very young lithosphere (i.e., 10 Myr) at moderate rate (4 cm/yr) of convergence. Such aborted plumes may correspond to Cretaceous partially melted MORB-derived slab material and associated adakitic tonalitic-trondhjemitic rocks crystallized at ca. 50 km depth in the slab-mantle interface and exhumed in a subduction channel (serpentinite mélanges) in eastern Cuba.

  9. Electrical conductivity beneath the Bolivian Orocline and its relation to subduction processes at the South American continental margin (United States)

    Brasse, Heinrich; Eydam, Diane


    A long-period magnetotelluric data set was obtained during 2002 and 2004 in the central Andes to study the deep electrical conductivity structure in the region of the Bolivian Orocline between latitudes 17°S and 19°S. The profile extends from the Coastal Cordillera in northernmost Chile, crosses the volcanic arc and the Altiplano high plateau in central Bolivia, and ends in the Eastern Cordillera. Two-dimensional inversion revealed several well-defined conductivity anomalies: in upper crustal levels the conductive sedimentary basins of the central Altiplano and the resistive Arequipa block beneath the western Altiplano are imaged. Earlier seismological and magnetotelluric investigations on the southern Altiplano inferred a large, highly conductive (partially molten) body in the mid to deep crust. It was assumed that this structure would be underlying the entire plateau, but this is not the case according to the new models. Instead, the most prominent feature in the new investigation area is a high-conductivity zone at upper mantle depths below the high plateau, which may be interpreted as an image of partial melts and fluids triggered by water supply from the subducting Nazca slab. This conductor would be in accordance with the standard subduction scenario; it is, however, laterally offset by almost 100 km from the volcanic arc. In contrast, the deep crust and upper mantle beneath the arc is moderately resistive. Both observations may hint at an emerging shift of the magmatic/fluid system in the central Andes.

  10. The proportionality between relative plate velocity and seismicity in subduction zones (United States)

    Ide, S.


    Seismic activity differs among subduction zones due to various factors such as relative plate velocity, temperature, stress, and subducting materials. Relative plate velocity has a direct control on tectonic deformation and an overall correlation with seismicity has been suggested, as a global average or for large regions. Here I show a positive correlation between relative plate velocity and seismicity by estimating the background seismicity rate for 117 sections of subduction zones worldwide using the epidemic type aftershock sequence (ETAS) model. The background rate is stably estimated even for the period following M9-class earthquakes in Chile and Japan. A prominent proportional relationship is evident in the southwestern Pacific Ocean. Given that M9-class earthquakes occur independently of one another, the lack of M9 earthquakes in the southwestern Pacific Ocean over the last century is difficult to explain by chance. On the other hand, some subduction zones have extremely low background seismicity, and have experienced very large earthquakes. Slow earthquakes have been discovered in many of these quiet zones. Thus, this proportionality relation may be useful in assessing the seismic risk in subduction zones worldwide between two apparently confusing end members: 'active and moderate' and 'quiet and extreme'.

  11. Imaging of Cocos Plate Beneath Southern Costa Rica From Receiver Function Analysis (United States)

    Dzierma, Y.; Thorwart, M.; Rabbel, W.


    A transect of 19 seismological broadband stations crossing the Talamanca Mountain Range in Southern Costa Rica was operated from March 2005 to April 2007 as a part of the Collaborative Research Center SFB 574 "Volatiles and Fluids in Subduction Zones". The aim of the seismological subproject A2 was to gain insight into the structure of the Central American subduction zone and possible pathways for fluid migration. Previous studies of active seismics and local seismicity suggested to explain the gap of volcanism in the Talamanca range with the lack of a subducting slab. They assumed that the Cocos Ridge underlies the overriding plate at a shallow dip. In contrast, our receiver function analysis of 322 teleseimic earthquakes is able to image the subducting Cocos Plate down to depths of at least 100 km. The dip angle of the slab closer to the trench is outside the network but appears to be shallow, consistent with former studies. Below 40 km, the dip increases to more than 45 deg. This is supported by accurately located seismicity from a tomography study also performed by our group. Crustal structure could also be resolved by the receiver function analysis in agreement with tomography and active seismic investigations. The existence of the subducting slab poses the question why volcanism stopped 4 Ma ago; several possible scenarios are discussed.

  12. Faulting within the Pacific plate at the Mariana Trench: Implications for plate interface coupling and subduction of hydrous minerals (United States)

    Emry, Erica L.; Wiens, Douglas A.; Garcia-Castellanos, Daniel


    We investigate faulting within the incoming Pacific plate at the Mariana subduction trench to understand stresses within the bending plate, regional stresses acting upon the plate interface, and the extent of possible faulting-induced mantle serpentinization. We determine accurate depths by inverting teleseismic P and SH waveforms for earthquakes occurring during 1990-2011 with Global Centroid Moment Tensor (GCMT) solutions. For earthquakes with Mw 5.0+, we determine centroid depths and source time functions and refine the fault parameters. Results from Central Mariana indicate that all earthquakes are extensional and occur at centroid depths down to 11 km below the Moho. At the Southern Mariana Trench, extensional earthquakes continue to 5 km below the Moho. One compressional earthquake at 34 km below the seafloor suggests stronger plate interface coupling here. In addition, we model the stress distribution within the Pacific plate along two bathymetric profiles extending seaward from the Mariana subduction trench axis to better understand whether our earthquake depth solutions match modeled scenarios for plate bending under applied external forces. Results from our flexure models match the locations of extensional and compressional earthquakes and suggest that the Pacific plate at Southern Mariana is experiencing larger, compressional stresses, possibly due to greater interplate coupling. Additionally, we conclude that if extensional faulting promotes the infiltration of water into the subducting plate mantle, then the top 5-15 km of the Pacific plate mantle are partially serpentinized, and a higher percentage of serpentinization is located near the Central Mariana trench where extensional events extend deeper.

  13. Features of Seismicity in the Northeastern China Region and Their Relation to the Subduction of the Japan Sea Plate

    Institute of Scientific and Technical Information of China (English)

    Sun Wenbin; He Yueshi


    Based on the analyses of grouped activity features of deep-focus (M ≥ 6.0) and shallow-focus(Ms ≥ 5.0) earthquakes in the Northeast China region, the time-space correlation betweendeep focus "strong earthquake group" and shallow focus "strong earthquake group" have beenstudied. The study was mainly on the characteristics of earthquake distribution on the collisionzone between the west Pacific plate and the Eurasian plate and on its relations to themorphological feature of the western Pacific subduction zone. Moreover, emphasis was laid onanalysis of the effect of the west Pacific plate on the seismicity of Eurasian plate. It is shownthat in the region where the west Pacific plate subducts at low angles, the seismicity on theplate collision zone is strong, the effect of plate subduction on Eurasian continent is strong too,and the subduction zone is under a state of high compressional stress. However, in the regionwhere the west Pacific plate subducts at high angles, the seismicity along the plate collision zoneis weak, the effect of plate subduction on Eurasian continent is weak too, and the tensile stressproduced by the subduction zone at depth is enhanced. We therefore propose that the seismicityin the northeast China region will enter an active period of shallow "strong earthquake group"in the future 10 years. In the period, six earthquakes of Ms ≥5.0 may occur. Therefore, the work of earthquake monitoring and prediction in this region shall be strengthened.

  14. Three-dimensional numerical modeling of thermal regime and slab dehydration beneath Kanto and Tohoku, Japan (United States)

    Ji, Yingfeng; Yoshioka, Shoichi; Manea, Vlad Constantin; Manea, Marina; Matsumoto, Takumi


    Although the thermal regime of the interface between two overlapping subducting plates, such as those beneath Kanto, Japan, is thought to play an important role in affecting the distribution of interplate and intraslab earthquakes, the estimation of the thermal regime remains challenging to date. We constructed a three-dimensional (3-D) thermal convection model to simulate the subduction of the Pacific plate along the Japan Trench and Izu-Bonin Trench, including the subduction of the Philippine Sea beneath Kanto and investigated the slab thermal regime and slab water contents in this complex tectonic setting. Based on the subduction parameters tested in generic models with two flat oceanic plates, a faster or thicker plate subducting in a more trench-normal direction produces a colder slab thermal regime. The interplate temperature of the cold anomaly beneath offshore Kanto was approximately 300°C colder than that beneath offshore Tohoku at a same depth of 40 km and approximately 600°C colder at a depth of 70 km. The convergence between the two subducting plates produces an asymmetric thermal structure in the slab contact zone beneath Kanto, which is characterized by clustered seismicity in the colder southwestern half. The thermo-dehydration state of the mid-ocean ridge basalt near the upper surface of the subducted Pacific plate controls the interplate seismicity beneath the Kanto-Tohoku region according to the spatial concurrence of the thermo-dehydration and seismicity along the megathrust fault zone of the subducted Pacific plate.

  15. Stress fields of the overriding plate at convergent margins and beneath active volcanic arcs. (United States)

    Apperson, K D


    Tectonic stress fields in the overriding plate at convergent plate margins are complex and vary on local to regional scales. Volcanic arcs are a common element of overriding plates. Stress fields in the volcanic arc region are related to deformation generated by subduction and to magma generation and ascent processes. Analysis of moment tensors of shallow and intermediate depth earthquakes in volcanic arcs indicates that the seismic strain field in the arc region of many convergent margins is subhorizontal extension oriented nearly perpendicular to the arc. A process capable of generating such a globally consistent strain field is induced asthenospheric corner flow below the arc region.

  16. Dynamics of subduction and continental collision: Influence of the nature of the plate contact. Geologica Ultraiectina (284)

    NARCIS (Netherlands)

    De Franco, R.


    At convergent plate boundaries, the properties of the actual plate contact are important for the overall dynamics. Convergent plate boundaries both mechanically decouple and link tectonic plates and accommodate large amounts of strain. We investigate two fundamental physical states of the subduction

  17. Lithospheric-scale effects of a subduction-driven Alboran plate: improved neotectonic modeling (United States)

    Neres, Marta; Carafa, Michele; Terrinha, Pedro; Fernandes, Rui; Matias, Luis; Duarte, João; Barba, Salvatore


    The presence of a subducted slab under the Gibraltar arc is now widely accepted. However, discussion still remains on whether subduction is active and what is its influence in the lithospheric processes, in particular in the observed geodesy, deformation rates and seismicity. Aiming at bringing new insights into the discussion, we have performed a neotectonic numerical study of a segment of the Africa-Eurasia plate boundary, from the Gloria fault to the Northern Algerian margin. Specifically, we have tested the effect of including or excluding an independently driven Alboran plate, i.e. testing active subduction versus inactive subduction (2plates versus 3plates scenarios). We used the dynamic code SHELLS (Bird et al., 2008) to model the surface velocity field and the ongoing deformation, using a new up-to-date simplified tectonic map of the region, new available lithospheric data and boundary conditions determined from two alternative Africa-Eurasia angular velocities, respectively: SEGAL2013, a new pole based on stable Africa and stable Eurasia gps data (last decades); and MORVEL, a geological-scale pole (3.16 Ma). We also extensively studied the variation within the parametric space of fault friction coefficient, subduction resistance and surface velocities imposed to the Alboran plate. The final run comprised a total of 5240 experiments, and each generated model was scored against geodetic velocities, stress direction data and seismic strain rates. The preferred model corresponds to the 3plates scenario, SEGAL2013 pole and fault friction of 0.225, with scoring results: gps misfit of 0.78 mm/yr; SHmax misfit of 13.6° and correlation with seismic strain rate of 0.62, significantly better than previous models. We present predicted fault slip rates for the recognized active structures and off-faults permanent strain rates, which can be used for seismic and tsunami hazard calculations (the initial motivation for this work was contributing for calculation of

  18. Continental Subduction and Subduction Initiation Leading to Extensional Exhumation of Ultra-High Pressure Rocks During Ongoing Plate Convergence in Papua New Guinea (United States)

    Buck, W. R.; Petersen, K. D.


    Subduction of continental rocks is necessary to produce ultra-high pressure (UHP) rocks but the mechanism bringing them to the surface is disputed. A major question is whether this involves fairly small diapirs of crust that move up through the mantle or it involves an entire subducted plate that undergoes coherent 'reverse subduction' (sometimes called 'eduction'). Both mechanisms have been invoked to explain the only known region of on-going exhumation of UHP rocks, on the D'Entrecasteaux Islands of Papua New Guinea. Ductile flow fabrics in the island rocks have been used to argue for a diapiric model while constraints on the plate kinematics of the region require relatively large (>100 km) amounts of recent (>6 Myr) extension, supporting eduction as a primary mechanism. A self-consistent thermo-mechanical model of continental subduction shows that eduction can be accompanied by some ductile flow within the crust. Also we show, that subduction and stacking of continental crust can cause a subduction zone to lock up and lead to subduction initiation elsewhere. When this happens the region of earlier continental subduction can reverse direction causing exhumation of rocks from depth of ~100 km followed by localized extension and plate spreading. This can occur even if a region is in overall convergence. Applied to New Guinea our results are consistent with earlier suggestions that extension of the Woodlark Basin was caused by the initiation of the New Britain Trench, as indicated on the attached figure. We suggest that this subduction initiation event triggered eduction that led to exposure of the D'Entrcasteaux Islands and exhumation of the UHP rocks there. Our numerical results are broadly consistent with the recently refined seismic structure of the region around the islands. The model implies that the present-day basement of the ~70 km wide Goodenough Bay, south of the islands, was subducted then exhumed. This can be tested by drilling.

  19. Mantle constraints on the plate tectonic evolution of the Tonga-Kermadec-Hikurangi subduction zone and the South Fiji Basin region

    NARCIS (Netherlands)

    Schellart, W.P.; Spakman, W.


    The Tonga–Kermadec–Hikurangi subduction zone is a major plate boundary in the Southwest Pacific region, where the Pacific plate subducts westward underneath the Australian plate. Considerable controversy exists regarding the Cenozoic evolution of this subduction zone, its connection with

  20. Subduction controls the distribution and fragmentation of Earth’s tectonic plates. (United States)

    Mallard, Claire; Coltice, Nicolas; Seton, Maria; Müller, R Dietmar; Tackley, Paul J


    The theory of plate tectonics describes how the surface of Earth is split into an organized jigsaw of seven large plates of similar sizes and a population of smaller plates whose areas follow a fractal distribution. The reconstruction of global tectonics during the past 200 million years suggests that this layout is probably a long-term feature of Earth, but the forces governing it are unknown. Previous studies, primarily based on the statistical properties of plate distributions, were unable to resolve how the size of the plates is determined by the properties of the lithosphere and the underlying mantle convection. Here we demonstrate that the plate layout of Earth is produced by a dynamic feedback between mantle convection and the strength of the lithosphere. Using three-dimensional spherical models of mantle convection that self-consistently produce the plate size–frequency distribution observed for Earth, we show that subduction geometry drives the tectonic fragmentation that generates plates. The spacing between the slabs controls the layout of large plates, and the stresses caused by the bending of trenches break plates into smaller fragments. Our results explain why the fast evolution in small back-arc plates reflects the marked changes in plate motions during times of major reorganizations. Our study opens the way to using convection simulations with plate-like behaviour to unravel how global tectonics and mantle convection are dynamically connected.

  1. Subduction controls the distribution and fragmentation of Earth’s tectonic plates (United States)

    Mallard, Claire; Coltice, Nicolas; Seton, Maria; Müller, R. Dietmar; Tackley, Paul J.


    The theory of plate tectonics describes how the surface of Earth is split into an organized jigsaw of seven large plates of similar sizes and a population of smaller plates whose areas follow a fractal distribution. The reconstruction of global tectonics during the past 200 million years suggests that this layout is probably a long-term feature of Earth, but the forces governing it are unknown. Previous studies, primarily based on the statistical properties of plate distributions, were unable to resolve how the size of the plates is determined by the properties of the lithosphere and the underlying mantle convection. Here we demonstrate that the plate layout of Earth is produced by a dynamic feedback between mantle convection and the strength of the lithosphere. Using three-dimensional spherical models of mantle convection that self-consistently produce the plate size-frequency distribution observed for Earth, we show that subduction geometry drives the tectonic fragmentation that generates plates. The spacing between the slabs controls the layout of large plates, and the stresses caused by the bending of trenches break plates into smaller fragments. Our results explain why the fast evolution in small back-arc plates reflects the marked changes in plate motions during times of major reorganizations. Our study opens the way to using convection simulations with plate-like behaviour to unravel how global tectonics and mantle convection are dynamically connected.

  2. Plate tectonics on the early Earth: Limitations imposed by strength and buoyancy of subducted lithosphere (United States)

    van Hunen, Jeroen; van den Berg, Arie P.


    The tectonic style and viability of modern plate tectonics in the early Earth is still debated. Field observations and theoretical arguments both in favor and against the uniformitarian view of plate tectonics back until the Archean continue to accumulate. Here, we present the first numerical modeling results that address for a hotter Earth the viability of subduction, one of the main requirements for plate tectonics. A hotter mantle has mainly two effects: 1) viscosity is lower, and 2) more melt is produced, which in a plate tectonic setting will lead to a thicker oceanic crust and harzburgite layer. Although compositional buoyancy resulting from these thick crust and harzburgite might be a serious limitation for subduction initiation, our modeling results show that eclogitization significantly relaxes this limitation for a developed, ongoing subduction process. Furthermore, the lower viscosity leads to more frequent slab breakoff, and sometimes to crustal separation from the mantle lithosphere. Unlike earlier propositions, not compositional buoyancy considerations, but this lithospheric weakness could be the principle limitation to the viability of plate tectonics in a hotter Earth. These results suggest a new explanation for the absence of ultrahigh-pressure metamorphism (UHPM) and blueschists in most of the Precambrian: early slabs were not too buoyant, but too weak to provide a mechanism for UHPM and exhumation.

  3. Subducting plate geology in three great earthquake ruptures of the western Alaska margin, Kodiak to Unimak (United States)

    von Huene, Roland; Miller, John J.; Weinrebe, Wilhelm


    Three destructive earthquakes along the Alaska subduction zone sourced transoceanic tsunamis during the past 70 years. Since it is reasoned that past rupture areas might again source tsunamis in the future, we studied potential asperities and barriers in the subduction zone by examining Quaternary Gulf of Alaska plate history, geophysical data, and morphology. We relate the aftershock areas to subducting lower plate relief and dissimilar materials in the seismogenic zone in the 1964 Kodiak and adjacent 1938 Semidi Islands earthquake segments. In the 1946 Unimak earthquake segment, the exposed lower plate seafloor lacks major relief that might organize great earthquake rupture. However, the upper plate contains a deep transverse-trending basin and basement ridges associated with the Eocene continental Alaska convergent margin transition to the Aleutian island arc. These upper plate features are sufficiently large to have affected rupture propagation. In addition, massive slope failure in the Unimak area may explain the local 42-m-high 1946 tsunami runup. Although Quaternary geologic and tectonic processes included accretion to form a frontal prism, the study of seismic images, samples, and continental slope physiography shows a previous history of tectonic erosion. Implied asperities and barriers in the seismogenic zone could organize future great earthquake rupture.

  4. Fundamental structure model of island arcs and subducted plates in and around Japan (United States)

    Iwasaki, T.; Sato, H.; Ishiyama, T.; Shinohara, M.; Hashima, A.


    The eastern margin of the Asian continent is a well-known subduction zone, where the Pacific (PAC) and Philippine Sea (PHS) plates are being subducted. In this region, several island arcs (Kuril, Northeast Japan, Southwest Japan, Izu-Bonin and Ryukyu arcs) meet one another to form a very complicated tectonic environment. At 2014, we started to construct fundamental structure models for island arcs and subducted plates in and around Japan. Our research is composed of 6 items of (1) topography, (2) plate geometry, (3) fault models, (4) the Moho and brittle-ductile transition zone, (5) the lithosphere-asthenosphere boundary, and (6) petrological/rheological models. Such information is basic but inevitably important in qualitative understanding not only for short-term crustal activities in the subduction zone (particularly caused by megathrust earthquakes) but also for long-term cumulative deformation of the arcs as a result of strong plate-arc/arc-arc interactions. This paper is the first presentation of our research, mainly presenting the results of items (1) and (2). The area of our modelling is 12o-54o N and 118o-164o E to cover almost the entire part of Japanese Islands together with Kuril, Ryukyu and Izu-Bonin trenches. The topography model was constructed from the 500-m mesh data provided from GSJ, JODC, GINA and Alaska University. Plate geometry models are being constructed through the two steps. In the first step, we modelled very smooth plate boundaries of the Pacific and Philippine Sea plates in our whole model area using 42,000 earthquake data from JMA, USGS and ISC. For 7,800 cross sections taken with several directions to the trench axes, 2D plate boundaries were defined by fitting to the earthquake distribution (the Wadati-Benioff zone), from which we obtained equi-depth points of the plate boundary. These equi-depth points were then approximated by spline interpolation technique to eliminate shorter wave length undulation (plate geometry with longer

  5. Stress drops for intermediate-depth intraslab earthquakes beneath Hokkaido, northern Japan: Differences between the subducting oceanic crust and mantle events (United States)

    Kita, Saeko; Katsumata, Kei


    Spatial variations in the stress drop for 1726 intermediate-depth intraslab earthquakes were examined in the subducting Pacific plate beneath Hokkaido, using precisely relocated hypocenters, the corner frequencies of events, and detailed determined geometry of the upper interface of the Pacific plate. The results show that median stress drop for intraslab earthquakes generally increases with an increase in depth from ˜10 to 157 Mpa at depths of 70-300 km. More specifically, median stress drops for events in the oceanic crust decrease (9.9-6.8 MPa) at depths of 70-120 km and increase (6.8-17 MPa) at depths of 120-170 km, whereas median stress drop for events in the oceanic mantle decrease (21.6-14.0 MPa) at depths of 70-170 km, where the geometry of the Pacific plate is well determined. The increase in stress drop with depth in the oceanic crust at depths of 120-170 km, for which several studies have shown an increase in velocity, can be explained by an increase in the velocity and a decrease in the water content due to the phase boundary with dehydration in the oceanic crust. Stress drops for events in the oceanic mantle were larger than those for events in the oceanic crust at depths of 70-120 km. Differences in both the rigidity of the rock types and in the rupture mechanisms for events between the oceanic crust and mantle could be causes for the stress drop differences within a slab.

  6. Lithospheric Structure and Shape of Subducting Nazca Plate in the Pampean Flat Slab Region of Argentina (United States)

    Linkimer, L.; Beck, S. L.; Zandt, G.; Alvarado, P. M.; Anderson, M. L.; Gilbert, H. J.; Zhang, H.


    We obtain earthquake locations and a detailed three-dimensional model of the subduction zone velocity structure in west-central Argentina by applying a regional-scale double-difference tomography algorithm to earthquake data recorded by the SIEMBRA (2007-2009) and ESP (2008-2010) broadband seismic networks. In this region, the flat subduction of the Nazca Plate including the Juan Fernandez Ridge is spatially correlated in the overriding South America Plate with a gap in the arc volcanism and the thick-skinned, basement-cored uplifts of the Sierras Pampeanas. Our model shows the subducting Nazca Plate as a mostly continuous band of increased (2-6%) P- and S- wave velocities (Vp and Vs). The lithospheric mantle of the South America Plate appears to be heterogeneous but mostly characterized by Vp of 8.0-8.2 km/s, Vs of 4.5-4.7 km/s, and Vp/Vs ratio of 1.75-1.78, which is consistent with either a depleted lherzolite or harzburgite. We observe a region of higher Vp/Vs ratio (1.78-1.80) that we correlated with up to 10% hydration of mantle peridotites above the flat slab. In addition, we observe localized regions of lower Vp/Vs ratio (1.71-1.73) in the mantle above the westernmost part of the flat slab, suggesting orthopyroxene enrichment. Our velocity observations are consistent with the presence of Paleozoic carbonate rocks in the Precordillera and the differences in composition for the Sierras Pampeanas basement: a more mafic composition for Cuyania Terrane in the west and a more felsic composition for the Pampia Terrane in the east. Additionally, we present new contours for the Wadati-Benioff Zone (WBZ). The top of the WBZ of the Nazca Plate is nearly flat at ~100 km depth approximately within the region of latitude 28-32°S and longitude 70-68.5°W. We determined that WBZ is a single layer of seismicity with thickness of 10-15 km, which may correspond to the dehydration of the subducting oceanic mantle. We found that the flat slab region is wider (~240 km) than the

  7. Shape of Subducting Nazca Plate and Lithospheric Structure in the Pampean Flat Slab Region of Argentina (United States)

    Linkimer, L.; Beck, S. L.; Zandt, G.; Alvarado, P. M.; Anderson, M. L.; Gilbert, H. J.; Zhang, H.


    We obtain earthquake locations and a detailed three-dimensional model of the subduction zone velocity structure in west-central Argentina by applying a regional-scale double-difference tomography algorithm to earthquake data recorded by the SIEMBRA (2007-2009) and ESP (2008-2010) broadband seismic networks. In this region, the flat subduction of the Nazca Plate including the Juan Fernandez Ridge is spatially correlated in the overriding South America Plate with a gap in the arc volcanism and the thick-skinned, basement-cored uplifts of the Sierras Pampeanas. Our model shows the subducting Nazca Plate as a mostly continuous band of increased (2-6%) P- and S- wave velocities (Vp and Vs). The lithospheric mantle of the South America Plate appears to be heterogeneous but mostly characterized by Vp of 8.0-8.2 km/s, Vs of 4.5-4.7 km/s, and Vp/Vs ratio of 1.75-1.78, which is consistent with either a depleted lherzolite or harzburgite. We observe a region of higher Vp/Vs ratio (1.78-1.80) that we correlated with up to 10% hydration of mantle peridotites above the flat slab. In addition, we observe localized regions of lower Vp/Vs ratio (1.71-1.73) in the mantle above the westernmost part of the flat slab, suggesting orthopyroxene enrichment. Our velocity observations are consistent with the presence of Paleozoic carbonate rocks in the Precordillera and the differences in composition for the Sierras Pampeanas basement: a more mafic composition for Cuyania Terrane in the west and a more felsic composition for the Pampia Terrane in the east. Additionally, we present new contours for the Wadati-Benioff Zone (WBZ). The top of the WBZ of the Nazca Plate is nearly flat at ~100 km depth approximately within the region of latitude 28-32°S and longitude 70-68.5°W. We determined that WBZ is a single layer of seismicity with thickness of 10-15 km, which may correspond to the dehydration of the subducting oceanic mantle. We found that the flat slab region is wider (~240 km) than the

  8. Plate kinematics, slab shape and back-arc stress: A comparison between laboratory models and current subduction zones (United States)

    Heuret, A.; Funiciello, F.; Faccenna, C.; Lallemand, S.


    A combination of statistical studies on present-day subduction zones and three-dimensional (3D) laboratory models is performed with the aim to clarify the way that plate kinematics control the geometry of the slab and the overriding plate deformation in subduction zones. In 3D laboratory models, the analogue of a two layer linearly viscous lithosphere-upper mantle system is achieved by means of silicon putty glucose syrup tank experiment. The subducting and overriding plate velocities are systematically changed by exploring the variability field of natural plate kinematics. Both statistical and modelling approaches recognize the importance of overriding plate motion on subduction process behavior: (1) trenches migrate at a rate close to the overriding plate motion, but always move slower than the overriding plates. The mechanism at work is a direct consequence of "slab anchoring" opposed by both lithosphere and mantle viscous resistance and is responsible for overriding plate deformation and slab geometry variability. (2) An overriding plate shortens when the overriding plate moves toward the trench and conditions that are favourable for overriding plate extension are created when the overriding plate moves away from the trench. (3) Shallow and steep dips are found if the overriding plate moves toward and away from the trench, respectively.

  9. Two opposed subduction modes at the southern Caribbean plate margin of Colombia (United States)

    Kammer, Andreas; Piraquive, Alejandro


    Cretaceous to Paleogene convergence at the southern Caribbean plate margin is still little deciphered and a generalized interpretation is hindered by the absence of regionally correlatable tectonic elements, like magmatic arcs, time constraints and an intense crustal fragmentation brought about by Neogene strike-slip tectonics. In order to illustrate the diversity of these subduction settings and discuss possible tectonic controls on their subsequent collisional evolution, we outline the structural evolution along a thickened and a thinned continental segment. The first case is exemplified by the Sierra Nevada de Santa Marta, a triangular block that exposes an imbricated lower crustal section capped by nested plutons and a volcanic sequence of a Jurassic to Early Cretaceous arc. This exceptionally thick crustal section forms the upper plate of a continent-ward dipping main suture that is underlain by strongly sheared platform sediments and transitional basement rocks of a lower plate. Penetrative deformation developed under medium-grade conditions with a uniform top-to-the NE shear attests to a stable subduction interval of a still unknown duration. Onset of a collisional phase is marked by a crustal imbrication further inboard of the main suture, leading to a further crustal thickening, and links in the Paleogene to the emplacement of the dome-like Santa Marta batholith within the lower plate. It is likely that the juxtaposition of thickened continental Southamerican and thinner oceanic Caribbean crust triggered a crustal channel flow that fed the magmatic dome in the transitional part of these crustal realms, leading thus to some gravitational collapse of the continental crust. The opposite case of the juxtaposition of a continental platform, previously thinned by Jurassic to Early Cretaceous rifting and a relatively thick Caribbean crust is documented in the northwestern Guajira Peninsula. Here platform sequences and their corresponding basement were subducted

  10. Diapir versus along-channel ascent of crustal material during plate convergence: Constrained by the thermal structure of subduction zones (United States)

    Liu, Ming-Qi; Li, Zhong-Hai; Yang, Shao-Hua


    Subduction channel processes are crucial for understanding the material and energy exchange between the Earth's crust and mantle. Crustal rocks can be subducted to mantle depths, interact with the mantle wedge, and then exhume to the crustal depth again, which is generally considered as the mechanism for the formation of ultrahigh-pressure metamorphic rocks in nature. In addition, the crustal rocks generally undergo dehydration and melting at subarc depths, giving rise to fluids that metasomatize and weaken the overlying mantle wedge. There are generally two ways for the material ascent from subarc depths: one is along subduction channels; the other is through the mantle wedge by diapir. In order to study the conditions and dynamics of these contrasting material ascent modes, systematic petrological-thermo-mechanical numerical models are constructed with variable thicknesses of the overriding and subducting continental plates, ages of the subducting oceanic plate, as well as the plate convergence rates. The model results suggest that the thermal structures of subduction zones control the thermal condition and fluid/melt activity at the slab-mantle interface in subcontinental subduction channels, which further strongly affect the material transportation and ascent mode. The thick overriding continental plate and the low-angle subduction style induced by young subducting oceanic plate both contribute to the formation of relatively cold subduction channels with strong overriding mantle wedge, where the along-channel exhumation occurs exclusively to result in the exhumation of HP-UHP metamorphic rocks. In contrast, the thin overriding lithosphere and the steep subduction style induced by old subducting oceanic plate are the favorable conditions for hot subduction channels, which lead to significant hydration and metasomatism, melting and weakening of the overriding mantle wedge and thus cause the ascent of mantle wedge-derived melts by diapir through the mantle wedge

  11. Recovering physical property information from subduction plate boundaries using 3D full-waveform seismic inversion (United States)

    Bell, R. E.; Morgan, J. V.; Warner, M.


    Our understanding of subduction margin seismogenesis has been revolutionised in the last couple of decades with the discovery that the size of the seismogenic zone may not be controlled simply by temperature and a broad spectrum of seismic behaviour exists from stick-slip to stable sliding. Laboratory and numerical experiments suggest that physical properties, particularly fluid pressure may play an important role in controlling the seismic behaviour of subduction margins. Although drilling can provide information on physical properties along subduction thrust faults at point locations at relatively shallow depths, correlations between physical properties and seismic velocity using rock physics relationships are required to resolve physical properties along the margin and down-dip. Therefore, high resolution seismic velocity models are key to recovering physical property information at subduction plate boundaries away from drill sites. 3D Full waveform inversion (FWI) is a technique pioneered by the oil industry to obtain high-resolution high-fidelity models of physical properties in the sub-surface. 3D FWI involves the inversion of low-frequency (>2 to noise and inverted the windowed transmitted arrivals only. We also ran a suite of resolution tests across the model. The results show that 3D FWI of conventionally collected 3D seismic data across the Muroto Basin would be capable of resolving variations in P-wave velocity along the décollement of the order of half the seismic wavelength at the plate boundary. This is a significant improvement on conventional travel-time tomography which resolves to the Fresnel width. In this presentation we will also postulate on the optimal 3D FWI experiment design for the next generation of 3D seismic surveys across subduction margins as a guide for those embarking on new data collection.

  12. High-Resolution Seismicity Image of the Shallow Part of the Subduction Zone Beneath Mejillones in Northern Chile (United States)

    Kummerow, Jörn; Bloch, Wasja; Salazar, Pablo; Wigger, Peter; Asch, Günter; Shapiro, Serge A.


    We analyze slab-related seismicity which has been recorded by a recently (June 2013) installed local seismic monitoring system on the Mejillones peninsula in the forearc region of Northern Chile. The monitoring system consists of 20 seismic stations and is complemented by components of the permanent IPOC (Integrated Plate Boundary Obervatory Chile) seismic network, providing a singular on-shore possibility to study in detail the relatively shallow seismicity of the subducting Nazca slab. To date, about thousand local seismic events have been identified. Precise earthquake relocation involving a local 2.5D velocity model and improved arrival time picks from an iterative cross-correlation based technique allows to trace sharply the slab interface between 25km and 40km depth. Furthermore, we observe distinct and continuous seismic activity on a near-vertical structure which transects the subducting oceanic crust from 40km to 50km depth. Location, orientation and size of this plane correspond to the rupture fault of the MW6.8 Michilla intraslab earthquake which occurred weeks after the MW7.7 Tocopilla earthquake of November 2007. We discuss here particularly the results from cluster analysis and the spatio-temporal signatures of the recorded seismicity.

  13. Dynamic effects of plate-buoyancy subduction at Manila Trench, South China Sea (United States)

    Jiang, L.; Zhan, W.; Sun, J.; Li, J.


    Bathymetric map of SCS plate shows two subducting buoyancies, the fossil ridge and the oceanic plateau, which are supposed to impact slab segmentation into the north from Taiwan to 18°N, and the south from 17°N to Mindoro. Hypocenter distribution show that slab dip angle turns lower southwards from 45° to 30° in the north segment, and relatively equals ~45° in the south segment at the depth of 100km. Moreover, volcano distribution can be segmented into Miocene WVC, Quaternary EVC in the north and combined SVC in the south (Fig. A). We found that WVC and SVC mostly locate in a parallel belt ~50km apart to Manila trench, however EVC turn father southwards from 50km to 100km (Fig. B). Above characters congruously indicate that SCS plate kept equal dip angle in Miocene; then the north segment shallowed at 18°N and developed northwards in Quaternary, resulting in lower dip angle than the invariant south segment. To check the transformation of slab dip angle from 45° to 30° between 17~18°N, focal mechanism solution nearby 17°N are found 90° in rake and dip angle, strike parallel to the fossil ridge, indicating a slab tear located coincident with the ridge, where is a weak zone of higher heat flow and lower plate coupling ratio than the adjacent zones and slab can be easily tore as an interface for SCS plate segmentation. Subduction of the two buoyancies within SCS plate is supposed as influential dynamic factor: It caused the trench retreat rate reduced, forming a cusp and a flat convex of Manila trench shape; Moreover, the buoyancies resisted subduction, resulting in shear stress heterogeneity of SCS plate, in consequence the fossil ridge as a fragile belt potentially became stress concentration zone that easily tore; Then the buoyant oceanic plateau might lead to shallowing of the northern SCS plate. To examine the hypothesis, dynamic effects of the two subducting buoyancies are being respectively investigated based on numerical models. (Grt. 41376063, 2013

  14. Surface deformation resulting from subduction and slab detachment

    NARCIS (Netherlands)

    Buiter, S.J.H.


    Convergence of lithospheric plates is accommodated at active margins by one plate moving beneath the other into the Earth's mantle. Changes in this subduction process may cause variations in the topography of the Earth's surface near a convergent plate margin. The focus of this thesis lies on

  15. Water, oceanic fracture zones and the lubrication of subducting plate boundaries—insights from seismicity (United States)

    Schlaphorst, David; Kendall, J.-Michael; Collier, Jenny S.; Verdon, James P.; Blundy, Jon; Baptie, Brian; Latchman, Joan L.; Massin, Frederic; Bouin, Marie-Paule


    We investigate the relationship between subduction processes and related seismicity for the Lesser Antilles Arc using the Gutenberg-Richter law. This power law describes the earthquake-magnitude distribution, with the gradient of the cumulative magnitude distribution being commonly known as the b-value. The Lesser Antilles Arc was chosen because of its along-strike variability in sediment subduction and the transition from subduction to strike-slip movement towards its northern and southern ends. The data are derived from the seismicity catalogues from the Seismic Research Centre of The University of the West Indies and the Observatoires Volcanologiques et Sismologiques of the Institut de Physique du Globe de Paris and consist of subcrustal events primarily from the slab interface. The b-value is found using a Kolmogorov-Smirnov test for a maximum-likelihood straight line-fitting routine. We investigate spatial variations in b-values using a grid-search with circular cells as well as an along-arc projection. Tests with different algorithms and the two independent earthquake cataloges provide confidence in the robustness of our results. We observe a strong spatial variability of the b-value that cannot be explained by the uncertainties. Rather than obtaining a simple north-south b-value distribution suggestive of the dominant control on earthquake triggering being water released from the sedimentary cover on the incoming American Plates, or a b-value distribution that correlates with on the obliquity of subduction, we obtain a series of discrete, high b-value `bull's-eyes' along strike. These bull's-eyes, which indicate stress release through a higher fraction of small earthquakes, coincide with the locations of known incoming oceanic fracture zones on the American Plates. We interpret the results in terms of water being delivered to the Lesser Antilles subduction zone in the vicinity of fracture zones providing lubrication and thus changing the character of the

  16. Regional variations in the nature of the incoming plate and its implication to the subduction zone (United States)

    Fujie, Gou; Kodaira, Shuichi; Obana, Koichiro; Kaiho, Yuka; Sato, Takeshi; Yamamoto, Yojiro; Takahashi, Tsutomu; Miura, Seiichi; Yamada, Tomoaki


    The megathrust earthquakes like the 2011 Tohoku earthquake are caused by the interaction between the overlying plate and the subducting oceanic plate, indicating that the properties of the subducing oceanic plate, such as their geometry, thermal state, lithology, and water content, have a potential to controll the megathrust earthquakes. Of these properties, water content (degree of hydration) is highly influential because water transported by the incoming plate lowers the temperature of the subduction zone, promotes forearc metamorphism. Moreover, the presence of water and hydrated materials like serpentine can affect interplate seismic coupling on the plate interface. Accordingly, the regional variations in the degree of the hydration within the incoming plate might have strong influences on the regional variations in the interplate earthquakes. To reveal the regional variations in the nature of the incoming oceanic plate and its evolution owing to bending-related faulting near the trench axis, we conducted extensive controlled-source seismic surveys in the trench-outer rise region off northeastern Japan arc. We confirmed the systematic changes in seismic velocities owing to the bending-realated faulting, suggesting the water content within the incoming oceanic plate increases toward the trench accompanied by the development of bending-related fractures. In addition, we found along-trench variations in the seismic structure of the incoming oceanic plate; lower seismic velocities and higher Vp/Vs ration around the ancient fracture zones associated with ridge propagation. This observation suggests that the ancient scar on the oceanic plate influences along-trench variations in the current water amount transported by the oceanic plate. If we extend the ancient fracture zone toward the forearc region, it corresponds to an area of weak interplate coupling, characterized by low Vp and high Vp/Vs ratio around the depth of the plate interface. Our observations suggest

  17. Cascadia subducting plate fluids channelled to fore-arc mantle corner: ETS and silica deposition (United States)

    Hyndman, R. D.; McCrory, P. A.; Wech, A.; Kao, H.; Ague, J.


    In this study we first summarize the constraints that on the Cascadia subduction thrust, there is a 70 km gap downdip between the megathrust seismogenic zone and the Episodic Tremor and Slip (ETS) that lies further landward; there is not a continuous transition from unstable to conditionally stable sliding. Seismic rupture occurs mainly offshore for this hot subduction zone. ETS lies onshore. We then suggest what does control the downdip position of ETS. We conclude that fluids from dehydration of the downgoing plate, focused to rise above the fore-arc mantle corner, are responsible for ETS. There is a remarkable correspondence between the position of ETS and this corner along the whole margin. Hydrated mineral assemblages in the subducting oceanic crust and uppermost mantle are dehydrated with downdip increasing temperature, and seismic tomography data indicate that these fluids have strongly serpentinized the overlying fore-arc mantle. Laboratory data show that such fore-arc mantle serpentinite has low permeability and likely blocks vertical expulsion and restricts flow updip within the underlying permeable oceanic crust and subduction shear zone. At the fore-arc mantle corner these fluids are released upward into the more permeable overlying fore-arc crust. An indication of this fluid flux comes from low Poisson's Ratios (and Vp/Vs) found above the corner that may be explained by a concentration of quartz which has exceptionally low Poisson's Ratio. The rising fluids should be silica saturated and precipitate quartz with decreasing temperature and pressure as they rise above the corner.

  18. Pre-subduction metasomatic enrichment of the oceanic lithosphere induced by plate flexure (United States)

    Pilet, S.; Abe, N.; Rochat, L.; Kaczmarek, M.-A.; Hirano, N.; Machida, S.; Buchs, D. M.; Baumgartner, P. O.; Müntener, O.


    Oceanic lithospheric mantle is generally interpreted as depleted mantle residue after mid-ocean ridge basalt extraction. Several models have suggested that metasomatic processes can refertilize portions of the lithospheric mantle before subduction. Here, we report mantle xenocrysts and xenoliths in petit-spot lavas that provide direct evidence that the lower oceanic lithosphere is affected by metasomatic processes. We find a chemical similarity between clinopyroxene observed in petit-spot mantle xenoliths and clinopyroxene from melt-metasomatized garnet or spinel peridotites, which are sampled by kimberlites and intracontinental basalts respectively. We suggest that extensional stresses in oceanic lithosphere, such as plate bending in front of subduction zones, allow low-degree melts from the seismic low-velocity zone to percolate, interact and weaken the oceanic lithospheric mantle. Thus, metasomatism is not limited to mantle upwelling zones such as mid-ocean ridges or mantle plumes, but could be initiated by tectonic processes. Since plate flexure is a global mechanism in subduction zones, a significant portion of oceanic lithospheric mantle is likely to be metasomatized. Recycling of metasomatic domains into the convecting mantle is fundamental to understanding the generation of small-scale mantle isotopic and volatile heterogeneities sampled by oceanic island and mid-ocean ridge basalts.

  19. Are rupture zone limits of great subduction earthquakes controlled by upper plate structures? Evidence from multichannel seismic reflection data acquired across the northern Ecuador-southwest Colombia margin (United States)

    Collot, Jean-Yves; Marcaillou, Boris; Sage, FrançOise; Michaud, FrançOis; Agudelo, William; Charvis, Philippe; Graindorge, David; Gutscher, Marc-André; Spence, George


    Subduction of the Nazca plate beneath the Ecuador-Colombia margin has produced four megathrust earthquakes during the last century. The 500-km-long rupture zone of the 1906 (Mw = 8.8) event was partially reactivated by three thrust events, in 1942 (Mw = 7.8), 1958 (Mw = 7.7), and 1979 (Mw = 8.2), whose rupture zones abut one another. Multichannel seismic reflection and bathymetric data acquired during the SISTEUR cruise show evidence that the margin wedge is segmented by transverse crustal faults that potentially correlate with the limits of the earthquake coseismic slip zones. The Paleogene-Neogene Jama Quininde and Esmeraldas crustal faults define a ˜200-km-long margin crustal block that coincides with the 1942 earthquake rupture zone. Subduction of the buoyant Carnegie Ridge is inferred to partially lock the plate interface along central Ecuador. However, coseismic slip during the 1942 and 1906 earthquakes may have terminated against the subducted northern flank of the ridge. We report on a newly identified Manglares crustal fault that cuts transversally through the margin wedge and correlates with the limit between the 1958 and 1979 rupture zones. During the earthquake cycle the fault is associated with high-stress concentration on the plate interface. An outer basement high, which bounds the margin seaward of the 1958 rupture zone, may act as a deformable buttress to seaward propagation of coseismic slip along a megathrust splay fault. Coseismic uplift of the basement high is interpreted as the cause for the 1958 tsunami. We propose a model of weak transverse faults which reduce coupling between adjacent margin segments, together with a splay fault and an asperity along the plate interface as controlling the seismogenic rupture of the 1958 earthquake.

  20. Seismic evidence for deep fluid circulation in the overriding plate of subduction zones (United States)

    Tauzin, B.; Reynard, B.; Bodin, T.; Perrillat, J. P.; Debayle, E.


    In subduction zones, non-volcanic tremors are associated with fluid circulations (Obara, 2002). Their sources are often located on the interplate boundary (Rogers and Dragert, 2003; Shelly et al, 2006; La Rocca, 2009), consistent with fluids released by the dehydration of subducted plates (Hacker et al., 2003). Reports of tremors in the overriding continental crust of several subduction zones in the world (Kao et al., 2005; Payero et al., 2008; Ide, 2012) suggest fluid circulation at shallower depths but potential fluid paths are poorly documented. Here we obtained seismic observations from receiver functions that evidence the close association between the shallow tremor zone, electrical conductivity, and tectonic features of the Cascadia overriding plate. A seismic discontinuity near 15 km depth in the crust of the overriding North American plate is attributed to the Conrad discontinuity. This interface is segmented, and its interruption is spatially correlated with conductive regions and shallow swarms of seismicity and non-volcanic tremors. These observations suggest that shallow fluid circulation, tremors and seismicity are controlled by fault zones limiting blocks of accreted terranes in the overriding plate (Brudzinski and Allen, 2007). These zones constitute fluid "escape" routes that may contribute unloading fluid pressure on the megathrust. Obara, K. (2002). Science, 296, 1679-1681. Rogers, G., & Dragert, H. (2003). Science, 300, 1942-1943. Shelly, D. R., et al. (2006). Nature, 442, 188-191. La Rocca, M., et al. (2009). Science, 323, 620-623. Kao, H., et al. (2005). Nature, 436, 841-844. Payero, J. S., et al. (2008). Geophysical Research Letters, 35. Ide, S. (2012). Journal of Geophysical Research: Solid Earth, 117. Brudzinski, M. R., & Allen, R. M. (2007). Geology, 35, 907-910.

  1. Physical property and Textural transition across the Unconformity and Major Seismic Reflectors in the Upper plate of the Costa Rica Subduction zone offshore Osa Peninsula (United States)

    Hamahashi, M.; Screaton, E.; Tanikawa, W.; Hashimoto, Y.; Martin, K. M.; Saito, S.; Kimura, G.


    At the Costa Rica subduction zone offshore Osa Peninsula, the Cocos plate and Cocos Ridge subduct under the Caribbean plate along the Middle America Trench, creating active seismicity. In this region, the Caribbean plate is characterized by a well-consolidated, high velocity framework material beneath the slope sediments, but the nature of the upper plate material is yet unknown. During Integrated Ocean Drilling Program (IODP) Expedition 334 and 344, the unconformity between the slope sediments (Unit 1) and upper plate material (Units 2 and 3) consisting of lithic sedimentary units was penetrated at mid-slope Site 1380. In the current study, to characterize the compaction behavior of the upper plate material, we investigate the physical properties, texture and composition of the sediments at Site 1380 by conducting microstructural observations, resistivity measurements, particle size analyses, X-ray fluorescence and X-ray diffraction analyses. The microstructures of sediments observed through the microscope tend to develop dense and cohesive textures in low porosity sediments, and particle size changes across several unconformities. In particular, the small particle-sized lithic fragments compose larger bodies and form cohesive structures. The cross correlation between measured particle size and shipboard porosity show negative correlation especially at Unit 2, indicating that larger sized particles form smaller or fewer pores. From the results of XRF and XRD analyses, we found that Al, K, Ti tend to concentrate in the higher porosity sediments of Unit 1, whereas Si, Ca, P, Mg, Na, and Mn concentrate in the lower porosity sediments of Unit 2 and 3. The higher concentration in Mg, Na, Mn, Si may be due to minerals such as chlorite, serpentine, amphibole, and sodium manganese. The crossplots between porosity and element concentration show negative correlations in Mg, Na, and Mn with porosity, suggesting that the minerals rich in these elements may relate with the

  2. Dynamic subduction process of local plate revealed by Ibaraki earthquake sequence of 1982 in Japan

    Institute of Scientific and Technical Information of China (English)


    The kinematics and dynamics of plate tectonics are frontalsubjects in geosciences and the strong earthquake oc-curred along the plate boundary result directly from plate movement. By analyzing Ibaraki earthquake sequence, it has been found that the focal fault plane shows a special image of grading expansion along the direction of strike and adjustment along the dip direction respectively. With the consideration of strike, dip and slip directions of focal mechanism, we have confirmed that Ibaraki earthquake belongs to a thrust fault earthquake occurred under the Japan Trench. The cause of the earthquake sequence is discussed in the paper. The study on the temporal-spatial distribution of the earthquake sequence with a time-scale between the year-scale spatial geodetic data and the second-scale moment tensor of the strong earthquake has indicated the dynamic process of Pacific Plate sub-duction under the Eurasia Plate. According to the average slip distance of earthquake and the velocity of plate movement, it is predicted that a strong earthquake might occur in recent years.

  3. Segmentation of the Nazca and South American plates along the Ecuador subduction zone from wide angle seismic profiles (United States)

    Gailler, Audrey; Charvis, Philippe; Flueh, Ernst R.


    We describe the deep structure of the south Colombian-northern Ecuador convergent margin using travel time inversion of wide-angle seismic data recently collected offshore. The margin appears segmented into three contrasting zones. In the North Zone, affected by four great subduction earthquakes during the 20th century, normal oceanic crust subducts beneath the oceanic Cretaceous substratum of the margin underlined by seismic velocities as high as 6.0-6.5 km/s. In the Central Zone the subducting oceanic crust is over-thickened beneath the Carnegie Ridge. A steeper slope and a well-developed, high velocity, Cretaceous oceanic basement characterizes the margin wedge. This area coincides with a gap in significant subduction earthquake activity. In the South Zone, the subducting oceanic crust is normal. The fore-arc is characterized by large sedimentary basins suggesting significant subsidence. Velocities in the margin wedge are significantly lower and denote a different nature or a higher degree of fracturing. Even if the distance between the three profiles exceeds 150 km, the structural segmentation obtained along the Ecuadorian margin correlates well with the distribution of seismic activity and the neotectonic zonation.

  4. Cascadia subducting plate fluids channelled to fore-arc mantle corner: ETS and silica deposition (United States)

    Hyndman, Roy D; McCrory, Patricia A.; Wech, Aaron; Kao, Han; Ague, Jay j


    In this study we first summarize the constraints that on the Cascadia subduction thrust, there is a 70 km gap downdip between the megathrust seismogenic zone and the Episodic Tremor and Slip (ETS) that lies further landward; there is not a continuous transition from unstable to conditionally stable sliding. Seismic rupture occurs mainly offshore for this hot subduction zone. ETS lies onshore. We then suggest what does control the downdip position of ETS. We conclude that fluids from dehydration of the downgoing plate, focused to rise above the fore-arc mantle corner, are responsible for ETS. There is a remarkable correspondence between the position of ETS and this corner along the whole margin. Hydrated mineral assemblages in the subducting oceanic crust and uppermost mantle are dehydrated with downdip increasing temperature, and seismic tomography data indicate that these fluids have strongly serpentinized the overlying fore-arc mantle. Laboratory data show that such fore-arc mantle serpentinite has low permeability and likely blocks vertical expulsion and restricts flow updip within the underlying permeable oceanic crust and subduction shear zone. At the fore-arc mantle corner these fluids are released upward into the more permeable overlying fore-arc crust. An indication of this fluid flux comes from low Poisson's Ratios (and Vp/Vs) found above the corner that may be explained by a concentration of quartz which has exceptionally low Poisson's Ratio. The rising fluids should be silica saturated and precipitate quartz with decreasing temperature and pressure as they rise above the corner.

  5. Comparison of earthquake source parameters and interseismic plate coupling variations in global subduction zones (Invited) (United States)

    Bilek, S. L.; Moyer, P. A.; Stankova-Pursley, J.


    Geodetically determined interseismic coupling variations have been found in subduction zones worldwide. These coupling variations have been linked to heterogeneities in interplate fault frictional conditions. These connections to fault friction imply that observed coupling variations are also important in influencing details in earthquake rupture behavior. Because of the wealth of newly available geodetic models along many subduction zones, it is now possible to examine detailed variations in coupling and compare to seismicity characteristics. Here we use a large catalog of earthquake source time functions and slip models for moderate to large magnitude earthquakes to explore these connections, comparing earthquake source parameters with available models of geodetic coupling along segments of the Japan, Kurile, Kamchatka, Peru, Chile, and Alaska subduction zones. In addition, we use published geodetic results along the Costa Rica margin to compare with source parameters of small magnitude earthquakes recorded with an onshore-offshore network of seismometers. For the moderate to large magnitude earthquakes, preliminary results suggest a complex relationship between earthquake parameters and estimates of strongly and weakly coupled segments of the plate interface. For example, along the Kamchatka subduction zone, these earthquakes occur primarily along the transition between strong and weak coupling, with significant heterogeneity in the pattern of moment scaled duration with respect to the coupling estimates. The longest scaled duration event in this catalog occurred in a region of strong coupling. Earthquakes along the transition between strong and weakly coupled exhibited the most complexity in the source time functions. Use of small magnitude (0.5 Osa Peninsula relative to the Nicoya Peninsula, mimicking the along-strike variations in calculated interplate coupling.

  6. Low-Stress Upper Plate Near Subduction Zones and Implications for Temporal Changes in Loading Forces (United States)

    Wang, K.; Hu, Y.; Yoshida, K.


    Subduction megathrusts are weak, often with effective friction coefficients as low as 0.03. Consequently, differential stress (S1 - S3) in the nearby upper plate is low. Compression due to plate coupling and tension due to gravity are in a subtle balance that can be tipped by small perturbations. For example, the 2011 M=9 Tohoku-oki earthquake, which has a rupture-zone-average stress drop of only a few MPa, switched offshore margin-normal stress from compression to tension and affected seismicity pattern and stress directions of various parts of the land area. The low differential stress is also reflected in spatial variations of stresses, such as with changes in topography. In the Andes, crustal earthquake focal mechanisms change from thrust-faulting in low-elevation areas to normal-faulting in high-elevation areas. Given the lack of evidence for a pervasively weak crust, the low differential stress may indicate that in general the crust near subduction zones is not critically stressed. If so, crustal earthquakes do not represent pervasive failure but only local failure due to stress, material, and fluid pressure heterogeneity. If distributed permanent deformation that creates topography is not the norm, it either happens in brief episodes or took place in the past. The outer wedge may enter a compressively or extensionally critical state due to coseismic strengthening or weakening, respectively, of the shallow megathrust in largest interplate earthquakes. Temporal changes in loading forces must occur also at much larger temporal and spatial scales in response to changes in the nature of the subducting plate and other tectonic conditions. We propose that submarine wedges and high topography in the upper plate attain their geometry in geologically brief episodes of high differential stress. They normally stay in a low-stress stable state, but their geometry often reflects high-stress episodes of critical states in the past. In other words, rocks have a sustained

  7. Structure and Local Seismicity From the Incoming Nazca Plate in the Southern Chile Subduction Zone (United States)

    Scherwath, M.; Grevemeyer, I.; Flueh, E.; Contreras-Reyes, E.; Tilmann, F.; Kaul, N.; Weinrebe, W.


    Lithospheric deformation near the Chile Triple Junction is under investigation in the TIPTEQ (from The Incoming Plate to mega-Thrust EarthQuake processes) project. During R/V Sonne cruise SO181 (December 2004 to February 2005) various geophysical and geological data sets along several large transects across differently aged subducting oceanic lithosphere were acquired. TIPTEQ aims at studying the influence of the incoming plate on the seismogenic zone in the area of the 1960 great Chile earthquake (Mw=9.5), in particular the effects of the thermal regime (i.e., age).We compare structure and local seismicity on two of these transects, one where the incoming oceanic Nazca Plate was formed 6.5 Ma ago, the other 14.5 Ma in age at the trench, thus both of different thermal states. New magnetic data show that the older lithosphere was generated at a spreading rate of 40 mm/a compared to 25 mm/a for the younger one, yet the current convergence of both sections with the South American Plate is about the same (~80 mm/a). Bathymetric and vertical incidence seismic data show smooth and thicker sediments at the older transect whereas the rugged basement of the younger line is less covered, though the sedimentary thickness at the trench is ~2 km in both locations. The crust of the older transect is slightly thicker, shows a clear outer rise, and subducts at a slightly steeper angle than the younger line. On the latter, where the outer rise bulge has not yet been developed, the outer rise seismicity rate is higher and more concentrated in the crust. The local seismicity in the older region is less frequent and occurs predominantly in the upper mantle (see also Tilmann et al., this conference).

  8. The flat to normal subduction transition study to obtain the Nazca plate morphology using high resolution seismicity data from the Nazca plate in Central Chile (United States)

    Nacif, Silvina; Triep, Enrique G.; Spagnotto, Silvana L.; Aragon, Eugenio; Furlani, Renzo; Álvarez, Orlando


    Data from 45 seismological stations mostly temporary were used to obtain an accurate data set of intraslab seismicity of the Nazca subducted plate between 33°S and 35°S. The interest zone located in the transition section where the Nazca plate changes from flat slab north of ~ 33° to normal slab south of that latitude. In addition, the study region is located where the active volcanic arc appears. From a set of earthquakes which were relocated using a grid-search multiple events algorithm we obtained the plate geometry from latitudes of 33°S to 34.5°S and from 60 km to 120 km in depth. The obtained morphology shows notable similarity in its structure to Maipo Orocline revealing some possible strong connection between the overriding plate and the subducting plate. We suggest that the subducted plate at the trench has been deformed in its shape consistently with the Maipo Orocline pattern and its deformation is observed below the interface zone. Our results are consistent with van Keken et al., 2011 models, and based on this the seismicity located between 70 and 120 km is probably related with dehydration processes rather than mechanical processes. From our precise earthquake locations we observed a complete lack of intraslab seismicity below 120 km depth. This valuable finding can be used to better constrain thermal models for the subduction region of Central Chile.

  9. Construction of semi-dynamic model of subduction zone with given plate kinematics in 3D sphere (United States)

    Morishige, M.; Honda, S.; Tackley, P. J.


    We present a semi-dynamic subduction zone model in a three-dimensional spherical shell. In this model, velocity is imposed on the top surface and in a small three-dimensional region around the shallow plate boundary while below this region, the slab is able to subduct under its own weight. Surface plate velocities are given by Euler's theorem of rigid plate rotation on a sphere. The velocity imposed in the region around the plate boundary is determined so that mass conservation inside the region is satisfied. A kinematic trench migration can be easily incorporated in this model. As an application of this model, mantle flow around slab edges is considered, and we find that the effect of Earth curvature is small by comparing our model with a similar one in a rectangular box, at least for the parameters used in this study. As a second application of the model, mantle flow around a plate junction is studied, and we find the existence of mantle return flow perpendicular to the plate boundary. Since this model can naturally incorporate the spherical geometry and plate movement on the sphere, it is useful for studying a specific subduction zone where the plate kinematics is well constrained.

  10. Crustal architecture beneath Madurai Block, southern India deduced from magnetotelluric studies: Implications for subduction-accretion tectonics associated with Gondwana assembly (United States)

    Naganjaneyulu, K.; Santosh, M.


    The Madurai Block in southern India is considered to represent the eroded roots of an arc-accretionary complex that developed during the subduction-collision tectonics associated with the closure of the Mozambique Ocean and final suturing of the crustal fragments within the Gondwana supercontinent in the Late Neoproterozoic-Cambrian. Here we present a magnetotelluric (MT) model covering the main collisional suture (Palghat-Cauvery Suture Zone) in the north into the central part of the Madurai Block in the south comprising data from 11 stations. Together with a synthesis of the available seismic reflection data along a N-S transect further south within the Madurai Block, we evaluate the crustal architecture and its implications on the tectonic development of this region. According to our model, the predominantly south dipping seismic reflectors beneath the Madurai Block define a prominent south-dipping lithological layering with northward vergence resembling a thrust sequence. We interpret these stacked layers as imbricate structures or mega duplexes developed during subduction-accretion tectonics. The layered nature and stacking of contrasting velocity domains as imaged from the seismic profile, and the presence of thick (>20 km) low resistivity layers 'floating' within high resistivity domains as seen from MT model, suggest the subduction of a moderately thick oceanic crust. We identify several low resistivity domains beneath the Madurai Block from the MT model which probably represent eclogitised remnants of oceanic lithosphere. Their metamorphosed and exhumed equivalents in association with ultrahigh-temperature metamorphic orogens have been identified from surface geological studies. Both seismic reflections and MT model confirm a southward subduction polarity with a progressive accretion history during the northward migration of the trench prior to the final collisional assembly of the crustal blocks along the Palghat-Cauvery Suture Zone, the trace of the

  11. New interpretation of the deep mantle structure beneath eastern China (United States)

    Ma, Pengfei; Liu, Shaofeng; Lin, Chengfa; Yao, Xiang


    Recent study of high resolution seismic tomography presents a large mass of high velocity abnormality beneath eastern China near the phase change depth, expanding more than 1600km-wide in East-west cross-section across the North China plate. This structure high is generally believed to be the subducted slab of Pacific plate beneath the Eurasia continent, while its origin and dynamic effect on the Cenozoic tectonic evolution of eastern China remain to be controversial. We developed a subduction-driven geodynamic mantle convection model that honors a set of global plate reconstruction data since 230Ma to help understand the formation and evolution of mantle structure beneath eastern China. The assimilation of plate kinematics, continuous evolving plate margin, asymmetric subduction zone, and paleo seafloor age data enables the spatial and temporal consistency between the geologic data and the mantle convection model, and guarantees the conservation of the buoyancy flux across the lithosphere and subducted slabs. Our model achieved a first order approximation between predictions and the observed data. Interestingly, the model suggests that the slab material stagnated above discontinuity didn't form until 15Ma, much later than previous expected, and the fast abnormality in the mid-mantle further west in the tomographic image is interpreted to be the remnants of the Mesozoic Izanagi subduction. Moreover, detailed analysis suggests that the accelerated subduction of Philippine Sea plate beneath Eurasia plate along the Ryukyu Trench and Nankai Trough since 15Ma may largely contribute to extending feature above 670km discontinuity. The long distance expansion of the slab material in the East-west direction may be an illusion caused by the approximate spatial perpendicularity between the cross-section and the subduction direction of the Philippine Sea plate. Our model emphasizes the necessity of the re-examination on the geophysical observation and its tectonic and

  12. Seismicity and structure of Nazca Plate subduction zone in southern Peru (United States)

    Lim, H.; Kim, Y.; Clayton, R. W.


    We image the Nazca plate subduction zone system by detecting and (re)locating intra-slab earthquakes in southern Peru. Dense seismic arrays (PeruSE, 2013) were deployed along four lines to target geophysical characterization of the subduction system in the transition zone between flat and normal dipping segments of the Nazca plate (2-15°S). The arc volcanism is absent near the flat slab segment, and currently, the correlation between the location of the active volcanic front and corresponding slab depth is neither clear nor consistent between previously published models from seismicity. We detect 620 local earthquakes from August 2008 to February 2013 by manually picking 6559 and 4145 arrival times for P- and S-phases, respectively. We observe that the S-phase data is helpful to reduce the trade-off between origin time and depth of deeper earthquakes (>100 km). Earthquake locations are relocated to constrain the Nazca slab-mantle interface in the slab-dip transition zone using 7322 measurements of differential times of nearby earthquake pairs by waveform cross-correlation. We also employ the double-difference tomography (Zhang and Thurber, 2003) to further improve earthquake source locations and the spatial resolution of the velocity structure simultaneously. The relocated hypocenters clearly delineate the dipping Wadati-Benioff zone in the slab-dip transition zone between the shallow- (25°) to-flat dipping slab segment in the north and the normal (40°) dipping segment in the south. The intermediate-depth seismicity in the flat slab region stops at a depth of ~100 km and a horizontal distance of ~400 km from the trench. We find a significant slab-dip difference (up to 10°) between our relocated seismicity and previously published slab models along the profile region sampling the normal-dip slab at depth (>100 km).

  13. Multi-mode conversion imaging of the subducted Gorda and Juan de Fuca plates below the North American continent (United States)

    Tauzin, Benoit; Bodin, Thomas; Debayle, Eric; Perrillat, Jean-Philippe; Reynard, Bruno


    Receiver function analysis and seismic tomography show tectonic structures dipping eastward in the mantle below the Cascadia volcanic arc (western US) that have been related to the subduction of the Gorda and Juan de Fuca oceanic micro-plates. Inconsistencies in the dip angle and depth extent of the slab between the two methods undermine the interpretation of the structure and processes at work. Receiver function imaging is biased by multiple reflection phases that interfere with converted phases, and produce spurious discontinuities in images. Here, we correct the interference using a multiple mode conversion imaging technique that efficiently removes artifacts under dipping structures. The method has the advantage of being applicable to large aperture arrays, and can image large-scale structures down to the transition zone. With this approach, the interfaces between the subducting and overriding plates and the oceanic Moho are imaged at shallow depths (<120 km) with a dip angle of ∼20°, consistently with former studies. In addition, several important features are imaged with the present method. Faint converters located between 100 and 400 km depth in the mantle wedge, and strong sub-horizontal seismic scatterers near 160 km depth, may highlight dehydration and metasomatism processes in the Cascadia subduction zone. A discontinuity located at ∼15 km depth in the lithospheric mantle of the subducted plates and associated with a negative impedance contrast is interpreted as the fossil fabric of the plates acquired at the spreading ridges.

  14. Seismic tomographic constraints on plate-tectonic reconstruction of Nazca subduction under South America since late Cretaceous (~80 Ma) (United States)

    Chen, Yi-Wei; Wu, Jonny; Suppe, John; Liu, Han-Fang


    Our understanding of the global plate tectonics is based mainly on seafloor spreading and hotspot data obtained from the present earth surface, which records the growth of present ocean basins. However, in convergent tectonic settings vast amounts of lithosphere has been lost to subduction, contributing to increasing uncertainty in plate reconstruction with age. However, subducted lithosphere imaged in seismic tomography provides important information. By analyzing subducted slabs we identify the loci of subduction and assess the size and shape of subducted slabs, giving better constrained global plate tectonic models. The Andean margin of South America is a classic example of continuous subduction up to the present day, providing an opportunity to test the global plate prediction that ~24×10e6 km2 (4.7% of earth surface) lithosphere has been subducted since ~80 Ma. In this study, we used 10 different global seismic tomographies and Benioff zone seismicity under South America. To identify slabs, we first compared all data sets in horizontal slices and found the subducted Nazca slab is the most obvious structure between the surface and 750 km depth, well imaged between 10°N and 30°S. The bottom of the subducted Nazca slab reaches its greatest depth at 1400 km at 3°N (Carnegie Andes) and gradually shallows towards the south with 900 km minimum depth at 30°S (Pampean Andes). To assess the undeformed length of subducted slab, we used a refined cross-sectional area unfolding method from Wu et al. (in prep.) in the MITP08 seismic tomography (Li et al., 2008). Having cut spherical-Earth tomographic profiles that parallel to the Nazca-South America convergence direction, we measured slab areas as a function of depth based on edges defined by steep velocity gradients, calculating the raw length of the slab by the area and dividing an assumed initial thickness of oceanic lithosphere of 100km. Slab areas were corrected for density based on the PREM Earth model

  15. 3D Thermochemical Numerical Model of a Convergent Zone With an Overriding Plate (United States)

    Mason, W. G.; Moresi, L.; Betts, P. G.


    We have created a new three dimensional thermochemical numerical model of a convergent zone, in which a viscoplastic oceanic plate subducts beneath a viscous overriding plate, using the finite element Geoscience research code Underworld. Subduction is initiated by mantle flow induced by the gravitational instability of a slab tip, and buoyancy of the overriding plate. A cold thermal boundary layer envelopes both plates, and is partially dragged into the mantle along with the subducting slab. The trench rolls back as the slab subducts, and the overriding plate follows the retreating trench without being entrained into the upper mantle. The model is repeated with the overriding plate excluded, to analyse the influence of the overriding plate. The overriding plate retards the rate of subduction. Maximum strain rates, evident along the trench in the absence of an overriding plate, extend to a greater depth within the subducted portion of the slab in the presence of an overriding plate.

  16. 3-D numerical modeling of plume-induced subduction initiation (United States)

    Baes, Marzieh; Gerya, taras; Sobolev, Stephan


    Investigation of mechanisms involved in formation of a new subduction zone can help us to better understand plate tectonics. Despite numerous previous studies, it is still unclear how and where an old oceanic plate starts to subduct beneath the other plate. One of the proposed scenarios for nucleation of subduction is plume-induced subduction initiation, which was investigated in detail, using 2-D models, by Ueda et al. (2008). Recently. Gerya et al. (2015), using 3D numerical models, proposed that plume-lithosphere interaction in the Archean led to the subduction initiation and onset of plate tectonic. In this study, we aim to pursue work of Ueda et al. (2008) by incorporation of 3-D thermo-mechanical models to investigate conditions leading to oceanic subduction initiation as a result of thermal-chemical mantle plume-lithosphere interaction in the modern earth. Results of our experiments show four different deformation regimes in response to plume-lithosphere interaction, that are a) self-sustaining subduction initiation where subduction becomes self-sustained, b) freezing subduction initiation where subduction stops at shallow depths, c) slab break-off where subducting circular slab breaks off soon after formation and d) plume underplating where plume does not pass through the lithosphere but spreads beneath it (failed subduction initiation). These different regimes depend on several parameters such as plume's size, composition and temperature, lithospheric brittle/plastic strength, age of the oceanic lithosphere and presence/absence of lithospheric heterogeneities. Results show that subduction initiates and becomes self-sustained when lithosphere is older than 10 Myr and non-dimensional ratio of the plume buoyancy force and lithospheric strength above the plume is higher than 2.

  17. Effect of glacial-interglacial sea-level changes on the displacement and stress field in the forearc and along the plate interface of subduction zones

    Directory of Open Access Journals (Sweden)

    T. Li


    Full Text Available Combined seismological, space-geodetic and numerical studies have shown that the seismicity at subduction zones may be modulated by tides and glacier fluctuations on timescales of 1–100 a, because these changes in loads on Earth's surface are able to alter the stress field in the upper plate and along the plate interface. Here we use a two-dimensional finite-element model of a subduction zone to investigate how glacial-interglacial sea-level changes affect the forearc region and the plate interface. The model results show that a sea-level fall by 125 m over 100 ka causes up to 0.7 m of vertical displacement, with the maximum uplift occurring between the trench and the coast. The uplift signal induced by the sea-level fall decreases to zero ~20 km landward of the coastline. A subsequent sea-level rise by 125 m over 20 ka causes subsidence, which is again most pronounced in the submarine part of the forearc. The sea-level changes cause horizontal displacements of up to 0.12 m, which are directed seaward during sea-level fall and landward during sea-level rise. With respect to the stress field, the sea-level changes lead to variations in the vertical stress and the shear stress of up to 1.23 MPa and 0.4 MPa, respectively. The shear stress variations are highest beneath the coast, i.e. in the area where the sea-level changes cause the strongest flexure. The resulting Coulomb stress changes on the plate interface are of the order of 0.2–0.5 MPa and indicate that earthquakes are promoted during sea-level fall and delayed during sea-level rise. Our findings imply that eustatic sea-level changes during glacial-interglacial periods may have induced displacements and stress changes that were large enough to affect the seismic cycle of subduction thrusts.

  18. Seismological structures of the subducted Philippine Sea plate and the overriding SW Japan arc, - Reinterpretation of the wide-angle reflection data in the Kii Peninsula, SW Japan - (United States)

    Iwasaki, Takaya; Kurashimo, Eiji; Abe, Susumu; Yokota, Ken; Iidaka, Takashi; Katao, Hiroshi; Higashinaka, Motonori; Nakanishi, Ayako; Kaneda, Yoshiyuki


    Our recent reinterpretation for seismic refraction/wide-angle reflection data in eastern Kii Peninsula, SW Japan, provided new structural information on the uppermost part of the subducted Philippine Sea (PHS) plate and overriding the SW Japan arc, including the landward reflectivity variation in the vicinity of the plate boundary and the large scale structural change within the SW Japan arc. The Kii peninsula is located in the eastern part of the well-known subduction zone along the Nankai trough where offshore M8-class megathrust earthquakes repeatedly occur. The plate boundary beneath this Peninsula is in the stable or conditionally stable regime except for its southernmost tip, which corresponds to the northwestern end of the rupture area at the last event (1944 Tonankai earthquake (M7.9)). The surface geology of the overriding SW Japan arc is divided to two parts by the E-W trending Median Tectonic Line (MTL), the most prominent tectonic boundary in SW Japan. South of the MTL, Cretaceous-Jurassic accretionary complexes are exposed, whose northernmost unit consists of high P-T metamorphic rocks (the Sanbagawa metamorphic belt (SMB)). The region north of the MTL is occupied by older accretionary complexes, partly suffered from the Cretaceous magmatic intrusions. Our seismic data from five dynamite shots were acquired in 2006 along 80-km line almost perpendicular to the Nankai trough. The structure of the SW Japan arc was obtained both from intensive wide-angle reflection analysis and advanced reflection processing by seismic interferometry technique. The former analysis delineated clear structural change in the uppermost crust across the MTL. In the latter processing, we retrieved virtual shot records at 512 receiver points from free-surface backscattered waves by the deconvolution interferometry. The subsequent CRS (Common Reflection Surface)/MDRS (Multi-Dip Reflection Surfaces) methods provided an enhanced image within the island arc, including a northward

  19. A Bayesian Approach for Apparent Inter-plate Coupling in the Central Andes Subduction Zone (United States)

    Ortega Culaciati, F. H.; Simons, M.; Genrich, J. F.; Galetzka, J.; Comte, D.; Glass, B.; Leiva, C.; Gonzalez, G.; Norabuena, E. O.


    We aim to characterize the extent of apparent plate coupling on the subduction zone megathrust with the eventual goal of understanding spatial variations of fault zone rheology, inferring relationships between apparent coupling and the rupture zone of big earthquakes, as well as the implications for earthquake and tsunami hazard. Unlike previous studies, we approach the problem from a Bayesian perspective, allowing us to completely characterize the model parameter space by searching a posteriori estimates of the range of allowable models instead of seeking a single optimum model. Two important features of the Bayesian approach are the possibility to easily implement any kind of physically plausible a priori information and to perform the inversion without regularization, other than that imposed by the way in which we parameterize the forward model. Adopting a simple kinematic back-slip model and a 3D geometry of the inter-plate contact zone, we can estimate the probability of apparent coupling (Pc) along the plate interface that is consistent with a priori information (e.g., approximate rake of back-slip) and available geodetic measurements. More generally, the Bayesian approach adopted here is applicable to any region and eventually would allow one to evaluate the spatial relationship between various inferred distributions of fault behavior (e.g., seismic rupture, postseismic creep, and apparent interseismic coupling) in a quantifiable manner. We apply this methodology to evaluate the state of apparent inter-seismic coupling in the Chilean-Peruvian subduction margin (12 S - 25 S). As observational constraints, we use previously published horizontal velocities from campaign GPS [Kendrick et al., 2001, 2006] as well as 3 component velocities from a recently established continuous GPS network in the region (CAnTO). We compare results from both joint and independent use of these data sets. We obtain patch like features for Pc with higher values located above 60 km

  20. Effects of Two Subducting Slabs on the Temperature Distribution Along the Subduction Faults in the Kanto Region, Japan (United States)

    Wada, I.; He, J.


    In this study, we investigate the thermal effects of subduction of two oceanic plates in the Kanto region of Japan, using a 3-D numerical thermal model. The Kanto region lies in the forearc of a subduction system, where the Pacific (PAC) plate and the Philippine Sea (PHS) plate subduct beneath the North American (NA) plate. In a typical subduction setting with one subducting slab, the motion of the slab drives solid-state mantle flow in the overlying mantle wedge, and the flow brings in hot mantle from the backarc towards the forearc. In the Kanto region, however, the presence of the PHS plate between the overlying NA plate and the subducting PAC plate prevents a typical mantle flow pattern. We developed a 3-D thermal model for the Kanto region to simulate the pattern of mantle wedge flow and to quantify its effect on the thermal structure. The model incorporates realistic slab geometries that were delineated from seismological studies. Mantle wedge flow between the PHS slab and the overlying NA plate is expected to be subdued due to the small space and the relatively slow subduction of the PHS slab. We simplify the model by incorporating the results of a 2-D thermal modeling for the subduction of the PHS slab as part of boundary conditions in the 3-D model to approximate the effect of the subdued mantle wedge flow and the subduction of the PHS slab. We use geophysical observations as constraints for the 3-D thermal model and estimate the temperature distributions along the subduction plate interfaces. The model predicts a particularly cold condition in the central part of the Kanto region where the PAC and PHS slabs are in contact with one another, consistent with the observed deeper extent of seismicity along the subduction faults compared to the neighboring regions.

  1. Thickness of the subducting Nazca lithosphere in northern Chile as seen by S receiver functions (United States)

    Sodoudi, Forough; Asch, Günter; Kind, Rainer; Oncken, Onno; Vilotte, Jean-Pierre; Barrientos, Sergio; Salazar Reinoso, Pablo


    Installation of observatories in northern Chile started in 2006 in a close cooperation of the Universidad de Chile (Santiago), the Universidad Catolica del Norte (Antofagasta), the IPGP (Paris), and the GFZ Potsdam. Currently we operate 15 modern seismological stations equipped with STS-2 broadband seismometers. One GEOFON station operated since 2001 completes our dataset in northern Chile. We combined here two methods (P and S receiver function) to have the best vertical as well as horizontal coverage of the area and map the geometry of the subducting Nazca plate. Our high resolution results image the penetration of the Moho of the subducting Nazca plate at depths ranging from 35 km beneath the Coastal Cordillera to an average depth of 80 km beneath the Longitudinal Valley and about 100 km beneath the Precordillera. We found a significant variation in the dip of the subducting Nazca plate obtained from stations located in the northern part (over latitude of 21 deg. South) compared to those located below this latitude. The shape of the Nazca plate shows a shallow dip beneath the southern part and becomes steeper and deeper beneath the northern part of the area, which is coherent with the intermediate seismicity. On the basis of our P and S receiver functions, the lithosphere-asthenosphere boundary of the subducting Nazca plate is at 80 km depth beneath the Coastal Cordillera and dips to a depth of about 120 km beneath the Longitudinal Valley. It becomes 150 km underneath the Precordillera.

  2. Slab melting beneath the Cascades Arc driven by dehydration of altered oceanic peridotite (United States)

    Walowski, Kristina J; Wallace, Paul J.; Hauri, E.H.; Wada, I.; Clynne, Michael A.


    Water is returned to Earth’s interior at subduction zones. However, the processes and pathways by which water leaves the subducting plate and causes melting beneath volcanic arcs are complex; the source of the water—subducting sediment, altered oceanic crust, or hydrated mantle in the downgoing plate—is debated; and the role of slab temperature is unclear. Here we analyse the hydrogen-isotope and trace-element signature of melt inclusions in ash samples from the Cascade Arc, where young, hot lithosphere subducts. Comparing these data with published analyses, we find that fluids in the Cascade magmas are sourced from deeper parts of the subducting slab—hydrated mantle peridotite in the slab interior—compared with fluids in magmas from the Marianas Arc, where older, colder lithosphere subducts. We use geodynamic modelling to show that, in the hotter subduction zone, the upper crust of the subducting slab rapidly dehydrates at shallow depths. With continued subduction, fluids released from the deeper plate interior migrate into the dehydrated parts, causing those to melt. These melts in turn migrate into the overlying mantle wedge, where they trigger further melting. Our results provide a physical model to explain melting of the subducted plate and mass transfer from the slab to the mantle beneath arcs where relatively young oceanic lithosphere is subducted.

  3. Upper plate deformation and seismic barrier in front of Nazca subduction zone: The Chololo Fault System and active tectonics along the Coastal Cordillera, southern Peru (United States)

    Audin, Laurence; Lacan, Pierre; Tavera, Hernando; Bondoux, Francis


    The South America plate boundary is one of the most active subduction zone. The recent Mw = 8.4 Arequipa 2001 earthquake ruptured the subduction plane toward the south over 400 km and stopped abruptly on the Ilo Peninsula. In this exact region, the subduction seismic crisis induced the reactivation of continental fault systems in the coastal area. We studied the main reactivated fault system that trends perpendicular to the trench by detailed mapping of fault related-geomorphic features. Also, at a longer time scale, a recurrent Quaternary transtensive tectonic activity of the CFS is expressed by offset river gullies and alluvial fans. The presence of such extensional fault systems trending orthogonal to the trench along the Coastal Cordillera in southern Peru is interpreted to reflect a strong coupling between the two plates. In this particular case, stress transfer to the upper plate, at least along the coastal fringe, appears to have induced crustal seismic events that were initiated mainly during and after the 2001 earthquake. The seafloor roughness of the subducting plate is usually thought to be a cause of segmentation along subduction zones. However, after comparing and discussing the role of inherited structures within the upper plate to the subduction zone segmentation in southern Peru, we suggest that the continental structure itself may exert some feedback control on the segmentation of the subduction zone and thus participate to define the rupture pattern of major subduction earthquakes along the southern Peru continental margin.

  4. Evolution of a Subduction Zone (United States)

    Noack, Lena; Van Hoolst, Tim; Dehant, Veronique


    The purpose of this study is to understand how Earth's surface might have evolved with time and to examine in a more general way the initiation and continuance of subduction zones and the possible formation of continents on an Earth-like planet. Plate tectonics and continents seem to influence the likelihood of a planet to harbour life, and both are strongly influenced by the planetary interior (e.g. mantle temperature and rheology) and surface conditions (e.g. stabilizing effect of continents, atmospheric temperature), but may also depend on the biosphere. Employing the Fortran convection code CHIC (developed at the Royal Observatory of Belgium), we simulate a subduction zone with a pre-defined weak zone (between oceanic and continental crust) and a fixed plate velocity for the subducting oceanic plate (Quinquis et al. in preparation). In our study we first investigate the main factors that influence the subduction process. We simulate the subduction of an oceanic plate beneath a continental plate (Noack et al., 2013). The crust is separated into an upper crust and a lower crust. We apply mixed Newtonian/non-Newtonian rheology and vary the parameters that are most likely to influence the subduction of the ocanic plate, as for example density of the crust/mantle, surface temperature, plate velocity and subduction angle. The second part of our study concentrates on the long-term evolution of a subduction zone. Even though we model only the upper mantle (until a depth of 670km), the subducted crust is allowed to flow into the lower mantle, where it is no longer subject to our investigation. This way we can model the subduction zone over long time spans, for which we assume a continuous inflow of the oceanic plate into the investigated domain. We include variations in mantle temperatures (via secular cooling and decay of radioactive heat sources) and dehydration of silicates (leading to stiffening of the material). We investigate how the mantle environment influences

  5. Philippine Sea and East Asian plate tectonics since 52 Ma constrained by new subducted slab reconstruction methods (United States)

    Wu, Jonny; Suppe, John; Lu, Renqi; Kanda, Ravi


    We reconstructed Philippine Sea and East Asian plate tectonics since 52 Ma from 28 slabs mapped in 3-D from global tomography, with a subducted area of ~25% of present-day global oceanic lithosphere. Slab constraints include subducted parts of existing Pacific, Indian, and Philippine Sea oceans, plus wholly subducted proto-South China Sea and newly discovered "East Asian Sea." Mapped slabs were unfolded and restored to the Earth surface using three methodologies and input to globally consistent plate reconstructions. Important constraints include the following: (1) the Ryukyu slab is ~1000 km N-S, too short to account for ~20° Philippine Sea northward motion from paleolatitudes; (2) the Marianas-Pacific subduction zone was at its present location (±200 km) since 48 ± 10 Ma based on a >1000 km deep slab wall; (3) the 8000 × 2500 km East Asian Sea existed between the Pacific and Indian Oceans at 52 Ma based on lower mantle flat slabs; (4) the Caroline back-arc basin moved with the Pacific, based on the overlapping, coeval Caroline hot spot track. These new constraints allow two classes of Philippine Sea plate models, which we compared to paleomagnetic and geologic data. Our preferred model involves Philippine Sea nucleation above the Manus plume (0°/150°E) near the Pacific-East Asian Sea plate boundary. Large Philippine Sea westward motion and post-40 Ma maximum 80° clockwise rotation accompanied late Eocene-Oligocene collision with the Caroline/Pacific plate. The Philippine Sea moved northward post-25 Ma over the northern East Asian Sea, forming a northern Philippine Sea arc that collided with the SW Japan-Ryukyu margin in the Miocene (~20-14 Ma).

  6. Upper plate deformation and seismic barrier in front of Nazca subduction zone : the Chololo Fault System and active tectonics along the Coastal Cordillera, southern Peru


    Audin, Laurence; Lacan, P.; Tavera, H.; Bondoux, Francis


    The South America plate boundary is one of the most active subduction zone. The recent Mw=8.4 Arequipa 2001 earthquake ruptured the subduction plane toward the south over 400 km and stopped abruptly on the Ilo Peninsula. In this exact region, the subduction seismic crisis induced the reactivation of continental fault systems in the coastal area. We studied the main reactivated fault system that trends perpendicular to the trench by detailed mapping of fault related-geomorphic features. Also, ...

  7. Seismic Structure in Southern Peru: Evidence for a Smooth Contortion Between Flat and Normal Subduction of the Nazca Plate (United States)

    Dougherty, S. L.; Clayton, R. W.


    Rapid changes in slab geometry are typically associated with fragmentation of the subducted plate; however, continuous curvature of the slab is also possible. The transition from flat to normal subduction in southern Peru is one such geometrical change, where previous studies have suggested both tearing and continuity of the slab. The morphology of the subducted Nazca plate along this transition is further explored here using intraslab earthquakes recorded by temporary regional seismic arrays. Observations of a gradual increase in slab dip coupled with a lack of any gaps or vertical offsets in the intraslab seismicity suggest a smooth contortion of the slab. Concentrations of focal mechanisms at orientations which are indicative of slab bending are also observed along the change in slab geometry. The presence of a thin ultra-slow velocity layer (USL) atop the horizontal Nazca slab is identified and located. The lateral extent of this USL is coincident with the margin of the projected linear continuation of the subducting Nazca Ridge, implying a causal relationship. Waveform modeling of the 2D structure in southern Peru using a finite-difference algorithm provides constraints on the velocity and geometry of the slab's seismic structure and confirms the absence of any tears in the slab. The seismic and structural evidence suggests smooth contortion of the Nazca plate along the transition from flat to normal subduction. The slab is estimated to have experienced 10% strain in the along-strike direction across this transition, compared to 15% strain across flat-to-normal transitions in central Mexico where the Cocos slab is likely torn.

  8. Variation of b and p values from aftershocks sequences along the Mexican subduction zone and their relation to plate characteristics (United States)

    Ávila-Barrientos, L.; Zúñiga, F. R.; Rodríguez-Pérez, Q.; Guzmán-Speziale, M.


    Aftershock sequences along the Mexican subduction margin (between coordinates 110ºW and 91ºW) were analyzed by means of the p value from the Omori-Utsu relation and the b value from the Gutenberg-Richter relation. We focused on recent medium to large (Mw > 5.6) events considered susceptible of generating aftershock sequences suitable for analysis. The main goal was to try to find a possible correlation between aftershock parameters and plate characteristics, such as displacement rate, age and segmentation. The subduction regime of Mexico is one of the most active regions of the world with a high frequency of occurrence of medium to large events and plate characteristics change along the subduction margin. Previous studies have observed differences in seismic source characteristics at the subduction regime, which may indicate a difference in rheology and possible segmentation. The results of the analysis of the aftershock sequences indicate a slight tendency for p values to decrease from west to east with increasing of plate age although a statistical significance is undermined by the small number of aftershocks in the sequences, a particular feature distinctive of the region as compared to other world subduction regimes. The b values show an opposite, increasing trend towards the east even though the statistical significance is not enough to warrant the validation of such a trend. A linear regression between both parameters provides additional support for the inverse relation. Moreover, we calculated the seismic coupling coefficient, showing a direct relation with the p and b values. While we cannot undoubtedly confirm the hypothesis that aftershock generation depends on certain tectonic characteristics (age, thickness, temperature), our results do not reject it thus encouraging further study into this question.

  9. The effects of the overriding plate thermal state on the slab dip in an ocean-continent subduction system

    CERN Document Server

    Roda, Manuel; Spalla, Maria Iole; 10.1016/j.crte.2011.01.005


    To evaluate the effects of variations in the thermal state of the overriding plate on the slab dip in an ocean-continent subduction system, a 2-D finite element thermo-mechanical model was implemented. The lithosphere base was located at the depth of the 1600 K isotherm. Numerical simulations were performed while taking into account four different initial thicknesses for the oceanic lithosphere (60, 80, 95 and 110 km) and five different thicknesses of the overriding plate, as compared in terms of the continental-oceanic plate thickness ratio (100, 120, 140, 160 and 200% of the oceanic lithosphere thickness). The results of numerical modeling indicate that a high variability of the subducting plate geometry occurs for an oceanic lithosphere thickness ranging from 60 to 80 km, while the variability decreases where the oceanic plates are thicker (95 and 110 km). Furthermore, the slab dip strongly depends on the thermal state of the overriding plate, and, in particular, the slab dip decreases with the increase in...

  10. Accretion and Subduction of Oceanic Lithosphere: 2D and 3D Seismic Studies of Off-Axis Magma Lenses at East Pacific Rise 9°37-40'N Area and Downgoing Juan de Fuca Plate at Cascadia Subduction Zone (United States)

    Han, Shuoshuo

    bright fault plane reflections that are developed under subduction bending are confined to a region 50-60 km wide offshore Oregon and less than ~45 km wide offshore Washington. Near the deformation front of Oregon margin, bending-related faults cut through the crust and extend to ~6-7 km in the mantle, whereas at Washington margin, faults are confined to upper and middle crust, indicating that Oregon margin has experienced more extensive bend faulting and related alteration. These observations argue against pervasive serpentinization in the slab mantle beneath Washington and suggest mechanisms other than dehydration embrittlement need to be considered to explain the intermediate depth earthquakes found along the Washington margin (Chapter 3). Using MCS images of a ~400 km along-strike profile ~10-15 km from the deformation front, I investigate the along-trench variation of the structure of downgoing JdF plate and its relation to the regional segmentation of Cascadia subduction zone. I observe that the propagator wakes within the oceanic plate are associated with anomalous basement topography and crustal reflectivity. Further landward, segment boundaries of ETS recurrence interval and relative timing align with the propagator traces within the subducting plate. I propose while the upper plate structure or composition may determine the threshold of fluid pore pressure at which ETS occur, the propagators may define barriers for ETS events that occur at the same time. I also observe a change in crustal structure near 45.8°N that is consistent with an increase in bend-faulting and hydration south of 45.8°N;. In addition, four previously mapped oblique strike-slip faults are associated with changes in Moho reflection, indicating that they transect the entire crust and may cause localized mantle hydration (Chapter 4).

  11. Geothermal structure of the Miura-Boso plate subduction margin, central Japan (United States)

    Yamamoto, Yuzuru; Hamada, Yohei; Kamiya, Nana; Ojima, Takanori; Chiyonobu, Shun; Saito, Saneatsu


    We have constrained the geothermal structure of the Miura-Boso plate subduction margin, located in central Japan, using maximum paleo-temperature data derived from vitrinite reflectance measurements. We established that higher maximum paleo-temperatures are restricted to the western part of the early Miocene Hota accretionary complex (Hota and Hayama groups), indicating a spatial difference in the amount of slip upon the out-of-sequence thrust potentially associated with the Izu-Bonin Island Arc collision. The weakly deformed sedimentary sequences overlying the highly deformed Hota Group strata have much lower vitrinite reflectance values than the latter. This variation indicates that the sedimentary sequences of the trench slope experienced a markedly lower maximum burial depth than the relatively deep-buried and uplifted Hota accretionary complex. Conversely, maximum paleo-temperatures obtained for tectonic blocks hosted by the neighboring Mineoka ophiolite complex are very high: ca. 140 °C for the large, early Miocene Haccho Formation blocks, and 65-90 °C for the other blocks. This result suggests that the individual tectonic blocks enclosed in the ophiolite complex were subjected exhumation from depths of 3-5 km.

  12. Plate Tectonic Consequences of competing models for the origin and history of the Banda Sea subducted oceanic lithosphere

    CERN Document Server

    Heine, Christian; McKay, Hamish; Müller, R Dietmar


    The Banda Arc, situated west of Irian Jaya and in the easternmost extension of the Sunda subduction zone system, reveals a characteristic bowl-shaped geometry in seismic tomographic images. This indicates that the oceanic lithosphere still remains attached to the surrounding continental margins of northern Australia and the Bird's Head microcontinent. Major controversies exist between authors proposing an allochthonous or autochthonous origin of the Bird's Head block. Either scenario has important implications for plate kinematic models aiming to reconstruct the tectonic evolution of the region and the late Jurassic seaoor spreading geometry of this now subducted Argo-Tanimbar-Seram (ATS) ocean basin. Wider implications affect the tectonic conguration of the Tethyan-Pacic realm, the distribution of plate boundaries as well as the shape and size of continental blocks which have been rifted off the northeastern Gondwana margin during the Late Jurassic and are now accreted to the SE Asia margin. We apply structu...

  13. New evidence about the subduction of the Copiapó ridge beneath South America, and its connection with the Chilean-Pampean flat slab, tracked by satellite GOCE and EGM2008 models (United States)

    Álvarez, Orlando; Gimenez, Mario; Folguera, Andres; Spagnotto, Silvana; Bustos, Emilce; Baez, Walter; Braitenberg, Carla


    Satellite-only gravity measurements and those integrated with terrestrial observations provide global gravity field models of unprecedented precision and spatial resolution, allowing the analysis of the lithospheric structure. We used the model EGM2008 (Earth Gravitational Model) to calculate the gravity anomaly and the vertical gravity gradient in the South Central Andes region, correcting these quantities by the topographic effect. Both quantities show a spatial relationship between the projected subduction of the Copiapó aseismic ridge (located at about 27°-30° S), its potential deformational effects in the overriding plate, and the Ojos del Salado-San Buenaventura volcanic lineament. This volcanic lineament constitutes a projection of the volcanic arc toward the retroarc zone, whose origin and development were not clearly understood. The analysis of the gravity anomalies, at the extrapolated zone of the Copiapó ridge beneath the continent, shows a change in the general NNE-trend of the Andean structures to an ENE-direction coincident with the area of the Ojos del Salado-San Buenaventura volcanic lineament. This anomalous pattern over the upper plate is interpreted to be linked with the subduction of the Copiapó ridge. We explore the relation between deformational effects and volcanism at the northern Chilean-Pampean flat slab and the collision of the Copiapó ridge, on the basis of the Moho geometry and elastic thicknesses calculated from the new satellite GOCE data. Neotectonic deformations interpreted in previous works associated with volcanic eruptions along the Ojos del Salado-San Buenaventura volcanic lineament is interpreted as caused by crustal doming, imprinted by the subduction of the Copiapó ridge, evidenced by crustal thickening at the sites of ridge inception along the trench. Finally, we propose that the Copiapó ridge could have controlled the northern edge of the Chilean-Pampean flat slab, due to higher buoyancy, similarly to the control

  14. Rupture across arc segment and plate boundaries in the 1 April 2007 Solomons earthquake (United States)

    Taylor, Frederick W.; Briggs, Richard W.; Frohlich, Cliff; Brown, Abel; Hornbach, Matt; Papabatu, Alison K.; Meltzner, Aron J.; Billy, Douglas


    The largest earthquakes are generated in subduction zones, and the earthquake rupture typically extends for hundreds of kilometres along a single subducting plate. These ruptures often begin or end at structural boundaries on the overriding plate that are associated with the subduction of prominent bathymetric features of the downgoing plate. Here, we determine uplift and subsidence along shorelines for the 1 April 2007 moment magnitude MW 8.1 earthquake in the western Solomon Islands, using coral microatolls which provide precise measurements of vertical motions in locations where instrumental data are unavailable. We demonstrate that the 2007 earthquake ruptured across the subducting Simbo ridge transform and thus broke through a triple junction where the Australian and Woodlark plates subduct beneath the overriding Pacific plate. Previously, no known major megathrust rupture has involved two subducting plates. We conclude that this event illustrates the uncertainties of predicting the segmentation of subduction zone rupture on the basis of structural discontinuities.

  15. Evolving seismogenic plate boundary megathrust and mega-splay faults in subduction zone (Invited) (United States)

    Kimura, G.; Hamahashi, M.; Fukuchi, R.; Yamaguchi, A.; Kameda, J.; Kitamura, Y.; Hashimoto, Y.; Hamada, Y.; Saito, S.; Kawasaki, R.


    Understanding the fault mechanism and its relationship to the sesimo-tsunamigenesis is a key of the scientific targets of subduction zone and therefore NantroSEIZE project of IODP and future new drilling project of International Ocean Discovery Program keeps focusing on that. Mega-splay fault branched from plate boundary megathrust in subduction zone is located around the border between outer and inner wedges and is considered to cause great earthquake and tsunami such as 1960 Alaska earthquake, 1944 and 1946 Nankai-Tonankai earthquakes, and 2004 Sumatra earthquakes. Seismic reflection studies for the mega-splay fault in 2D and 3D in the Nankai forearc present the reflector with negative or positive polarities with various amplitudes and suggest complicated petrophysical properties and condition of the fault and its surroundings. The Nankai mega-splay fault at a depth of ~5km is going to be drilled and cored by NantroSEIZE experiments and is expected for great progress of understanding of the fault mechanics. Before drilling the really targeted seismogenic fault, we are conducting many exercises of geophysical and geological observations. The core-log-seismic integrated exercise for the exhumed mega-splay fault by drilling was operated for the Nobeoka thrust in the Shimanto Belt, Kyushu, Japan. The Nobeoka thrust was once buried in the depth >~10km and suffered maximum temperature >~300 dgree C. As the core recovery is ~99%, perfect correlation between the core and logging data is possible. Thickness of the fault zone is >200 m with a ~50 cm thick central fault core dividing the phyllitic hanging wall and the footwall of broken-melange like cataclasite. A-few-meter-thick discrete damage zones with fault cores are recognized by difference in physical properties and visual deformation textures at several horizons in the fault zone. Host rocks for those damaged zones are completely lithified cataclasites with abundant mineral veins, which record the older and deeper

  16. Subduction Zone Geometry and Pre-seismic Tectonic Constraints From the Andaman Micro- plate Region. (United States)

    Earnest, A.; Freymueller, J. T.; Rajendran, K.; C. P, R.


    The 2004 Sumatra-Andaman mega-thrust rupture broke along the narrow fore-arc sliver boundary of the Indo- Burmese collision. Earlier events of 1679 (M~7.5), 1941 (M 7.7), 1881 (M~7.9) and 2002 (Mw 7.3) generated spatially restricted ruptures along this margin. Spatio-temporal analysis of the pre-seismic earthquakes showed dense seismicity in the back-arc region but negligible activity towards the trench. The hypocentral distribution highlights the shallow subduction at the northern segment, which becomes steeper and deeper to the south. The pre-earthquake stress distribution, inferred from the P and T-axes of earthquake faulting mechanisms, represents the compressional fore-arc and extensional back-arc stress regimes. Shallow NNE-SSW under- thrusting and NNW-SSE opening up of the marginal sea basin stresses were observed and this trend changes to NE-SW to N-S at intermediate depths. We collected three epochs of campaign mode GPS data along the arc from May 2002 to September 2004. These observations show nearly pure convergence along the Andaman trench prior to the earthquake. During this period the GPS sites moved westward relative to India at ~5.5 mm/yr, consistent with the earlier results. Along arc GPS velocity vectors suggest that the Andaman trench is part of a purely slip partitioned boundary, with the strike- slip component of the India-Sunda relative plate motion being taken up on the transform fault in the Andaman Sea or on the West Andaman Fault, and the convergent component on the Andaman trench. Although near normal convergence was observed, it sampled only a fraction of a possible full Andaman microplate convergence velocity, because elastic deformation from the locked shallow megathrust caused displacements toward the overriding plate, that is, away from India. Based on the Indian plate velocity and Andaman spreading rates, this component amounts to ~85% of the pre-seismic convergence. These geodetic velocities represent the present day geologic

  17. Alteration and dehydration of subducting oceanic crust within subduction zones: implications for décollement step-down and plate-boundary seismogenesis (United States)

    Kameda, Jun; Inoue, Sayako; Tanikawa, Wataru; Yamaguchi, Asuka; Hamada, Yohei; Hashimoto, Yoshitaka; Kimura, Gaku


    The alteration and dehydration of predominantly basaltic subducting oceanic crustal material are thought to be important controls on the mechanical and hydrological properties of the seismogenic plate interface below accretionary prisms. This study focuses on pillow basalts exposed in an ancient accretionary complex within the Shimanto Belt of southwest Japan and provides new quantitative data that provide insight into clay mineral reactions and the associated dehydration of underthrust basalts. Whole-rock and clay-fraction X-ray diffraction analyses indicate that the progressive conversion of saponite to chlorite proceeds under an almost constant bulk-rock mineral assemblage. These clay mineral reactions may persist to deep crustal levels ( 320 °C), possibly contributing to the bulk dehydration of the basalt and supplying fluid to plate-boundary fault systems. This dehydration can also cause fluid pressurization at certain horizons within hydrous basalt sequences, eventually leading to fracturing and subsequent underplating of upper basement rock into the overriding accretionary prism. This dehydration-induced breakage of the basalt can explain variations in the thickness of accreted basalt fragments within accretionary prisms as well as the reported geochemical compositions of mineralized veins associated with exposed basalts in onland locations. This fracturing of intact basalt can also nucleate seismic rupturing that would subsequently propagate along seismogenic plate interfaces.[Figure not available: see fulltext.

  18. Reducing risk where tectonic plates collide (United States)

    Gomberg, Joan S.; Ludwig, Kristin A.


    Most of the world’s earthquakes, tsunamis, landslides, and volcanic eruptions are caused by the continuous motions of the many tectonic plates that make up the Earth’s outer shell. The most powerful of these natural hazards occur in subduction zones, where two plates collide and one is thrust beneath another. The U.S. Geological Survey’s (USGS) “Reducing Risk Where Tectonic Plates Collide—A USGS Plan to Advance Subduction Zone Science” is a blueprint for building the crucial scientific foundation needed to inform the policies and practices that can make our Nation more resilient to subduction zone-related hazards.

  19. The return of sialic material to the mantle indicated by terrigeneous material subducted at convergent margins (United States)

    von, Huene R.; Scholl, D. W.


    At convergent margins where oceanic crust is subducted beneath continental or island-arc crust, sediment on the igneous oceanic crust divides into an accreted and a subducted fraction. Although the subducted fraction is larger, it is obscured in many seismic reflection records because of its depth and the effects of the overlying complex structure. Volumes of accreted and underthrust sediment were quantified at individual margins and global estimates were made of the terrigeneous debris subducted. Also included were debris from subduction erosion. The estimated volume of terrigeneous material subducted beneath continental and island-arc crust is sufficiently large to significantly affect processes along the plate boundary. The possible volume reaching the mantle could have considerable affect on mantle evolution. ?? 1993.

  20. Fault Segmentation and Earthquake Generation in the Transition from Strike-slip to Subduction Plate Motion, Saint Elias Orogen, Alaska and Yukon (Invited) (United States)

    Bruhn, R. L.; Shennan, I.; Pavlis, T. L.


    The structural transition from strike-slip motion along the Fairweather transform fault to subduction on the Aleutian megathrust occurs within the collision zone between the Yakutat microplate and southern Alaska. The collision is marked by belts of thrust and strike-slip faulting both within the microplate and along its margins, forming a complex fault network that mechanically interacts with rupturing of the Aleutian megathrust on one hand, and the Fairweather transform fault on the other. For example, stress released by M8+ earthquakes within the central and eastern parts of the Yakutat microplate in 1899 may have constrained the 1964 rupture on the Aleutian megathrust to the western part of the microplate. However, megathrust earthquakes circa 900 BP and 1500 BP may have ruptured farther east than in 1964, generating earthquakes of significantly greater magnitude and tsunami potential. Structurally, the thrust-faulting earthquake of Sept. 10, 1899 occurred on faults that are loaded primarily by the Fairweather transform, but the earlier event of Sept. 4 is more closely linked to the Aleutian megathrust. Large reverse faults that rise off of the megathrust are superimposed on older structures within the microplate; creating complex duplex and wedge fault geometries beneath the mountains onshore that link to simpler fault propagation folds offshore. These lateral variations in fault network style correlate with 1) permanent uplift of the coast at ≈ 1 cm/yr in the Yakataga region of the microplate, 2) an abrupt change in structural style and orientation across the Kayak Island - Bering Glacier deformation zone, and 3) the seaward limit of ruptures in the 1899 earthquakes which occurred beneath the mountains onshore. Future goals include refining locations of earthquake source faults and determining the recurrence history of earthquakes within the Yakutat microplate. The history of rupturing within the microplate offshore is of particular interest given the

  1. Seismic Anisotropy due to Crust and Uppermost Mantle Deformation Beneath Southern Peru and Bolivia: Constraints from Receiver Functions (United States)

    Bar, N.; Long, M. D.; Wagner, L. S.; Beck, S. L.; Tavera, H.


    Subduction systems play a key role in plate tectonics, but the deformation of the crust and uppermost mantle during subduction and orogenesis in continental subduction systems remains poorly understood. Observations of seismic anisotropy can provide important constraints on dynamic processes in the crust and uppermost mantle in subduction systems. The subduction zone beneath Peru and Bolivia, where the Nazca plate subducts beneath South America, represents a particularly interesting location to study subduction-related deformation, given the complex slab morphology and the along-strike transition from flat to normally dipping subduction. In particular, understanding the structure and deformation of the crust and mantle will yield insight into the relationship between the flat slab and the overriding continental lithosphere. In this study we constrain seismic anisotropy within and above the subducting slab (including the mantle wedge and the overriding plate) beneath southern Peru and Bolivia using transverse component receiver functions. Because anisotropic receiver function analysis can constrain the depth distribution of anisotropy, this analysis is complementary to previous studies of shear wave splitting in this region. We examine data from two dense lines of seismometers from the PULSE and CAUGHT deployments in Peru and Bolivia, each anchored by a long-running permanent station. The northern line overlies the Peru flat slab, while the southern line overlies the normally dipping slab beneath Bolivia. Beneath Peru, our investigation of anisotropic structure along the flat slab will help test the recently suggested hypothesis of a slab tear; beneath Bolivia, we aim to characterize the pattern of flow in the mantle wedge as well as the nature of deformation in the lower crust of the overriding plate.

  2. 2-D Finite Difference Modeling of the D'' Structure Beneath the Eastern Cocos Plate: Part I (United States)

    Helmberger, D. V.; Song, T. A.; Sun, D.


    The discovery of phase transition from Perovskite (Pv) to Post-Perovskite (PPv) at depth nears the lowermost mantle has revealed a new view of the earth's D'' layer (Oganov et al. 2004; Murakami et al. 2004). Hernlund et al. (2004) recently pusposed that, depending on the geotherm at the core-mantle boundary (CMB), a double-crossing of the phase boundary by the geotherm at two different depths may also occur. To explore these new findings, we adopt 2-D finite difference scheme (Helmberger and Vidale, 1988) to model wave propagation in rapidly varying structure. We collect broadband waveform data recorded by several Passcal experiments, such as La Ristra transect and CDROM transect in the southwest US to constrain the lateral variations in D'' structure. These data provide fairly dense sampling (~ 20 km) in the lowermost mantle beneath the eastern Cocos plate. Since the source-receiver paths are mostly in the same azimuth, we make 2-D cross-sections from global tomography model (Grand, 2002) and compute finite difference synthetics. We modify the lowermost mantle below 2500 km with constraints from transverse-component waveform data at epicentral distances of 70-82 degrees in the time window between S and ScS, essentially foward modeling waveforms. Assuming a velocity jump of 3 % at D'', our preferred model shows that the D'' topography deepens from the north to the south by about 120 km over a lateral distance of 300 km. Such large topography jumps have been proposed by Thomas et al. (2004) using data recorded by TriNet. In addition, there is a negative velocity jump (-3 %) 100 km above the CMB in the south. This simple model compare favorably with results from a study by Sun, Song and Helmberger (2005), who follow Sidorin et al. (1999) approach and produce a thermodynamically consistent velocity model with Pv-PPv phase boundary. It appears that much of this complexity exists in Grand's tomographic maps with rapid variation in velocities just above the D''. We also

  3. Geochemistry of the Santa Fé Batholith and Buriticá Tonalite in NW Colombia - Evidence of subduction initiation beneath the Colombian Caribbean Plateau (United States)

    Weber, M.; Gómez-Tapias, J.; Cardona, A.; Duarte, E.; Pardo-Trujillo, A.; Valencia, V. A.


    Plateau related rocks accreted to the Caribbean plate margins provide insights into the understanding of the intra-oceanic evolution of the Caribbean plate and its interaction with the continental margins of the Americas. Petrologic, geochemical and isotope (Sr and Nd) data were obtained in rocks from the Santa Fé Gabbro-Tonalite and Buriticá Tonalite in the Western Cordillera of Colombia. Field relations and whole rock-mineral geochemistry combined with juvenile isotope signatures of the different rocks present in the area, suggest that initial melts, represented by the Buriticá Tonalite, formed due to asthenospheric upwelling at ˜100 Ma, which intrude the Colombian-Caribbean Oceanic Plateau (CCOP) basalts, and subsequent migration of the Caribbean plate towards the northeast resulted in subduction initiation and the formation of the Santa Fé tonalitic units at ˜90 Ma on the CCOP. The relation of the Santa Fé Batholith with other units from the Caribbean, such as Aruba and the Buga Batholiths suggests the existence of an immature arc constructed on the Caribbean Plateau, which partially accreted onto a continental margin of South American in pre-Eocene times, or migrated to the present day position in the Lesser Antilles.

  4. Upper Boundary of the Pacific Plate Subducting Under Hokkaido,Japan,Estimated from ScSp Phase


    長田, 絹絵; 吉澤, 和範; 蓬田, 清


    Geometry of the upper boundary of the subducting Pacific plate or slab was estimated in the Hokkaido region, Japan, using the ScSp phase: the converted phase to P wave at the boundary from the S wave reflected at the core-mantle boundary and propagating nearly vertically (i.e., ScS phase). Taking the advantage of a dense seismic network named “Hi-net” recently deployed across the Japanese islands, we applied several seismic array analyses to the recorded waveform data for a large nearby deep ...

  5. Subduction-related cryptic metasomatism in fore-arc to nascent fore-arc Neoproterozoic mantle peridotites beneath the Eastern Desert of Egypt: mineral chemical and geochemical evidences (United States)

    Hamdy, Mohamed; Salam Abu El-Ela, Abdel; Hassan, Adel; Kill, Youngwoo; Gamal El Dien, Hamed


    Mantle spinel peridotites beneath the Arabian Nubian Shield (ANS) in the Eastern Desert (ED) of Egypt were formed in arc stage in different tectonic setting. Thus they might subject to exchange with the crustal material derived from recycling subducting oceanic lithosphere. This caused metasomatism enriching the rocks in incompatible elements and forming non-residual minerals. Herein, we present mineral chemical and geochemical data of four ophiolitic mantle slice serpentinized peridotites (W. Mubarak, G. El-Maiyit, W. Um El Saneyat and W. Atalla) widely distributed in the ED. These rocks are highly serpentinized, except some samples from W. Mubarak and Um El-Saneyat, which contain primary olivine (Fo# = 90-92 mol %) and orthopyroxene (En# = 86-92 mol %) relics. They have harzburgite composition. Based on the Cr# and Mg# of the unaltered spinel cores, all rocks formed in oceanic mantle wedge in the fore-arc setting, except those from W. Atalla formed in nascent fore-arc. This implies that the polarity of the subduction during the arc stage was from the west to the east. These rocks are restites formed after partial melting between 16.58 in W. Atalla to 24 % in G-El Maiyit. Melt extraction occurred under oxidizing conditions in peridotites from W. Mubarak and W. Atalla and under reducing conditions in peridotites from G. El-Maiyit and Um El-Saneyat. Cryptic metasomatism in the studied mantle slice peridotites is evident. This includes enrichment in incompatible elements in minerals and whole rocks if compared with the primitive mantle (PM) composition and the trend of the depletion in melt. In opx the Mg# doesn't correlate with TiO2, CaO, MnO, NiO and Cr2O3concentrations. In addition, in serpentinites from W. Mubarak and W. Atalla, the TiO2spinel is positively correlated with the TiO2 whole-rock, proposing enrichment by the infiltration of Ti-rich melts, while in G. El- Maiyit and Um El-Saneyat serpentinites they are negatively correlated pointing to the reaction

  6. Geochronology and geochemistry of Late Cretaceous-Paleocene granitoids in the Sikhote-Alin Orogenic Belt: Petrogenesis and implications for the oblique subduction of the paleo-Pacific plate (United States)

    Tang, Jie; Xu, Wenliang; Niu, Yaoling; Wang, Feng; Ge, Wenchun; Sorokin, A. A.; Chekryzhov, I. Y.


    We present zircon U-Pb ages, major and trace element analyses, and zircon Hf isotope data on the Late Cretaceous-Paleocene granitoids at the southern end of the Sikhote-Alin Orogenic Belt of the Russian Far East. These data are used to discuss the petrogenesis of the granitoids in the context of the paleo-Pacific subduction beneath the eastern Eurasia. Zircons from four granitoid samples give emplacement ages of 56, 83, 91, and 92 Ma. These granitoids with high SiO2 (73.43-76.76 wt%) are metaluminous to weakly peraluminous (A/CNK = 0.97-1.03) and belong to the high-K calc-alkaline series (K2O = 3.75-4.95 wt%). They are all enriched in light rare earth elements (LREEs) and large ion lithophile elements (LILEs), and relatively depleted in high field strength elements (HFSEs) with striking depletion also in Ba, Sr, P and Eu. They are petrographically and geochemically consistent with being of I-type granitoids. The zircons have εHf (t) values (- 0.8 to + 7.6) higher than whole-rock εHf (t) values predicted from whole-rock εNd (t) (- 4.1 to + 0.5) in the literature. All these observations suggest that primary magmas parental to these granitoids were likely to have derived from partial melting of a juvenile lower crust accompanied by assimilation with ancient mature crust during magma ascent and evolution. A recent study illustrates that the collision of an exotic terrane carried by the paleo-Pacific plate with the continental China at 100 Ma accreted the basement of the Chinese continental shelf (beneath East and South China Seas), and resulted in a new plate boundary of transform nature between the NNW moving paleo-Pacific plate and the eastern margin of the shelf. Our new data and analysis of existing data support this hypothesis, but we hypothesize that this transform becomes transpressional in its northern segment with oblique subduction of the paleo-Pacific plate beneath northeastern Asia as manifested by the Late Cretaceous-Paleocene granitoids in the Russian

  7. Water Input and Water Release from the Subducting Nazca Plate along Southern Central Chile (33°S-46°S) (United States)

    Voelker, D.; Stipp, M.


    The fixation of water in the oceanic crust and upper mantle, the flux of stored water into subduction zones and the partial liberation of those fluids underneath the forearc and arc are mechanisms that impact on almost every aspect of subduction zone processes, e.g. intensity and type of arc volcanism, deposition of ores and seismicity of the subduction fault, but also on global geochemical budgets by recycling material back into the continental crust. Much of that water fixation happens at the outer rise of subduction zones in particular by deep percolation of fluids to the upper mantle along bend faults. Offshore Chile, the age of the subducting Nazca Plate varies between 0 Ma at the Chile Triple Junction (46°S) and ~38 Ma at the latitude of Valparaíso (32°S). Age-related variations in the thermal state of the subducting Nazca Plate impact on the water influx to the subduction zone, as well as the volumes of water that are released under the continental forearc or, alternatively, carried into the deeper mantle. Southern Central Chile is an ideal setting to study this effect, because other factors important for the subduction zone water budget appear constant. We determine the water influx by calculating the crustal water uptake and by modeling the upper mantle serpentinization at the outer rise of the Chile Trench. The water release under forearc and arc is determined by coupling FEM thermal models of the subducting plate with stability fields of water-releasing mineral reactions for upper and lower crust and hydrated mantle. Results show that both the influx and the release of water vary drastically over a length of 1500 km. In particular, the oldest and coldest segments carry roughly twice as much water into the subduction zone as the youngest and hottest segments, but their release flux to the forearc is only about one fourth of the latter. This high variability over a subduction zone of ~1500 km length shows that it is insufficient to consider subduction

  8. Recent regressions in plate boundary modelling - subducting the Himalayan orogen, and taking it with a growing grain of salt (United States)

    Ueda, Kosuke


    One particular and maybe peculiar approach is to make inferences from the larger to the smaller scale. A promising starting point is the well-studied geodynamic plate subduction margin setup, from which many smaller-scale or process-specific findings have been successfully extracted. I present a series of models that were aiming to combine many of these findings to test the feasibility of conceptual models for the evolution of the Himalayan-Tibetan system. Are the Himalayas not feasible? Do the limitations lie within the method (i.e. 2D), the author, or the proposed history? Having not found the fundamental process control on major observables, I also move on to other regional settings. The presentation concludes with a display of early trial-stage of grain size evolution experiments, to plate-scale geodynamic processes.

  9. Impingement of Deep Mantle-Derived Upwelling Beneath Northern, Subducted Extension of the East Pacific Rise and Palinspastically Restored Cenozoic Mafic Magmatism in Western North America (United States)

    Rowley, D. B.; Moucha, R.; Forte, A. M.; Mitrovica, J. X.; Simmons, N. A.; Grand, S. P.


    Reconstruction of the retrodicted whole mantle flow, based on presently imaged distribution of variations in seismic velocity and its correlation to density (Simmons et al. 2009), over the past 30 Ma, in the North American fixed frame of reference, reveals that the northern, now subducted, extension of the East Pacific Rise is coincident with mantle buoyancy arising from near the core-mantle boundary and extending to the base of the lithosphere (Moucha et al. 2009 GRL, in press). Divergence of the reconstructed flow near the surface is independent of the surface plate(s) and results in predicted geological manifestations distinct from those predicted by traditional plate driven models of flow. Most particularly the retrodicted flow-related dynamic topography results in progressive west to east sweep of surface uplift, that is now centered on the Colorado Plateau (Moucha et al. 2008, 2009 GRL, in press). In addition, and the primary focus of the current study is the relationship between this retrodicted mantle-wide flow and the history of magmatism within the western U.S. and adjacent Mexico. There is a close spatial correlation between the impingement of upwelling with palinspastic restored western North America (McQuarrie and Wernicke, 2005) and onset and distribution of magmatism, particularly of mafic compositions as revealed in the Navdat ( database. Although often attributed to effects of opening of a slab window (Snyder and Dickinson, 1979, McQuarrie and Oskins, 2008) associated with continued plate-driven separation, this model predicts active mantle flow induced upwelling and divergence resulting in mantle melting that sweeps across east-northeast across southern Basin and Range to the Rio Grande Rift with time and as seen in the distribution of magmatism in this region.

  10. Subduction of the Tethys Oceans reconstructed from plate kinematics and mantle tomography

    NARCIS (Netherlands)

    Hafkenscheid, Edith


    This thesis is concerned with the large-scale history of subduction within the Tethyan region, the Alpine-Himalayan mountain chain that stretches from the Mediterranean to the Indonesian archipelago. We investigate whether we can contribute to a better understanding of the Tethyan evolution by combi

  11. Subduction of the Tethys Oceans reconstructed from plate kinematics and mantle tomography

    NARCIS (Netherlands)

    Hafkenscheid, Edith


    This thesis is concerned with the large-scale history of subduction within the Tethyan region, the Alpine-Himalayan mountain chain that stretches from the Mediterranean to the Indonesian archipelago. We investigate whether we can contribute to a better understanding of the Tethyan evolution by combi

  12. Water Release from Cold Serpentinized Forearc Mantle During Subduction Associated with Changes in Incoming Oceanic Plate Thermal Structure and Plate Boundary Kinematics: New Insights (United States)

    Kirby, S. H.


    Kirby, Wang, and Brocher (Earth Planets and Space, 2014) recently showed how the change in kinematics of the California margin from subduction motion to continental transform motion with the birth and growth of the San Andreas Fault System (SAFS) beginning at about 33 Ma BP likely led to a warming of the former forearc mantle and the release of water by serpentinite dehydration. Such discharges from serpentinized mantle increase fluid pressures along the SAFS under the Coast Ranges and this gives insights into both the low sliding resistance for the SAFS and the mobilization and ascent of some serpentinized mantle peridotites through the crust. Thermal modeling by others has also shown that changes in the incoming plate age and subduction rate can also lead to warming of the forearc mantle during subduction. This development gives insights into the Mesozoic and Paleogene ages of emplacement of some, but not all, California serpentinites. Recent mineralogical and geochemical observations of serpentinized blocks in serpentinize mélange bodies in the San Francisco Bay Area (Uno and Kirby, 2015; Lewis and Kirby, 2015, this session) suggest that these rocks sustained multiple stages of serpentinization that are broadly consistent with the model of Kirby et al. (2014). Previous studies of localized late-stage silica-carbonate-water alteration of serpentinite bodies in California by carbonated water suggest that this alteration occurred largely in Neogene time when the highest rate of water release from the former forearc mantle probably happened. I also suggest that the occurrence of serpentinite belts emplaced in Cenozoic time during changing plate-boundary kinematics, such as the Cenozoic closing of the Tethys Ocean bordering Eurasia and arc reversal and decreasing convergence rates under the Greater Antilles, may give insights into the serpentinite belts in those regions.

  13. Middle Miocene near trench volcanism in northern Colombia: A record of slab tearing due to the simultaneous subduction of the Caribbean Plate under South and Central America? (United States)

    Lara, M.; Cardona, A.; Monsalve, G.; Yarce, J.; Montes, C.; Valencia, V.; Weber, M.; De La Parra, F.; Espitia, D.; López-Martínez, M.


    Field, geochemical, geochronological, biostratigraphical and sedimentary provenance results of basaltic and associated sediments northern Colombia reveal the existence of Middle Miocene (13-14 Ma) mafic volcanism within a continental margin setting usually considered as amagmatic. This basaltic volcanism is characterized by relatively high Al2O3 and Na2O values (>15%), a High-K calc-alkaline affinity, large ion lithophile enrichment and associated Nb, Ta and Ti negative anomalies which resemble High Al basalts formed by low degree of asthenospheric melting at shallow depths mixed with some additional slab input. The presence of pre-Cretaceous detrital zircons, tourmaline and rutile as well as biostratigraphic results suggest that the host sedimentary rocks were deposited in a platform setting within the South American margin. New results of P-wave residuals from northern Colombia reinforce the view of a Caribbean slab subducting under the South American margin. The absence of a mantle wedge, the upper plate setting, and proximity of this magmatism to the trench, together with geodynamic constraints suggest that the subducted Caribbean oceanic plate was fractured and a slab tear was formed within the oceanic plate. Oceanic plate fracturing is related to the splitting of the subducting Caribbean Plate due to simultaneous subduction under the Panama-Choco block and northwestern South America, and the fast overthrusting of the later onto the Caribbean oceanic plate.

  14. High resolution receiver function Images of the lithosphere beneath the Central Andes between 19°and 24° S using data of Integrated Plate boundary Observatory Chile (IPOC) (United States)

    Sodoudi, F.; Asch, G.; Kind, R.; Oncken, O.; Vilotte, J.; Barrientos, S. E.; Salazar Reinoso, P.


    Installation of observatories in northern Chile started in 2006 in a close cooperation of the Universidad de Chile (Santiago), the Universidad Catolica del Norte (Antofagasta), the IPGP (Paris), and the GFZ Potsdam. Currently we operate 16 modern seismological stations equipped with STS-2 broadband seismometers. All seismic stations are located in northern Chile at 19°-24° S between Arica in the North and Antofagasta in the South. Due to the large amount of the available data, it is now possible to obtain detailed geometry of the subducting Nazca plate as well as that of the continental South American plate in northern Chile with so far unprecedented resolution. The lower boundary of the lithospheric plates, which is poorly observed by seismic means, has remained as an exotic boundary. Even though, seismic surface waves can image the asthenosphere as a low velocity zone. The Lithosphere-Asthenosphere Boundary (LAB) resolved by surface waves can be only considered as a broad transition zone due to the large wavelength of the surface waves. Seismic techniques which use converted body waves are now far enough developed to be successful in observing the LAB with a higher resolution than known so far. The principle of the receiver function technique is that a strong teleseismic mother phase (e.g. P or S) incident on the discontinuity beneath a station produces a small converted phase (P-to-S or S-to-P) which indicates its properties. We combined here these two methods (P and S receiver function) to have the best vertical as well as horizontal coverage of the area. P receiver function analysis using P-to-S converted waves was used as the main tool to map the crustal structure. More than 120 P receiver functions obtained from each station enabled us to detect even small azimuthal structural differences. While P receiver functions provided a clear Image of the Moho topography, S receiver functions (using S-to-P converted waves) were used to detect the Lithosphere

  15. Lateral Variation in Seismic Anisotropy Beneath Western Tibet Likely Controlled by the Shape of Subducting Indian Lithosphere (United States)

    Levin, V. L.; Shakhnovich, M.; Janiszewski, H. A.; Roecker, S. W.


    it fast shear wave polarization is ~65°NE, significantly different from the nearly N-S India-Eurasia convergence direction and the nearly east-west "flow" suggested by crustal deformation observations. The area of strong anisotropy appears to be bounded by the Indus-Tsangpo Suture in the south, but cuts across the Bangdong-Nujiang Suture in the north. Flanking the region of strong anisotropy are two areas where individual splitting observations are scattered in direction and have smaller (<0.5 s) delays, and where group inversions yield <2.5% of anisotropy in a 100 km model layer, and nearly E-W fast axis orientation. A very significant finding in our study is the short (10s of km) lateral scale over which changes in apparent anisotropic properties take place. Unlike latitudinal changes in anisotropy reported previously along N-S profiles in eastern and central Tibet, those we document cut across the strike of the main tectonic units (e.g., the Lhasa Block). The dominant period in most of our data is ~10 s, and the corresponding first Fresnel zone is over 100 km wide at depths in excess of 100 km. Therefore lateral changes in apparent anisotropic parameters over distances < 100 km likely originate directly beneath the ~75 km thick crust of the Tibetan plateau. We speculate that these variations reflect the shape of the down-going Indian lithosphere.

  16. A Bayesian approach for Inter-seismic Inter-plate Coupling Probabilities for the Central Andes Subduction Zone (United States)

    Ortega Culaciati, F. H.; Simons, M.


    We aim to characterize the apparent extent of plate coupling on subduction zone megathrusts with the eventual goal of understanding spatial variations of fault zone rheology. In this study we approach the problem from a Bayesian perspective, where we ask not for a single optimum model, but rather for a posteriori estimates of the range of allowable models, exploiting the full potential of Bayesian methods to completely characterize the model parameter space. Adopting a simple kinematic back-slip model and a 3D geometry of the inter-plate contact zone, we use the Bayesian approach to provide the inter-seismic inter-plate coupling probabilities that are consistent with physically plausible a-priori information and available geodetic measurements. We highlight the importance of using the vertical component of the velocity field to properly constrain the downdip limit of the coupled zone, and also we show how the chosen parameterization of the model plays an important role along with the a-priori, and a-posteriori information on the model parameters. We apply this methodology in the Chilean-Peruvian subduction zone (12S - 24S) with the desire to understand the state of inter-seismic coupling on that margin. We obtain patch like features for the probability of 100% apparent inter-seismic coupling with higher values located between 15km and 60km depth. The larger of these features are located in the regions associated with the rupture process of the 2001 (Mw 8.4) Arequipa and the 2007 (Mw 8.0) Pisco Earthquakes, both occurred after the time period where the measurements take place; and the region identified as the Arica bend seismic gap, which has not experienced a large earthquake since 1877.

  17. Formulation and Application of a Physically-Based Rupture Probability Model for Large Earthquakes on Subduction Zones: A Case Study of Earthquakes on Nazca Plate (United States)

    Mahdyiar, M.; Galgana, G.; Shen-Tu, B.; Klein, E.; Pontbriand, C. W.


    -based rupture probability models for large earthquakes on subduction zones that is consistent with their true locking state and earthquake history. We will present the formulation of the proposed model and its application to the Nazca plate subduction zone.

  18. Effects of slab geometry and obliquity on the interplate thermal regime associated with the subduction of three-dimensionally curved oceanic plates

    Institute of Scientific and Technical Information of China (English)

    Yingfeng Ji; Shoichi Yoshioka


    We investigated the relationships among slab geometry, obliquity, and the thermal regime associated with the subduction of oceanic plates using a three-dimensional (3D) parallelepiped thermal convection model. Various models with convex and concave slab shapes were constructed in the numerical simu-lation, and the temperature and mantle flow distributions were calculated. The results revealed that when the slab dip angle increases, or the obliquity of subduction becomes steeper, the interplate tem-perature decreases remarkably. Cooler (warmer) zones on the plate interface were identified from the modeling where there was a larger (smaller) subduction angle. Consequently, the interplate temperature distribution is partly controlled by the true subduction angle (TSA), which is a function of the slab dip angle and the obliquity of subduction. The rate of change of the interface temperature for the TSA was 10e50 ?C (10?subduction history of 7 Myrs. The along-arc slab curvature affects the variation in TSA. The slab radius also appeared to influence the radius of induced mantle flow.

  19. Reducing risk where tectonic plates collide—U.S. Geological Survey subduction zone science plan (United States)

    Gomberg, Joan S.; Ludwig, Kristin A.; Bekins, Barbara; Brocher, Thomas M.; Brock, John C.; Brothers, Daniel; Chaytor, Jason D.; Frankel, Arthur; Geist, Eric L.; Haney, Matt; Hickman, Stephen H.; Leith, William S.; Roeloffs, Evelyn A.; Schulz, William H.; Sisson, Thomas W.; Wallace, Kristi; Watt, Janet; Wein, Anne


    The U.S. Geological Survey (USGS) serves the Nation by providing reliable scientific information and tools to build resilience in communities exposed to subduction zone earthquakes, tsunamis, landslides, and volcanic eruptions. Improving the application of USGS science to successfully reduce risk from these events relies on whole community efforts, with continuing partnerships among scientists and stakeholders, including researchers from universities, other government labs and private industry, land-use planners, engineers, policy-makers, emergency managers and responders, business owners, insurance providers, the media, and the general public.Motivated by recent technological advances and increased awareness of our growing vulnerability to subduction-zone hazards, the USGS is uniquely positioned to take a major step forward in the science it conducts and products it provides, building on its tradition of using long-term monitoring and research to develop effective products for hazard mitigation. This science plan provides a blueprint both for prioritizing USGS science activities and for delineating USGS interests and potential participation in subduction zone science supported by its partners.The activities in this plan address many USGS stakeholder needs:High-fidelity tools and user-tailored information that facilitate increasingly more targeted, neighborhood-scale decisions to mitigate risks more cost-effectively and ensure post-event operability. Such tools may include maps, tables, and simulated earthquake ground-motion records conveying shaking intensity and frequency. These facilitate the prioritization of retrofitting of vulnerable infrastructure;Information to guide local land-use and response planning to minimize development in likely hazardous zones (for example, databases, maps, and scenario documents to guide evacuation route planning in communities near volcanoes, along coastlines vulnerable to tsunamis, and built on landslide-prone terrain);New tools

  20. Shear Wave Splitting Observations Beneath Uturuncu Volcano, Bolivia (United States)

    Sims, N. E.; Christensen, D. H.; Moore-Driskell, M. M.


    Anisotropy in the upper mantle is often associated with mantle flow direction through the lattice preferred orientation of anisotropic minerals such as olivine in the upper mantle material. The flow of the mantle around subduction zones can be particularly complex, and thus difficult to explain. Because of its relationship to anisotropy, analysis of shear wave splitting measurements can help to answer questions regarding the upper mantle flow that surrounds subducting slabs. Here we present SK(K)S shear wave splitting measurements from a temporary broadband network (PLUTONS) of 33 stations deployed from April 2009 to October 2012 on the Altiplano plateau around Uturuncu volcano in Bolivia. The stations are spaced 10-20 km apart, providing a high spatial resolution of the region of the mantle directly below Uturuncu volcano. Despite the lack of numerous splitting results to analyze, preliminary measurements indicate a relatively consistent pattern of fast-polarization directions in a NW-SE orientation of about N80ºW. We think that it is likely that these observations come from anisotropy in the mantle wedge above the subducting Nazca plate indicating a direction of flow in the mantle wedge that is sub-parallel to the subduction direction of the Nazca plate. Although W-E flow beneath the subducting Nazca plate cannot be completely ruled out, these results appear to be consistent with the simple model of two-dimensional corner flow in the mantle wedge and slab-entrained mantle flow beneath the slab.

  1. Subduction controls the distribution and fragmentation of Earth’s tectonic plates



    International audience; The theory of plate tectonics describes how the surface of the Earth is split into an organized jigsaw of seven large plates 1 of similar sizes and a population of smaller plates, whose areas follow a fractal distribution 2,3. The reconstruction of global tectonics during the past 200 My 4 suggests that this layout is probably a long-term feature of our planet, but the forces governing it are unknown. Previous studies 3,5,6 , primarily based on statistical properties o...

  2. What do Great Subduction Earthquakes tell us About Continental Deformation of the Upper Plate in the Central Andes Forearc? Insights From Seismotectonics, Continental Deformation and Coulomb Modelisation Along Southern Peru Margin (United States)

    Audin, L.; Perfettini, H.; Tavera, H.


    Subduction of the Nazca plate beneath the Peruvian margin has produced numerous megathrust earthquakes during the last century and still constitutes mature seismic gaps in some places such as in between Ilo (Peru) and Arica (Chile). The rupture zones of the 1604, 1784 and 1868 southern Peru events were partially reactivated by the Arequipa 2001 (Mw = 8.5) seismic event, whose rupture zone was about 350km-long and stopped its propagation towards the south on Ilo Peninsula. Just after the occurrence of 2001 event, some reactivation of continental fault systems are identified and monitored thanks to the Peruvian seismic network and describe continental deformation processes occurring perpendicularly to the trench or parallel to the trench, traducing the continental plate response to major subduction earthquakes and some partitioning of the deformation. The Chololo and associated ( perpendicular to the trench) fault systems define some 80-km-long margin crustal blocks and the major one coincides with the 2001 earthquake southern limit of the rupture zone as it propagated to the south. These blocks are made from Late Jurassic and Cretaceous plutonic rocks from the Coastal Batholith; these are outcropping in some places and are evidenced by the aeromagnetic mapping elsewhere around the area. Northward along the subduction zone, another boundary between two rupture zones of major subduction earthquake was reactivated recently, perpendicularly to the trench, by the seismic crisis of October 2006, M=6.4, near Lima, right at the southern end of the rupture zone of the 1974 event (Mw=8.1).Those boundaries corresponding to discontinuities (lithospheric fault systems) in the upper plate, trending nearly perpendicular to the trench, act as earthquake barriers during rupture of large seismic events. Additionally occurred on 20 of November 2006 another seismic event (Mw=5.6 Neic, Ml=5.3) in Tacna region, showing a reverse focal mechanism compatible with the trend of the Sama

  3. Mantle flow and deformation of subducting slab at the junction of Tohoku-Kurile arc (United States)

    Morishige, M.; Honda, S.


    Geophysical studies of the plate junction reveal possible evidence of the presence of 3D mantle flow and deformation of subducting slabs. The junction of the Tohoku-Kurile is one of the best studied junctions in the world. The Pacific plate subducts under the North American plate in a direction almost perpendicular to Japan trench, while it subducts obliquely along the Kurile arc. Analysis of seismic anisotropy in this region shows the trench-normal fast polarization direction of S-wave splitting in the back arc even where the oblique subduction occurs. The angle of subduction varies along the strike of the trench, that is, it is smallest near the plate junction and becomes large beneath Kurile arc. There is also an important distinction in the slab behavior. The slab beneath Tohoku stagnates in the transition zone, whereas the slab beneath the Kurile arc penetrates into the lower mantle. In this presentation, we show the dynamic effects of the junction using a numerical model of mantle convection with a realistic curved shape of the trench in spherical geometry. The model is set so that it becomes similar to the geometry of the surface plate boundary in the Tohoku-Kurile arc. In order to enable one-sided subduction, the velocities are imposed both on the surface and in the small 3D boundary region around the trench. We obtain 3D flow in the mantle wedge which is consistent with the observation of seismic anisotropy including the oblique subduction zone. The flow and hence the fast polarization direction in the subslab mantle is almost 2D. We also find that the angle of subduction varies along-strike, which agrees with the observations. This variation can be explained by a torque balance acting on subducting slabs in the case of oblique subduction. This along-arc variation of the angle of subduction partly contributes to the different behavior of slab stagnation in the Tohoku-Kurile arc. Our results show that the shape of the trench is an important factor which

  4. Subduction Stability: Lithospheric Strength and Roll-back (United States)

    Patel, P. I.; Lavier, L.; Grand, S.


    In exploring the issue of subduction zone stability, we ran a series of simulations representing subduction systems consisting of simple 2D representations of oceanic lithosphere subducting beneath continental lithosphere. Our modelling software utilizes temperature dependent visco-elasto-plastic rheologies as well as a few proxies for significant chemical processes such as ecologitization and hydration. With externally imposed convergence rates, these models evolve from a contrived subduction initiation state to "normal-looking" subduction within approximately 10 million years. The simulations are then allowed to continue to evolve for up to 30 million more years. From our early results, we note that while most systems start with similar subduction geometries, they may deviate from each other over time. Notably, subduction initiated at "cooler" (and therefore stronger) junctures tend to form very stable subduction zones which maintain normal-looking geometries throughout the life of the simulation. However, subduction initiated at warmer margins tend to result in slab rollback relatively quickly. Systems with junctures of intermediate temperature also tend to subduct stably for a substantial amount of time, yet they too eventually result in rollback as the subducting slab entrains and removes some of the cooler lithosphere near the juncture, allowing hotter asthenospheric material into the contact region between the plates. The hot, low-viscosity material sharply reduces the fluid-dynamically derived suction force that partially supports the stable subduction geometry, facilitating the retreat of the subducting slab as well as the rifting of the over-riding slab. These simulations incorporate a variety of approximations and assumptions which may not reflect the actual conditions within the Earth. However, they do offer a chance to observe how a system that at least appears geometrically similar to observed Earth systems may behave when subjected to varying

  5. Observations at convergent margins concerning sediment subduction, subduction erosion, and the growth of continental crust (United States)

    Von Huene, R.; Scholl, D. W.


    At ocean margins where two plates converge, the oceanic plate sinks or is subducted beneath an upper one topped by a layer of terrestrial crust. This crust is constructed of continental or island arc material. The subduction process either builds juvenile masses of terrestrial crust through arc volcanism or new areas of crust through the piling up of accretionary masses (prisms) of sedimentary deposits and fragments of thicker crustal bodies scraped off the subducting lower plate. At convergent margins, terrestrial material can also bypass the accretionary prism as a result of sediment subduction, and terrestrial matter can be removed from the upper plate by processes of subduction erosion. Sediment subduction occurs where sediment remains attached to the subducting oceanic plate and underthrusts the seaward position of the upper plate's resistive buttress (backstop) of consolidated sediment and rock. Sediment subduction occurs at two types of convergent margins: type 1 margins where accretionary prisms form and type 2 margins where little net accretion takes place. At type 2 margins (???19,000 km in global length), effectively all incoming sediment is subducted beneath the massif of basement or framework rocks forming the landward trench slope. At accreting or type 1 margins, sediment subduction begins at the seaward position of an active buttress of consolidated accretionary material that accumulated in front of a starting or core buttress of framework rocks. Where small-to-mediumsized prisms have formed (???16,300 km), approximately 20% of the incoming sediment is skimmed off a detachment surface or decollement and frontally accreted to the active buttress. The remaining 80% subducts beneath the buttress and may either underplate older parts of the frontal body or bypass the prism entirely and underthrust the leading edge of the margin's rock framework. At margins bordered by large prisms (???8,200 km), roughly 70% of the incoming trench floor section is

  6. Subduction of the Nazca Ridge and the Inca Plateau: Insights into the formation of ore deposits in Peru [rapid communication (United States)

    Rosenbaum, Gideon; Giles, David; Saxon, Mark; Betts, Peter G.; Weinberg, Roberto F.; Duboz, Cecile


    A large number of ore deposits that formed in the Peruvian Andes during the Miocene (15-5 Ma) are related to the subduction of the Nazca plate beneath the South American plate. Here we show that the spatial and temporal distribution of these deposits correspond with the arrival of relatively buoyant topographic anomalies, namely the Nazca Ridge in central Peru and the now-consumed Inca Plateau in northern Peru, at the subduction zone. Plate reconstruction shows a rapid metallogenic response to the arrival of the topographic anomalies at the subduction trench. This is indicated by clusters of ore deposits situated within the proximity of the laterally migrating zones of ridge subduction. It is accordingly suggested that tectonic changes associated with impingement of the aseismic ridge into the subduction zone may trigger the formation of ore deposits in metallogenically fertile suprasubduction environments.

  7. Fluid migration in continental subduction: The Northern Apennines case study (United States)

    Agostinetti, Nicola Piana; Bianchi, Irene; Amato, Alessandro; Chiarabba, Claudio


    Subduction zones are the place in the world where fluids are transported from the foredeep to the mantle and back-to-the-surface in the back-arc. The subduction of an oceanic plate implies the transportation of the oceanic crust to depth and its methamorphization. Oceanic sediments release water in the (relatively) shallower part of the subduction zone, while dehydration of the subducted basaltic crust allows fluid circulation at larger depths. While the water budget in oceanic subduction has been deeply investigated, less attention has been given to the fluids implied in the subduction of a continental margin (i.e. in continental subduction). In this study, we use teleseismic receiver function (RF) analysis to image the process of water migration at depth, from the subducting plate to the mantle wedge, under the Northern Apennines (NAP, Italy). Harmonic decomposition of the RF data-set is used to constrain both isotropic and anisotropic structures. Isotropic structures highlight the subduction of the Adriatic lower crust under the NAP orogens, from 35-40 km to 65 km depth, as a dipping low S-velocity layer. Anisotropic structures indicate the presence of a broad anisotropic zone (anisotropy as high as 7%). This zone develops in the subducted Adriatic lower crust and mantle wedge, between 45 and 65 km depth, directly beneath the orogens and the more recent back-arc extensional basin. The anisotropy is related to the metamorphism of the Adriatic lower crust (gabbro to blueschists) and its consequent eclogitization (blueschists to eclogite). The second metamorphic phase releases water directly in the mantle wedge, hydrating the back-arc upper mantle. The fluid migration process imaged in this study below the northern Apennines could be a proxy for understanding other regions of ongoing continental subduction.

  8. New evidences of rupture of crust and mantle in the subducted Nazca plate at intermediate-depth (United States)

    Spagnotto, Silvana L.; Triep, Enrique G.; Giambiagi, Laura B.; Nacif, Silvina V.; Álvarez, Orlando


    Between 33°-36°S, the Nazca plate subducts below South American plate with an angle of ˜30°, and it is seismically active until ˜200-280 km depth. At 33.5°S, the seismicity decreases drastically at 120 km depth, just below the volcanic arc. In this paper, we studied a pair of associated earthquakes located in the area where the frequency of seismicity changes. The hypocenters of the Mw = 6.4, June 16th, 2000 and Mw = 5.7 January 7th, 2003 earthquakes were found nearby, adjacent to the oceanic Moho, closely associated with each other. The slip on the plane of the 2000 event produced Coulomb stress changes on the fault plane of 2003, both westward dipping, with a variation from ˜1 bar near the hypocenter of the latter to ˜0.1 bars in the deepest part of the plane. The two earthquakes combined process describes a normal focal mechanism, which cuts through the crust and breaks the mantle, reaching depths of ˜40 km below the Moho. The composed fault plane of the 2000 and 2003 events corresponds to a west-dipping normal fault with strike and dip consistent with those of the outer ridge faults. Thus, these events could be related to a preexisting fault originated in that environment reactivated at depth. The slip on the composed fault plane is consistent with the bending produced by the slab pull. Dehydration could be associated to these events.

  9. A double seismic zone in the subducting Juan Fernandez Ridge of the Nazca Plate (32°S), central Chile (United States)

    Marot, M.; Monfret, T.; Pardo, M.; Ranalli, G.; Nolet, G.


    The region of central Chile offers a unique opportunity to study the links between the subducting Juan Fernandez Ridge, the flat slab, the double seismic zone (DSZ), and the absence of modern volcanism. Here we report the presence and characteristics of the first observed DSZ within the intermediate-depth Nazca slab using two temporary seismic catalogs (Ovalle 1999 and Chile Argentina Seismological Measurement Experiment). The lower plane of seismicity (LP) is located 20-25 km below the upper plane, begins at 50 km depth, and merges with the lower plane at 120 km depth, where the slab becomes horizontal. Focal mechanism analysis and stress tensor calculations indicate that the slab's state of stress is dominantly controlled by plate convergence and overriding crust thickness: Above 60-70 km depth, the slab is in horizontal compression, and below, it is in horizontal extension, parallel to plate convergence, which can be accounted for by vertical loading of the overriding lithosphere. Focal mechanisms below 60-70 km depth are strongly correlated with offshore outer rise bend faults, suggesting the reactivation of preexisting faults below this depth. The large interplane distances for all Nazca DSZs can be related to the slab's unusually cold thermal structure with respect to its age. Since LPs globally seem to mimic mantle mineral dehydration paths, we suggest that fluid migration and dehydration embrittlement provide the mechanism necessary to weaken the rock and that the stress field determines the direction of rupture.

  10. Mantle enrichment by volatiles as the Nazca plate subducts beneath the Payenia backarc of the Sourthern Volcanic Zone, Argentina

    DEFF Research Database (Denmark)

    Brandt, Frederik Ejvang

    , minerals, fluid and melt inclusions from the Payenia backarc province of the Andean Southern Volcanic Zone. Major emphasis has been on olivine hosted melt inclusions. The study gives evidence for the role of fluids in the metasomatism of the backarc mantle, and outlines the trend of the variation...

  11. The Relationships of Upper Plate Ridge-Trench-Trench and Ridge-Trench-Transform Triple Junction Evolution to Arc Lengthening, Subduction Zone initiation and Ophiolitic Forearc Obduction (United States)

    Casey, J.; Dewey, J. F.


    The principal enigma of large obducted ophiolite slabs is that they clearly must have been generated by some form of organized sea-floor spreading/plate-accretion, such as may be envisioned for the oceanic ridges, yet the volcanics commonly have arc affinity (Miyashiro) with boninites (high-temperature/low-pressure, high Mg and Si andesites), which are suggestive of a forearc origin. PT conditions under which boninites and metamorphic soles form and observations of modern forearc systems lead us to the conclusion that ophiolite formation is associated with overriding plate spreading centers that intersect the trench to form ridge-trench-trench of ridge-trench-tranform triple junctions. The spreading centers extend and lengthen the forearc parallel to the trench and by definition are in supra-subduction zone (SSZ) settings. Many ophiolites likewise have complexly-deformed associated mafic-ultramafic assemblages that suggest fracture zone/transform along their frontal edges, which in turn has led to models involving the nucleation of subduction zones on fracture zones or transpressional transforms. Hitherto, arc-related sea-floor-spreading has been considered to be either pre-arc (fore-arc boninites) or post-arc (classic Karig-style back arc basins that trench-parallel split arcs). Syn-arc boninites and forearc oceanic spreading centers that involve a stable ridge/trench/trench triple or a ridge-trench-transform triple junction, the ridge being between the two upper plates, are consistent with large slab ophiolite formation in an obduction-ready settting. The direction of subduction must be oblique with a different sense in the two subduction zones and the oblique subduction cannot be partitioned into trench orthogonal and parallel strike-slip components. As the ridge spreads, new oceanic lithosphere is created within the forearc, the arc and fore-arc lengthen significantly, and a syn-arc ophiolite forearc complex is generated by this mechanism. The ophiolite ages

  12. Introduction to the structures and processes of subduction zones (United States)

    Zheng, Yong-Fei; Zhao, Zi-Fu


    Subduction zones have been the focus of many studies since the advent of plate tectonics in 1960s. Workings within subduction zones beneath volcanic arcs have been of particular interest because they prime the source of arc magmas. The results from magmatic products have been used to decipher the structures and processes of subduction zones. In doing so, many progresses have been made on modern oceanic subduction zones, but less progresses on ancient oceanic subduction zones. On the other hand, continental subduction zones have been studied since findings of coesite in metamorphic rocks of supracrustal origin in 1980s. It turns out that high-pressure to ultrahigh-pressure metamorphic rocks in collisional orogens provide a direct target to investigate the tectonism of subduction zones, whereas oceanic and continental arc volcanic rocks in accretionary orogens provide an indirect target to investigate the geochemistry of subduction zones. Nevertheless, metamorphic dehydration and partial melting at high-pressure to ultrahigh-pressure conditions are tectonically applicable to subduction zone processes at forearc to subarc depths, and crustal metasomatism is the physicochemical mechanism for geochemical transfer from the slab to the mantle in subduction channels. Taken together, these provide us with an excellent opportunity to find how the metamorphic, metasomatic and magmatic products are a function of the structures and processes in both oceanic and continental subduction zones. Because of the change in the thermal structures of subduction zones, different styles of metamorphism, metasomatism and magmatism are produced at convergent plate margins. In addition, juvenile and ancient crustal rocks have often suffered reworking in episodes independent of either accretionary or collisional orogeny, leading to continental rifting metamorphism and thus rifting orogeny for mountain building in intracontinental settings. This brings complexity to distinguish the syn-subduction

  13. Water Release from Cold Serpentinized Forearc Mantle During Subduction Associated with Changes in Incoming Oceanic Plate Thermal Structure and Plate Boundary Kinematics: New Insights into Serpentinite Belts and Plate-Boundary Rheology (United States)

    Kirby, Stephen


    Kirby, Wang, and Brocher (Earth Planets and Space, 2014) recently showed how the change in kinematics of the California margin from subduction motion to continental transform motion with the birth and growth of the San Andreas Fault System (SAFS) beginning at about 33 Ma BP likely led to a warming of the former forearc mantle and the release of water from serpentinized mantle by dehydration and a likely increase in fluid pressures along the SAFS. Such a mantle source of pressurized water gives insights into both the low sliding resistance for the SAFS and the mobilization and ascent of some serpentinized mantle peridotites through the crust. Thermal modeling by others has also shown that changes in the incoming plate age and subduction rate can also lead to warming of the forearc mantle during subduction. This development gives insights into the Mesozoic and Paleogene ages of emplacement of some, but not all, California serpentinites. Recent mineralogical and geochemical observations of serpentinite blocks in serpentinize mélange bodies in the San Francisco Bay Area (Uno and Kirby, 2014 AGU Meeting and Lewis and Kirby, 2015 AGU Meeting) suggest that these rocks sustained multiple stages of serpentinization that are broadly consistent with the model of Kirby et al. (2014). A new development comes from interpretation of investigations in the literature of localized late-stage silica-carbonate-water alteration of serpentinite bodies in California that this alteration occurred largely in Neogene time when the highest rates of water release from the former forearc mantle probably occurred. This presentation also suggests that the occurrence of serpentinite belts emplaced in Cenozoic time during changing plate-boundary kinematics, such as the Cenozoic closing of the Tethys Ocean bordering Eurasia by subduction and collision and arc reversal and decreasing convergence rates under the Greater Antilles and Colombia and New Guinea, may give insights into the serpentinite

  14. Along-Strike Electrical Conductivity Variations in the Incoming Plate and Shallow Forearc of the Cascadia Subduction Zone (United States)

    Key, K.; Bedrosian, P.; Egbert, G. D.; Livelybrooks, D.; Parris, B. A.; Schultz, A.


    The Magnetotelluric Observations of Cascadia using a Huge Array (MOCHA) experiment was carried out to study the nature of the seismogenic locked zone and the down-dip transition zone where episodic tremor and slip (ETS) originates. This amphibious magnetotelluric (MT) data set consists of 8 offshore and 15 onshore profiles crossing from just seaward of the trench to the western front of the Cascades, with a north-south extent spanning from central Oregon to central Washington. The 71 offshore stations and the 75 onshore stations (red triangles in the image below) fit into the broader context of the more sparsely sampled EarthScope MT transportable array (black triangles) and other previous and pending MT surveys (other symbols). These data allows us to image variations in electrical conductivity along distinct segments of the Cascadia subduction zone defined by ETS recurrence intervals. Since bulk conductivity in this setting depends primarily on porosity, fluid content and temperature, the conductivity images created from the MOCHA data offer unique insights on fluid processes in the crust and mantle, and how the distribution of fluid along the plate interface relates to observed variations in ETS behavior. This abstract explores the across- and along-strike variations in the incoming plate and the shallow offshore forearc. In particular we examine how conductivity variations, and the inferred fluid content and porosity variations, are related to tectonic segmentation, seismicity and deformation patterns, and arc magma variations along-strike. Porosity inferred in the forearc crust can be interpreted in conjunction with active and passive seismic imaging results and may provide new insights on the origin of recently observed extremely high heat flow values. A companion abstract (Parris et al.) examines the deeper conductivity structure of the locked and ETS zones along the plate interface in order to identify correlations between ETS occurrence rates and inferred

  15. 2012 Haida Gwaii Quake: Insight Into Cascadia's Subduction Extent (United States)

    Szeliga, Walter


    The limits of Cascadia were first defined to contain nearly the entire margin of the Pacific Northwest, from Cape Mendocino through the Alaska Panhandle [Schuchert, 1910; Schuchert and Barrell, 1914]. Since that time, the boundary of Cascadia has shrunk to become essentially synonymous with the region where the Juan de Fuca plate subducts beneath the North American plate. As a consequence, seismic hazard assessments in the Pacific Northwest have conventionally focused on the potential for large megathrust earthquakes along the interface of the Juan de Fuca and North American plates.

  16. Curie depth vs. flat subduction in Central Mexico (United States)

    Manea, Marina; Constantin Manea, Vlad


    Forearcs located above active subduction zones are generally characterized by low heat flow values, and this is considered a consequence of the subduction of cold slabs beneath continental plates. In the case of Central Mexico, the geometry of the subducting Cocos plate is quite unusual, the slab runs flat for several hundreds of kilometers before plunging into the asthenosphere. This particular geometry has a strong influence on the temperature distribution of the overriding plate where very low heatflow values are recorded (15-30 mW/m2). In this paper we use the aeromagnetic map of Mexico in order to infer the maximum depth of magnetic source, regarded as Curie depth and corresponding to a temperature of 575-600C°. Our spectral analysis revealed the existence of a deep magnetic source (30-40 km). We compare these results with the thermal structure associated with flat slab subduction in the area. We obtained a good agreement between the two estimates and we conclude that flat slab subduction in Central Mexico controls the maximum depth of magnetic sources in the overriding plate.

  17. SAHKE geophysical transect reveals crustal and subduction zone structure at the southern Hikurangi margin, New Zealand (United States)

    Henrys, S.; Wech, A.; Sutherland, R.; Stern, T.; Savage, M.; Sato, H.; Mochizuki, K.; Iwasaki, T.; Okaya, D.; Seward, A.; Tozer, B.; Townend, J.; Kurashimo, E.; Iidaka, T.; Ishiyama, T.


    The Seismic Array Hikurangi Experiment (SAHKE) investigated the structure of the forearc and subduction plate boundary beneath the southern North Island along a 350 km transect. Tomographic inversion of first-arrival travel times was used to derive a well-resolved 15-20 km deep P wave image of the crust. The refracted phases and migrated reflection events image subducting slab geometry and crustal structure. In the west, Australian Plate Moho depth decreases westward across the Taranaki Fault system from 35 to ˜28-30 km. In the east, subducted Pacific Plate oceanic crust is recognized to have a positive velocity gradient, but becomes less distinct beneath the Tararua Ranges, where the interface increases in dip at about 15 km depth from 15°. This bend in the subducted plate is associated with vertical clusters in seismicity, splay fault branching, and low-velocity high-attenuation material that we interpret to be an underplated subduction sedimentary channel. We infer that a step down in the decollément transfers slip on the plate interface at the top of a subduction channel to the oceanic crust and drives local uplift of the Tararua Ranges. Reflections from the Wairarapa Fault show that it is listric and soles into the top of underplated sediments, which in turn abut the Moho of the overriding plate at ˜32 km depth, near the downdip end of the strongly locked zone. The change in dip of the Hikurangi subduction interface is spatially correlated with the transition from geodetically determined locked to unlocked areas of the plate interface.

  18. Mantle structure beneath the western edge of the Colorado Plateau (United States)

    Sine, C.R.; Wilson, D.; Gao, W.; Grand, S.P.; Aster, R.; Ni, J.; Baldridge, W.S.


    Teleseismic traveltime data are inverted for mantle Vp and Vs variations beneath a 1400 km long line of broadband seismometers extending from eastern New Mexico to western Utah. The model spans 600 km beneath the moho with resolution of ???50 km. Inversions show a sharp, large-magnitude velocity contrast across the Colorado Plateau-Great Basin transition extending ???200 km below the crust. Also imaged is a fast anomaly 300 to 600 km beneath the NW portion of the array. Very slow velocities beneath the Great Basin imply partial melting and/or anomalously wet mantle. We propose that the sharp contrast in mantle velocities across the western edge of the Plateau corresponds to differential lithospheric modification, during and following Farallon subduction, across a boundary defining the western extent of unmodified Proterozoic mantle lithosphere. The deep fast anomaly corresponds to thickened Farallon plate or detached continental lithosphere at transition zone depths. Copyright 2008 by the American Geophysical Union.

  19. Seismic heating signatures in the Japan Trench subduction plate-boundary fault zone: evidence from a preliminary rock magnetic `geothermometer' (United States)

    Yang, Tao; Dekkers, Mark J.; Zhang, Bo


    Frictional heating during earthquake rupture reveals important information on earthquake mechanisms and energy dissipation. The amount of annealing varies widely and is, as yet, poorly constrained. Here we use magnetic susceptibility versus temperature measurements during cycling to increasingly elevated temperatures to constrain the maximum temperature a slip zone has experienced. The case study comprises sheared clay cored from the Japan Trench subduction plate-boundary fault zone (décollement), which accommodated the large slip of the 2011 Mw 9.0 Tohoku-oki earthquake. The décollement was cored during the Integrated Ocean Drilling Program (IODP) Expedition 343, the Japan Trench Fast Drilling Project (JFAST). Heating signatures with estimated maximum temperatures ranging from ˜300 to over 500 °C are determined close to the multiple slip surfaces within the décollement. Since it is impossible to tie a specific slip surface to a certain earthquake, thermal evidence for the cumulative effect of several earthquakes is unveiled. This as yet preliminary rock magnetic `geothermometer' would be a useful tool to detect seismic heating along faults that experienced medium temperature rise, a range which is difficult to assess with other approaches.

  20. The role of the Hikurangi Plateau in the dynamics of the Hikurangi Subduction Margin (United States)

    Willis, David; Moresi, Louis; Betts, Peter; Ailleres, Laurent


    The collision of the Hikurangi Plateau with the Hikurangi Subduction Zone coincides with a change from extension to shortening in the overriding Australian Plate. The 15km thick oceanic Hikurangi Plateau is juxtaposed with Chatham Rise at the southern edge of the subduction margin, possibly extending an unknown distance beneath the Chatham Rise. We explore the influence of the Hikurangi Plateau and its size on subduction dynamics using a series of 3D visco-elastic Underworld models with free slip boundary conditions. The models rely on negative slab buoyancy to drive subduction, with the buoyant oceanic plateau altering the dynamics. The models are benchmarked against New Zealand GPS velocities, paleomagnetic rotations, and fault zones. Both the overriding and subducting plates have undergone significant rotation since 23Ma with ~90° clockwise rotation of the overriding plate relative to the subducting plate. Distinctive fault zones have also been created with the Marlborough Fault Zone facilitating escape tectonics around the Chatham Rise; the North Island Dextral Fault Belt allowing lateral movement between the fore and back-arcs; extension in Taupo Volcanic Zone assisting back-arc extension; and active N-S extension in the Chatham Rise adjacent to the Hikurangi Plateau. In a model without an oceanic plateau, the subduction zone undergoes roll-back along its entire margin. Extension occurs along the overriding plate adjacent to subduction, with shortening limited to the collision of the Chatham Rise. Rotation rates adjacent to the Chatham Rise are extremely high, and decrease rapidly northward and there is no rotation of the subducting plate. When an oceanic plateau is included in the model, shortening occurs at the southern margin of the subduction zone as subduction shallows with the entry of the bouyant plateau. Rotation starts in the subducting plate as the plateau enters the subduction zone. This rotation is attributed to a decrease in slab pull southward

  1. S-Local-Wave Seismic Anisotropy in the Forearc Above the Subducted Nazca Plate Between 33°S and 34.5°S (United States)

    Nacif, Silvina; Triep, Enrique G.


    S-wave splitting from local earthquakes within the Nazca plate that are deeper than the interplate seismogenic zone enabled the determination of the fast velocity direction, Φ, and the lag time, δt, in the forearc of the overriding plate. Data were collected from 20 seismic stations, most of which were temporary, deployed between ~33.5°S and ~34.5°S and included part of the normal subduction section to the south and part of the transitional section to flat subduction to the north. The fast velocity direction has a complex pattern with three predominant directions northwest-southeast, north-south and northeast-southwest and relatively high δt. A quality evaluation of the highest measurements enabled us to identify possible cycle skipping in some of the measurements, which could be responsible for the large observed lag time. We consider that most of the anisotropy that was observed in the forearc is probably located in the mantle wedge, and a minor part is located in the crust. The complex pattern of splitting parameters when the anisotropy is associated at the mantle wedge could be the result of three-dimensional variations in the subducting Nazca plate at these latitudes. Also, similarities between the splitting parameters and the principal compressional stress direction from Pliocene and Quaternary rocks suggest that the anisotropy in the crust could originate by tectonic local stress.

  2. A Comparative Analysis of Seismological and Gravimetric Crustal Thicknesses below the Andean Region with Flat Subduction of the Nazca Plate

    Directory of Open Access Journals (Sweden)

    Mario E. Gimenez


    Full Text Available A gravimetric study was carried out in a region of the Central Andean Range between 28∘ and 32∘ south latitudes and from 72∘ and 66∘ west longitudes. The seismological and gravimetrical Moho models were compared in a sector which coincides with the seismological stations of the CHARGE project. The comparison reveals discrepancies between the gravity Moho depths and those obtained from seismological investigations (CHARGE project, the latter giving deeper values than those resulting from the gravimetric inversion. These discrepancies are attenuated when the positive gravimetric effect of the Nazca plate is considered. Nonetheless, a small residuum of about 5 km remains beneath the Cuyania terrane region, to the east of the main Andean chain. This residuum could be gravimetrically justified if the existence of a high density or eclogitized portion of the lower crust is considered. This result differed from the interpretations from Project “CHARGE” which revealed that the entire inferior crust extending from the Precordillera to the occidental “Sierras Pampeanas” could be “eclogitized”. In this same sector, we calculated the effective elastic thickness (Te of the crust. These results indicated an anomalous value of Te = 30 km below the Cuyania terrane. This is further conclusive evidence of the fact that the Cuyania terrane is allochthonous, for which also geological evidences exist.

  3. The Cascadia Subduction Zone: two contrasting models of lithospheric structure (United States)

    Romanyuk, T.V.; Blakely, R.; Mooney, W.D.


    The Pacific margin of North America is one of the most complicated regions in the world in terms of its structure and present day geodynamic regime. The aim of this work is to develop a better understanding of lithospheric structure of the Pacific Northwest, in particular the Cascadia subduction zone of Southwest Canada and Northwest USA. The goal is to compare and contrast the lithospheric density structure along two profiles across the subduction zone and to interpet the differences in terms of active processes. The subduction of the Juan de Fuca plate beneath North America changes markedly along the length of the subduction zone, notably in the angle of subduction, distribution of earthquakes and volcanism, goelogic and seismic structure of the upper plate, and regional horizontal stress. To investigate these characteristics, we conducted detailed density modeling of the crust and mantle along two transects across the Cascadia subduction zone. One crosses Vancouver Island and the Canadian margin, the other crosses the margin of central Oregon.

  4. Plate tectonic reconstruction of South and East Asia since 43 Ma using seismic tomographic constraints: role of the subducted ';East Asia Sea' (Invited) (United States)

    Wu, J. E.; Suppe, J.; Renqi, L.; Kanda, R. V.


    Lithosphere that subducts at convergent plate boundaries provides a potentially decipherable plate tectonic record. In this study we use global seismic tomography to map subducted slabs in the upper and lower mantle under South and East Asia to constrain plate reconstructions. The mapped slabs include the Pacific, the Indian Ocean and Banda Sea, the Molucca Sea, Celebes Sea, the Philippine Sea and Eurasia, New Guinea and other lower mantle detached slabs. The mapped slabs were restored to the earth surface and used with Gplates software to constrain a globally-consistent, fully animated plate reconstruction of South and East Asia. Three principal slab elements dominate possible plate reconstructions: [1] The mapped Pacific slabs near the Izu-Bonin and the Marianas trenches form a subvertical slab curtain or wall extending down to 1500 km in the lower mantle. The ';slab curtain' geometry and restored slabs lengths indicate that the Pacific subduction zone has remained fixed within +/- 250 km of its present position since ~43 Ma. In contrast, the Tonga Pacific slab curtain records at least 1000 km trench rollback associated with expansion of back-arc basins. [2] West of the Pacific slab curtain, a set of flat slabs exist in the lower mantle and record a major 8000km by 2500-3000km ocean that existed at ~43 Ma. This now-subducted ocean, which we call the ';East Asian Sea', existed between the Ryukyu Asian margin and the Lord Howe hotspot, present-day eastern Australia, and fills a major gap in Cenozoic plate reconstructions between Indo-Australia, the Pacific Ocean and Asia. [3] An observed ';picture puzzle' fit between the restored edges of the Philippine Sea, Molucca Sea and Indian Ocean slabs suggests that the Philippine Sea was once part of a larger Indo-Australian Ocean. Previous models of Philippine Sea plate motions are in conflict with the location of the East Asian Sea lithosphere. Using the mapped slab constraints, we propose the following 43 Ma to 0 plate

  5. Subduction-driven recycling of continental margin lithosphere. (United States)

    Levander, A; Bezada, M J; Niu, F; Humphreys, E D; Palomeras, I; Thurner, S M; Masy, J; Schmitz, M; Gallart, J; Carbonell, R; Miller, M S


    Whereas subduction recycling of oceanic lithosphere is one of the central themes of plate tectonics, the recycling of continental lithosphere appears to be far more complicated and less well understood. Delamination and convective downwelling are two widely recognized processes invoked to explain the removal of lithospheric mantle under or adjacent to orogenic belts. Here we relate oceanic plate subduction to removal of adjacent continental lithosphere in certain plate tectonic settings. We have developed teleseismic body wave images from dense broadband seismic experiments that show higher than expected volumes of anomalously fast mantle associated with the subducted Atlantic slab under northeastern South America and the Alboran slab beneath the Gibraltar arc region; the anomalies are under, and are aligned with, the continental margins at depths greater than 200 kilometres. Rayleigh wave analysis finds that the lithospheric mantle under the continental margins is significantly thinner than expected, and that thin lithosphere extends from the orogens adjacent to the subduction zones inland to the edges of nearby cratonic cores. Taking these data together, here we describe a process that can lead to the loss of continental lithosphere adjacent to a subduction zone. Subducting oceanic plates can viscously entrain and remove the bottom of the continental thermal boundary layer lithosphere from adjacent continental margins. This drives surface tectonics and pre-conditions the margins for further deformation by creating topography along the lithosphere-asthenosphere boundary. This can lead to development of secondary downwellings under the continental interior, probably under both South America and the Gibraltar arc, and to delamination of the entire lithospheric mantle, as around the Gibraltar arc. This process reconciles numerous, sometimes mutually exclusive, geodynamic models proposed to explain the complex oceanic-continental tectonics of these subduction zones.

  6. Heat Flow on the Incoming Plate Offshore Nicoya, Costa Rica margin: Implications for Hydrothermal Circulation and the Thermal State of the Subducting Plate (United States)

    Fisher, A. T.; Harris, R. N.; Stein, C.; Wang, K.; Hutnak, M.; Cherkaoui, A.; Pfender, M.; Cleary, R.; Silver, E.; Wheat, C. G.; Bodzin, R.; Underwood, M.; Moser, C.; Kelly, R.; Friedmann, P.; Stewart, Y.; Jones, K.


    The TicoFlux I expedition was intended to determine the nature of hydrothermal activity and its influence on subduction processes offshore of the Nicoya Peninsula, Costa Rica margin, on 20-25 Ma lithosphere. Prior coverage in this region was sparse, but suggested that heat flow from crust created at the East Pacific Rise (EPR) as generally lower (by 50-70%) than expected for seafloor of 20-25 Ma. In contrast, heat flow through similarly-aged seafloor created at the Cocos-Nazca Ridge was at or greater than values predicted by standard lithospheric cooling models. One goal of our expedition was to confirm this overall pattern through collection of modern data at higher resolution along a series of transects coinciding with newly-acquired seismic profiles. A second goal was to determine the cause for the difference in heat flow, through evaluation of the lateral scale of the transition between higher and lower values. If the difference in heat flow is caused by variations in heat input at the base of the plate, the transition should be broad and gradual, with a wavelength that scales with plate thickness. If the difference in seafloor heat flow results from advective mining of heat from EPR-generated lithosphere, the transition should be abrupt, with a wavelength that scales with the depth of hydrothermal cooling. We crossed the transition in three places and in each case, the change from normal to anomalously-low heat flow values occurred over a distance of just a few kilometers, consistent with a shallow, fluid flow explanation. In addition, the survey identified an area of anomalously high heat flow (640 mW/m2) immediately above a deep, low-angle reflection that may be a crust-penetrating fault. High heat flow in this area may result from fluid circulation along the fault, carrying heat from depth. The heat flow survey also demonstrated that a low-heat flow area identified during an earlier survey, and drilled during ODP Leg 170, is surrounded on three sides by

  7. Subduction Zone Science - Examples of Seismic Images of the Central Andes and Subducting Nazca Slab (United States)

    Beck, S. L.; Zandt, G.; Scire, A. C.; Ward, K. M.; Portner, D. E.; Bishop, B.; Ryan, J. C.; Wagner, L. S.; Long, M. D.


    Subduction has shaped large regions of the Earth and constitute over 55,000 km of convergent plate margin today. The subducting slabs descend from the surface into the lower mantle and impacts earthquake occurrence, surface uplift, arc volcanism and mantle convection as well as many other processes. The subduction of the Nazca plate beneath the South America plate is one example and constitutes the largest present day ocean-continent convergent margin system and has built the Andes, one of the largest actively growing mountain ranges on Earth. This active margin is characterized by along-strike variations in arc magmatism, upper crustal shortening, crustal thickness, and slab geometry that make it an ideal region to study the relationship between the subducting slab, the mantle wedge, and the overriding plate. After 20 years of portable seismic deployments in the Central Andes seismologists have combined data sets and used multiple techniques to generate seismic images spanning ~3000 km of the South American subduction zone to ~800 km depth with unprecedented resolution. For example, using teleseismic P- waves we have imaged the Nazca slab penetrating through the mantle transition zone (MTZ) and into the uppermost lower mantle. Our tomographic images show that there is significant along-strike variation in the morphology of the Nazca slab in the upper mantle, MTZ, and the lower mantle, including possible tears, folding, and internal deformation. Receiver function studies and surface wave tomography have revealed major changes in lithospheric properties in the Andes. Improved seismic images allow us to more completely evaluate tectonic processes in the formation and uplift of the Andes including: (1) overthickened continental crust driven by crustal shortening, (2) changes in slab dip and coupling with the overlying plate (3) localized lithospheric foundering, and (4) large-scale mantle and crustal melting leading to magmatic addition and/or crustal flow. Although

  8. The Fairway-Aotea Basin and the New Caledonia Trough, witnesses of the Pacific-Australian plate boundary evolution : from mid-Cretaceous cessation of subduction to Eocene subduction renewal (United States)

    Collot, J.; Geli, L. B.; Lafoy, Y.; Sutherland, R.; Herzer, R. H.; Roest, W. R.


    The geodynamical history of the SW Pacific is controlled since the Mesozoic by the evolution of peri-Pacific subduction zones, in a trench retreat by slab roll-back process, which successively occurred along the Eastern Gondwana margin. In this context, most basins which formed after 45 Ma reached a stage of seafloor spreading, have recorded the inversions of the earth's magnetic field and present typical oceanic crust morphologies. By contrast, the New Caledonia and Fairway basins, which are narrower and present thick sedimentary covers have a less known and more controversial origin. Based on a regional geological synthesis and on interpretation of multichannel seismic reflection and refraction data, combined with drill hole data off New Zealand and a compilation of regional potential data, we distinguish 2 phases of the evolution of the Fairway-Aotea Basin (FAB) and the New Caledonia Trough (NCT), which reflect the evolution of the Gondwana-Pacific plate boundary: Phase 1: Mid Cretaceous formation of the FAB in a continental intra- or back- arc position of the Pacific-Gondwana subduction system. The formation of this shallow basin reflects the onset of continental breakup of the Eastern Gondwana margin during Cenomanian which was most probably caused by a dynamic change of the subduction zone through a « verticalization » of the slab. This event may be the result of the 99 Ma kinematic plate reorganization which probably led to subduction cessation along the Gondwana-Pacific plate boundary. A tectonic escape mechanism, in relation with the locking of the subduction zone by the Hikurangi Plateau, could also be responsible of the trench retreat leading to backarc extension. Phase 2: Regional Eocene-Oligocene uplift followed by rapid subsidence (3-4 km) of the system « Lord Howe Rise - FAB - Norfolk Ridge ». The structural style of this deformation leads us to suggest that detachment of the lower crust is the cause of subsidence. We therefore propose a model in

  9. Internal deformation of the subducted Nazca slab inferred from seismic anisotropy (United States)

    Eakin, Caroline M.; Long, Maureen D.; Scire, Alissa; Beck, Susan L.; Wagner, Lara S.; Zandt, George; Tavera, Hernando


    Within oceanic lithosphere a fossilized fabric is often preserved originating from the time of plate formation. Such fabric is thought to form at the mid-ocean ridge when olivine crystals align with the direction of plate spreading. It is unclear, however, whether this fossil fabric is preserved within slabs during subduction or overprinted by subduction-induced deformation. The alignment of olivine crystals, such as within fossil fabrics, can generate anisotropy that is sensed by passing seismic waves. Seismic anisotropy is therefore a useful tool for investigating the dynamics of subduction zones, but it has so far proved difficult to observe the anisotropic properties of the subducted slab itself. Here we analyse seismic anisotropy in the subducted Nazca slab beneath Peru and find that the fast direction of seismic wave propagation aligns with the contours of the slab. We use numerical modelling to simulate the olivine fabric created at the mid-ocean ridge, but find it is inconsistent with our observations of seismic anisotropy in the subducted Nazca slab. Instead we find that an orientation of the olivine crystal fast axes aligned parallel to the strike of the slab provides the best fit, consistent with along-strike extension induced by flattening of the slab during subduction (A. Kumar et al., manuscript in preparation). We conclude that the fossil fabric has been overprinted during subduction and that the Nazca slab must therefore be sufficiently weak to undergo internal deformation.

  10. Life and death of the resurrection plate: Evidence for its existence and subduction in the northeastern Pacific in Paleocene-Eocene time (United States)

    Haeussler, P.J.; Bradley, D.C.; Wells, R.E.; Miller, M.L.


    Onshore evidence suggests that a plate is missing from published reconstructions of the northeastern Pacific Ooean in Paleocene- Eocene time. The Resurrection plate, named for the Resurrection Peninsula ophiolite near Seward, Alaska, was located east of the Kula plate and north of the Farallon plate. We interpret coeval near-trench magmatism in southern Alaska and the Cascadia margin as evidence for two slab windows associated with trench-ridge-trench (TRT) triple junctions, which formed the western and southern boundaries of the Resurrection plate. In Alaska, the Sanak-Baranof belt of near-trench intrusions records a west-to-east migration, from 61 to 50 Ma, of the northern TRT triple junction along a 2100-km-long section of coastline. In Oregon, Washington, and southern Vancouver Island, voluminous basaltic volcanism of the Siletz River Volcanics, Crescent Formation, and Metchosin Volcanics occurred between ca. 66 and 48 Ma. Lack of a clear age progression of magmatism along the Cascadia margin suggests that this southern triple junction did not migrate significantly. Synchronous near-trench magmatism from southeastern Alaska to Puget Sound at ca. 50 Ma documents the middle Eocene subduction of a spreading center, the crest of which was subparallel to the margin. We interpret this ca. 50 Ma event as recording the subduction-zone consumption of the last of the Resurrection plate. The existence and subsequent subduction of the Resurrection plate explains (1) northward terrane transport along the southeastern Alaska-British Columbia margin between 70 and 50 Ma, synchronous with an eastward-migrating triple junction in southern Alaska; (2) rapid uplift and voluminous magmatism in the Coast Mountains of British Columbia prior to 50 Ma related to subduction of buoyant, young oceanic crust of the Resurrection plate; (3) cessation of Coast Mountains magmatism at ca. 50 Ma due to cessation of subduction, (4) primitive mafic magmatism in the Coast Mountains and Cascade

  11. The Role of Serpentinization and Deserpentinization In Bending and Unbending A Subducting Slab (United States)

    Phipps Morgan, J.; Ruepke, L.; Ranero, C.

    There is increasing speculation that the mantle of the downgoing oceanic plate at a subduction zone may be extensively serpentinized, and that the deserpentinization of the downgoing slab is related to both intermediate depth earthquakes (cf. Seno and Yamamaka, AGU Mon. 96, 1996; Peacock, Geology, 2001) and arc magmatism. Here I propose that the serpentinization and deserpentinization of the downgoing slab may play a significant role in plate subduction itself, as a driving force for the bending and unbending of a subducting slab, in addition to its previously suggested role as a `lubricant' for the plate boundary. Mantle serpentinization involves an increase of >20% in volume from pure harzbur- gite to pure serpentinite. Assume that deep lithospheric faulting at the outer rise (see Ranero et al., this session) often provides pathways for seawater to hydrate the up- permost 30-50 km beneath the Moho, as consistent with (poorly known) seismic rupture planes and the spatial distribution of intermediate-depth slab seismicity. Plates >20Mainagewillhaveatleast 30kmofsuitablycold(Green II, EOS, 2001). Furthermore, serpentinization-linked slab-bending significantly eases the mechanical work needed to subduct a plate, providing a possible resolution to the apparent paradox (Conrad and Hager, JGR, 1999) that the bending and unbending of the downgoing plate could consume even more energy than that available from the negative buoyancy of subducting lithosphere. 2

  12. Subduction initiation and Obduction: insights from analog models (United States)

    Agard, P.; Zuo, X.; Funiciello, F.; Bellahsen, N.; Faccenna, C.; Savva, D.


    Subduction initiation and obduction are two poorly constrained geodynamic processes which are interrelated in a number of natural settings. Subduction initiation can be viewed as the result of a regional-scale change in plate convergence partitioning between the set of existing subduction (and collision or obduction) zones worldwide. Intraoceanic subduction initiation may also ultimately lead to obduction of dense oceanic "ophiolites" atop light continental plates. A classic example is the short-lived Peri-Arabic obduction, which took place along thousands of km almost synchronously (within ~5-10 myr), from Turkey to Oman, while the subduction zone beneath Eurasia became temporarily jammed. We herein present analog models designed to study both processes and more specifically (1) subduction initiation through the partitioning of deformation between two convergent zones (a preexisting and a potential one) and, as a consequence, (2) the possible development of obduction, which has so far never been modeled. These models explore the mechanisms of subduction initiation and obduction and test various triggering hypotheses (i.e., plate acceleration, slab crossing the 660 km discontinuity, ridge subduction; Agard et al., 2007). The experimental setup comprises an upper mantle modelled as a low-viscosity transparent Newtonian glucose syrup filling a rigid Plexiglas tank and high-viscosity silicone plates. Convergence is simulated by pushing on a piston at one end of the model with plate tectonics like velocities (1-10 cm/yr) onto (i) a continental margin, (ii) a weakness zone with variable resistance and dip (W), (iii) an oceanic plate - with or without a spreading ridge, (iv) a subduction zone (S) dipping away from the piston and (v) an upper active continental margin, below which the oceanic plate is being subducted at the start of the experiment (as for the Oman case). Several configurations were tested over thirty-five parametric experiments. Special emphasis was

  13. Subduction of fracture zones (United States)

    Constantin Manea, Vlad; Gerya, Taras; Manea, Marina; Zhu, Guizhi; Leeman, William


    Since Wilson proposed in 1965 the existence of a new class of faults on the ocean floor, namely transform faults, the geodynamic effects and importance of fracture zone subduction is still little studied. It is known that oceanic plates are characterized by numerous fracture zones, and some of them have the potential to transport into subduction zones large volumes of water-rich serpentinite, providing a fertile water source for magma generated in subduction-related arc volcanoes. In most previous geodynamic studies, subducting plates are considered to be homogeneous, and there is no clear indication how the subduction of a fracture zone influences the melting pattern in the mantle wedge and the slab-derived fluids distribution in the subarc mantle. Here we show that subduction of serpentinized fracture zones plays a significant role in distribution of melt and fluids in the mantle wedge above the slab. Using high-resolution tree-dimensional coupled petrological-termomechanical simulations of subduction, we show that fluids, including melts and water, vary dramatically in the region where a serpentinized fracture zone enters into subduction. Our models show that substantial hydration and partial melting tend to concentrate where fracture zones are being subducted, creating favorable conditions for partially molten hydrous plumes to develop. These results are consistent with the along-arc variability in magma source compositions and processes in several regions, as the Aleutian Arc, the Cascades, the Southern Mexican Volcanic Arc, and the Andean Southern Volcanic Zone.

  14. A Review of the Isotopic and Trace Element Evidence for Mantle and Crustal Processes in the Hadean and Archean: implications for the Onset of Plate Tectonic Subduction (United States)

    Smart, Katie A.; Tappe, Sebastian; Stern, Richard A.; Webb, Susan J.; Ashwal, Lewis D.


    Plate tectonics plays a vital role in the evolution of our planet. Geochemical analysis of Earth’s oldest continental crust suggests that subduction may have begun episodically about 3.8 to 3.2 billion years ago, during the early Archaean or perhaps more than 3.8 billion years ago, during the Hadean. Yet, mantle rocks record evidence for modern-style plate tectonics beginning only in the late Archaean, about 3 billion years ago. Here we analyse the nitrogen abundance, as well as the nitrogen and carbon isotopic signatures of Archaean placer diamonds from the Kaapvaal craton, South Africa, which formed in the upper mantle 3.1 to 3.5 billion years ago. We find that the diamonds have enriched nitrogen contents and isotopic compositions compared with typical mantle values. This nitrogen geochemical fingerprint could have been caused by contamination of the mantle by nitrogen-rich Archaean sediments. Furthermore, the carbon isotopic signature suggests that the diamonds formed by reduction of an oxidized fluid or melt. Assuming that the Archaean mantle was more reduced than the modern mantle, we argue that the oxidized components were introduced to the mantle by crustal recycling at subduction zones. We conclude, on the basis of evidence from mantle-derived diamonds, that modern-style plate tectonics operated as early as 3.5 billion years ago.

  15. Spatial and Temporal Variability in the Circulation and Thermal Evolution of the Mantle in Subduction Zones: Insights From 3-D Laboratory Experiments. (United States)

    Kincaid, C.; Griffiths, R. W.


    The subduction of oceanic lithosphere plays a key role in plate tectonics, the thermal evolution of the mantle and recycling processes between Earth's interior and surface. The majority of subduction models are two-dimensional (2-D), assuming limited variability in the direction parallel to the trench. Observationally based models increasingly appeal to three-dimensional (3-D) flow associated with trench migration and the sinking of oceanic plates with a translational component of motion (rollback). We report results from laboratory experiments that reveal fundamental differences in 3-D mantle circulation and temperature structure in response to subduction with and without a rollback component. In our experiments the upper mantle is simulated with glucose syrup and the subducting plate is represented with a Phenolic sheet that is forced to sink into the glucose along prescribed trajectories. An array of 40 thermisters embedded within the plate is used to monitor slab surface temperatures (SSTs). We vary the relative magnitude of downdip and translational components of slab motion and also consider cases where the plate steepens with time. Another parameter is the initial thickness of the thermal boundary layer (TBL) beneath the overriding plate. Without rollback motion, flow in the mantle wedge is sluggish, there is no mass flux around the plate, and plate edges heat up faster than plate centers. Rollback subduction drives flow around and beneath the sinking plate, velocities increase within the mantle wedge and are focussed towards the center of the plate and the surface of the plate heats more along the centerline. In addition to lateral variability in flow and mantle temperatures, results highlight temporal variability in SSTs and 3-D mantle flow trajectories associated with the initiation of subduction and variations between periods of predominantly downdip versus rollback sinking.

  16. Oligocene and Miocene arc volcanism in northeastern California: evidence for post-Eocene segmentation of the subducting Farallon plate (United States)

    Colgan, J.P.; Egger, A.E.; John, D.A.; Cousens, B.; Fleck, R.J.; Henry, C.D.


    axis of the modern arc in northeastern California, suggesting that the Cascade arc south of modern Mount Shasta migrated west during the Late Miocene and Pliocene, while the arc north of Mount Shasta remained in essentially the same position. We interpret these patterns as evidence for an Eocene to Miocene tear in the subducting slab, with a more steeply dipping plate segment to the north, and an initially more gently dipping segment to the south that gradually steepened from the Middle Miocene to the present.

  17. Horizontal subduction zones, convergence velocity and the building of the Andes

    CERN Document Server

    Martinod, Joseph; Roperch, Pierrick; Guillaume, Benjamin; Espurt, Nicolas; 10.1016/j.epsl.2010.09.010


    We discuss the relationships between Andean shortening, plate velocities at the trench, and slab geometry beneath South America. Although some correlation exists between the convergence velocity and the westward motion of South America on the one hand, and the shortening of the continental plate on the other hand, plate kinematics neither gives a satisfactory explanation to the Andean segmentation in general, nor explains the development of the Bolivian orocline in Paleogene times. We discuss the Cenozoic history of horizontal slab segments below South America, arguing that they result from the subduction of oceanic plateaus whose effect is to switch the buoyancy of the young subducting plate to positive. We argue that the existence of horizontal slab segments, below the Central Andes during Eocene-Oligocene times, and below Peru and North-Central Chile since Pliocene, resulted (1) in the shortening of the continental plate interiors at a large distance from the trench, (2) in stronger interplate coupling and...

  18. Seismic structure of the Costa Rican subduction system from active-source onshore-offshore seismic data and imaging plate boundary processes at the Cascadia subduction zone offshore Washington (United States)

    Everson, Erik D.

    of ~6.5 -7.2 km/s under the active arc. Our modeled lower crustal velocities and densities fit approximately at or within the error bounds for bulk continental crust. Using the crustal structure from our velocity model, we were able to determine a magmatic production rate of ~80 km3/km/Ma for the Costa Rican volcanic arc. The third chapter uses iterative pre-stack velocity analysis to create pre-stack depth migrated seismic images and velocity models. The PSDM reveal: (1) landward vergence of faults; (2) extensive BSR's; (3) a zone of low acoustic impedance underneath the Pleistocene accretionary prism; (4) a lack of a strong decollement reflection throughout the section; (5) discontinuous reflectivity from the subducting oceanic crust; (6) and a shallow dip of the top of the subducting oceanic crust ~1.5 - 4° beneath the Pleistocene accretionary prism. From the inferred porosity variations from our velocity model we are able to estimate the volume of expelled fluid from the Pleistocene accretionary prism. We estimate that over the ~32 km along the deformation front covered by our seismic lines that ~ 750 +150/-110 km3 of expelled fluid has been released at a rate of ~ 1.1 mm/yr.

  19. Seismic survey across the Japan trench using ultra-deep water OBSs to reveal the structural evolution within the incoming plate prior to subduction (United States)

    Fujie, G.; Takahashi, T.; Kodaira, S.; Obana, K.; Yamada, T.


    Dehydration processes and the expulsion of the water from the subducting oceanic plate affect various subduction-zone processes, including arc volcanism and generation of earthquakes and tremor. Since the amount of chemically bound water in the oceanic plate is highest in serpentinized mantle, it is important to reveal the water amount that penetrates into the oceanic mantle prior to subduction. In 2009, we conducted wide-angle seismic surveys in the outer rise regions of the Japan trench and the Kuril trench. We found that the P-wave velocity (Vp) within the oceanic crust and mantle gradually decreases toward the trench axis. In addition, we found the Vp/Vs ratio within the oceanic crust gradually increases toward the trench, suggesting the water infiltration into the oceanic crust. However, we could not observe any changes in Vp/Vs ratio within the oceanic mantle. This was probably because our seismic survey profile did not cover the area where we would expect the largest structural changes, the trench axis, because the trench axis was too deep to operate our conventional Ocean Bottom Seismometers (OBSs). To examine the Vp/Vs ratio at the area where the largest structural changes are expected and to evaluate the amount of the water penetrating into the oceanic mantle prior to subduction, we need a seismic survey across the trench axis. In August 2013, we plan to conduct an extensive seismic survey across the Japan trench using newly developed 10 ultra-deep water OBSs that are capable of operating at the deepest point of the Japan trench. The seismic profile is a trenchward extension of the existing outer rise profile and we are going to analyze the new data by combining with the existing seismic survey data in order to reveal the structural evolution of the incoming Pacific plate from the outer rise to the trench axis. Since all the ultra-deep water OBSs are equipped with 3-component geophones (or 3-component accelerometers), we have a possibility to determine S

  20. Depth variations of P-wave azimuthal anisotropy beneath Mainland China. (United States)

    Wei, Wei; Zhao, Dapeng; Xu, Jiandong; Zhou, Bengang; Shi, Yaolin


    A high-resolution model of P-wave anisotropic tomography beneath Mainland China and surrounding regions is determined using a large number of arrival-time data recorded by the China seismic network, the International Seismological Centre (ISC) and temporary seismic arrays deployed on the Tibetan Plateau. Our results provide important new insights into the subducted Indian plate and mantle dynamics in East Asia. Our tomographic images show that the northern limit of the subducting Indian plate has reached the Jinsha River suture in eastern Tibet. A striking variation of P-wave azimuthal anisotropy is revealed in the Indian lithosphere: the fast velocity direction (FVD) is NE-SW beneath the Indian continent, whereas the FVD is arc parallel beneath the Himalaya and Tibetan Plateau, which may reflect re-orientation of minerals due to lithospheric extension, in response to the India-Eurasia collision. There are multiple anisotropic layers with variable FVDs in some parts of the Tibetan Plateau, which may be the cause of the dominant null splitting measurements in these regions. A circular pattern of FVDs is revealed around the Philippine Sea slab beneath SE China, which reflects asthenospheric strain caused by toroidal mantle flow around the edge of the subducting slab.

  1. Structural and hydrologic controls of subduction zone seismogenic behavior along the Nicoya Peninsula, Costa Rica (United States)

    Audet, P.; Schwartz, S. Y.


    Subduction zone thrust faults exhibit variations in rupture behavior that include potentially great (M>8) earthquakes and slow propagating (M~7) slip. The factors controlling transitions in frictional properties are loosely constrained and include variations in temperature, lithologies and pore-fluid pressures. Along the Nicoya Peninsula, Costa Rica, the seismogenic zone is characterized by strong heterogeneity in mechanical properties and a lateral change in the origin of the subducting plate. We use observations of scattered teleseismic waves to examine structural properties (compressional to shear velocity ratio, or Vp/Vs) of the subduction zone elements beneath the Nicoya Peninsula and report two findings: 1) evidence for inferred high pore fluid pressures within the subducting oceanic crust, in agreement with results globally and 2) contrasts from lower to higher forearc and oceanic Vp/Vs ratios from northwest to southeast that correlate with changes in interseismic locking, seismogenic behavior and the origin of the subducting plate. We interpret these results as representing differences in permeability and thus fluid overpressures in the oceanic crust. We suggest that enhanced permeability of the East Pacific Rise (EPR) crust being subducted beneath the northwest portion of the Nicoya Peninsula results in lower pore-fluid pressure, higher effective stress and strength compared with the Cocos Nazca Spreading Center (CNS) crust, subducted beneath the southeastern Nicoya Peninsula. The higher pore-fluid pressure within the CNS crust is consistent with the lower coupling and large slow slip events observed in this region. We posit that the elevated fluid pressures here are periodically released allowing fluids to migrate into the upper plate reducing its velocities. Changes in hydrologic properties resulting from differences in the structural integrity of the subducting oceanic crust appear to control the seismogenic segmentation along the Nicoya Peninsula. (a

  2. Numerical simulations of temperature, dehydration, and flow fields associated with subduction of the Cocos plate, and its relation to the occurrence of interplate seismic events in southern Mexico (United States)

    Suenaga, N.; Ji, Y.; Yoshioka, S.; Manea, M.; Manea, V. C.


    In southern Mexico, tectonic tremors mainly occur in the "flat slab region, and the last three SSEs in southern Mexico occurred in the shallower region. Besides, there are two seismic gaps of megathrust earthquakes in Guerrero and Oaxaca. To investigate generation mechanisms of megathrust earthquakes, tectonic tremors, and slow slip events (SSEs) in southern Mexico, we performed three-dimensional numerical simulations of temperature and mantle flow associated with subduction of the Cocos plate, and estimated dehydrated water content from the subducting plate. Here we considered retreat of the Middle American trench initiating about 16 Ma as one of the generation mechanisms of the slab flattening. In our model, we introduced the trench retreat effect during only a certain period between 16 Ma and present in order to best fit the observed heat flow data (from Global Heat Flow Database) as well as Curie point depths defined by the 580 ° isotherm. Our preliminary results show that trench rollback has a strong influence on temperature distribution. Models with trench rollback induce a weaker mantle wedge convection cell compared with models with stationary trench. Other parameter that is currently investigated in this study is the rate of trench retreat.

  3. Subduction of the Tehuantepec oceanic fracture zone and the relationship with a seismic gap in southern Mexico (United States)

    Constantin Manea, Vlad; Manea, Marina; Taras, Gerya; Valenzuela, Raul W.


    It is accepted that key constraints on the size and recurrence time of large subduction earthquakes originate from the degree of locking between the subducting and overriding plates. Since the interseismic locking degree is influenced by the rheological properties of crustal and mantle rocks, any variations along strike will result in significant changes in seismic behavior due to a change in frictional stability. Additionally, recent seismic studies show that the subduction of hydrothermally altered oceanic fracture zones induces strong pore-fluid pressure variations that control the degree of interseismic locking. The Mexico Subduction Zone (MSZ) is characterized by major along-strike changes in subduction geometry, as well as important structural variations of the incoming oceanic plate. One of the main tectonic features of the Cocos plate is the Tehuantepec fracture zone (FZ) that is currently subducting beneath southern Mexico. The analysis of seismicity revealed that the area around where Tehuantepec fracture zone is currently subducting is conspicuously quiet and considered a seismic gap. Here, no significant quake (Ms ≥ 7.0) has occurred in more than 100 years, and the origin of Tehuantepec Seismic Gap (TSG) has not been elucidated yet. Based on the dimensions of the Tehuantepec gap (125 km length and 80 km width), an earthquake of Mw = 8.0 may be possible. This study aims to shed some light on the relationship between the TSG with the subduction of Tehuantepec oceanic fracture zone. Previous studies show that the uppermost oceanic lithosphere beneath the Tehuantepec FZ is partially serpentinized due to seawater infiltrations along faults. Using high-resolution three-dimensional coupled petrological-thermomechanical numerical simulations specifically tailored for the subduction of the Tehuantepec FZ at MSZ we show that the weakened serpentinized fracture zone is partially scraped out in the forearc region because of its low strength and positive buoyancy

  4. Generation of ascending flows in the Big Mantle Wedge (BMW) beneath northeast Asia induced by retreat and stagnation of subducted slab (United States)

    Kameyama, Masanori; Nishioka, Ryoko


    We conducted two-dimensional numerical experiments of mantle convection with imposed kinematic motions of cold slabs, in order to study the mechanism for the generation of ascending flows in the “Big Mantle Wedge” (BMW), which has been recently proposed in order to relate the stagnant Pacific slab with the intraplate volcanism in northeast Asia. Our calculations demonstrated that the BMW is expanded oceanward in response to the retreating motion of trench and slab, which strongly affects the flows in the region. In particular, the subducting and retreating motion of slab induces a local but strong circulation near the oceanward end (or a hinge) of the stagnant slab in the BMW. Our findings suggest that ascending flows in the BMW can be triggered most easily near the hinge of the stagnant slab, which is in good agreement with the occurrence of several active intraplate volcanoes above the stagnant Pacific slab.

  5. Abrupt strike-slip fault to subduction transition: The Alpine Fault-Puysegur Trench connection, New Zealand (United States)

    Lebrun, Jean-FréDéRic; Lamarche, Geoffroy; Collot, Jean-Yves; Delteil, Jean


    Swath bathymetry and other geophysical data collected over the Fiordland Margin, southwest of New Zealand are used to investigate the mechanism of transform-subduction transition between the Alpine Fault and the Puysegur Trench, two segments of the Pacific-Australian plate boundary. In this region the Cenozoic Southeast Tasman Basin, which obliquely underthrusts Fiordland at the Puysegur Trench, is separated from the Cretaceous Tasman Basin by the Resolution Ridge System, a major lithospheric discontinuity of the downgoing plate. Interpretation of seafloor morphology shows that the Alpine Fault extends offshore along the Fiordland coast and splits into West and East Branches. The West Branch cuts obliquely across the margin and connects sharply to the Puysegur subduction front at the northeastern tip of the Resolution Ridge System. Earthquake and seismic reflection data indicate that the West Branch is genetically controlled by downgoing plate structures associated with the Resolution Ridge System. Hence the West Branch is interpreted as the surface trace of the plate boundary segment extending between the Alpine Fault and the Puysegur Trench. We conclude that the development of the strike-slip segment of the plate boundary and its sharp transition to the Puysegur subduction are controlled by inherited structures of the Australian plate. Furthermore, according to geophysical data presented here, a tearing of the downgoing plate can be interpreted beneath the West Branch. A review of geophysical data along the region of the Alpine Fault-Hikurangi Trough, northeast New Zealand, shows a progressive transform-subduction transition that is accommodated by motion partitioning between the subduction interface and strike-slip faults. This transition is accounted for by an interplate coupling that progressively increases toward the Alpine Fault in relation with a gradual thickening of the downgoing crust. The comparison between the Fiordland and the Hikurangi strike-slip-subduction

  6. Numerical modeling of fracture zone subduction and related volcanism in Southern Mexico (United States)

    Constantin Manea, Vlad; Gerya, Taras; Manea, Marina


    Oceanic fracture zones are recognized as areas where parts of the oceanic lithosphere can be partially serpentinized. Therefore, when subducting, these fracture zones have the potential to carry significant amounts of fluids which are released at certain depths, depending on the slab dynamics. In the case of Southern Mexico, the Cocos plate hosts a large oceanic fracture zone named Tehuantepec FZ, currently subducting. Onshore a large stratovolcano, called El Chichon, intersects the prolongation of Tehuantepec FZ where the slab depth beneath is more than 200 km, an unusual depth for a subduction related volcanic arc. In this study we investigate numerically the influence of a serpentinized fracture zone rheology on the depth where hydrous instabilities (cold-plumes) are formed. Our preliminary results show that the subduction of serpentinized oceanic lithosphere plays an important depth control for the hydrous cold-plume formation, which is probable responsible for the unusual volcanism location in Southern Mexico.

  7. Subduction of Fracture Zones control mantle melting and geochemical signature above slabs (United States)

    Constantin Manea, Vlad; Leeman, William; Gerya, Taras; Manea, Marina; Zhu, Guizhi


    The geochemistry of arc volcanics proximal to oceanic fracture zones (FZs) is consistent with higher than normal fluid inputs to arc magma sources. Here, enrichment of boron (B/Zr) in volcanic arc lavas is used to evaluate relative along-strike inputs of slab-derived fluids in the Aleutian, Andean, Cascades, and Trans-Mexican arcs. Significant B/Zr spikes coincide with subduction of prominent FZs in the relatively cool Aleutian and Andean subduction zones, but not in the relatively warm Cascadia and Mexican subduction zones, suggesting that FZ subduction locally enhances fluid introduction beneath volcanic arcs, and retention of fluids to sub-arc depths diminishes with subduction zone thermal gradient. Geodynamic treatments of lateral inhomogeneities in subducting plates have not previously considered how FZs may influence the melt and fluid distribution above the slab. Using high-resolution three-dimensional coupled petrological-thermomechanical numerical simulations of subduction, we show that fluids, including melts and water, concentrate in areas where fracture zones are subducted, resulting in along-arc variability in magma source compositions and processes.

  8. Slab melting and magma formation beneath the southern Cascade arc (United States)

    Walowski, K. J.; Wallace, P. J.; Clynne, M. A.; Rasmussen, D. J.; Weis, D.


    The processes that drive magma formation beneath the Cascade arc and other warm-slab subduction zones have been debated because young oceanic crust is predicted to largely dehydrate beneath the forearc during subduction. In addition, geochemical variability along strike in the Cascades has led to contrasting interpretations about the role of volatiles in magma generation. Here, we focus on the Lassen segment of the Cascade arc, where previous work has demonstrated across-arc geochemical variations related to subduction enrichment, and H-isotope data suggest that H2O in basaltic magmas is derived from the final breakdown of chlorite in the mantle portion of the slab. We use naturally glassy, olivine-hosted melt inclusions (MI) from the tephra deposits of eight primitive (MgO > 7 wt%) basaltic cinder cones to quantify the pre-eruptive volatile contents of mantle-derived melts in this region. The melt inclusions have B concentrations and isotope ratios that are similar to mid-ocean ridge basalt (MORB), suggesting extensive dehydration of the downgoing plate prior to reaching sub-arc depths and little input of slab-derived B into the mantle wedge. However, correlations of volatile and trace element ratios (H2O/Ce, Cl/Nb, Sr/Nd) in the melt inclusions demonstrate that geochemical variability is the result of variable addition of a hydrous subduction component to the mantle wedge. Furthermore, correlations between subduction component tracers and radiogenic isotope ratios show that the subduction component has less radiogenic Sr and Pb than the Lassen sub-arc mantle, which can be explained by melting of subducted Gorda MORB beneath the arc. Agreement between pMELTS melting models and melt inclusion volatile, major, and trace element data suggests that hydrous slab melt addition to the mantle wedge can produce the range in primitive compositions erupted in the Lassen region. Our results provide further evidence that chlorite-derived fluids from the mantle portion of the

  9. Geodynamics of the northern Andes: Subductions and intracontinental deformation (Colombia) (United States)

    Taboada, Alfredo; Rivera, Luis A.; Fuenzalida, AndréS.; Cisternas, Armando; Philip, Hervé; Bijwaard, Harmen; Olaya, José; Rivera, Clara


    New regional seismological data acquired in Colombia during 1993 to 1996 and tectonic field data from the Eastern Cordillera (EC) permit a reexamination of the complex geodynamics of northwestern South America. The effect of the accretion of the Baudó-Panama oceanic arc, which began 12 Myr ago, is highlighted in connection with mountain building in the EC. The Istmina and Ibagué faults in the south and the Santa Marta-Bucaramanga fault to the northeast limit an E-SE moving continental wedge. Progressive indentation of the wedge is absorbed along reverse faults located in the foothills of the Cordilleras (northward of 5°N) and transpressive deformation in the Santander Massif. Crustal seismicity in Colombia is accurately correlated with active faults showing neotectonic morphological evidences. Intermediate seismicity allows to identify a N-NE trending subduction segment beneath the EC, which plunges toward the E-SE. This subduction is interpreted as a remnant of the paleo-Caribbean plateau (PCP) as suggested by geological and tomographic profiles. The PCP shows a low-angle subduction northward of 5.2°N and is limited southward by a major E-W transpressive shear zone. Normal oceanic subduction of the Nazca plate (NP) ends abruptly at the southern limit of the Baudó Range. Northward, the NP subducts beneath the Chocó block, overlapping the southern part of the PCP. Cenozoic shortening in the EC estimated from a balanced section is ˜120 km. Stress analysis of fault slip data in the EC (northward of 4°N), indicates an ˜E-SE orientation of σ1 in agreement with the PCP subduction direction. Northward, near Bucaramanga, two stress solutions were observed: (1) a late Andean N80°E compression and (2) an early Andean NW-SE compression.

  10. The elastic properties of the lithosphere beneath Scotian basin (United States)

    Zheng, Ying; Arkani-Hamed, Jafar


    To assess the possibility that the North Atlantic Ocean may subduct at Scotian basin east of Canada, we investigate the present compensation state of this deep basin. A Fourier domain analysis of the bathymetry, depth to basement and observed gravity anomalies over the oceanic area east of Nova Scotia indicates that the basin is not isostatically compensated. Moreover, the analysis emphasizes that in addition to the sediments, density perturbations exist beneath the basin. The load produced by the sediments and these density perturbations must have been supported by the lithosphere. We simulate the flexure of the lithosphere under this load by that of a thin elastic plate overlying an inviscid interior. It is shown that a plate with a uniform rigidity does not adequately represent the lithosphere beneath the basin as well as the oceanic lithosphere far from the basin, rather the rigidity of the lithosphere directly beneath the basin is about one to two orders of magnitude smaller than elsewhere. We relate this weakening to the thermal blanketing effects of the thick sediments and the fact that the lithosphere has a temperature-dependent rheology. We suggest that this weak zone would have a controlling effect on the reactivation of normal faults at the hinge zone of the basin, that were formed during the break-up of Africa and North America and were locked in the early stages after the break-up. The weak zone would facilitate reactivation of the faults if tensional stresses were produced by possible reorientation of the spreading direction of the North Atlantic Ocean in the future. The reactivation of the faults would create a free boundary condition at the hinge zone, allowing further bending of the lithosphere beneath the basin and juxtaposition of this lithosphere to the mantle beneath the continent. This may provide a favorable situation for initiation of slow subduction due to subsequent compressional forces.

  11. Intermediate-Depth Intraplate Strike-Slip Earthquake Along the Subducted Nazca Plate: Stress Conditions Related to Flat-Slab Transition Zone? (United States)

    Carrizo, D.; Peyrat, S.; Comte, D.; Boroschek, R.


    On October 11th, 2012 an strike-slip intraplate earthquake Mw=5.6 occurred at about 15 km NE of Santiago-Chile, at 107 km depth. This earthquake had a distribution of intensities of about VI MM, around Santiago region. In the past only few similar seismic events had been occurred, the majority of them without reported intensities. The location, the focal mechanism, and the depth of this earthquake, make it particularly interesting because the processes responsible for this kind of ruptures is still an open question. Moreover, it was also recorded by a local strong motion networks, allowing for the first time the possibility to study this kind of earthquakes using seismic and accelerographic data. We study the nature of this event using the aftershocks recorded by the Chilean Seismological Network and with a joint inversion of local strong-motion and teleseimic data, to understand the kinematic of rupture. Preliminary results suggest a singular stress condition in the subducted plate related to the transition from flat to normal subduction, which could be accommodated by strike-slip faulting. The strong motion analysis reveals high horizontal accelerations in agreement with high angle fault planes. Understand the tectonic setting associated to this type of earthquakes represents a relevant goal for seismic risk evaluation in the most populated Chilean region.

  12. 3-D thermo-mechanical modeling of plume-induced subduction initiation (United States)

    Baes, M.; Gerya, T.; Sobolev, S. V.


    Here, we study the 3-D subduction initiation process induced by the interaction between a hot thermo-chemical mantle plume and oceanic lithosphere using thermo-mechanical viscoplastic finite difference marker-in-cell models. Our numerical modeling results show that self-sustaining subduction is induced by plume-lithosphere interaction when the plume is sufficiently buoyant, the oceanic lithosphere is sufficiently old and the plate is weak enough to allow the buoyant plume to pass through it. Subduction initiation occurs following penetration of the lithosphere by the hot plume and the downward displacement of broken, nearly circular segments of lithosphere (proto-slabs) as a result of partially molten plume rocks overriding the proto-slabs. Our experiments show four different deformation regimes in response to plume-lithosphere interaction: a) self-sustaining subduction initiation, in which subduction becomes self-sustaining; b) frozen subduction initiation, in which subduction stops at shallow depths; c) slab break-off, in which the subducting circular slab breaks off soon after formation; and d) plume underplating, in which the plume does not pass through the lithosphere and instead spreads beneath it (i.e., failed subduction initiation). These regimes depend on several parameters, such as the size, composition, and temperature of the plume, the brittle/plastic strength and age of the oceanic lithosphere, and the presence/absence of lithospheric heterogeneities. The results show that subduction initiates and becomes self-sustaining when the lithosphere is older than 10 Myr and the non-dimensional ratio of the plume buoyancy force and lithospheric strength above the plume is higher than approximately 2. The outcomes of our numerical experiments are applicable for subduction initiation in the modern and Precambrian Earth and for the origin of plume-related corona structures on Venus.

  13. Evidence for fast seismic lid structure beneath the Californian margin and its implication on regional plate deformation (United States)

    Lai, V. H.; Graves, R. W.; Wei, S.; Helmberger, D. V.


    The lithospheric structure of the Pacific and North American plates play an important role in modulating plate deformation along the California margin. Pure path models indicate that the Pacific plate has a fast thick (80km) lid overlaying a strong low velocity zone (LVZ) extending to beyond 300 km depth. In contrast, the North America structure is characterized by a relatively thin (25-35km) lid and a shallow LVZ. Vertical ray paths have similar travel times across the plate boundary for the two models, making resolution of the transitional structure difficult. Earthquakes such as the 2014 March 10 Mw 6.8 Mendocino and 2014 August 25 Mw 6.0 Napa events recorded at regional distances across California provide an opportunity to study horizontal paths and track the lateral variation in the lower crust-uppermost mantle structure under the Californian margin. Observations from both Napa and Mendocino events show direct SH-wave arrivals at Southern California Seismic Network (SCSN) stations are systematically earlier (up to 10 s) for coastal and island stations relative to inland sites. The shift in SH arrival times may be due to features such as varying crustal thickness, varying upper mantle velocity and the presence of a fast seismic lid. To test the different hypotheses, we perform extensive forward modeling using both 1-D frequency-wavenumber and 3-D finite-difference approaches. The model that best fits the SH arrival times has a fast lid (Vs = 4.7 km/s) underlying the whole California margin, with the lid increasing in thickness from east to west to a maximum thickness about 70 km in the western offshore region. The fast, thick seismic lid lends strength and rigidity to the Pacific plate lithosphere in contrast with the weaker North American continental plate, which influences the overall plate deformation along the Californian margin and is in agreement with GPS measurements.

  14. Mapping the indentation between the Iberian and Eurasian plates beneath the Western Pyrenees/Eastern Cantabrian Mountains from receiver function analysis (United States)

    Díaz, J.; Pedreira, D.; Ruiz, M.; Pulgar, J. A.; Gallart, J.


    In the last decades, active seismic profiling in the northern part of the Iberian Peninsula has evidenced that the Alpine collision between the Iberian and Eurasian plates resulted in a complex crustal structure, with the Iberian crust underthrusting the Eurasian crust and reaching depths of at least 45-50 km beneath the Pyrenean chain and the Cantabrian Mountains. In the transition between these two zones the situation is particularly complex, as evidenced in previous wide-angle and passive seismic studies. This contribution focuses in getting new clues on the crustal structure of this transitional zone through receiver function (RF) analysis of teleseismic data recorded at permanent and temporary stations located in both the Spanish and French sides of the Western Pyrenees. Different techniques (H-κ stacking, pseudo-migration, synthetic 2D modeling) have been considered in the analysis. Passive seismic data from previous temporary deployments in the zone have been reworked and added to the discussion. A first order result is that passive seismic data are broadly consistent with the indentation of the Iberian and Eurasian crusts inferred from active seismic profiling, thus providing a completely independent confirmation of this feature. For the first time, an Iberian Moho underlying the Eurasian crust is documented from RF beneath the stations located at the Northern side of the Pyrenean range. Moreover, clear indications of dipping interfaces are observed at some stations. The new RF results suggest that in the crustal indentation beneath the Basque Massifs area, the Eurasian crust extends farther south with respect to the image inferred from active seismic data. This new geometry implies that the Pamplona transfer zone has played a major role in the regional geodynamic history.

  15. Fast fluid-flow events within a subduction-related vein system in oceanic eclogite: implications for pore fluid pressure at the plate interface (United States)

    Taetz, Stephan; John, Timm; Bröcker, Michael; Spandler, Carl; Stracke, Andreas


    been completed within ca. 3 years. The short-lived, pulse-like character of this process is in accordance with the notion that fluid flow related to oceanic crust dehydration at the blueschist-to-eclogite transition contributes to or even dominates episodic pore fluid pressure increases at the plate interface which may trigger slip events reported from many subduction zones.

  16. Subduction History and the Evolution of Earth's Lower Mantle (United States)

    Bull, Abigail; Shephard, Grace; Torsvik, Trond


    Understanding the complex structure, dynamics and evolution of the deep mantle is a fundamental goal in solid Earth geophysics. Close to the core-mantle boundary, seismic images reveal a mantle characterised by (1) higher than average shear wave speeds beneath Asia and encircling the Pacific, consistent with sub ducting lithosphere beneath regions of ancient subduction, and (2) large regions of anomalously low seismic wavespeeds beneath Africa and the Central Pacific. The anomalously slow areas are often referred to as Large Low Shear Velocity Provinces (LLSVPs) due to the reduced velocity of seismic waves passing through them. The origin, composition and long-term evolution of the LLSVPs remain enigmatic. Geochemical inferences of multiple chemical reservoirs at depth, strong seismic contrasts, increased density, and an anticorrelation of shear wave velocity to bulk sound velocity in the anomalous regions imply that heterogeneities in both temperature and composition may be required to explain the seismic observations. Consequently, heterogeneous mantle models place the anomalies into the context of thermochemical piles, characterised by an anomalous component whose intrinsic density is a few percent higher relative to that of the surrounding mantle. Several hypotheses have arisen to explain the LLSVPs in the context of large-scale mantle convection. One end member scenario suggests that the LLSVPs are relatively mobile features over short timescales and thus are strongly affected by supercontinent cycles and Earth's plate motion history. In this scenario, the African LLSVP formed as a result of return flow in the mantle due to circum-Pangean subduction (~240 Ma), contrasting a much older Pacific LLSVP, which may be linked to the Rodinia supercontinent and is implied to have remained largely unchanged since Rodinian breakup (~750-700 Ma). This propounds that Earth's plate motion history plays a controlling role in LLSVP development, suggesting that the location

  17. Seismic Evidence for the North China Plate Underthrusting Beneath Northeastern Tibet and its Implications for Plateau Growth (United States)

    Ye, Z.; Gao, R.; Li, Q.; Zhang, H.


    The effects of India-Asia collision and the subsequent interaction between the two continents on northeastern Tibet (NE Tibet), i.e., the tectonic transition zone between the Tibetan plateau and the North China craton (NCC) for example, remain uncertain due to inadequate geophysical data coverage in NE Tibet. Here in this research, based on new dataset collected from a dense linear array of 38 broadband seismograph stations, we applied seismic receiver functions (Sp and Ps converted waves) to imaging the lithospheric structure and shear wave splitting (XKS waves) to inspecting the anisotropy in the lithosphere and upper mantle beneath NE Tibet. The seismic array traverses NE Tibet to the westernmost NCC (Alxa block) in an SSW-NNE direction. The lithosphere-asthenosphere boundary (LAB) is clearly defined and appears as a south-dipping interface that runs continuously from the Alxa interior to the Qilian orogen on the S-wave receiver function images. Shear wave splitting measurements show significant lateral variations of seismic anisotropy across NE Tibet. Under joint constraints from both the lithospheric structure imaging and the regional anisotropic regime, combined with previous studies and through a thorough analysis/comparison/integration, we finally constructed a comprehensive lithospheric model of NE Tibet. The model tells that the NCC lithospheric mantle has been persistently underthrust beneath the Qilian orogen in response to on-going convergence/compression between the interior Tibetan plateau and the NCC. This process forms the syntectonic crustal thrust. The regional anisotropic regime can be well accommodated in our interpretation. The lithospheric model summarized here can be well accommodated in a scenario of northeastward migration of stepwise/multiple Aisan mantle lithosphere underthrusting beneath the Tibetan plateau. The multiple Aisan lithospheric blocks underthrust the plateau stepwise in small scale. Our results provide a new section from

  18. Linking serpentinite geochemistry with tectonic evolution at the subduction plate-interface: The Voltri Massif case study (Ligurian Western Alps, Italy) (United States)

    Cannaò, E.; Scambelluri, M.; Agostini, S.; Tonarini, S.; Godard, M.


    , whereas mylonitic serpentinite is reset in its concentrations of FME and its B, Sr and Pb isotope compositions, due to interaction with sediment- and crust-derived fluids. The environment of this interaction is either compatible with (i) an outer-rise zone setting, with percolation of seawater-derived fluids enriched in sedimentary components into bending-related fault structures, or with (ii) subduction channel domains, where ascending sediment-derived slab fluids infiltrate slices of former oceanic serpentinite accreted to the plate interface domain. Influx of sediment-derived subduction fluids along major deformation zones in serpentinite modifies the element budget of the rocks, with important implications for element recycling and the tectonic history of serpentinite. The B, Sr and Pb isotopic systematics, coupled with FME concentration in serpentinites are particularly helpful geochemical tracers of interaction between different reservoirs in subduction-interface environments, and are more sensitive than the traditionally applied stable oxygen and hydrogen isotope compositions.

  19. Seismic imaging of a mid-lithospheric discontinuity beneath Ontong Java Plateau (United States)

    Tharimena, Saikiran; Rychert, Catherine A.; Harmon, Nicholas


    Ontong Java Plateau (OJP) is a huge, completely submerged volcanic edifice that is hypothesized to have formed during large plume melting events ∼90 and 120 My ago. It is currently resisting subduction into the North Solomon trench. The size and buoyancy of the plateau along with its history of plume melting and current interaction with a subduction zone are all similar to the characteristics and hypothesized mechanisms of continent formation. However, the plateau is remote, and enigmatic, and its proto-continent potential is debated. We use SS precursors to image seismic discontinuity structure beneath Ontong Java Plateau. We image a velocity increase with depth at 28 ± 4 km consistent with the Moho. In addition, we image velocity decreases at 80 ± 5 km and 282 ± 7 km depth. Discontinuities at 60-100 km depth are frequently observed both beneath the oceans and the continents. However, the discontinuity at 282 km is anomalous in comparison to surrounding oceanic regions; in the context of previous results it may suggest a thick viscous root beneath OJP. If such a root exists, then the discontinuity at 80 km bears some similarity to the mid-lithospheric discontinuities (MLDs) observed beneath continents. One possibility is that plume melting events, similar to that which formed OJP, may cause discontinuities in the MLD depth range. Plume-plate interaction could be a mechanism for MLD formation in some continents in the Archean prior to the onset of subduction.

  20. Upper crustal structure beneath Southwest Iberia north of the convergent boundary between the Eurasian and African plates

    Institute of Scientific and Technical Information of China (English)

    Mohamed K. Salah


    The 3-D P-and S-wave velocity models of the upper crust beneath Southwest Iberia are determined by inverting arrival time data from local earthquakes using a seismic tomography method. We used a total of 3085 P- and 2780 S-wave high quality arrival times from 886 local earthquakes recorded by a per-manent seismic network, which is operated by the Institute of Meteorology (IM), Lisbon, Portugal. The computed P- and S-wave velocities are used to determine the 3-D distributions of Vp/Vs ratio. The 3-D velocity and Vp/Vs ratio images display clear lateral heterogeneities in the study area. Significant veloc-ity variations up to ?6%are revealed in the upper crust beneath Southwest Iberia. At 4 km depth, both P-and S-wave velocity take average to high values relative to the initial velocity model, while at 12 km, low P-wave velocities are clearly visible along the coast and in the southern parts. High S-wave velocities at 12 km depth are imaged in the central parts, and average values along the coast;although some scattered patches of low and high S-wave velocities are also revealed. The Vp/Vs ratio is generally high at depths of 4 and 12 km along the coastal parts with some regions of high Vp/Vs ratio in the north at 4 km depth, and low Vp/Vs ratio in the central southern parts at a depth of 12 km. The imaged low velocity and high Vp/Vs ratios are related to the thick saturated and unconsolidated sediments covering the region;whereas the high velocity regions are generally associated with the Mesozoic basement rocks.

  1. Neogene kinematic history of Nazca-Antarctic-Phoenix slab windows beneath Patagonia and the Antarctic Peninsula (United States)

    Breitsprecher, Katrin; Thorkelson, Derek J.


    The Patagonian slab window is a subsurface tectonic feature resulting from subduction of the Nazca-Antarctic spreading-ridge system (Chile Rise) beneath southern South America. The geometry of the slab window had not been rigorously defined, in part because of the complex nature of the history of ridge subduction in the southeast Pacific region, which includes four interrelated spreading-ridge systems since 20 Ma: first, the Nazca-Phoenix ridge beneath South America, then simultaneous subduction of the Nazca-Antarctic and the northern Phoenix-Antarctic spreading-ridge systems beneath South America, and the southern Phoenix-Antarctic spreading-ridge system beneath Antarctica. Spreading-ridge paleo-geographies and rotation poles for all relevant plate pairs (Nazca, Phoenix, Antarctic, South America) are available from 20 Ma onward, and form the mathematical basis of our kinematic reconstruction of the geometry of the Patagonia and Antarctic slab windows through Neogene time. At approximately 18 Ma, the Nazca-Phoenix-Antarctic oceanic (ridge-ridge-ridge) triple junction enters the South American trench; we recognize this condition as an unstable quadruple junction. Heat flow at this junction and for some distance beneath the forearc would be considerably higher than is generally recognized in cases of ridge subduction. From 16 Ma onward, the geometry of the Patagonia slab window developed from the subduction of the trailing arms of the former oceanic triple junction. The majority of the slab window's areal extent and geometry is controlled by the highly oblique (near-parallel) subduction angle of the Nazca-Antarctic ridge system, and by the high contrast in relative convergence rates between these two plates relative to South America. The very slow convergence rate of the Antarctic slab is manifested by the shallow levels achieved by the slab edge (< 45 km); thus no point on the Antarctic slab is sufficiently deep to generate "normal" mantle-derived arc-type magmas

  2. Were they all giants? Perspectives on late Holocene plate-boundary earthquakes at the northern end of the Cascadia subduction zone (United States)

    Hutchinson, Ian; Clague, John


    The relative magnitude of plate-boundary earthquakes at the northern end of the Cascadia subduction zone was assessed from the temporal concordance between the ages of coseismically buried late Holocene soils in southwest Washington, their counterparts in central and southern Cascadia, offshore turbidites, and paleoseismic deposits on the west coast of Vancouver Island. Only three of the seven buried soils in southwest Washington that can be reliably traced as buried soils or paleotsunami deposits in the coastal lowlands of south-central and southern Cascadia have well-dated counterparts in northern Cascadia. The three wide-ranging events date from Cascadia earthquakes Y (∼250 cal BP), U (∼1260 cal BP), and N (∼2520 cal BP). All three likely ruptured the entire plate margin, and therefore potentially qualify as ;giants; (Mw ≥ 9). Deposits that may derive from tsunamis generated by earthquakes S (∼1570 cal BP), L (∼2870 cal BP) and J (∼3360 cal BP) can also be found in northern Cascadia, but the ages of these deposits are not yet well-enough constrained to determine whether they are coeval with their southern counterparts. Earthquake W (∼850 cal BP), appears to be present in the northern Cascadia paleoseismic record, but yields considerably older ages than in central Cascadia, and may be missing from southernmost Cascadia. The onshore record of an offshore turbidite (T2) displays a similar spatio-temporal pattern to that of earthquake W.

  3. Tectono-magmatic response to major convergence changes in the North Patagonian suprasubduction system; the Paleogene subduction-transcurrent plate margin transition

    NARCIS (Netherlands)

    Aragón, E.; D'Eramo, F.; Castro, A.; Pinotti, L.; Brunelli, D.; Rabbia, O.; Rivalenti, G.; Varela, R.; Spakman, W.; Demartis, M.; Cavarozzi, C.E.; Aguilera, Y.E.; Mazzucchelli, M.; Ribot, A.


    The southern and central Andes reflect significant along-strike differences of tectonic activity, including shortening, alternating flat-to-normal subduction styles and magmatism. In northern Patagonia, the subduction/supra-subduction system, fore arc, arc and back arc basins developed in an extensi

  4. Shallow seismicity patterns in the northwestern section of the Mexico Subduction Zone (United States)

    Abbott, Elizabeth R.; Brudzinski, Michael R.


    This study characterizes subduction related seismicity with local deployments along the northwestern section of the Mexico Subduction Zone where 4 portions of the plate interface have ruptured in 1973, 1985, 1995, and 2003. It has been proposed that the subducted boundary between the Cocos and Rivera plates occurs beneath this region, as indicated by inland volcanic activity, a gap in tectonic tremor, and the Manzanillo Trough and Colima Graben, which are depressions thought to be associated with the splitting of the two plates after subduction. Data from 50 broadband stations that comprised the MARS seismic array, deployed from January 2006 to June 2007, were processed with the software program Antelope and its generalized source location algorithm, genloc, to detect and locate earthquakes within the network. Slab surface depth contours from the resulting catalog indicate a change in subduction trajectory between the Rivera and Cocos plates. The earthquake locations are spatially anti-correlated with tectonic tremor, supporting the idea that they represent different types of fault slip. Hypocentral patterns also reveal areas of more intense seismic activity (clusters) that appear to be associated with the 2003 and 1973 megathrust rupture regions. Seismicity concentrated inland of the 2003 rupture is consistent with slip on a shallowly dipping trajectory for the Rivera plate interface as opposed to crustal faulting in the overriding North American plate. A prominent cluster of seismicity within the suspected 1973 rupture zone appears to be a commonly active portion of the megathrust as it has been active during three previous deployments. We support these interpretations by determining focal mechanisms and detailed relocations of the largest events within the 1973 and inland 2003 clusters, which indicate primarily thrust mechanisms near the plate interface.

  5. Modification of Thickened Orogenic Crust by a Subducting Ridge: Disruption of the Andean Lower Crust of Southern Peru by the Subducting Aseismic Nazca Ridge (United States)

    Bishop, B.; Beck, S. L.; Zandt, G.; Wagner, L. S.; Long, M. D.; Tavera, H.


    The subduction of oceanic plateaus or aseismic ridges represent significant perturbations to the long term development of subduction systems and associated orogenies, the consequences of which are variable and determined by the physical characteristics of both the overriding and subducting plates. Flat subduction of the ~18 km oceanic crust of the aseismic Nazca Ridge under the 50 km to 65 km continental crust of the Peruvian Andes provides an opportunity to investigate these consequences. Through analysis of 2233 teleseismic P-wave receiver functions from 55 broadband seismometers deployed in southern Peru for the PULSE, CAUGHT and PeruSE seismic experiments we have identified the South American continental Moho and subducted Nazca oceanic Moho to a higher degree of detail than previously possible in the region.We find that the continental Moho beneath the Western and Eastern Cordilleras of the Peruvian Andes is at a depth >60 km to the north and south of the subducted Nazca Ridge but at 500 km from the trench.

  6. The SOUTHERN PUNA Seismic Experiment: Shape of the Subducting Nazca Plate, Areas of Concentrated Mantle and Crustal Earthquakes, and Crustal Focal Mechanisms (United States)

    Mulcahy, P.; Chen, C.; Kay, S. M.; Brown, L. D.; Alvarado, P. M.; Sandvol, E. A.; Heit, B.; Yuan, X.


    The SOUTHERN PUNA Seismic Experiment in the Central Andes between 25° - 28°S and 70° - 65°W recorded data in a 74-instrument array from Dec 07 to Nov 09 with the purpose of evaluating the structure and seismic character of the mantle and crust at the southern end of the Puna-Antiplano Plateau. Hypocenter locations for local and regional mantle earthquakes from 16 months of continuous recording confirm the persistence of the backarc teleseismic Antofalla Gap in intermediate depth mantle seismicity between 25.5° and 27.5°S consistent with the interpretation of a hot mantle wedge under this region. The best located Wadati Benioff Zone events agree with the subducting Nazca Plate contours of Cahill and Isacks (1992) north of 27°S, but show a more abrupt southward shallowing of contours in agreement with the Anderson et al. (2007) contours outlining the projected path of the already subducted Juan Fernandez Ridge. Another prominent feature in the data is the concentration of hypocenters in the Pipanaco nest to the south of the Antofalla Gap between 27° and 29°S. New PUNA results together with available HCMT solutions indicate NW oriented normal and strike-slip faulting in three general clusters within this nest at ~130km, 150km and 180km depth. Hypocenter locations and fault solutions for the Pipanaco Nest suggest flexure associated with steepening of the subducting slab consistent with the revised Wadati Benioff Zone contours. In an area of little to no crustal seismicity in global catalogs over the same time period, hundreds of well-located crustal earthquakes at depths less than 15km were recorded by the PUNA array. Among these earthquakes are three distinct clusters near relatively young volcanic centers. One cluster defines a nest northeast of the < 1 Ma Cerro Blanco caldera. The other two clusters are characterized by large quantities of earthquakes within 24-36 hours (swarms) near the Cerro Galan caldera that last erupted at ~2 Ma and near a ~1 Ma or

  7. Combined Plate Motion and Density Driven Flow in the Asthenosphere beneath Saudi Arabia: Evidence from Shearwave Splitting and Seismic Anisotropy

    Energy Technology Data Exchange (ETDEWEB)

    Hansen, S; Schwartz, S; Al-Amri, A; Rodgers, A


    Mantle anisotropy along the Red Sea and across the Arabian Peninsula was analyzed using shear-wave splitting recorded by stations from three different seismic networks: the largest, most widely distributed array of stations examined across the Arabian Peninsula to date. Stations near the Gulf of Aqaba display fast orientations aligned parallel to the Dead Sea Transform Fault, most likely related to the strike-slip motion between Africa and Arabia However, most of our observations across Arabia are statistically the same (at a 95% confidence level), with north-south oriented fast directions and delay times averaging about 1.4 s. Since end-member models of fossilized anisotropy and present-day asthenospheric flow do not adequately explain these observations, we interpret them as a combination of plate and density driven flow in the asthenosphere. Combining northeast oriented flow associated with absolute plate motion with northwest oriented flow associated with the channelized Afar upwelling along the Red Sea produces a north-south resultant that matches the observations and supports models of active rifting.

  8. Deformation of the Manazuru Knoll in Sagami Bay, central Japan, associated with subduction of the Philippine Sea plate (United States)

    No, Tetsuo; Takahashi, Narumi; Miura, Seiichi; Yamashita, Mikiya; Kido, Yukari; Kodaira, Shuichi


    In January 2010, we conducted a multichannel seismic (MCS) reflection survey in Sagami Bay. As a result of this study, the deformation of the Manazuru Knoll, which is located near the plate boundary, was obtained. The Manazuru Knoll was formed by an asymmetric anticline, and the knoll has a geometry that is bent in a shape similar to that of a crank. The anticlinal axis, which was confirmed by MCS data, lies along the anticlinal axis shown on the bathymetric map, and the axis is bent first to the southeast and then to the east. It is estimated that the easternmost part of Manazuru Knoll has reached the vicinity of Miura Canyon. The offset of the strike of the anticline axis is approximately 7 km. A reverse fault related to the formation of Manazuru Knoll was identified in the southwestern side of the knoll. It is hypothesized that this reverse fault formed as a result of shortening of the structure, which occurred when the relative motion of the Philippine Sea plate was acting in a perpendicular direction close to the Manazuru Knoll. Therefore, it is estimated that the relative motion of the Philippine Sea plate was almost oblique or parallel to the anticlinal axis of Manazuru Knoll and that the eastern end of Manazuru Knoll was bent into a crank shape by strike-slip motion. This suggests that a part of Manazuru Knoll, located to the west of the plate boundary, moved to the northwest. Finally, it is assumed that the sediments of Miura Canyon and Sagami Knoll have been overlapping on the eastern end of Manazuru Knoll.

  9. Crust and subduction zone structure of Southwestern Mexico (United States)

    Suhardja, Sandy Kurniawan; Grand, Stephen P.; Wilson, David; Guzman-Speziale, Marco; Gomez-Gonzalez, Juan Martin; Dominguez-Reyes, Tonatiuh; Ni, James


    Southwestern Mexico is a region of complex active tectonics with subduction of the young Rivera and Cocos plates to the south and widespread magmatism and rifting in the continental interior. Here we use receiver function analysis on data recorded by a 50 station temporary deployment of seismometers known as the MARS (MApping the Rivera Subduction zone) array to investigate crustal structure as well as the nature of the subduction interface near the coast. The array was deployed in the Mexican states of Jalisco, Colima, and Michoacan. Crustal thickness varies from 20 km near the coast to 42 km in the continental interior. The Rivera plate has steeper dip than the Cocos plate and is also deeper along the coast than previous estimates have shown. Inland, there is not a correlation between the thickness of the crust and topography indicating that the high topography in northern Jalisco and Michoacan is likely supported by buoyant mantle. High crustal Vp/Vs ratios (greater than 1.82) are found beneath the trenchward edge of magmatism including below the Central Jalisco Volcanic Lineament and the Michoacan-Guanajuato Volcanic Field implying a new arc is forming closer to the trench than the Trans Mexican Volcanic Belt. Elsewhere in the region, crustal Vp/Vs ratios are normal. The subducting Rivera and Cocos plates are marked by a dipping shear wave low-velocity layer. We estimate the thickness of the low-velocity layer to be 3 to 4 km with an unusually high Vp/Vs ratio of 2.0 to 2.1 and a drop in S velocity of 25%. We postulate that the low-velocity zone is the upper oceanic crust with high pore pressures. The low-velocity zone ends from 45 to 50 km depth and likely marks the basalt to eclogite transition.

  10. Complex Subduction Imaged by Diffractional Tomography of USArray Receiver Functions (United States)

    Zhou, Y.


    Subduction of a large oceanic plate beneath a continental plate is a complex process. In the Western United States, fragmentation of the Farallon slab has been reported in recent tomographic models. In this study, we measure finite-frequency travel times of P410s and P660s receiver functions recorded at USArray Transportable Array (TA) stations for teleseismic events occurred between 2015 and 2011. We calculate the finite-frequency sensitivities of receiver functions to depth perturbations of the 410-km and 660-km discontinuities to obtain high resolution mantle transition zone models based on diffractional tomography. The high-resolution discontinuity models reveal several interesting anomalies associated with complex subduction of the Farallon plate. In particular, we observe a linear feature in both the 410-km and 660-km discontinuity models. This mantle transition zone anomaly is roughly located in the western Snake River Plain and aligns with a major slab gap imaged in an earlier finite-frequency S-wave velocity model. We show that non-stationary upwellings generated by eastward propagation of a slab tearing event, together with a westward motion of the North American plate at a rate of about 1 to 1.5 centimeters per year (comparable to the half spreading rate of the Mid-Atlantic Ridge) in the past 16 million years can explain the age-progressive Snake River Plain / Yellowstone volcanic track. The slab to the west of the anomaly shows a near vertical subduction, it is heavily fragmented and the 410-km and 660-km discontinuity topography indicates that the southern fragment north of the Mendocino triple junction has subducted down to the mantle transition zone.

  11. Tectonic tremor and slow slip along the northwestern section of the Mexico subduction zone (United States)

    Brudzinski, Michael R.; Schlanser, Kristen M.; Kelly, Nicholas J.; DeMets, Charles; Grand, Stephen P.; Márquez-Azúa, Bertha; Cabral-Cano, Enrique


    The southwestern coast of Mexico is marked by active subduction of the Rivera and Cocos plates, producing megathrust earthquakes that tend to recur every 50-100 yr. Herein, we use seismic and GPS data from this region to investigate the potential relationship between earthquakes, tectonic (non-volcanic) tremor, and transient slip along the westernmost 200 km of the Mexico subduction zone. Visual examination of seismograms and spectrograms throughout the 18-month-long MARS seismic experiment reveals clear evidence for frequent small episodes of tremor along the Rivera and Cocos subduction zones beneath the states of Jalisco, Colima, and Michoacán. Using a semi-automated process that identifies prominent energy bursts in envelope waveforms of this new data, analyst-refined relative arrival times are inverted for source locations using a 1-D velocity model. The resulting northwest-southeast trending linear band of tremor is located downdip from the rupture zones of the 1995 Mw 8.0 Colima-Jalisco and 2003 Mw 7.2 Tecoman subduction-thrust earthquakes and just below the regions of afterslip triggered by these earthquakes. Despite the close proximity between tremor and megathrust events, there is no evidence that the time since the last great earthquake influences the spatial or temporal pattern of tremor. A well-defined gap in the tremor beneath the western Colima Graben appears to mark a separation along the subducted Rivera-Cocos plate boundary. From the position time series of 19 continuous GPS sites in western Mexico, we present the first evidence that slow slip events occur on the Rivera plate subduction interface. Unlike the widely-recorded, large-amplitude, slow slip events on the nearly horizontal Cocos plate subduction interface below southern Mexico, slow slip events below western Mexico have small amplitudes and are recorded at relatively few, mostly coastal stations. The smaller slow slip beneath western Mexico may be due to the steeper dip, causing a

  12. Magnetotelluric imaging of a fossil paleozoic intraoceanic subduction zone in western Junggar, NW China (United States)

    Xu, Yixian; Yang, Bo; Zhang, Sheng; Liu, Ying; Zhu, Lupei; Huang, Rong; Chen, Chao; Li, Yongtao; Luo, Yinhe


    The fate of subducted oceanic slabs can provide important clues to plate reconstruction through Earth history. Since oceanic slabs in continental collision zones are typically not well preserved, ancient subduction zones have rarely been imaged by geophysical techniques. Here we present an exception from the Darbut belt in the Junggar accretionary collage in the southern Altaids of Asia. We deployed a 182 km long magnetotelluric (MT) profile including 60 broadband sounding sites across the belt. Quality off-diagonal impedances were inverted by a three-dimensional scheme to image resistivities beneath the profile. The resistivity model along with MT impedance phase ellipses and induction vectors were tested and interpreted in detail. Combining geological and geophysical observations, mineral physical experiment, and geodynamic modeling results, the MT transect suggests a fossil intraoceanic subduction zone during the Late Paleozoic in the western Junggar that has been well preserved due to lack of significant subsequent tecto-thermal events.

  13. Mantle heterogeneities beneath the Northeast Indian Ocean as sampled by intra-plate volcanism at Christmas Island (United States)

    Taneja, Rajat; Rushmer, Tracy; Blichert-Toft, Janne; Turner, Simon; O'Neill, Craig


    The intra-plate region of the Northeast Indian Ocean, located between the Ninetyeast Ridge and the North West Shelf of Australia, contains numerous submerged seamounts and two sub-aerially exposed volcanic island groups. While the Cocos (Keeling) Archipelago is a coral atoll, Christmas Island is the only sub-aerially exposed volcanic island and contains Late Cretaceous, Eocene and Pliocene lavas. The lavas are predominantly basaltic in composition, except for one sampled flow that is trachytic. Although the evolution of the western margin of Australia, and the seismicity in the intra-plate region, has received considerable attention, the origin of the seamount province in the Northeast Indian Ocean is still a matter of debate. In order to constrain the origin of volcanism on Christmas Island and the associated Seamount Province we analysed 14 Christmas Island samples for major and trace element abundances and 12 of these for Nd, Hf and Pb isotope compositions. The trace element patterns of the lavas are similar to many ocean island basalts, while high 208Pb/204Pb and 207Pb/204Pb at a given 206Pb/204Pb suggest affiliation with the DUPAL anomaly. The reconstructed position of Christmas Island during the Eocene (44-37 Ma) places the island in close proximity to the (present-day) upper mantle low-seismic velocity anomalies. Moreover, an enriched mantle (EM-2) type component in addition to the DUPAL anomaly is observed in the Eocene volcanic phase. The younger Pliocene (~ 4 Ma) sequences at Christmas Island are inferred to be the product of partial melting of existing material induced by lithospheric flexure.

  14. Three-dimensional Thermal Model of the Mexican Subduction Zone (United States)

    Rosas, J. C.; Pimentel, F. D. C.; Currie, C. A.; He, J.; Harris, R. N.


    Along the Mexican section of the Middle America Trench (MAT), the Cocos plate subducts beneath the North American plate. The most important feature of this subduction zone is the flat-slab section below central Mexico, extending approximately 250 km landward from the trench at a depth of 50 km. Further west, the dip changes to 45-50º. This particular geometry has several unique consequences, such as a volcanic arc that is not aligned with the trench and very shallow slab seismicity. For the mantle wedge, the abrupt change in slab geometry could lead to a three-dimensional (3D) mantle wedge flow that departs from the classical 2D subduction-driven corner flow. Evidence of 3D flow in the region comes from seismic anisotropy studies, which show that olivine fast-direction axes have a component that is parallel to the MAT. In other subduction zones, such as Costa Rica-Nicaragua and Japan, 3D flow has been observed to increase temperatures by >50º C relative to corner flow models.For this study, we have created the first 3D finite-element model of the Mexican subduction zone in order to analyze its thermal structure. Our objective is to assess the effects of 3D mantle flow and hydrothermal circulation (HC) in the subducting slab. In this region, low surface heat flow values near the trench indicate that HC may remove heat from the oceanic plate. Our model incorporates the effect of HC through conductivity proxies in the subducting crust and a 2D oceanic geotherm that includes the age variations of the Cocos plate along the MAT. For an isoviscous mantle, our model shows that the slab dip variations induce a flow that departs from 2D corner flow near the transition between the flat-slab and normal-dipping sections. The mantle flows in eastward direction toward the flat slab, and its orientation is consistent with seismic anisotropy studies. The maximum along-margin flow rate is nearly 2 cm/yr, which is >30% of the convergence rate. Temperatures at the location of this

  15. Influence of paired subduction zones: insight into Central Mediterranean tectonics (United States)

    Miller, Meghan Samantha; Moresi, Louis; Faccenna, Claudio; Funiciello, Francesca


    The Hellenic and Calabrian slabs are subducting the last remnant of the Ionian oceanic lithosphere into the deep mantle beneath the Central Mediterranean. Seismic tomography studies have provided clear images of the present day morphology of the subducted lithosphere [1]. Tectonic studies have shown that the Calabrian slab has rolled back into its current geometry with episodes of back-arc spreading that have now ceased [2]. Conversely, GPS observations along with tectonic reconstructions show that the Hellenic slab is currently rolling back and appears to have accelerated in the past ~15 My [3], which has resulted in the only region of backarc spreading still active in the Mediterranean. Observations of seismic anisotropy from SKS splitting [4] indicate toroidal flow patterns at the edges of the subducted slabs, which lead to interpretations of mantle convection and flow. Rollback in a confined setting has allowed the two slabs to become a plate-tectonic pushmi-pullyu [5]. The evolution of each slab is necessarily dependent on the other as they are both subducting the same lithosphere in opposite directions and are sufficiently close together that their induced mantle flow patterns must interact strongly. Although this seems to be an oddity in the classical picture of plate tectonics, we note that rollback-dominated subduction is more likely to be important in the highly-confined setting of a closing ocean where the oceanic lithosphere is not always able to develop into a freely-moving plate. Under such conditions, back-to-back pairings of subducting slabs are potentially more common. To investigate this setting, we present preliminary numerical models of paired subduction zones that we have developed using Underworld. We include variations in the strength and buoyancy of the surrounding (over-riding) plates and account for the presence of continentally-derived basement in the Adriatic sea. The geodynamic models allow for exploration into the timing, mechanics

  16. Seismic ACROSS Transmitter Installed at Morimachi above the Subducting Philippine Sea Plate for the Test Monitoring of the Seismogenic Zone of Tokai Earthquake not yet to Occur (United States)

    Kunitomo, T.; Kumazawa, M.; Masuda, T.; Morita, N.; Torii, T.; Ishikawa, Y.; Yoshikawa, S.; Katsumata, A.; Yoshida, Y.


    Here we report the first seismic monitoring system in active and constant operation for the wave propagation characteristics in tectonic region just above the subducting plate driving the coming catastrophic earthquakes. Developmental works of such a system (ACROSS; acronym for Accurately Controlled, Routinely Operated, Signal System) have been started in 1994 at Nagoya University and since 1996 also at TGC (Tono Geoscience Center) of JAEA promoted by Hyogoken Nanbu Earthquakes (1995 Jan.17, Mj=7.3). The ACROSS is a technology system including theory of signal and data processing based on the brand new concept of measurement methodology of Green function between a signal source and observation site. The works done for first generation system are reported at IWAM04 and in JAEA report (Kumazawa et al.,2007). The Meteorological Research Institute of JMA has started a project of test monitoring of Tokai area in 2004 in corporation with Shizuoka University to realize the practical use of the seismic ACROSS for earthquake prediction researches. The first target was set to Tokai Earthquake not yet to take place. The seismic ACROSS transmitter was designed so as to be appropriate for the sensitive monitoring of the deep active fault zone on the basis of the previous technology elements accumulated so far. The ground coupler (antenna) is a large steel-reinforced concrete block (over 20m3) installed in the basement rocks in order to preserve the stability. Eccentric moment of the rotary transmitter is 82 kgm at maximum, 10 times larger than that of the first generation. Carrier frequency of FM signal for practical use can be from 3.5 to 15 Hz, and the signal phase is accurately controlled by a motor with vector inverter synchronized with GPS clock with a precision of 10-4 radian or better. By referring to the existing structure model in this area (Iidaka et al., 2003), the site of the transmitting station was chosen at Morimachi so as to be appropriate for detecting the

  17. Analysis of the Seismicity Associated to the Subduction of the Rivera Plate using OBS and Onland Stations. (United States)

    Nuñez-Cornu, F. J.; Barba, D. C., Sr.; Danobeitia, J.; Bandy, W. L.; Zamora-Camacho, A.; Marquez-Ramirez, V. H.; Ambros, M.; Gomez, A.; Sandoval, J. M.; Mortera-Gutierrez, C. A.


    The second stage of TsuJal Project includes the study of passive seismic activity in the region of the plate Rivera and Jalisco block by anchoring OBS and densifying the network of seismic stations on land for at least four months. This stage began in April 2016 with the deployment of 25 Obsidian stations with sensor Le-3D MkIII from the northern part of Nayarit state to the south of Colima state, including the Marias Islands. This temporal seismic network complements the Jalisco Seismic Network (RESAJ) for a total of 50 stations. Offshore, ten OBS type LCHEAPO 2000 with 4 channel (3 seismic short period and 1 pressure) were deployed, in the period from 19 to 30 April 2016 using the BO El Puma from UNAM. The OBS were deployed in an array from the Marias Islands to offcoast of the border of Colima and Michoacan states. On May 4, an earthquake with Ml = 4.2 took place in the contact area of the Rivera Plate, Cocos Plate and the Middle America Trench, subsequently occurred a seismic swarm with over 200 earthquakes until May 16, including an earthquake with Ml = 5.0 on May 7. A second swarm took place between May 28 and Jun 4 including an earthquake with Ml = 4.8 on Jun 1. An analysis of the quality of different location methods is presented: automatic preliminary RESAJ location using Antelope; location with revised RESAJ phases in Antelope; relocation of RESAJ data with hypo and a regional velocity model; relocation of RESAJ data with hypo adding data from the temporal seismic network stations; and finally the relocation adding the data from the OBS network. Moreover, the tectonic implications of these earthquakes are discussed.

  18. Deformation and Metasomatic Evolution at the Subduction Plate Interface As Viewed from Study of HP/UHP Metamorphic Rocks (United States)

    Bebout, G. E.; Penniston-Dorland, S.


    We provide a view of lithologic makeup, deformation, and fluid-rock interaction along the deep forearc to subarc plate interface, based on insights gained from study of HP/UHP metamorphic rocks. Exposures of plate-boundary shear zones on which we base our perspective represent 30-80 km depths and are on Catalina Island and at Monviso, Syros, and New Caledonia. Each contains highly deformed zones with schistose matrix, commonly with a large ultramafic component, containing bodies of less deformed mafic, sedimentary, and ultramafic rocks. These "blocks" have varying geometries, are up to km-scale, and can preserve disparate P-T histories reflecting dynamics of incorporation and entrainment. Sheared matrices contain high-variance, hydrous mineral assemblages in some cases resembling metasomatic zones ("rinds") at block-matrix contacts, and rinds and matrices have homogenized isotopic compositions reflecting extensive fluid-rock interaction. Shearing and related physical juxtaposition of disparate metasomatic rocks can result in mixed or 'hybrid' chemical compositions. The chlorite-, talc-, and amphibole-rich schists developed by these processes can stabilize H2O to great depth and influence its cycling. Fluids (hydrous fluids, silicate melts) released within slabs necessarily interact with highly deformed, lithologically hybridized zones at the plate interface as they ascend to potentially enter mantle wedges. Fluids bearing chemical/isotopic signatures of hybrid rocks appear capable of producing arc magma compositions interpreted as reflecting multiple, chemically distinct fluids sources. Geophysical signatures of these rheologically weak zones are equivocal but many recognize the presence of zones of low seismic velocity at/near the top of slabs and attribute them to hydrated rocks. Whether rocks from this interface buoyantly ascend into mantle wedges, indicated in some theoretical models, remains largely untested by field and geophysical observations.

  19. Fluid Release and the Deformation of Subducting Crust (United States)

    Maunder, Benjamin; van Hunen, Jeroen; Magni, Valentina; Bouilhol, Pierre


    It is known that slab dehydration is crucial in subduction dynamics and for the formation of arc-magmatism. Previous studies of this process have constrained this intake and subsequent release of fluids into the mantle wedge by considering the stability hydrous phases within the slab. Other, more dynamical effects of this hydration state and partial melting have also been suggested, such as the possibility of "cold plumes", crustal delamination, and subduction channel return flow. These processes have been inferred to play a role in the generation of continental crust over time through accumulation and melting beneath the overriding plate. Water content and melt fraction have a strong control on the rheology of the system. Therefore we investigate the effect of these parameters on the dynamics of a subducting slab, with the aim to establish the physical bounds on the delamination process. To do this we use a coupled geodynamical-petrological model that tracks dehydration and melting reactions in order to factor in the rheological effect of metamorphism and magmatism on slab and mantle wedge dynamics. We focus primarily on the strength of the subducting crust and the possibility of delamination. We then extend this investigation by considering whether early earth crust formation could have been the result of such a processes by looking at a hypothetical Archean setting.

  20. Seismicity of the Earth 1900-2007, Nazca Plate and South America (United States)

    Rhea, Susan; Hayes, Gavin P.; Villaseñor, Antonio; Furlong, Kevin P.; Tarr, Arthur C.; Benz, Harley


    The South American arc extends over 7,000 km, from the Chilean triple junction offshore of southern Chile to its intersection with the Panama fracture zone, offshore the southern coast of Panama in Central America. It marks the plate boundary between the subducting Nazca plate and the South America plate, where the oceanic crust and lithosphere of the Nazca plate begin their decent into the mantle beneath South America. The convergence associated with this subduction process is responsible for the uplift of the Andes Mountains, and for the active volcanic chain present along much of this deformation front. Relative to a fixed South America plate the Nazca plate moves slightly north of eastwards at a rate varying from approximately 80 mm/yr in the south to approximately 70mm/yr in the north.

  1. Peculiar seismotectonic characteristics of Nazca's subducted slab, in the Andean region: Why do they exist? (United States)

    Berrocal, J.; Fernandes, C.


    The peculiar morphology of Wadati-Benioff Zone (WBZ) beneath Andean region presents controversial seismotectonic characteristics of the subducting Nazca plate beneath South American plate: WBZ with an almost flat behaviour under Central-Northern Peru region, and beneath Central Chile region, intercalated with steeply portion of the slab; the almost completely aseismic portion between 300 and 500 km of depth; the existence of deep earthquakes in South American and their controversial focal mechanism. There are several hypotheses trying to explain a suitable origin for those deep earthquakes that occur in depths between 500 and almost 700 km, where the occurrence of brittle failure is improbable to exist due to the presence of high temperature and pressure conditions at those depths. We propose in this work - based mainly in the spatial distribution of relocated hypocentres, and in the joint interpretation with recent published results related to seismotectonic aspects of Andean region - a top-to- northwest shear of the portion of Nazca subducting plate between 24°S and 01°S, in such an amount that its deepest corresponding extremes, at around 600 km of depth, seem to be presently, under latitudes between 29°S and 06°S, respectively. The proposed northwestern displacement of South American plate may be provoking that shear process of Nazca slab, which should be larger at shallower depths of the slab, and limited to those latitudes below the Andean region. The NW displacement of Nazca slab could explain the existence of flat subduction beneath Central-Northern Peru region as a consequence of a probable northwards migration of the buoyant Nazca ridge after subduction under South American plate in around 15°S. Similar explanation could be used for the flat WBZ beneath Central Chile and the Juan Fernandez ridge. This hypothesis permits to infer for some very deep South American earthquakes shear, planar mechanisms at high pressure, some times as almost horizontal

  2. Localized double-array stacking analysis of PcP: D″ and ULVZ structure beneath the Cocos plate, Mexico, central Pacific, and north Pacific (United States)

    Hutko, Alexander R.; Lay, Thorne; Revenaugh, Justin


    A large, high quality P-wave data set comprising short-period and broadband signals sampling four separate regions in the lowermost mantle beneath the Cocos plate, Mexico, the central Pacific, and the north Pacific is analyzed using regional one-dimensional double-array stacking and modelling with reflectivity synthetics. A data-screening criterion retains only events with stable PcP energy in the final data stacks used for modelling and interpretation. This significantly improves the signal stacks relative to including unscreened observations, allows confident alignment on the PcP arrival and allows tight bounds to be placed on P-wave velocity structure above the core–mantle boundary (CMB). The PcP reflections under the Cocos plate are well modelled without any ultra-low velocity zone from 5 to 20°N. At latitudes from 15 to 20°N, we find evidence for two P-wave velocity discontinuities in the D″ region. The first is ∼182 km above the CMB with a δln Vp of +1.5%, near the same depth as a weaker discontinuity (PcP images that are well matched with the simple IASP91 structure, contradicting previous inferences of ULVZ presence in this region. These particular data are not very sensitive to any D″ discontinuities, and simply bound them to be PcP arrivals are compatible with only weak ULVZ (δln Vp ∼ 0 to −3%), and there is a weak D″ reflector with δln Vp = 0.5%, near 314 km above the CMB. These results indicate localized occurrence of detectable ULVZ structures rather than ubiquitous ULVZ structure and emphasize the distinctiveness between the large low shear velocity province under the central Pacific and circum-Pacific regions.

  3. Buoyant subduction on Venus: Implications for subduction around coronae (United States)

    Burt, J. D.; Head, J. W.


    Potentially low lithospheric densities, caused by high Venus surface and perhaps mantle temperatures, could inhibit the development of negative buoyancy-driven subduction and a global system of plate tectonics/crustal recycling on that planet. No evidence for a global plate tectonic system was found so far, however, specific features strongly resembling terrestrial subduction zones in planform and topographic cross-section were described, including trenches around large coronae and chasmata in eastern Aphrodite Terra. The cause for the absence, or an altered expression, of plate tectonics on Venus remains to be found. Slab buoyancy may play a role in this difference, with higher lithospheric temperatures and a tendency toward positive buoyancy acting to oppose the descent of slabs and favoring under thrusting instead. The effect of slab buoyancy on subduction was explored and the conditions which would lead to under thrusting versus those allowing the formation of trenches and self-perpetuating subduction were defined. Applying a finite element code to assess the effects of buoyant forces on slabs subducting into a viscous mantle, it was found that mantle flow induced by horizontal motion of the convergent lithosphere greatly influences subduction angle, while buoyancy forces produce a lesser effect. Induced mantle flow tends to decrease subduction angle to near an under thrusting position when the subducting lithosphere converges on a stationary overriding lithosphere. When the overriding lithosphere is in motion, as in the case of an expanding corona, subduction angles are expected to increase. An initial stage involved estimating the changes in slab buoyancy due to slab healing and pressurization over the course of subduction. Modeling a slab, descending at a fixed angle and heated by conduction, radioactivity, and the heat released in phase changes, slab material density changes due to changing temperature, phase, and pressure were derived.

  4. Convergencia en el margen occidental de América del Sur durante el Cenozoico: subducción de las placas de Nazca, Farallón y Aluk Convergence in the western margin of South America during the Cenozoic: Subduction of Nazca, Farallon and Aluk plates

    Directory of Open Access Journals (Sweden)

    R. Somoza


    remained almost constant during this stage. The 26-0 Ma stage corresponds to the subduction of Nazca plate beneath most of the South American trench. The beginning of this stage coincides with a strong increase in convergence rate which gradually decreased during the last 10 m.y., whereas the direction of convergence remained rather constant during the entire stage. Variations of subduction rate during this younger stage may be related with some deformational and magmatic events in the upper plate, including the uplift of the Central Andes.

  5. Partial melting of subducted paleo-Pacific plate during the early Cretaceous: Constraint from adakitic rocks in the Shaxi porphyry Cu-Au deposit, Lower Yangtze River Belt (United States)

    Deng, Jianghong; Yang, Xiaoyong; Li, Shuang; Gu, Huangling; Mastoi, Abdul Shakoor; Sun, Weidong


    A large porphyry Cu-Au deposit associated with early Cretaceous intrusive rocks has been discovered and explored in the Shaxi area, Lower Yangtze River Belt (LYRB), eastern China. We studied two types of intrusive rocks in the Shaxi area: Cu-Au mineralization related diorites and quartz-diorites (adakitic rocks), and newly found high Sr/Y ratio biotite-gabbros. They were formed almost simultaneously with crystallization ages of ca. 130 to 129 Ma, younger than the early stage shoshonitic rocks (Longmenyuan, Zhuanqiao and Shuangmiao Fm.) in the Luzong volcanic basin, ~ 10 km south of the Shaxi area. These intrusive rocks show similar distribution patterns of trace elements (enriched in LILEs and depleted in HFSEs) and REEs (enriched in LREEs and depleted in HREEs, no Eu negative anomaly, flat HREE patterns). The diorites and quartz-diorites are adakitic rocks with calc-alkaline affinity, distinguished from other adakitic rocks in the LYRB which are high-K calc-alkaline series. The biotite-gabbros are not adakitic rocks, although they are characterized by high Sr/Y ratios. Shaxi adakitic rocks show positive zircon εHf(t) values, which may be attributed to the contribution of subducted oceanic crust, while the εHf(t) values of the biotite-gabbros are mostly negative, indicating the involvement of old crustal materials. Although Sr-Nd-Pb isotopes of Shaxi adakitic rocks are more depleted than those of other adakitic rocks in the LYRB, they are still slightly enriched, similar to continental arc adakites in the Andean Austral Volcanic Zone. The Shaxi adakitic rocks are characterized by high Sr contents and Sr/Y ratios, medium (La/Yb)N, MgO contents and Mg#, and low K2O/Na2O ratios, decoupling of Sr/Y and (La/Yb)N, low Th/U values, exhibiting characteristics of slab-derived adakitic rocks. They were not produced by fractional crystallization of basaltic magmas like adakitic rocks in Edong-Jiurui and Tongling but originally generated from partial melting of subducted

  6. Holocene faulting in the Bellingham forearc basin: upper-plate deformation at the northern end of the Cascadia subduction zone (United States)

    Kelsey, Harvey M.; Sherrod, Brian L.; Blakely, Richard J.; Haugerud, Ralph A.


    The northern Cascadia forearc takes up most of the strain transmitted northward via the Oregon Coast block from the northward-migrating Sierra Nevada block. The north-south contractional strain in the forearc manifests in upper-plate faults active during the Holocene, the northern-most components of which are faults within the Bellingham Basin. The Bellingham Basin is the northern of four basins of the actively deforming northern Cascadia forearc. A set of Holocene faults, Drayton Harbor, Birch Bay, and Sandy Point faults, occur within the Bellingham Basin and can be traced from onshore to offshore using a combination of aeromagnetic lineaments, paleoseismic investigations and scarps identified using LiDAR imagery. With the recognition of such Holocene faults, the northernmost margin of the actively deforming Cascadia forearc extends 60 km north of the previously recognized limit of Holocene forearc deformation. Although to date no Holocene faults are recognized at the northern boundary of the Bellingham Basin, which is 15 km north of the international border, there is no compelling tectonic reason to expect that Holocene faults are limited to south of the international border.

  7. Crustal structure and evolution of the southern Juan de Fuca plate from wide-angle seismic data: Insights into the hydration state of the incoming plate off Cascadia subduction zone (United States)

    Horning, G.; Canales, J. P.; Carbotte, S. M.; Nedimovic, M. R.; Carton, H. D.


    A multi-channel seismic reflection and wide-angle refraction seismic experiment was conducted on the Juan de Fuca (JdF) plate to investigate the evolution of the plate from accretion to its subduction at the Cascadia margin. Hydration of the upper crust (UC) of the JdF Plate is well documented, but the state of hydration of the lower crust (LC) and upper mantle (UM] remains to be investigated. A 2D P-wave velocity model of the plate is derived from a joint reflection-refraction travel-time inversion of wide-angle seismic data. Stacked MCS reflection images together with modeled sedimentary velocities define an increasing thickness of sedimentary cover of up to 2.7km. Evidence for bending-related faulting is identified in coincident MCS images both indirectly as faulting in the sedimentary layer [Gibson, et al., this meeting] and directly as dipping crustal reflectors [Han et al., this meeting]. Three first order features are evident in the patterns of crustal velocity variations along the profile. 1: Crustal velocities at 150-250 km landward of the spreading ridge (~5 Ma age) show reduced velocities up to -0.20 km/s in comparison to velocities in younger crust (~3 Ma) 100-150 km from the ridge. This decrease in velocities is coincident with a propagator wake. 2: Upper crustal velocities begin to increase at 170km from the deformation front (DF), which coincides with the first evidence of faulting from sedimentary offsets. Crustal velocities start a decreasing trend at 80km from the DF where fault throws are seen to begin increasing trend landward. 3: UC velocities in the region of directly imaged crustal faulting (40km from trench) increase ~0.5km/s at the DF, while LC velocities decrease ~0.3km/s. The contrasting behavior in the upper and lower crust may indicate that bending promotes hydrothermal circulation in the outer rise. Circulation may be vigorous enough within the sediments/UC so that any residual shallow porosity is clogged with alteration products

  8. A 2-D tomographic model of the Juan de Fuca plate from accretion at axial seamount to subduction at the Cascadia margin from an active source ocean bottom seismometer survey (United States)

    Horning, G.; Canales, J. P.; Carbotte, S. M.; Han, S.; Carton, H.; Nedimović, M. R.; Keken, P. E.


    We report results from a wide-angle controlled source seismic experiment across the Juan de Fuca plate designed to investigate the evolution of the plate from accretion at the Juan de Fuca ridge to subduction at the Cascadia margin. A two-dimensional velocity model of the crust and upper mantle is derived from a joint reflection-refraction traveltime inversion. To interpret our tomography results, we first generate a plausible baseline velocity model, assuming a plate cooling model and realistic oceanic lithologies. We then use an effective medium theory to infer from our tomography results the extent of porosity, alteration, and water content that would be required to explain the departure from the baseline model. In crust of ages >1 Ma and away from propagator wakes and regions of faulting due to plate bending, we obtain estimates of upper crustal hydration of 0.5-2.1 wt % and find mostly dry lower crust and upper mantle. In sections of the crust affected by propagator wakes we find upper estimates of upper crustal, lower crustal, and upper mantle hydration of 3.1, 0.8, and 1.8 wt %, respectively. At the Cascadia deformation front, we find that the amount of water stored at uppermost mantle levels in the downgoing JdF plate is very limited (<0.3 wt %), with most of the water carried into the subduction zone being stored in the oceanic crust.

  9. Upper mantle structure beneath the Alpine orogen from high-resolution teleseismic tomography (United States)

    Lippitsch, Regina; Kissling, Edi; Ansorge, JöRg


    To understand the evolution of the Alpine orogen, knowledge of the actual structure of the lithosphere-asthenosphere system is important. We perform high-resolution teleseismic tomography with manually picked P wave arrival times from seismograms recorded in the greater Alpine region. The resulting data set consists of 4199 relative P wave arrivals and 499 absolute P wave arrivals from 76 teleseismic events, corrected for the contribution of the Alpine crust to the travel times. The three-dimensional (3-D) crustal model established from controlled-source seismology data for that purpose represents the large-scale Alpine crustal structure. Absolute P wave arrival times are used to compute an initial reference model for the inversion. Tests with synthetic data document that the combination of nonlinear inversion, high-quality teleseismic data, and usage of an a priori 3-D crustal model allows a reliable resolution of cells at 50 km × 50 km × 30 km. Hence structures as small as two cells can be resolved in the upper mantle. Our tomographic images illuminate the structure of the uppermost mantle to depth of 400 km. Along strike of the Alps, the inversion reveals a high-velocity structure that dips toward the SE beneath the Adriatic microplate in the western and central Alps. In the eastern Alps we observe a northeastward dipping feature, subducting beneath the European plate. We interpret this feature in the western and central Alps as subducted, mainly continental European lower lithosphere. For the east, we propose that parts of the Vardar oceanic basin were subducted toward the NE, forcing continental Adriatic lower lithosphere to subduct northeastward beneath the European plate.

  10. Is subduction really in the plate tectonics driving seat, or do two other global mechanisms do the driving? A review in the 'deep-keeled cratons' frame for global dynamics (United States)

    Osmaston, M. F.


    Introduction. The title poses a question very like that of my talk in 2003 [1], concluding then that, as a driver, subduction comes 'a doubtful third'. My purpose here is to show that subsequent developments now cause even that limited status to be denied it with great assurance, except in a rare situation, of which there is no current example. The key point is that studies of subduction have been importantly mistaken as to the nature of the plate arriving for subduction. Deep-keeled cratons? The 'deep-keeled cratons' frame for global dynamics [2 - 5] is the result of seeking Earth-behaviour guidance on the following outside-the-box proposition:- "If cratons have tectospheric keels that reach or approach the 660 km discontinuity, AND the 660 level is an effective barrier to mantle circulation, then obviously (i) when two cratons separate, the upper mantle to put under the nascent ocean must arrive by a circuitous route and, conversely, (ii) if they approach one another, the mantle volume that was in between them must get extruded sideways." Remarkably it has turned out [2 - 5] that Earth dynamical behaviour for at least the past 150 Ma provides persuasive affirmation of both these expectations and that the explanation for the otherwise-unexpected immobility of subcratonic material to such depths is a petrological one which is also applicable to the behaviour of LVZ mantle below MORs [6 - 8]. Straight away this result has major consequences for the character of the plate arriving for subduction. First, to construct them, we need a 'thick-plate' (>100km?) model of the MOR process which recognizes that this LVZ immobility renders invalid the existing concept of divergent mantle flow below MORs. I show that my now not-so-new model [1, 8 - 10], based on a deep, narrrow, wall-accreting sub-axis crack, possesses outstandingly relevant properties, even appropriately dependent on spreading rate. Second, the oceanic plate arriving for subduction is no longer just the cooled

  11. Thermal regime along the Antilles subduction zone: Influence of the oceanic lithosphere materials subducted in the oceanic crust (United States)

    Biari, Youssef; Marcaillou, Boris; Klingelhoefer, Frauke; Francis, Lucazeau; Fréderique, Rolandone; Arnauld, Heuret; Thibaud, Pichot; Hélène, Bouquerel


    Heat-flow measurements acquired during the Antithesis Cruise in the Northern Lesser Antilles reveal an atypical heat-flow trend, from the trench to the margin forearc, where the subducting crust consists of exhumed and serpentinized mantle rocks (see Marcaillou et al. same session). We investigate the thermal structure of the Lesser Antilles subduction zone along two transects perpendicular to the margin located off Antigua and Martinique Islands. We perform 2-D steady-state finite elements thermal modelling constrained by newly-recorded and existing data: heat flow measurements, deep multichannel reflection and wide angle seismic data as well as earthquake hypocenters location at depth. Along the Martinique profile, the heat-flow decreases from the trench (45 mW.m-2) to minimum in the outer fore-arc (30 mW.m-2) and increases to a plateau (50 mW.m-2) toward the back-arc area. These trend and values are typical for the subduction of a steep 80-MYr old oceanic plate beneath an oceanic margin. As a result, the 150°-350°C temperature range along the interplate contact, commonly associated to the thermally-defined seismogenic zone, is estimated to be located between 200 - 350km from the trench. In contrast, along the Antigua profile, the heat-flow shows an atypical "flat" trend at 40 ± 15 mW.m-2 from the trench to the inner forearc. Purely conductive thermal models fail at fitting both the measured values and the flat trend. We propose that the subducting crust made of serpentinized exhumed mantle rock strongly affecting the heat-flow at the surface and the margin thermal structure. The geothermal gradient in the 5-km-thick serpentinized layer is expected to be low compared to "normal" oceanic crust because of cold water percolation and peridotite alteration. Moreover, from 50km depth, serpentine dehydration reactions provide significant amounts of hot water expelled toward the upper plate, generated heat beneath the forearc. As a result, in our preferred model: 1/ A

  12. Dynamics of intraoceanic subduction initiation: 2D thermomechanical modeling (United States)

    Zhou, X.; Gerya, T.; LI, Z.; Stern, R. J.


    Intraoceanic subduction initiation occurs in previous weak zones which could be transform faults or old fracture zones, and concurrents with the change of plate motions. It is an important process to understand the beginning of plate tectonics. However, the dynamic process during (after) subduction initiation remain obscure. The process of suducting slabs move from down to downdip is also not revealed clearly. In order to obtain better understanding of the transitional process of subducting slab motion, we use finite difference and marker-in-cell methods to establish a series of self-sustainable subduction initiation models and explore many visco-plastic parameters to qualify the dynamical process of subduction initiation. The following parameters are systematic tested: (1) the age of the subducting slab; (2) friction coefficient of the mantle material; (3) the mantle potential temperature; (4) the age of the overriding slab. We find out the critical age of the oceanic lithosphere which can produce subduction initiation. And the age of subducting slab plays important roles during subduction initiation. The young subducting slab induces fast trench retreat and then trench begin to advance. For the old subducting slab, it induces relative slower trench retreat and then stop moving. The age of overriding slabs impacts coupling with the subducting slab. The friction coefficient of lithosphere also impacts the backarc spreading and subduction velocity. Stronger subducted plate gives lower subduction velocity and faster trench retreat velocity. The mantle potential temperature changes the critical age of subducted slabs.

  13. Relationship Between Subduction Erosion, Seamount Subduction, Fluid Venting and Mound Formation on the Slope of the Costa Rican Continental Margin (United States)

    Petersen, C.; Klaucke, I.; Weinrebe, W.


    The oceanic crust off central Costa Rica northwest of the Cocos Ridge is dominated by chains of seamounts rising 1-2 km above the seafloor with diameters of up to 20 km. The subduction of these seamounts leads to strong indentations, scars and slides on the continental margin. A smoother segment of about 80 km width is located offshore Nicoya peninsula. The segment ends at a fracture zone which marks the transition of oceanic crust created at the Cocos-Nazca spreading center (CNS) and at the East Pacific Rise (EPR). Offshore Nicaragua the incoming EPR crust is dominated by bending related faults. To investigate the relationship between subduction erosion, fluid venting and mound formation, multibeam bathymetry and high-resolution deep-tow sidescan sonar and sediment echosounder data were acquired during R/V Sonne cruises SO163 and SO173 (2002/2003). The deep-tow system consisted of a dual-frequency 75/410 kHz sidescan sonar and a 2-12 kHz chirp sub-bottom profiler. The connection of the observed seafloor features to deeper subduction related processes is obtained by analysis of multi-channel streamer (MCS) data acquired during cruises SO81 (1992) and BGR99 (1999). Data examples and interpretations for different settings along the margin are presented. Near the Fisher seamount the large Nicoya slump failed over the flank of a huge subducted seamount. The sidescan and echosounder data permit a detailed characterization of fault patterns and fluid escape structures around the headwall of the slump. Where the fracture zone separating CNS and EPR crust subducts, the Hongo mound field was mapped in detail. Several mounds of up to 100 m height are located in line with a scar possibly created by a subducting ridge of the fracture zone. MCS data image a topographic high on the subducting oceanic crust beneath the mound field which lead to uplift and possibly enabled ascent of fluids from the subducting plate. The combined analysis of geoacoustic and seismic MCS data

  14. Subduction & orogeny: Introduction to the special volume (United States)

    Rolland, Y.; Bosch, D.; Guillot, S.; de Sigoyer, J.; Martinod, J.; Agard, P.; Yamato, P.


    Subduction processes play a major role in plate tectonics and the subsequent geological evolution of Earth. This special issue focuses on ongoing research in subduction dynamics to a large extent (oceanic subduction, continental subduction, obduction…) for both past and active subduction zones and into mountain building processes and the early evolution of orogens. It puts together various approaches combining geophysics (imaging of subduction zones), petrology/geochemistry (metamorphic analysis of HP-UHP rocks, fluid geochemistry and magmatic signal, geochronology), seismology and geodesy (present-day evolution of subduction zones, active tectonics), structural geology (structure and evolution of mountain belts), and numerical modelling to provide a full spectrum of tools that can be used to constrain the nature and evolution of subduction processes and orogeny. Studies presented in this special issue range from the long-term (orogenic cycle) to short-term (seismic cycle).

  15. Linking mantle dynamics, plate tectonics and surface processes in the active plate boundary zones of eastern New Guinea (Invited) (United States)

    Baldwin, S.; Moucha, R.; Fitzgerald, P. G.; Hoke, G. D.; Bermudez, M. A.; Webb, L. E.; Braun, J.; Rowley, D. B.; Insel, N.; Abers, G. A.; Wallace, L. M.; Vervoort, J. D.


    Eastern New Guinea lies within the rapidly obliquely converging Australian (AUS)- Pacific (PAC) plate boundary zone and is characterized by transient plate boundaries, rapidly rotating microplates and a globally significant geoid high. As the AUS plate moved northward in the Cenozoic, its leading edge has been a zone of subduction and arc accretion. The variety of tectonic settings in this region permits assessment of the complex interplay among mantle dynamics, plate tectonics, and surface processes. Importantly, the timescale of tectonic events (e.g., subduction, (U)HP exhumation, seafloor spreading) are within the valid bounds of mantle convection models. A record of changes in bathymetry and topography are preserved in high standing mountain belts, exhumed extensional gneiss domes and core complexes, uplifted coral terraces, and marine sedimentary basins. Global seismic tomography models indicate accumulation of subducted slabs beneath eastern New Guinea at the bottom of the upper mantle (i.e., 250-300 km). Preliminary global-scale backward advected mantle convection models, driven by density inferred from joint seismic-geodynamic tomography models, exhibit large-scale flow associated with these subducted slab remnants and predict the timing and magnitude (up to 1500 m) of dynamic topography change (both subsidence and uplift) since the Oligocene. In this talk we will explore the effects of large-scale background mantle flow and plate tectonics on the evolution of topography and bathymetry in eastern New Guinea, and discuss possible mechanisms to explain basin subsidence and surface uplift in the region.

  16. P wave azimuthal and radial anisotropy of the Hokkaido subduction zone (United States)

    Niu, Xiongwei; Zhao, Dapeng; Li, Jiabiao; Ruan, Aiguo


    We present the first three-dimensional P wave radial anisotropy tomography of the Hokkaido subduction zone, as well as P wave azimuthal anisotropy and S wave tomography, which are determined by inverting 298,430 P wave and 233,934 S wave arrival times from 14,245 local earthquakes recorded by 344 seismic stations. Our results reveal significant velocity heterogeneity, seismic anisotropy, and upwelling flows beneath the study region. In the mantle wedge, prominent low-velocity (low-V) anomalies exhibit trench-normal fast-velocity directions (FVDs) and a negative radial anisotropy (i.e., vertical velocity > horizontal velocity), which may reflect upwelling mantle flows. Fan-shaped FVDs are found at depths of 65-90 km, and a detailed 3-D mantle flow pattern is revealed, which may be caused by a combination of oblique subduction of the Pacific plate and collision of the Kuril arc with the Honshu arc beneath southern Hokkaido. The radial anisotropy changes at ~100 km depth, which may reflect variations in temperature and fluid conditions there. The subducting Pacific slab exhibits a positive radial anisotropy (i.e., horizontal velocity > vertical velocity), which may reflect the original fossil anisotropy when the Pacific plate formed at the mid-ocean ridge.

  17. Compression-extension transition of continental crust in a subduction zone: A parametric numerical modeling study with implications on Mesozoic-Cenozoic tectonic evolution of the Cathaysia Block (United States)

    Chan, Lung Sang; Gao, Jian-Feng


    The Cathaysia Block is located in southeastern part of South China, which situates in the west Pacific subduction zone. It is thought to have undergone a compression-extension transition of the continental crust during Mesozoic-Cenozoic during the subduction of Pacific Plate beneath Eurasia-Pacific Plate, resulting in extensive magmatism, extensional basins and reactivation of fault systems. Although some mechanisms such as the trench roll-back have been generally proposed for the compression-extension transition, the timing and progress of the transition under a convergence setting remain ambiguous due to lack of suitable geological records and overprinting by later tectonic events. In this study, a numerical thermo-dynamical program was employed to evaluate how variable slab angles, thermal gradients of the lithospheres and convergence velocities would give rise to the change of crustal stress in a convergent subduction zone. Model results show that higher slab dip angle, lower convergence velocity and higher lithospheric thermal gradient facilitate the subduction process. The modeling results reveal the continental crust stress is dominated by horizontal compression during the early stage of the subduction, which could revert to a horizontal extension in the back-arc region, combing with the roll-back of the subducting slab and development of mantle upwelling. The parameters facilitating the subduction process also favor the compression-extension transition in the upper plate of the subduction zone. Such results corroborate the geology of the Cathaysia Block: the initiation of the extensional regime in the Cathaysia Block occurring was probably triggered by roll-back of the slowly subducting slab. PMID:28182640

  18. A geophysical potential field study to image the Makran subduction zone in SE of Iran (United States)

    Abedi, Maysam; Bahroudi, Abbas


    The Makran subduction wedge as one of the largest subduction complexes has been forming due to the Arabian oceanic lithosphere subducting beneath the Lut and the Afghan rigid block microplates. To better visualize the subducting oceanic crust in this region, a geophysical model of magnetic susceptibility from an airborne magnetic survey (line spacing about 7.5 km) over the Makran zone located at southeast of Iran is created to image various structural units in Iran plate. The constructed geophysical model from the 3D inverse modeling of the airborne magnetic data indicates a thin subducting slab to the north of the Makran structural zone. It is demonstrated that the thickness of sedimentary units varies approximately at an interval of 7.5-11 km from north to south of this zone in the Iranian plate, meanwhile the curie depth is also estimated approximately < 26 km. It is also shown the Jazmurian depression zone adjacent to the north of the Makran indicates high intensity magnetic anomalies due to being underlain by an ophiolite oceanic basement, while such intensity reduces over the Makran. The directional derivatives of the magnetic field data have subtle changes in the Makran, but strongly increase in the Jazmurian by enhancing and separating different structural boundaries in this region. In addition, the density variations of the subsurface geological layers were determined by 3D inversion of the ground-based gravity data over the whole study area, where the constructed density model was in good agreement with the magnetic one. According to the outputs of the magnetic susceptibility and the density contrast, the Arabian plate subducts to the north under the Eurasia with a very low dip angle in the Makran structural zone.

  19. Deep vs. shallow expressions of continental cratons: Can cratonic roots be destroyed by subduction? (United States)

    Perry-Houts, J.; Calo, M.; Eddy, C. L.; Guerri, M.; Holt, A.; Hopper, E.; Tesoniero, A.; Romanowicz, B. A.; Becker, T. W.; Wagner, L. S.


    Cratons are parts of continents that have remained tectonically quiescent over billion-year timescales. Although cratonic lithosphere has the stabilizing properties of chemical buoyancy and high viscosity, it can still be destroyed. The best known example of a missing cratonic root is beneath the eastern North China Craton (NCC). Despite strong evidence for the past existence of a craton in northern China, high heat flow, Mesozoic basin formation, extensive seismicity, and the lack of a fast seismic root imply that the deep cratonic lithosphere is missing. The mechanism for the lithospheric root loss is a source of much debate. Many mechanisms have been proposed, among them: shearing of the lithospheric root by asthenospheric flow induced by the Indo-Eurasian collision; ponding of the Pacific slab in the transition zone acting as a source of fluids that enable hydrous weakening; and thermal erosion due to the corner-flow upwelling of hot, deep material. It is generally agreed that the influence of subduction is key, both from the temporal coincidence of subduction with increased tectonomagmatic activity on the craton and from the spatial correlation of lithospheric loss adjacent to the Pacific trench. We investigate how cratons extend to depth through comparison between seismic signatures of the cratonic lithosphere in the upper mantle and surficial evidence of cratonic boundaries. We examine global and regional tomography, as well as receiver-function constraints on lithospheric thickness in the NCC. We define craton boundaries at the surface through analyses on crust and lithospheric mantle ages and kimberlite locations. We aim to identify regions where the fast cratonic root has been lost or altered beneath Archean and Proterozoic crust and in particular place constraints on the extent of the remaining cratonic root beneath North China. Given the common emphasis on the role of subduction as a driving force for the root loss beneath the eastern NCC, we focus on

  20. Interplate coupling along the Nankai Trough, southwest Japan, inferred from inversion analyses of GPS data: Effects of subducting plate geometry and spacing of hypothetical ocean-bottom GPS stations (United States)

    Yoshioka, Shoichi; Matsuoka, Yoshiko


    We estimated the slip-deficit rate distribution on the plate boundary between the subducting Philippine Sea plate and the continental Amurian plate along the Nankai Trough, southwest Japan. Horizontal and vertical displacement rates were calculated from land-based Global Positioning System (GPS) data during the 5-year period from 1 January 2005 to 31 December 2009. We employed an inversion analysis of geodetic data using Akaike's Bayesian information criterion (ABIC), including an indirect prior constraint that slip distribution is smooth to some extent and a direct prior constraint that slip is mainly oriented in the plate-convergent direction. The results show that a large slip deficit exists at depths ranging from 15 to 20 km on the plate boundary in a belt-like form. The maximum slip-deficit rate was identified off Shikoku and reached 6 cm/year. The slip-deficit rate differed by as much as 1 cm/year when using a different geometric model of the subducting plate. On the basis of the spatial distribution of estimation errors and the resolution of the obtained slip-deficit rate on the plate boundary, we also found that the offshore slip-deficit rate cannot be estimated with sufficient accuracy using only land-based GPS data. Therefore, we tested the improvement in results when introducing hypothetical ocean-bottom GPS stations. The stations were arranged in four along-arc and across-arc spacings of 80 km and 40 km. The ocean-bottom data improved the estimation errors and resolutions, and successful results were obtained for a checkerboard with each square 75 km × 76 km. Our results indicate that 40-km along-arc and across-arc two-dimensional spacing of ocean-bottom GPS stations is required to obtain reliable slip-deficit distributions near the trough axis, assuming the current estimation accuracy for ocean-bottom horizontal displacement rates.

  1. Formation of the adakite-like granitoid complex and porphyry copper-gold deposit in Shaxi from southern Tancheng-Lujiang fault belt: A clue to the West Pacific plate subduction

    Institute of Scientific and Technical Information of China (English)

    LAN Xianghua; YANG Xiaoyong; YU Liangfan; ZHANG Qianming


    On the basis of the geological and geochemical studies, including chemical analysis of bulk rocks, rare-earth and trace element studies, fluid inclusion, and S and O isotopic analyses, the authors described the geo-logical background of the deposit in detail and presented significant proofs for the conditions of formation of the Shaxi porphyry copper-gold deposit. Compared with other large and supper-large porphyry copper deposits in China and the adjacent Cu-Au mineralized areas, the ore-forming processes and conditions were analyzed; and the possibil-ity of forming large porphyry copper deposits in the Shaxi area was discussed. The present study indicated that the ore-forming fluid and material were mainly of magmatic origin, while meteoric water played a certain role in the ore-forming processes. Interactions between subducting and overriding plates provided a major driving force for the formation of igneous rocks and the deposition of metal elements in East China since Jurassic. Based on the geo-chemical data of the Shaxi intrusive, it is found that the copper (gold) mineralization is closely related to the genesis of adakite-like intrusive in the Shaxi area. This adakite-like intrusive was formed in the subduction environment as a result of the subduction of the West Pacific plate toward the East China continent, where there is a great potential-ity to form a large porphyry copper deposit.

  2. P and S wave attenuation tomography of the Japan subduction zone (United States)

    Wang, Zewei; Zhao, Dapeng; Liu, Xin; Chen, Chuanxu; Li, Xibing


    We determine the first high-resolution P and S wave attenuation (Q) tomography beneath the entire Japan Islands using a large number of high-quality t∗ data collected from P and S wave velocity spectra of 4222 local shallow and intermediate-depth earthquakes. The suboceanic earthquakes used in this study are relocated precisely using sP depth phases. Significant landward dipping high-Q zones are revealed clearly, which reflect the subducting Pacific slab beneath Hokkaido and Tohoku, and the subducting Philippine Sea (PHS) slab beneath SW Japan. Prominent low-Q zones are visible in the crust and mantle wedge beneath the active arc volcanoes in Hokkaido, Tohoku, and Kyushu, which reflect source zones of arc magmatism caused by fluids from the slab dehydration and corner flow in the mantle wedge. Our results also show that nonvolcanic low-frequency earthquakes (LFEs) in SW Japan mainly occur in the transition zone between a narrow low-Q belt and its adjacent high-Q zones right above the flat segment of the PHS slab. This feature suggests that the nonvolcanic LFEs are caused by not only fluid-affected slab interface but also specific conditions such as high pore pressure which is influenced by the overriding plate.

  3. Geometry of the Cocos Plate Under North American Plate (United States)

    Perez-Campos, X.


    The Cocos plate subducts under the North American plate with a complex geometry, and previous seismicity studies revealed some of this complexity. However, details of the geometry and the depth that the plate penetrates werelargely unknown. Since 2004, temporary experiments and the expansion of the permanent network of the Servicio Sismológico Nacional (SSN, Mexican National Seismological Service) have improved resolution of the plate geometry and have helped to map its descent into the upper mantle. Going from northwest to southeast, the Cocos plate appears to be fragmenting into north and south segments. The north segment subducts with an angle of ~30º and the south with an angle of ~10-15º. The transition is smooth near the trench and progresses to a tear at depth; this coincides with the projection of the Orozco Fracture Zone to depth. Also, this transition marks the limit of the presence to the south of an ultra slow velocity layer (USL) on top of the slab.South of this transition, the Cocos plate subducts horizontally , underplating the North American plate for a distance of ~140 to ~300 km from the trench. Along this horizontal region, silent slow events (SSE) and tectonic tremor (TT) have been observed. At a distance of 300 km from the trench (beneath central Mexico), the plate dives into the mantle with an angle of 76º to a depth of 500 km. This geometry changes abruptly to the south, marking the eastern limit of the USL. This change seems to be also characterized by a tear on the slab. Finally to the south, the Cocos plate subducts with a constant angle of 26º. This presentation summarizes the work of many contributors including A. Arciniega-Ceballos, M. Brudzinski, E. Cabral-Cano, T. Chen, R. Clayton,F. Cordoba-Montiel,P. Davis,S. Dougherty,F. Green, M. Gurnis, D. V. Helmberger, A. Husker,A. Iglesias, Y. Kim, V. Manea, D. Melgar, M. Rodríguez-Domínguez,S. K. Singh, T.-R. A. Song, C. M. Valdés-González, D. Valencia-Cabrera


    Directory of Open Access Journals (Sweden)

    George Pararas-Carayannis


    Full Text Available Peru is in a region of considerable geologic and seismic complexity. Thrust faulting along the boundary where the Nazca plate subducts beneath the South American continent has created three distinct seismic zones. The angle of subduction of the Nazca oceanic plate beneath the South American plate is not uniform along the entire segment of the Peru-Chile Trench. Furthermore, subduction is affected by buoyancy forces of the bounding oceanic ridges and fractures - such as the Mendana Fracture Zone (MFZ to the North and the Nazca Ridge to the South. This narrow zone is characterized by shallow earthquakes that can generate destructive tsunamis of varied intensities. The present study examines the significance of Nazca Ridge’s oblique subduction and migration to the seismicity of Central/Southern Peru and to tsunami generation. The large tsunamigenic earthquake of 23 June 2001 is presented as a case study. This event generated a destructive, local tsunami that struck Peru’s southern coasts with waves ranging from 3 to 4.6 meters (10-15 feet and inland inundation that ranged from 1 to 3 km. In order to understand the near and far-field tsunamigenic efficiency of events along Central/Southern Peru and the significance of Nazca Ridge’s oblique subduction, the present study examines further the geologic structure of the region and this quake’s moment tensor analysis, energy release, fault rupture and the spatial distribution of aftershocks. Tsunami source mechanism characteristics for this event are presented, as inferred from seismic intensities, energy releases, fault plane solutions and the use of empirical relationships. The study concludes that the segment of subduction and faulting paralleling the Peru-Chile Trench from about 150 to 180 South, as well as the obliquity of convergent tectonic plate collision in this region, may be the reason for shorter rupture lengths of major earthquakes and the generation of only local destructive tsunamis.

  5. Mantle Structure Beneath Central South America (United States)

    Vandecar, J. C.; Silver, P. G.; James, D. E.; Assumpcao, M.; Schimmel, M.; Zandt, G.


    Making use of 60 digital broadband seismic stations that have operated across central South America in recent years, we have undertaken an inversion for the upper- and uppermost lower-mantle P- and S-wave velocity structures beneath the region. We have combined data from four portable PASSCAL-type experiments as well as the 3 GTSN permanent stations (LPAZ, BDFB and CPUP) and 1 Geoscope station (SPB) located in the region. The portable data were deployed at various times between 1992 and 1999 and include: 28 sites from the Brazilian Lithosphere Seismic Project (BLSP: Carnegie Institution of Washington and Universidade de Sao Paulo), 16 sites from the Broadband ANdean JOint experiment (BANJO: Carnegie Institution of Washington and University of Arizona), 8 sites from the Seismic Exploration of the Deep Altiplano project (SEDA: Lawrence Livermore National Laboratory) and 4 sites from the University of Brasilia. The P- and S-wave relative delay times are independently obtained via a multi-channel cross correlation of band-passed waveforms for each teleseismic event. These data are then inverted using an iterative, robust, non-linear scheme which parameterizes the 3-D velocity variations as splines under tension constrained at over 120,000 nodes across South America between latitudes of 15 and 30 degrees South. Amongst other features, we robustly image the high-velocity subducting Nazca plate penetrating into the lower mantle and the high-velocity root of the ~3.2 Gyr old Sao Francisco Craton extending to depths of 200-300 km. We will discuss the consistency between our tomographic models and predictions of dynamic mantle models based on plate tectonic reconstructions of subduction.

  6. Flat vs. Normal subduction, Central Chile: insights from regional seismic tomography and rock type modeling (United States)

    Marot, Marianne; Monfret, Tony; Gerbault, Muriel; Nolet, Guust; Ranalli, Giorgio; Pardo, Mario


    The Central Chilean subduction zone (27-35°S) is host to a multitude of unexplained phenomena, all likely linked to one another. Here, the 35 Ma oceanic Nazca plate is subducting beneath South America with a well developed, highly seismic flat slab, very well correlated with the subducting Juan Fernandez seamount Ridge (JFR) track, and also with the absence of volcanism at the surface. The upper plate, currently under compression, is composed of a series of accreted terranes of various origins and ages. Although no general consensus on the formation of this flat slab has been yet achieved, there may have been influence of overthickened oceanic crust, delayed eclogitization and consequent fluid retain within the slab, and slab suction due to the high convergence rate with the thick Rio de Plata craton. Therefore, the main questions we address are: Does the slab dehydrate along the flat subducting segment? If so, how hydrated is the slab, at what depth does slab dehydration occur, where are the fluids transported to, and where are they stored? Is magmatism still active beneath the now inactive arc? Are accreted terranes and suture zones important attributes of this subduction zone? Do they possess their own mantle entities? To answer these questions, we analyzed recorded local seismicity and performed regional 3D seismic tomography for Vp and Vs. Combining seismic tomography with 2D instantaneous thermo-mechanical modeling for the regions of flat and normal subduction, we predict rock compositions for these two regions based on published mineral and rock elastic properties. Here, we present a comparison between the normal subduction zone to the south, reflecting typical and expected features, and the flat slab region to the north, exhibiting heterogeneities. Our results agree with other studies for a dry and cold continental mantle above the flat slab. We distinguish the Cuyania terrane with overthickened crust and/or abnormal mantle beneath it. We notice that the

  7. A record of spontaneous subduction initiation in the Izu-Bonin-Mariana arc

    NARCIS (Netherlands)

    Arculus, Richard J.; Ishizuka, Osamu; Bogus, Kara A.; Gurnis, Michael; Hickey-Vargas, Rosemary; Aljahdali, Mohammed H.; Bandini-Maeder, Alexandre N.; Barth, Andrew P.; Brandl, Philipp A.; Drab, Laureen; Do Monte Guerra, Rodrigo; Hamada, Morihisa; Jiang, Fuqing; Kanayama, Kyoko; Kender, Sev; Kusano, Yuki; Li, He; Loudin, Lorne C.; Maffione, Marco; Marsaglia, Kathleen M.; McCarthy, Anders; Meffre, Sebastién; Morris, Antony; Neuhaus, Martin; Savov, Ivan P.; Sena, Clara; Tepley, Frank J.; Van Der Land, Cees; Yogodzinski, Gene M.; Zhang, Zhaohui


    The initiation of tectonic plate subduction into the mantle is poorly understood. If subduction is induced by the push of a distant mid-ocean ridge or subducted slab pull, we expect compression and uplift of the overriding plate. In contrast, spontaneous subduction initiation, driven by subsidence o

  8. Continent-scale strike-slip on a low-angle fault beneath New Zealand's Southern Alps: Implications for crustal thickening in oblique collision zones (United States)

    Lamb, Simon; Smith, Euan; Stern, Tim; Warren-Smith, Emily


    New Zealand's Southern Alps lie adjacent to the continent-scale dextral strike-slip Alpine Fault, on the boundary between the Pacific and Australian plates. We show with a simple 2-D model of crustal balancing that the observed crustal root and erosion (expressed as equivalent crustal shortening) is up to twice that predicted by the orthogonal plate convergence since ˜11 Ma, and even since ˜23 Ma when the Alpine Fault formed. We consider two explanations for this, involving a strong component of motion along the length of the plate-boundary zone. Geophysical data indicate that the Alpine Fault has a listric geometry, flattening at mid crustal levels, and has accommodated sideways underthrusting of Australian plate crust beneath Pacific plate crust. The geometry of the crustal root, together with plate reconstructions, requires the underthrust crust to be the hyperextended part of an asymmetric rift system which formed over 500 km farther south during the Eocene—the narrow remnant part today forms the western margin of the Campbell Plateau. At ˜10 Ma, the hyperextended margin underwent shallow subduction in the Puysegur subduction zone, and then was dragged over 300 km along the length of the Southern Alps beneath a low-angle (plate boundary zone, providing a mechanism for clockwise rotation of the Hikurangi margin.

  9. Inside the Subduction Factory (United States)

    Eiler, John

    Subduction zones helped nucleate and grow the continents, they fertilize and lubricate the earth's interior, they are the site of most subaerial volcanism and many major earthquakes, and they yield a large fraction of the earth's precious metals. They are obvious targets for study—almost anything you learn is likely to impact important problems—yet arriving at a general understanding is notoriously difficult: Each subduction zone is distinct, differing in some important aspect from other subduction zones; fundamental aspects of their mechanics and igneous processes differ from those in other, relatively well-understood parts of the earth; and there are few direct samples of some of their most important metamorphic and metasomatic processes. As a result, even first-order features of subduction zones have generated conflict and apparent paradox. A central question about convergent margins, for instance—how vigorous magmatism can occur where plates sink and the mantle cools—has a host of mutually inconsistent answers: Early suggestions that magmatism resulted from melting subducted crust have been emphatically disproved and recently just as emphatically revived; the idea that melting is fluxed by fluid released from subducted crust is widely held but cannot explain the temperatures and volatile contents of many arc magmas; generations of kinematic and dynamic models have told us the mantle sinks at convergent margins, yet strong evidence suggests that melting there is often driven by upwelling. In contrast, our understanding ofwhy volcanoes appear at ocean ridges and "hotspots"—although still presenting their own chestnuts—are fundamentally solved problems.

  10. Detailed seismotectonic analysis of Sumatra subduction zone revealed by high precision earthquake location (United States)

    Sagala, Ricardo Alfencius; Harjadi, P. J. Prih; Heryandoko, Nova; Sianipar, Dimas


    Sumatra was one of the most high seismicity regions in Indonesia. The subduction of Indo-Australian plate beneath Eurasian plate in western Sumatra contributes for many significant earthquakes that occur in this area. These earthquake events can be used to analyze the seismotectonic of Sumatra subduction zone and its system. In this study we use teleseismic double-difference method to obtain more high precision earthquake distribution in Sumatra subduction zone. We use a 3D nested regional-global velocity model. We use a combination of data from both of ISC (International Seismological Center) and BMKG (Agency for Meteorology Climatology and Geophysics, Indonesia). We successfully relocate about 6886 earthquakes that occur on period of 1981-2015. We consider that this new location is more precise than the regular bulletin. The relocation results show greatly reduced of RMS residual of travel time. Using this data, we can construct a new seismotectonic map of Sumatra. A well-built geometry of subduction slab, faults and volcano arc can be obtained from the new bulletin. It is also showed that at a depth of 140-170 km, there is many events occur as moderate-to-deep earthquakes, and we consider about the relation of the slab's events with volcanic arc and inland fault system. A reliable slab model is also built from regression equation using new relocated data. We also analyze the spatial-temporal of seismotectonic using b-value mapping that inspected in detail horizontally and vertically cross-section.

  11. Lithosphere/Asthenosphere Structure beneath the Mendocino Triple Junction from the Analysis of Surface Wave, Ambient Noise, and Receiver Functions (United States)

    Liu, K.; Zhai, Y.; Levander, A.; Porritt, R. W.; Allen, R. M.; Schmandt, B.; Humphreys, E.; O'Driscoll, L.


    We have developed a 3-D shear velocity model using finite-frequency Rayleigh wave phase velocity dispersion, PdS receiver functions, and ambient noise tomography to better understand the complex lithosphere/asthenosphere structures in the Mendocino Triple Junction (MTJ) region. Using approximately 100 events (July 2007-December 2008) recorded by the stations of the Flexible Array Mendocino Experiment (FAME), the USArray Transportable Array (TA) network, and the Berkeley Digital Seismograph network, we have obtained the phase velocities (20-100s) from the finite-frequency Rayleigh wave tomography, which agrees well with the ambient noise tomography results (7-40 s, Porritt & Allen, 2010) in the overlapping period range. We subsequently inverted for a 3-D Vs model on a 0.25°x0.25° grid from the combined dispersion datasets, constrained by interface depths from the PdS receiver functions (Zhai & Levander, 2010). The resulting crustal and upper mantle Vs model (~150 km) reveals strong lateral heterogeneity in the subduction and transform regimes of the Mendocino Triple Junction region where the Gorda, Pacific, and North American plates intersect. The subducting Gorda slab is well-imaged as an eastward-dipping high-velocity anomaly to ~100 km depth. At the same depth to the east we observe a large-scale low velocity zone, which is the mantle wedge beneath the North American Plate. The southern edge of the Gorda plate (SEDGE) is imaged at 80-100 km depth and is in excellent agreement with measurements made from PdS receiver functions, body-wave tomography (Schmandt & Humphreys, 2010; Obrebski et al., 2010), and active source studies. At depths greater than 80 km, we interpret low velocities under the Cascadia subduction zone as the asthenosphere below the Gorda plate, in agreement with measured LAB depths from RFs. South of the SEDGE shallow strong low-velocities appear beneath the transform region, which we interpret as the asthenosphere in the slab-gap region left by

  12. Seismicity of the Earth 1900-2012 Philippine Sea plate and vicinity (United States)

    Smoczyk, Gregory M.; Hayes, Gavin P.; Hamburger, Michael W.; Benz, Harley M.; Villaseñor, Antonio; Furlong, Kevin P.


    The complex tectonics surrounding the Philippine Islands are dominated by the interactions of the Pacific, Sunda, and Eurasia plates with the Philippine Sea plate (PSP). The latter is unique because it is almost exclusively surrounded by zones of plate convergence. At its eastern and southeastern edges, the Pacific plate is subducted beneath the PSP at the Izu-Bonin, Mariana, and Yap trenches. Here, the subduction zone exhibits high rates of seismic activity to depths of over 600 km, though no great earthquakes (M>8.0) have been observed, likely because of weak coupling along the plate interface. In the northeast, the PSP subducts beneath Japan and the eastern margin of the Eurasia plate at the Nankai and Ryukyu trenches, extending westward to Taiwan. The Nankai portion of this subduction zone has hosted some of the largest earthquakes along the margins of the PSP, including a pair of Mw8.1 megathrust events in 1944 and 1946. Along its western margin, the convergence of the PSP and the Sunda plate is responsible for a broad and active plate boundary system extending along both sides of the Philippine Islands chain. The region is characterized by opposite-facing subduction systems on the east and west sides of the islands, and the archipelago is cut by a major transform structure: the Philippine Fault. Subduction of the Philippine Sea plate occurs at the eastern margin of the islands along the Philippine Trench and its northern extension, the East Luzon Trough. On the west side of Luzon, the Sunda Plate subducts eastward along a series of trenches, including the Manila Trench in the north, the smaller Negros Trench in the central Philippines, and the Sulu and Cotabato trenches in the south. Twentieth and early twentyfirst century seismic activity along the boundaries of the Philippine Sea plate has produced seven great (M>8.0) earthquakes and 250 large (M>7) events. Among the most destructive events were the 1923 Kanto, the 1948 Fukui, and the 1995 Kobe, Japan

  13. Big mantle wedge, anisotropy, slabs and earthquakes beneath the Japan Sea (United States)

    Zhao, Dapeng


    The Japan Sea is a part of the western Pacific trench-arc-backarc system and has a complex bathymetry and intense seismic activities in the crust and upper mantle. Local seismic tomography revealed strong lateral heterogeneities in the crust and uppermost mantle beneath the eastern margin of the Japan Sea, which was determined using P and S wave arrival times of suboceanic earthquakes relocated precisely with sP depth phases. Ambient-noise tomography revealed a thin crust and a thin lithosphere beneath the Japan Sea and significant low-velocity (low-V) anomalies in the shallow mantle beneath the western and eastern margins of the Japan Sea. Observations with ocean-bottom seismometers and electromagnetometers revealed low-V and high-conductivity anomalies at depths of 200-300 km in the big mantle wedge (BMW) above the subducting Pacific slab, and the anomalies are connected with the low-V zone in the normal mantle wedge beneath NE Japan, suggesting that both shallow and deep slab dehydrations occur and contribute to the arc and back-arc magmatism. The Pacific slab has a simple geometry beneath the Japan Sea, and earthquakes occur actively in the slab down to a depth of ∼600 km beneath the NE Asian margin. Teleseismic P and S wave tomography has revealed that the Philippine Sea plate has subducted aseismically down to the mantle transition zone (MTZ, 410-660 km) depths beneath the southern Japan Sea and the Tsushima Strait, and a slab window is revealed within the aseismic Philippine Sea slab. Seismic anisotropy tomography revealed a NW-SE fast-velocity direction in the BMW, which reflects corner flows induced by the fast deep subduction of the Pacific slab. Large deep earthquakes (M > 7.0; depth > 500 km) occur frequently beneath the Japan Sea western margin, which may be related to the formation of the Changbai and Ulleung intraplate volcanoes. A metastable olivine wedge is revealed within the cold core of the Pacific slab at the MTZ depth, which may be related

  14. Imaging Transition Zone Thickness Beneath South America from SS Precursors (United States)

    Schmerr, N.; Garnero, E.


    We image detailed upper mantle discontinuity structure beneath a number of geologically active regions, including the South American subduction zone, the Scotia plate subduction zone, and several volcanic hotspots (e.g., the Galapagos Islands), in a region ~10,000 km by 10,000 km wide, spanning 70° S to 20° N and 20° W to 110° W. Precursors to the seismic phase SS are analyzed, which form as a result of underside reflections off seismic discontinuities beneath the midpoint of the SS path and are highly sensitive to discontinuity depth and sharpness. Our SS dataset consists of over 15,000 high-quality transverse component broadband displacement seismograms collected from the Incorporated Research Institutions for Seismology (IRIS), the Canadian National Seismic Network (CNSN), as well as data from EarthScope seismic stations, and from the Canadian Northwest Experiment (CANOE) temporary broadband array deployment. This dataset densely samples several regions in our study area and significantly improves the sampling for this area compared to previous precursor studies. Data with common central SS bouncepoints are stacked to enhance precursory phases. Solution discontinuity structure depends on a number of factors, including dominant seismic period, crustal correction, signal-to-noise ratio threshold, and tomography model used for mantle heterogeneity correction. We exclude precursor data predicted to interfere with other seismic phases, such as topside reflections (e.g., s670sS), which have been demonstrated to contaminate final stacks. Solution transition zone thickness is at least 20 km thicker than global average estimates of 242 km along the northwestern portion of the South American subduction complex (Peru, Ecuador, and Columbia); this thickening extends 1000-1500 km to the east beneath the continent, but does not appear to continue south of -20° latitude along the convergent margin. A minimum of 10 km of thickening is imaged to the west of the Scotia

  15. Seismicity of the Earth 1900-2013, seismotectonics of South America (Nazca Plate Region) (United States)

    Hayes, Gavin P.; Smoczyk, Gregory M.; Benz, Harley M.; Furlong, Kevin P.; Villaseñor, Antonio


    The South American arc extends over 7,000 kilometers (km), from the Chilean margin triple junction offshore of southern Chile, to its intersection with the Panama fracture zone, offshore of the southern coast of Panama in Central America. It marks the plate boundary between the subducting Nazca plate and the South America plate, where the oceanic crust and lithosphere of the Nazca plate begin their descent into the mantle beneath South America. The convergence associated with this subduction process is responsible for the uplift of the Andes Mountains, and for the active volcanic chain present along much of this deformation front. Relative to a fixed South America plate, the Nazca plate moves slightly north of eastwards at a rate varying from approximately 80 millimeters/year (mm/yr) in the south, to approximately 65 mm/yr in the north. Although the rate of subduction varies little along the entire arc, there are complex changes in the geologic processes along the subduction zone that dramatically influence volcanic activity, crustal deformation, earthquake generation and occurrence all along the western edge of South America.

  16. Pn anisotropic tomography and mantle dynamics beneath China (United States)

    Zhou, Zhigang; Lei, Jianshe


    We present a new high-resolution Pn anisotropic tomographic model of the uppermost mantle beneath China inferred from 52,061 Pn arrival-time data manually picked from seismograms recorded at provincial seismic stations in China and temporary stations in Tibet and the Tienshan orogenic belt. Significant features well correlated with surface geology are revealed and provide new insights into the deep dynamics beneath China. Prominent high Pn velocities are visible under the stable cratonic blocks (e.g., the Tarim, Junngar, and Sichuan basins, and the Ordos block), whereas remarkable low Pn velocities are observed in the tectonically active areas (e.g., Pamir, the Tienshan orogenic belt, central Tibet and the Qilian fold belt). A distinct N-S trending low Pn velocity zone around 86°E is revealed under the rift running from the Himalayan block through the Lhasa block to the Qiangtang block, which indicates the hot material upwelling due to the breaking-off of the subducting Indian slab. Two N-S trending low Pn velocity belts with an approximate N-S Pn fast direction along the faults around the Chuan-Dian diamond block suggest that these faults may serve as channels of mantle flow from Tibet. The fast Pn direction changes from N-S in the north across 27°N to E-W in the south, which may reflect different types of mantle deformation. The anisotropy in the south could be caused by the asthenospheric flow resulted from the eastward subduction of the Indian plate down to the mantle transition zone beneath the Burma arc. Across the Talas-Fergana fault in the Tienshan orogenic belt, an obvious difference in velocity and anisotropy is revealed. To the west, high Pn velocities and an arc-shaped fast Pn direction are observed, implying the Indo-Asian collision, whereas to the east low Pn velocities and a range-parallel Pn fast direction are imaged, reflecting the northward underthrusting of the Tarim lithosphere and the southward underthrusting of the Kazakh lithosphere. In

  17. a New Animation of Subduction Processes for Undergraduates (United States)

    Stern, R. J.; Lieu, W. K.; Mantey, A.; Ward, A.; Todd, F.; Farrar, E.; Sean, M.; Windler, J.


    The subduction of oceanic lithosphere beneath convergent plate margins is a fundamental plate tectonic concept and an important Earth process. It is responsible for some of Earth's most dangerous natural hazards including earthquakes and volcanic eruptions but also produced the continental crust and important mineral deposits. A range of geoscientific efforts including NSF MARGINS and GeoPRISMS initiatives have advanced our understanding of subduction zone processes. In spite the importance of subduction zones and our advancing understanding of how these function, there are few animations that clearly explain the subduction process to non-expert audiences. This deficiency reflects the disparate expertises between geoscientists who know the science but have weak animation skills and digital artists and animators who have strong skills in showing objects in motion but are not experts in natural processes like plate tectonics. This transdisciplinary gap can and should be bridged. With a small grant from NSF (DUE-1444954) we set about to generate a realistic subduction zone animation aimed at the university undergraduate audience by first working within our university to rough out a draft animation and then contract a professional to use this to construct the final version. UTD Geosciences faculty (Stern) and graduate student (Lieu) teamed up with faculty from UTD School of Arts, Technology, and Emerging Communication (ATEC)(Farrar, Fechter, and McComber) to identify and recruit talented ATEC undergraduate students (Mantey, Ward) to work on the project. Geoscientists assembled a storyboard and met weekly with ATEC undergraduates to generate a first draft of the animation, which guided development of an accompanying narrative. The draft animation with voice-over was then handed off to professional animator Windler (Archistration CG) to generate the final animation. We plan to show both the student-generated draft version and the final animation during our presentation

  18. Structural and stratigraphic controls on the origin and tectonic history of a subducted continental margin, Oman (United States)

    Warren, C. J.; Miller, J. McL.


    Eclogites and blueschists exposed in Saih Hatat, Oman, record the subduction and exhumation of continental crustal material beneath the Cretaceous Semail Ophiolite during ophiolite obduction. The eclogite-bearing lower plate, originally part of Oman's distal continental margin, is exposed in two tectonic windows through the less metamorphosed upper plate by a previously mapped low angle, high strain, décollement structure. A major tectonic break, currently poorly exposed, records the juxtaposition of the highest pressure eclogites and garnet blueschists against lower pressure epidote-blueschists. The subsequent exhumation of the entire lower plate to mid crustal levels is marked by a pervasive shearing event associated with a regional greenschist facies overprint. The décollement truncates structures and the metamorphic field gradient in the lower plate, but does not significantly truncate structures or stratigraphy in the upper plate. It is not responsible for the exhumation of the high pressure rocks to mid-crustal levels. Most of the displacement across this structure was accommodated during continuing convergence after the subduction system had ceased to be active, and post ophiolite emplacement onto the platform carbonate sequences. A revised tectonic model is presented which accounts for the structural, geochronological and metamorphic observations.

  19. Trans-Alaska Crustal Transect and continental evolution involving subduction underplating and synchronous foreland thrusting (United States)

    Fuis, G.S.; Moore, T.E.; Plafker, G.; Brocher, T.M.; Fisher, M.A.; Mooney, W.D.; Nokleberg, W.J.; Page, R.A.; Beaudoin, B.C.; Christensen, N.I.; Levander, A.R.; Lutter, W.J.; Saltus, R.W.; Ruppert, N.A.


    We investigate the crustal structure and tectonic evolution of the North American continent in Alaska, where the continent has grown through magmatism, accretion, and tectonic underplating. In the 1980s and early 1990s, we conducted a geological and geophysical investigation, known as the Trans-Alaska Crustal Transect (TACT), along a 1350-km-long corridor from the Aleutian Trench to the Arctic coast. The most distinctive crustal structures and the deepest Moho along the transect are located near the Pacific and Arctic margins. Near the Pacific margin, we infer a stack of tectonically underplated oceanic layers interpreted as remnants of the extinct Kula (or Resurrection) plate. Continental Moho just north of this underplated stack is more than 55 km deep. Near the Arctic margin, the Brooks Range is underlain by large-scale duplex structures that overlie a tectonic wedge of North Slope crust and mantle. There, the Moho has been depressed to nearly 50 km depth. In contrast, the Moho of central Alaska is on average 32 km deep. In the Paleogene, tectonic underplating of Kula (or Resurrection) plate fragments overlapped in time with duplexing in the Brooks Range. Possible tectonic models linking these two regions include flat-slab subduction and an orogenic-float model. In the Neogene, the tectonics of the accreting Yakutat terrane have differed across a newly interpreted tear in the subducting Pacific oceanic lithosphere. East of the tear, Pacific oceanic lithosphere subducts steeply and alone beneath the Wrangell volcanoes, because the overlying Yakutat terrane has been left behind as underplated rocks beneath the rising St. Elias Range, in the coastal region. West of the tear, the Yakutat terrane and Pacific oceanic lithosphere subduct together at a gentle angle, and this thickened package inhibits volcanism. ?? 2008 The Geological Society of America.

  20. Shear wave reflectivity imaging of the Nazca-South America subduction zone: Stagnant slab in the mantle transition zone? (United States)

    Contenti, Sean; Gu, Yu Jeffrey; Ökeler, Ahmet; Sacchi, Mauricio D.


    In this study we utilize over 5000 SS waveforms to investigate the high-resolution mantle reflectivity structure down to 1200 km beneath the South American convergent margin. Our results indicate that the dynamics of the Nazca subduction are more complex than previously suggested. The 410- and 660-km seismic discontinuities beneath the Pacific Ocean and Amazonian Shield exhibit limited lateral depth variations, but their depths vary substantially in the vicinity of the subducting Nazca plate. The reflection amplitude of the 410-km discontinuity is greatly diminished in a ˜1300-km wide region in the back-arc of the subducting plate, which is likely associated with a compositional heterogeneity on top of the upper mantle transition zone. The underlying 660-km discontinuity is strongly depressed, showing localized depth and amplitude variations both within and to the east of the Wadati-Benioff zone. The width of this anomalous zone (˜1000 km) far exceeds that of the high-velocity slab structure and suggesting significant slab deformation within the transition zone. The shape of the 660-km discontinuity and the presence of lower mantle reflectivity imply both stagnation and penetration are possible as the descending Nazca slab impinges upon the base of the upper mantle.

  1. Reconciling evidence for Tethyan intra-oceanic subduction and a two-stage collision between India and Eurasia (United States)

    Gibbons, Ana D.; Zahirovic, Sabin; Dietmar Müller, R.; Whittaker, Joanne M.; Yatheesh, Vadakkeyakath


    We present a plate tectonic model for the India-Eurasia collision that includes a time-dependent network of evolving plate boundaries with synthetic plates constructed for now-subducted Tethyan ocean floor, including back-arc basins that formed on the southern Eurasian margin. Southern Eurasia and Southeast Asia are riddled with dismembered oceanic arcs indicating long-lived intra-oceanic subduction. This intra-oceanic subduction may have extended further west into the India-Eurasia convergence zone in the NeoTethys, which was consumed during Greater India's northward trajectory towards Eurasia from the Early Cretaceous. Fragments of obducted oceanic crust within the Himalayan Yarlung-Tsangpo Suture Zone, between India and Eurasia, cluster around two age groups, the Late Jurassic and mid Cretaceous (Barremian-Aptian). The adakitic, boninitic and MORB-affinities of the various ophiolites along strike suggest that there was at least one generation of intra-oceanic subduction, whose plate boundary configuration remains uncertain, though it is best preserved in the Kohistan-Ladakh Arc. Paleomagnetic and magmatic characterisation studies from the ophiolites suggest that the intra-oceanic arc was as far south as the equator during the Early Cretaceous before subduction resumed further north beneath the southern Eurasian margin (Lhasa terrane) to consume the back-arc basin. During ~80-65 Ma, a hiatus in subduction-related magmatism along the southern Lhasa terrane may indicate the approach of the back-arc spreading centre towards the active Andean-style margin. We incorporate these observations into a regional, self-consistent plate tectonic model for the dispersal of East Gondwana, simultaneously considering geophysical data and seafloor spreading histories from abyssal plains offshore West Australia and East Antarctica, including Jurassic seafloor age data from offshore NW Australia that limits northern Greater India to a maximum of ~1000 km. This Greater India collided

  2. Dynamics of intraoceanic subduction initiation : 1. Oceanic detachment fault inversion and the formation of supra-subduction zone ophiolites

    NARCIS (Netherlands)

    Maffione, Marco; Thieulot, Cedric; van Hinsbergen, Douwe J.J.; Morris, Antony; Plümper, Oliver; Spakman, Wim


    Subduction initiation is a critical link in the plate tectonic cycle. Intraoceanic subduction zones can form along transform faults and fracture zones, but how subduction nucleates parallel to mid-ocean ridges, as in e.g., the Neotethys Ocean during the Jurassic, remains a matter of debate. In recen

  3. Dynamics of intraoceanic subduction initiation : 1. Oceanic detachment fault inversion and the formation of supra-subduction zone ophiolites

    NARCIS (Netherlands)

    Maffione, Marco; Thieulot, Cedric|info:eu-repo/dai/nl/270177493; van Hinsbergen, Douwe J.J.; Morris, Antony; Plümper, Oliver|info:eu-repo/dai/nl/37155960X; Spakman, Wim|info:eu-repo/dai/nl/074103164

    Subduction initiation is a critical link in the plate tectonic cycle. Intraoceanic subduction zones can form along transform faults and fracture zones, but how subduction nucleates parallel to mid-ocean ridges, as in e.g., the Neotethys Ocean during the Jurassic, remains a matter of debate. In

  4. Three-dimensional electrical resistivity image of the South-Central Chilean subduction zone (United States)

    Kapinos, Gerhard; Montahaei, Mansoureh; Meqbel, Naser; Brasse, Heinrich


    Based on isotropic 3-D inversion, we re-interpret long-period magnetotelluric data collected across the geotectonic structures of the South-Central Chilean continental margin at latitudes 38°-41°S and summarize results of long-period magnetotelluric (MT) investigations performed between 2000 and 2005. The new 3-D conductivity image of the South-Central Chilean subduction zone basically confirms former 2-D inversion models along three profiles and complete the previous results. The models show good electrical conductors in the tip of the continental crustal beneath the Pacific Ocean, the frequently observed forearc conductor at mid-crustal levels, a highly-conductive zone at similar levels slightly offset from the volcanic arc and a - not well-resolved - conductor in the Argentinian backarc. The subducted Nazca Plate generally appears as a resistive but discontinuous feature. Unlike before, we are now able to resolve upper crustal conductors (interpreted as magma reservoirs) beneath active Lonquimay, Villarrica, and Llaima volcanoes which were obscured in 2-D inversion. Data fit is rather satisfactory but not perfect; we attribute this to large-scale crustal anisotropy particularly beneath the Coastal Cordillera, which we cannot include into our solution for the time being.

  5. Along-strike structure of the Costa Rican convergent margin from seismic a refraction/reflection survey: Evidence for underplating beneath the inner forearc (United States)

    St. Clair, J.; Holbrook, W. S.; Van Avendonk, H. J. A.; Lizarralde, D.


    The convergent margin offshore Costa Rica shows evidence of subsidence due to subduction erosion along the outer forearc and relatively high rates of uplift (˜3-6 mm/yr) along the coast. Recently erupted arc lavas exhibit a low 10Be signal, suggesting that although nearly the entire package of incoming sediments enters the subduction zone, very little of that material is carried directly with the downgoing Cocos plate to the magma generating depths of the mantle wedge. One mechanism that would explain both the low 10Be and the coastal uplift is the underplating of sediments, tectonically eroded material, and seamounts beneath the inner forearc. We present results of a 320 km long, trench-parallel seismic reflection and refraction study of the Costa Rican forearc. The primary observations are (1) margin perpendicular faulting of the basement, (2) thickening of the Cocos plate to the northwest, and (3) two weak bands of reflections in the multichannel seismic (MCS) reflection image with travel times similar to the top of the subducting Cocos plate. The modeled depths to these reflections are consistent with an ˜40 km long, 1-3 km thick region of underplated material ˜15 km beneath some of the highest observed coastal uplift rates in Costa Rica.

  6. Subduction of fore-arc crust beneath an intra-oceanic arc: The high-P Cuaba mafic gneisess and amphibolites of the Rio San Juan Complex, Dominican Republic (United States)

    Escuder-Viruete, Javier; Castillo-Carrión, Mercedes


    The Rio San Juan metamorphic complex (RSJC) exposes a segment of a high-P accretionary prism, built during Late Cretaceous subduction below the intra-oceanic Caribbean island-arc. In this paper we present new detailed maps, tectonostratigraphy, large-scale structure, mineral chemistry, in situ trace element composition of clinopyroxene (Cpx), and bulk rock geochemical data for representative garnet-free peridotites and mafic metaigneous rocks of the Cuaba and Helechal tectonometamorphic units of the southern RSJC. The Cuaba subcomplex is composed of upper foliated amphibolites and lower garnet amphibolites, retrograded (coronitic) eclogites, and heterogeneous metagabbros metamorphosed to upper amphibolite and eclogite-facies conditions. The lenticular bodies of associated peridotites are Cpx-poor harzburgites. The underlying Helechal subcomplex is composed of Cpx-poor harzburgites, Cpx-rich harzbugites, lherzolites and rare dunites. The presented data allow us to argue that the Cuaba subcomplex: (a) represents tectonically deformed and metamorphosed crust of the Caribbean island-arc, (b) contains fragments of its supra-subduction zone mantle, and (c) includes different geochemical groups of mafic protoliths generated by varying melting degrees of diverse mantle sources. These geochemical groups include mid-Ti tholeiites (N-MORB), normal IAT and calc-alkaline rocks, low-Ti IAT, metacumulates of boninitic affinity, and HREE-depleted IAT, that collectively record a multi-stage magmatic evolution for the Caribbean island-arc, prior to the Late Cretaceous high-P metamorphism. Further, these mafic protoliths present comparable geochemical features to mafic igneous rocks of the Puerca Gorda Schists, Cacheal and Puerto Plata complexes, all of them related to the Caribbean island-arc. These relations suggest that the southern RSJC complex represents part of the subducted fore-arc of the Caribbean island-arc, which experienced initial subduction, underplating below the arc

  7. Subduction-controlled mantle flow and seismic anisotropy in South America (United States)

    Hu, Jiashun; Faccenda, Manuele; Liu, Lijun


    Seismic anisotropy records both the past and present deformation inside the solid Earth. In the mantle, seismic anisotropy is mainly attributed to the lattice preferred orientation (LPO) of mineral fabrics, caused by the shear deformation due to mantle flow. However, contributions from different tectonic processes remain debated, and a single geodynamic model that simultaneously explains the observed mantle structures and various seismic anisotropy measurements is still lacking. Here, we present a model for the Cenozoic subduction history in South America using a geodynamic simulation constrained by both past plate reconstructions and present mantle seismic structures. With a recently developed software package DRexS, we further predict azimuthal seismic anisotropy at different depths and generate synthetic shear wave splitting (SWS) measurements using the resulting mantle flow. Our results provide a good match to both depth-dependent surface wave anisotropy and various land-based SWS records. We find that the dominant control on seismic anisotropy in South America comes from subduction-induced mantle flow, where anisotropy below the subducting Nazca Plate aligns with plate-motion-induced Couette flow and that below the overriding South American Plate follows slab-induced Poiseuille flow. This large-scale mantle flow can be diverted by secondary slabs, such as that below the Antilles subduction zone. In contrast, the contribution to SWS from fossil continental anisotropy and from the effects due to mantle flow modulation by lithosphere thickness variation are minor. Upper-mantle fast seismic anomalies beneath the southern Atlantic margin should have close-to-neutral buoyancy in order to satisfy the observed seismic anisotropy.

  8. A slow slip event along the northern Ecuadorian subduction zone (United States)

    Nocquet, J.; Mothes, P. A.; Vallee, M.; Regnier, M.


    Rapid subduction of the Nazca plate beneath the Ecuador-Colombia margin (~58 mm/yr) has produced one of the largest megathrust earthquake sequence during the last century. The 500-km-long rupture zone of the 1906 (Mw = 8.8) event was partially reactivated by three thrust events; in 1942 (Mw = 7.8), 1958 (Mw = 7.7), and 1979 (Mw = 8.2), whose rupture zones abut one another. New continuously-recording GPS stations installed along the Ecuadorian coast, together with campaign sites observed since 1994 indicate that the current velocities results from the superimposition of a NNE motion the crustal North Andean Block occurring at ~8 mm/yr in Ecuador and the elastic deformation involved by partial locking of the subduction interface. We first estimate the long-term kinematics of the North Andean block in a joint inversion including GPS data, earthquake slip vectors and quaternary slip rates on major faults. The inversion provides a Euler pole located at long. -107.8°E, lat. 36.2°N, 0.091°/Ma and indicates little internal deformation of the North Andean Block (wrms=1.3 mm/yr). Residual velocities with respect to the North Andean Block are then modeled in terms of elastic locking along the subduction interface. Models indicate that the subduction interface is partially locked (50%) up to a depth of 40 km. Finally, we report a transient event that occurred in early 2008 near the Ecuador-Colombia border. The magnitude of the trenchward displacement is 13 mm, with uplift of similar magnitude. While the total duration of the slip event is 5 months, the horizontal time series clearly shows two sub-phases of slip with approximatively similar magnitud of displacement and duration, separated by 6 weeks. Modelling indicates that the slip occurs at 40 km depth, immediately below downdip extension of the locked zone.

  9. Geometry and spatial variations of seismic reflection intensity of the upper surface of the Philippine Sea plate off the Boso Peninsula, Japan (United States)

    Kono, Akihiro; Sato, Toshinori; Shinohara, Masanao; Mochizuki, Kimihiro; Yamada, Tomoaki; Uehira, Kenji; Shinbo, Takashi; Machida, Yuya; Hino, Ryota; Azuma, Ryousuke


    In the region off the Boso Peninsula, Japan, the Pacific plate is subducting westward beneath both the Honshu island arc and Philippine Sea plate, while the Philippine Sea plate is subducting northwestward beneath the Honshu island arc. These complex tectonic interactions have caused numerous seismic events occurred in the past. To better understand these seismic events, it is important to determine the geometry of the plate boundary, in particular the upper surface of the Philippine Sea plate. We conducted an active-source seismic refraction survey in July and August 2009 from which we obtained a 2-D P-wave velocity structure model along a 216-km profile. We used the velocity model and previously published data that indicate a P-wave velocity of 5.0 km/s for the upper surface of the subducting Philippine Sea plate to delineate its boundary with the overriding Honshu island arc. Our isodepth contours of the upper surface of the Philippine Sea plate show that its dip is shallow at depths of 10 to 15 km, far off the Boso Peninsula. This shallow dip may be a result of interference from the Pacific plate slab, which is subducting westward under the Philippine Sea plate. Within our survey data, we recognized numerous seismic reflections of variable intensity, some of which came from the upper surface of the Philippine Sea plate. An area of high seismic reflection intensity corresponds with the main slip area of the Boso slow slip events. Our modeling indicates that those reflections can be explained by an inhomogeneous layer close to the upper surface of the Philippine Sea plate.

  10. From transpressional to transtensional tectonics in Northern Central America controlled by Cocos - Caribbean subduction coupling change (United States)

    Alonso-Henar, Jorge; Alvarez-Gomez, José Antonio; Jesús Martinez-Diaz, José


    The Central American Volcanic Arc (CAVA) is located at the western margin of the Caribbean plate, over the Chortís Block, spanning from Guatemala to Costa Rica. The CAVA is associated to the subduction of the Cocos plate under the Caribbean plate at the Middle America Trench. Our study is focused in the Salvadorian CAVA segment, which is tectonically characterized by the presence of the El Salvador Fault Zone (ESFZ), part of the western boundary of a major block forming the Caribbean plate (the Chortis Block). The structural evolution of the western boundary of the Chortis Block, particularly in the CAVA crossing El Salvador remains unknown. We have done a kinematic analysis from seismic and fault slip data and combined our results with a review of regional previous studies. This approach allowed us to constrain the tectonic evolution and the forces that control the deformation in northern Central America. Along the active volcanic arc we identified active transtensional deformation. On the other hand, we have identified two deformation phases in the back arc region: A first one of transpressional wrenching close to simple shearing (Miocene); and a second one characterized by almost E-W extension. Our results reveal a change from transpressional to transtensional shearing coeval with a migration of the volcanism towards the trench in Late Miocene times. This strain change could be related with a coupled to decoupled transition on the Cocos - Caribbean subduction interface, which could be related to a slab roll-back of the Cocos Plate beneath the Chortis Block. The combination of different degrees of coupling on the subduction interface, together with a constant relative eastward drift of the Caribbean Plate, control the deformation style along the western boundary of the Chortis Block.

  11. Subduction-to-Strike-Slip-Transition in the Southeastern Caribbean Imaged Using Deeply-Penetrating Seismic Reflection Lines and Tomography (United States)

    Alvarez, T.; Vargas, C. A.; Mann, P.; Latchman, J.


    The subduction-to-strike-slip transition (SSST) zone of the southeastern Caribbean is one of thirty identified locations where active subduction and strike-slip tectonic styles transition along strongly curved and seismogenic plate boundaries. This SSST zone provides a field laboratory for understanding how sedimentary basins, faults, basement areas and subducted slabs change from an area of dominantly westward-directed subduction beneath the Lesser Antilles arc to an area of dominantly east-west strike-slip faulting along northern South America. We use two geophysical data types to image the lithosphere and study the relationships between lithospheric scale deformation and basin scale response to the transitional tectonic configuration. Interpretation of deeply-penetrating seismic reflection lines recorded down to 16 seconds two-way time, or depths of about 18 km, is combined with tomographic slices of the upper mantle and lower crust which were constructed using the coda method on ~ 700 earthquakes in the depth range of 70-250 km. Results from the tomographic study are compared with nine seismogenic zones in the southeast Caribbean SSST zone which are defined based on the depth, and focal mechanism of earthquake events. These zones include: (1) the Paria slab tear region; (2) Caribbean/South American strike-slip zone; (3) Hinge area separating continental margin in Trinidad from Tobago forearc basin; (4) Central Range -strike-slip fault zone, onshore Trinidad; (5) Underthrust zone of South American beneath southern onshore and offshore eastern Trinidad, including the prolific hydrocarbon-bearing Columbus Basin; (6) Venezuela foreland and fold-thrust belt; (7) flexural bulge area of oceanic crust located east of Barbados accretionary prism (BAP); (8) Subducted slab beneath the stabilized and supracomplex zones of the BAP; (9) Inner accretionary prism of the BAP. Primary controls on the seismogenic character of each curving tectonic belt include the strike of the

  12. Terrane Stations: intra-oceanic subduction assembled western North America (United States)

    Sigloch, K.; Mihalynuk, M. G.


    nucleated, and assembled with exotic fragments - hence our designation of intra-oceanic trenches as "terrane stations". The archipelago was gradually overridden by North America on its westward journey away from Pangaea. Episodes of crustal accretion and Cordilleran mountain building (Sevier, Canadian Rocky Mountains, Laramide) occurred when the continental margin collided with various parts of the archipelago. Into this accretion sequence, we can fit today's interior Alaska, the Franciscan subduction complex, the Intermontane and Insular superterranes of British Columbia, and terranes of the Pacific Northwest, such as Siletzia. Geodynamically, our scenario is simpler than previous models in that it is consistent with purely vertical slab sinking. Sinking rates can be quantified from slab and plate geometries, and range between 9 and 12 mm/yr. References: S. P. Grand, Mantle shear structure beneath the Americas and surrounding oceans, Journal of Geophysical Research 99, 11,591-11,621 (1994). K. Sigloch, N. McQuarrie, G. Nolet, Two-stage subduction history under North America inferred from multiple-frequency tomography, Nature Geoscience 1, 458-462 (2008).

  13. Mantle plumes in the vicinity of subduction zones (United States)

    Mériaux, C. A.; Mériaux, A.-S.; Schellart, W. P.; Duarte, J. C.; Duarte, S. S.; Chen, Z.


    We present three-dimensional deep-mantle laboratory models of a compositional plume within the vicinity of a buoyancy-driven subducting plate with a fixed trailing edge. We modelled front plumes (in the mantle wedge), rear plumes (beneath the subducting plate) and side plumes with slab/plume systems of buoyancy flux ratio spanning a range from 2 to 100 that overlaps the ratios in nature of 0.2-100. This study shows that 1) rising side and front plumes can be dragged over thousands of kilometres into the mantle wedge, 2) flattening of rear plumes in the trench-normal direction can be initiated 700 km away from the trench, and a plume material layer of lesser density and viscosity can ultimately almost entirely underlay a retreating slab after slab/plume impact, 3) while side and rear plumes are not tilted until they reach ∼600 km depth, front plumes can be tilted at increasing depths as their plume buoyancy is lessened, and rise at a slower rate when subjected to a slab-induced downwelling, 4) rear plumes whose buoyancy flux is close to that of a slab, can retard subduction until the slab is 600 km long, and 5) slab-plume interaction can lead to a diversity of spatial plume material distributions into the mantle wedge. We discuss natural slab/plume systems of the Cascadia/Bowie-Cobb, and Nazca/San Felix-Juan Fernandez systems on the basis of our experiments and each geodynamic context and assess the influence of slab downwelling at depths for the starting plumes of Java, Coral Sea and East Solomon. Overall, this study shows how slab/plume interactions can result in a variety of geological, geophysical and geochemical signatures.

  14. Fossil slabs attached to unsubducted fragments of the Farallon plate. (United States)

    Wang, Yun; Forsyth, Donald W; Rau, Christina J; Carriero, Nina; Schmandt, Brandon; Gaherty, James B; Savage, Brian


    As the Pacific-Farallon spreading center approached North America, the Farallon plate fragmented into a number of small plates. Some of the microplate fragments ceased subducting before the spreading center reached the trench. Most tectonic models have assumed that the subducting oceanic slab detached from these microplates close to the trench, but recent seismic tomography studies have revealed a high-velocity anomaly beneath Baja California that appears to be a fossil slab still attached to the Guadalupe and Magdalena microplates. Here, using surface wave tomography, we establish the lateral extent of this fossil slab and show that it is correlated with the distribution of high-Mg andesites thought to derive from partial melting of the subducted oceanic crust. We also reinterpret the high seismic velocity anomaly beneath the southern central valley of California as another fossil slab extending to a depth of 200 km or more that is attached to the former Monterey microplate. The existence of these fossil slabs may force a reexamination of models of the tectonic evolution of western North America over the last 30 My.

  15. Progressive enrichment of arc magmas caused by the subduction of seamounts under Nishinoshima volcano, Izu-Bonin Arc, Japan (United States)

    Sano, Takashi; Shirao, Motomaro; Tani, Kenichiro; Tsutsumi, Yukiyasu; Kiyokawa, Shoichi; Fujii, Toshitsugu


    The chemical composition of intraplate seamounts is distinct from normal seafloor material, meaning that the subduction of seamounts at a convergent margin can cause a change in the chemistry of the mantle wedge and associated arc magmas. Nishinoshima, a volcanic island in the Izu-Bonin Arc of Japan, has been erupting continuously over the past 2 years, providing an ideal opportunity to examine the effect of seamount subduction on the chemistry of arc magmas. Our research is based on the whole-rock geochemistry and the chemistry of minerals within lavas and air-fall scoria from Nishinoshima that were erupted before 1702, in 1973-1974, and in 2014. The mineral phases within the analyzed samples crystallized under hydrous conditions (H2O = 3-4 wt.%) at temperatures of 970 °C-990 °C in a shallow (3-6 km depth) magma chamber. Trace element data indicate that the recently erupted Nishinoshima volcanics are much less depleted in the high field strength elements (Nb, Ta, Zr, Hf) than other volcanics within the Izu-Bonin Arc. In addition, the level of enrichment in the Nishinoshima magmas has increased in recent years, probably due to the addition of material from HIMU-enriched (i.e., high Nb/Zr and Ta/Hf) seamounts on the Pacific Plate, which is being subducted westwards beneath the Philippine Sea Plate. This suggests that the chemistry of scoria from Nishinoshima volcano records the progressive addition of components derived from subducted seamounts.

  16. Incorporation of island-arc rocks into a Caribbean subduction channel: Geochemical constraints from eclogite boulders and greenschist rocks, Guajira region, Colombia (United States)

    Weber, M.; Cardona, A.; Altenberger, U.; Garcia-Casco, A.; Valencia, V.; Tobón, M.; Zapata, S.


    Characterization of the protoliths of a subduction-accretion complex can provide major insights into the dynamics of the subduction channel. Geochemistry of eclogites found as boulders in a Tertiary conglomerate from the Guajira Peninsula, Colombia, indicate that these rocks are mainly metamorphosed basalts. A negative Nb-anomaly and flat to enriched REE patterns suggest that the eclogite protoliths evolved in a subduction related tectonic setting, with island arc affinities. The geochemical characteristics are similar to low-grade greenschists from the nearby Etpana Formation, which is interpreted as part of a Cretaceous intra-oceanic arc. This further supports evidence that the deposition and metamorphism of these units record the ongoing Late Cretaceous continental subduction of the South American margin beneath the advancing Caribbean arc. This gave way to an arc-continent collision between the Caribbean and the South American plates. Arc-rocks were incorporated into the subduction channel and the accretionary wedge, either though influx of tectonically eroded arc material (subduction erosion) or incorporation into the accretionary wedge during arc-continent collision.

  17. The role of the Denali fault, slab geometry, and rheology in the deformation of the overriding plate in Alaska (United States)

    Jadamec, M.; Billen, M. I.; Roeske, S.


    Deformation of the North American plate in southern Alaska is characterized by uplift along the subducting plate boundary as well as a region of localized uplift in the Alaskan Range more than 500 km from the plate boundary. This interior plate deformation is spatially coincident with both the Denali Fault zone and the shallow slab in the subsurface. Whether the Denali Fault zone plays a role in localizing uplift in this region is debated and the affect of the change in slab dip on deformation of the overriding plate is also not well understood. We present 3D regional geodynamic models of the North American-Pacific plate boundary corner in southern Alaska that include the Denali fault zone modeled as a lithospheric-scale shear zone. The models include the subducting plate, overriding plate, and underlying mantle to 1500 km depth. The geometry of the subducting plate, defined from Wadati-Benioff zone seismicity and tomography, varies along the length of the Aleutian trench forming a flat slab beneath south central Alaska. The models are run with the finite-element code CitcomCU, modified to include a composite rheology (both Newtonian and non-Newtonian viscosity, as well as a depth-dependent yield stress). The models suggest the flat slab geometry beneath south central Alaska controls several first order deformation features in the overriding plate, including subsidence in the Cook Inlet Basin. To reproduce the localized uplift observed in the central Alaska Range, the models require a non-Newtonian rheology and a localized lithospheric weak zone representative of the Denali Fault, as well as the shallow slab geometry. Models with only a Newtonian viscosity do not reproduce the observed uplift, even when a localized lithospheric weak zone representative of the Denali Fault is included, indicating the importance of including the non-Newtonian mantle rheology for accurately modeling surface plate deformation.

  18. Lithospheric expression of cenozoic subduction, mesozoic rifting and the Precambrian Shield in Venezuela (United States)

    Masy, Jeniffer; Niu, Fenglin; Levander, Alan; Schmitz, Michael


    We have combined surface wave tomography with Ps and Sp receiver-function images based on common-conversion-point (CCP) stacking to study the upper mantle velocity structure, particularly the lithosphere-asthenosphere boundary (LAB), beneath eastern and central Venezuela. Rayleigh phase velocities in the frequency range of 0.01-0.05 Hz (20-100 s in period) were measured using the two-plane-wave method and finite-frequency kernels, and then inverted on a 0.5° × 0.5° grid. The phase velocity dispersion data at grid points were inverted for 1D shear velocity profiles using initial crust-mantle velocity models constructed from previous studies. The 3D velocity model and receiver-function images were interpreted jointly to determine the depth of the LAB and other upper mantle features. The tomographic images revealed two high velocity anomalies extending to more than ∼200 km depth. One corresponds to the top of the subducting Atlantic plate beneath the Serrania del Interior. The other anomaly is a highly localized feature beneath the Maturin Basin. The LAB depth varies significantly in the study region: It is located at ∼110 km depth beneath the Guayana Shield, and reaches ∼130 km at the northern edge of the Maturin Basin, which might be related to the downward flexural bending due to thrust loading of the Caribbean plate and pull from the subducting Atlantic plate. Immediately to the west, the lithosphere is thin (∼50-60 km) along the NE-SW trending Espino Graben from the Cariaco basin to the Orinoco River at the northern edge of the craton. The LAB in this region is the top of a pronounced low velocity zone. Westward, the lithosphere deepens to ∼80 km depth beneath the Barinas Apure Basin, and to ∼90 km beneath the Neogene Merida Andes and Maracaibo block. Both upper mantle velocity structure and lithosphere thickness correlate well with surface geology and are consistent with northern South American tectonics.

  19. Initial subduction of the Paleo-Pacific Oceanic plate in NE China: Constraints from whole-rock geochemistry and zircon U-Pb and Lu-Hf isotopes of the Khanka Lake granitoids (United States)

    Liu, Kai; Zhang, Jinjiang; Wilde, Simon A.; Zhou, Jianbo; Wang, Meng; Ge, Maohui; Wang, Jiamin; Ling, Yiyun


    Northeast China is located in the eastern part of the Central Asian Orogenic Belt (CAOB) and was influenced by Paleo-Pacific subduction during the Mesozoic. Abundant granitoids from the late Paleozoic to early Mesozoic in NE China record this process, including the Khanka Lake granitoids, which resulted in extensive growth of continental crust in the area. However, the question of how and when the Paleo-Pacific tectonic system began to affect NE China is still highly controversial. The Khanka Lake granitoids can be subdivided into two main components based on their geochemical characteristics, namely granodiorite and syenogranite. The granodiorite has a U-Pb age of 249 Ma and is adakite-like (enriched in LREE and LILEs with high Mg#, Sr, La/Yb, Sr/Y and Na2O/K2O), with zircon εHf(t) values of - 0.65 to 1.61, produced by the magma mixing between melting of the lower continental crust and juvenile basaltic magma. The syenogranite has zircon U-Pb ages of 209 to 199 Ma and geochemical features of highly fractionated I-type granites, with high SiO2, total alkalis and low Mg (and Mg#), Fe, Cr and Ni, and positive zircon εHf(t) of 1.72 to 5.12, indicating an origin from remelting of juvenile crust. The granitoids were intruded by felsic veins between 195 and 184 Ma with positive zircon εHf(t) from 0.57 to 5.32. The εHf(t) values of the granitoids become more positive as the zircon U-Pb ages become younger, suggesting continuous melting of juvenile crust during subduction. It is concluded that the Khanka Lake granitoids record the early stage of subduction of the Paleo-Pacific Oceanic plate, which commenced at least ca. 250 Ma ago.

  20. Relationships among temperature, dehydration of the subducting Philippine Sea plate, and the occurrence of a megathrust earthquake, low-frequency earthquakes, and a slow slip event in the Tokai district, central Japan (United States)

    Suenaga, Nobuaki; Yoshioka, Shoichi; Matsumoto, Takumi


    In this study, we performed two-dimensional numerical simulations of temperature distribution associated with subduction of the Philippine Sea (PHS) plate, and estimated the dehydration process of hydrous mid-ocean-ridge basalt (MORB) in the oceanic crust in the Tokai district, central Japan. We discuss the relationship among temperature, dehydration, and a seismogenic zone of an expected megathrust Tokai earthquake, and the occurrence of a slow slip event (SSE) and deep low-frequency earthquakes (LFEs). The depth range of the seismogenic zone for the megathrust earthquake was estimated to be 8-22 km, narrowing toward the east. The most suitable value of the pore pressure ratio on the plate interface was estimated to be 0.97, indicating minimal frictional heating there. The temperatures of the upper surface of the PHS plate, where the Tokai SSE occurred from 2000 to 2005, were estimated to be 350-450 °C. Therefore, the Tokai SSE is considered to have occurred at the transition zone between unstable and stable sliding. In addition, hydrous MORB was transformed from blueschist into greenschist near the region where the Tokai SSE occurred. The temperatures of the upper surface of the PHS plate, where LFEs occur, were estimated to be 450-500 °C. Therefore, LFEs are considered to occur near the down-dip limit of the transition zone. The amount of dehydration from the oceanic crust of the subducting PHS plate near the region where LFEs are distributed in a belt-like form decreases toward the east with deepening of the hypocenters of the LFEs. Thus, the mechanisms of generation of LFEs in the Tokai district might differ from those in southwest and central Japan where LFEs generally occur at depths between 27 and 35 km. In summary, we consider that the occurrence of LFEs is related to both temperature conditions and dehydration process. However, there is an exceptional area in the eastern part of the Tokai district where the occurrence of LFEs is restricted by

  1. Long term (since the late palaeogene) tectono-sedimentary evolution of the Lesser Antilles fore-arc at Marie-Galante Basin: a clue for geodynamical behavior at the subduction interfac (United States)

    Jean-Frederic, L.; DeMin, L.; Garrigou, J.; Münch, P.; Léticée, J. L.; Cornée, J. J.


    Oblique subduction of late cretaceous lithosphere of the Atlantic ocean beneath the thick (25km) crust of the Caribbean plate results in widespread deformation and vertical motions in the Lesser Antilles fore-arc. The present-day deformation includes a major transtensive left lateral fault system along the arc and several forearc transverse basins accommodating lengthening of the fore-arc northward. These deformations result from plate motion partitioning under increasing subduction obliquity from the Marie-Galante Basin (MGB) latitude (central Lesser Antilles) northward. Vertical motions in the fore-arc at a regional scale were interpreted as resulting from the effect of subducting ridges and reliefs. The present day uplift of the fore-arc islands acting since the late(?) Pleistocene is believed to attest for long wavelength bending of the plate under strongly coupled plate interface. Recent GPS data suggests a mostly uncoupled plate interface. To decipher between the models and to understand the long-term evolution of the Lesser Antilles forearc since the Late Palaeogene, we interpret high-resolution bathymetric and seismic data from the MGB, together with the onland geology of shallow water carbonate platforms. The tectonic pattern reveals both inherited and late Neogene structures (re)activated under multidirectional extensive tectonic. The sismo-stratigraphic interpretation of sedimentary deposit displays long-term drowning and flexing of the upper plate similar to that occurring under intensive tectonic erosion at the subduction interface. Several short term period of second order uplift can correlate with sweeping of subducting ridges or transient events at the plate interface. The evolution of the Lesser Antilles fore-arc since the Late Palaeogene is interpreted within the regional geodynamical evolution of the plate boundary following its last major reorganization: collision of the Bahamas Bank and inception of the Greater Antilles strike-slip fault zone.

  2. PLATE

    DEFF Research Database (Denmark)

    Kling, Joyce; Hjulmand, Lise-Lotte


    ’s level of English is sufficient for the increasing number of courses offered in English each semester. This paper addresses these concerns and describes a pilot project initiated in 2003 at CBS to gauge the overall English language proficiency of those teaching content courses in English. Through......Copenhagen Business School (CBS) finds itself needing to address the issue of English-medium instruction for its increasing number of foreign exchange and full degree students. With internationalisation as a main pillar of the institution’s agenda, there are concerns whether the teaching faculty...... the Project in Language Assessment for Teaching in English (PLATE) language professionals from CBS’s Language Center observe teachers and provide feedback using evaluation criteria from the Common European Framework for Reference (CEFR) supplemented by some additional criteria which take the LSP nature...

  3. PLATE

    DEFF Research Database (Denmark)

    Kling, Joyce; Hjulmand, Lise-Lotte


    Copenhagen Business School (CBS) finds itself needing to address the issue of English-medium instruction for its increasing number of foreign exchange and full degree students. With internationalisation as a main pillar of the institution’s agenda, there are concerns whether the teaching faculty......’s level of English is sufficient for the increasing number of courses offered in English each semester. This paper addresses these concerns and describes a pilot project initiated in 2003 at CBS to gauge the overall English language proficiency of those teaching content courses in English. Through...... the Project in Language Assessment for Teaching in English (PLATE) language professionals from CBS’s Language Center observe teachers and provide feedback using evaluation criteria from the Common European Framework for Reference (CEFR) supplemented by some additional criteria which take the LSP nature...

  4. Lithospheric Subduction on Earth and Venus? (United States)

    Sandwell, D. T.; Garcia, E.; Stegman, D. R.; Schubert, G.


    There are three mechanisms by which terrestrial planets can shed excess heat: conduction across a surface thermal boundary layer; advection of heat through volcanic pipes; and mobile plates/subduction. On the Earth about 30% is released by conduction and 70% by subduction. The dominant mode of heat transport on Venus is largely unknown. Plate flexure models rule out significant heat loss by conduction and the resurfacing from active volcanism is in discordance with a surface age of 600 Ma. There are 9000 km of trenches on Venus that may have been subduction sites but they do not appear active today and are only 25% of the length of the subduction zones on the Earth. Turcotte and others have proposed an episodic recycling model that has short bursts ( 150 Ma) of plate tectonic activity followed by long periods ( 450 Ma) of stagnant lid convection. This talk will review the arguments for and against subduction zones on Venus and discuss possible new satellite observations that could help resolve the subduction issue. Figure Caption. (a) Global mosaic of Magellan SAR imagery. (b) Zoom of area along the Artemis trench, which has similar topography and fracture patterns as the Aleutian subduction zone on Earth. Trench and outer rise lines were digitized from the matching topography image (not shown). The Magellan SAR imagery and topography, displayed on Google Earth, can be downloaded at

  5. The transition from strike slip to oblique subduction in southeastern Alaska from seismological studies (United States)

    Doser, Diane I.; Lomas, Rodolfo


    Body waveform modeling of 11 moderate to large earthquakes within southeastern Alaska has been incorporated with earthquake relocations and the results of previous seismicity studies to examine the transition from strike-slip to oblique subduction in southeastern Alaska. In the Sitka region of extreme southeastern Alaska, earthquakes indicate seismic slip is parallel to the direction of motion between North America and the Pacific plate. As the plate margin begins to bend to the west near Cross Sound and encounters the southeastern edge of the Yakutat Block, partitioning of seismic slip is evident both onshore and offshore. Although the largest earthquakes (magnitude>6.0) in this region have slip parallel to plate motion, most moderate sized events have slip vectors rotated clockwise from plate motion. Offshore, the 1973 Cross Sound sequence indicates that the southern end of the Transition zone is seismogenic, with the Pacific plate being thrust beneath the Yakutat block, while onshore, strike-slip faulting has occurred along the Fairweather, Border Ranges and Denali faults. In the St. Elias region, thrust faulting is occurring along and above the plate interface. Moderate sized events in the St. Elias show a mix of slip vector orientations. In the Pamplona zone slip vectors of offshore earthquakes and deformation directions determined onshore from GPS studies show a counter-clockwise rotation relative to plate motion, suggesting that a change in strain field occurs just west of the St. Elias region.

  6. Subduction zone and crustal dynamics of western Washington; a tectonic model for earthquake hazards evaluation (United States)

    Stanley, Dal; Villaseñor, Antonio; Benz, Harley


    The Cascadia subduction zone is extremely complex in the western Washington region, involving local deformation of the subducting Juan de Fuca plate and complicated block structures in the crust. It has been postulated that the Cascadia subduction zone could be the source for a large thrust earthquake, possibly as large as M9.0. Large intraplate earthquakes from within the subducting Juan de Fuca plate beneath the Puget Sound region have accounted for most of the energy release in this century and future such large earthquakes are expected. Added to these possible hazards is clear evidence for strong crustal deformation events in the Puget Sound region near faults such as the Seattle fault, which passes through the southern Seattle metropolitan area. In order to understand the nature of these individual earthquake sources and their possible interrelationship, we have conducted an extensive seismotectonic study of the region. We have employed P-wave velocity models developed using local earthquake tomography as a key tool in this research. Other information utilized includes geological, paleoseismic, gravity, magnetic, magnetotelluric, deformation, seismicity, focal mechanism and geodetic data. Neotectonic concepts were tested and augmented through use of anelastic (creep) deformation models based on thin-plate, finite-element techniques developed by Peter Bird, UCLA. These programs model anelastic strain rate, stress, and velocity fields for given rheological parameters, variable crust and lithosphere thicknesses, heat flow, and elevation. Known faults in western Washington and the main Cascadia subduction thrust were incorporated in the modeling process. Significant results from the velocity models include delineation of a previously studied arch in the subducting Juan de Fuca plate. The axis of the arch is oriented in the direction of current subduction and asymmetrically deformed due to the effects of a northern buttress mapped in the velocity models. This

  7. Seismic velocity structure of the Juan de Fuca and Gorda plates revealed by a joint inversion of ambient noise and regional earthquakes (United States)

    Gao, Haiying


    The crust and upper mantle seismic structure, spanning from the Juan de Fuca and Gorda spreading centers to the Cascade back arc, is imaged with full-wave propagation simulation and a joint inversion of ambient noise and regional earthquake recordings. The spreading centers have anomalously low shear wave velocity beneath the oceanic lithosphere. Around the Cobb axial seamount, we observe a low-velocity anomaly underlying a relatively thin oceanic lithosphere, indicating its influence on the Juan de Fuca ridge. The oceanic Moho is clearly defined by a P velocity increase from 6.3 km/s to 7.5 km/s at about 6 km depth beneath the seafloor. The thickness of the oceanic plates is less than 40 km prior to subduction, and the structure of the oceanic lithosphere varies both along strike and along dip. Farther landward, very low velocity anomalies are observed above the plate interface along the Cascade fore arc, indicative of subducted sediments.

  8. Seamount, ridge, and transform subduction in southern Central America (United States)

    Morell, Kristin D.


    Understanding the factors that control subduction zone processes is a first-order goal in the study of convergent margins. In southern Central America, a growing body of research reveals strong links between the character of the subducting slab and the mechanics of important processes that include subduction erosion, fluid flow, deformation, and seismogenesis. In this paper, I evaluate the role that seamount, ridge, and transform subduction have in the development of upper plate deformation and volcanism by summarizing previous work across a >500 km long region of Central America where each of these three scenarios are present along strike. The data show that the subduction of short-wavelength bathymetry (e.g., seamounts and faults on the seafloor) produces short-wavelength deformation that persists for relatively short timescales (104-105 years), whereas the subduction of longer-wavelength bathymetry (e.g., the aseismic Cocos Ridge) results in longer-wavelength deformation that endures over a longer time scale (106 years). The timing and distribution of upper plate deformation are consistent with subhorizontal Cocos Ridge subduction driving upper plate deformation, and the increased crustal thickness (>20 km) of the subducting Cocos Ridge is likely one of the most important factors in the production of upper plate contraction and crustal thickening. The data illustrate a fundamental connection between lower plate properties and upper plate deformation and highlight the profound influence that bathymetry and crustal thickness have in the localization and kinematics of upper plate strain and volcanism in Middle America.

  9. Effective elastic thickness variations along the Andean margin and their relationship to subduction geometry (United States)

    PéRez-Gussinyé, M.; Lowry, A. R.; Phipps Morgan, J.; Tassara, A.


    We present a new map of the spatial variations in effective elastic thickness, Te, along the Andes estimated using Bouguer coherence. The Te variations reflect interactions between subducting slab and preexisting terrane structure. In the forearc, conductive cooling of the continent by the subducting slab exerts primary control on rigidity, resulting in Te that is highest (˜40 km) where the oceanic lithosphere is oldest and coldest (˜20°S). In the central Andes, Te is relatively low (˜20 km) along the volcanic chain and the Altiplano and Puna plateaus. We interpret this weakening to reflect a high geothermal gradient maintained by advective magmatic processes, a shallow and hot asthenosphere, and a very weak lower crust throughout this region. East of the plateaus, high Te delineates underthrusting of the Brazilian shield. Finally, north and south of the plateaus, flat subduction areas are characterized by high Te, high shear wave velocity, thick thermal lithosphere, and low heat flow, indicating that continental lithosphere there is thicker, colder, and stronger. On the basis of these relationships we suggest that variations in slab dip along the margin relate to variations in structure of the continental lithosphere. In particular, we propose that upper plate structure influences the width and viscosity of the asthenospheric wedge, which control the suction moment responsible for the subduction angle at depths ≥70-100 km. For example, when oceanic lithosphere subducts beneath thin continental lithosphere, the low-viscosity asthenosphere allows the slab to detach from the continent and sink into the mantle at normal angles. However, when oceanic lithosphere subducts close or beneath thick and strong continental lithosphere, the asthenospheric wedge narrows and corner flow drags high-viscosity mantle from the base of the thick (>150 km), cold continent into the wedge. Suction forces increase with both narrowing of the wedge and its increasing viscosity. We

  10. Analog Modeling of Continental Lithosphere Subduction (United States)

    Willingshofer, E.; Sokoutis, D.; Luth, S.; Beekman, F.; Cloetingh, S.


    Lithospheric-scale analog modeling sheds light on the consequences of decoupling within the continental lithosphere and along plate interfaces during continental collision. The model results provide valuable information in terms of strain localization, deformation of the subducting slab and the evolution and architecture of the overlying mountain belt and its topography. A weak layer has been implemented in three-layer models to simulate decoupling along the plate interface and at different levels of the lithosphere (brittle-ductile transition, entire lower crust, crust-mantle boundary). Additionally, varying the strength of the mantle lithosphere of both the upper as well as the lower plate regulated the degree of plate coupling. Plate boundaries were orthogonal to the convergence direction. All models emphasize that strong decoupling at the plate interface is a pre-requisite for the subduction of continental lithosphere. In addition, deformation of the subducting slab was found to be sensitive to the strength contrast between the subduction zone and the mantle lithosphere of the downgoing as well as the upper plate. As such, a low strength contrast between the plate interface and the lower plate leads to deformation of the subducting slab by thickening and the development of a shallow slab. Conversely, when the strength contrast is high, deep slabs evolve which undergo relatively less deformation. Furthermore, the level of decoupling in the downgoing plate governs how much continental crust is subducted together with the mantle lithosphere. Shallow decoupling, at the brittle-ductile transition, results in subduction of the lower crust whereas small amounts of lower crust are subducted when decoupling occurs at the level of the Moho. Weak plate coupling and a weak lower crust of the lower plate steer the evolution of mountain belts such that deformation propagates outward, in the direction of the incoming plate, by successive imbrication of upper crustal thrust

  11. Subduction to the lower mantle – a comparison between geodynamic and tomographic models

    Directory of Open Access Journals (Sweden)

    B. Steinberger


    Full Text Available It is generally believed that subduction of lithospheric slabs is a major contribution to thermal heterogeneity in Earth's entire mantle and provides a main driving force for mantle flow. Mantle structure can, on the one hand, be inferred from plate tectonic models of subduction history and geodynamic models of mantle flow. On the other hand, seismic tomography models provide important information on mantle heterogeneity. Yet, the two kinds of models are only similar on the largest (1000s of km scales and are quite different in their detailed structure. Here, we provide a quantitative assessment how good a fit can be currently achieved with a simple viscous flow geodynamic model. The discrepancy between geodynamic and tomography models can indicate where further model refinement could possibly yield an improved fit. Our geodynamical model is based on 300 Myr of subduction history inferred from a global plate reconstruction. Density anomalies are inserted into the upper mantle beneath subduction zones, and flow and advection of these anomalies is calculated with a spherical harmonic code for a radial viscosity structure constrained by mineral physics and surface observations. Model viscosities in the upper mantle beneath the lithosphere are ~1020 Pas, and viscosity increases to ~1023 Pas in the lower mantle above D". Comparison with tomography models is assessed in terms of correlation, both overall and as a function of depth and spherical harmonic degree. We find that, compared to previous geodynamic and tomography models, correlation is improved significantly, presumably because of improvements in both plate reconstructions and mantle flow computation. However, high correlation is still limited to lowest spherical harmonic degrees. An important ingredient to achieve high correlation – in particular at spherical harmonic degree two – is a basal chemical layer. Subduction shapes this layer into two rather stable hot but

  12. Subduction to the lower mantle – a comparison between geodynamic and tomographic models

    Directory of Open Access Journals (Sweden)

    T. W. Becker


    Full Text Available It is generally believed that subduction of lithospheric slabs is a major contribution to thermal heterogeneity in Earth's entire mantle and provides a main driving force for mantle flow. Mantle structure can, on the one hand, be inferred from plate tectonic models of subduction history and geodynamic models of mantle flow. On the other hand, seismic tomography models provide important information on mantle heterogeneity. Yet, the two kinds of models are only similar on the largest (1000 s of km scales and are quite different in their detailed structure. Here, we provide a quantitative assessment how good a fit can be currently achieved with a simple viscous flow geodynamic model. The discrepancy between geodynamic and tomography models can indicate where further model refinement could possibly yield an improved fit. Our geodynamical model is based on 300 Myr of subduction history inferred from a global plate reconstruction. Density anomalies are inserted into the upper mantle beneath subduction zones, and flow and advection of these anomalies is calculated with a spherical harmonic code for a radial viscosity structure constrained by mineral physics and surface observations. Model viscosities in the upper mantle beneath the lithosphere are ~1020 Pas, and viscosity increases to ~1023 Pas in the lower mantle above D". Comparison with tomography models is assessed in terms of correlation, both overall and as a function of depth and spherical harmonic degree. We find that, compared to previous geodynamic and tomography models, correlation is improved, presumably because of advances in both plate reconstructions and mantle flow computations. However, high correlation is still limited to lowest spherical harmonic degrees. An important ingredient to achieve high correlation – in particular at spherical harmonic degree two – is a basal chemical layer. Subduction shapes this layer into two rather stable hot but chemically dense "piles

  13. Using paleomagnetism to expand the observation time window of plate locking along subduction zones: evidence from the Chilean fore-arc sliver (38°S - 42°S) (United States)

    Hernandez-Moreno, Catalina; Speranza, Fabio; Di Chiara, Anita


    Fore-arc crustal motion has been usually addressed by the analysis of earthquake slip vectors and, since the last twenty years, by velocity fields derived from Global Positioning System (GPS) data. Yet this observation time window (few decades) can be significantly shorter than a complete seismic cycle or constrained to interseismic periods where the postseismic deformation release, the vicinity of other important faults, and the slip partitioning in oblique subduction may hinder the finite deformation pattern. Paleomagnetic data may yield finite rotations occurring since rock formation, thus provide a much longer observation time span in the order of millions or tens of millions of years. The cumulative permanent or nonreversing deformation in function of the considered geological formation age can represent the average over many seismic cycles, thus significantly complement "instantaneous" information derived from seismic and GPS data. With the aim of evaluate the strike-variation and evolution of the plate coupling along the Chilean subduction zone, here we report on the paleomagnetism of 43 Oligocene-Pleistocene volcanic sites from the fore-arc sliver between 38°S and 42°S. Sites were gathered west of the 1000 km long Liquiñe-Ofqui dextral fault zone (LOFZ) that represents the eastern fore-arc sliver boundary. Nineteen reliable sites reveal that the fore arc is characterized by counterclockwise (CCW) rotations of variable magnitude, except at 40°S - 41°S, where ultrafast (>50°/Myr) clockwise (CW) rotations occur within a 30 km wide zone adjacent to the LOFZ. CCW rotation variability (even at close sites) and rapidity (>10°/Myr) suggest that the observed block rotation pattern is related to NW-SE seismically active sinistral faults crosscutting the whole fore arc. According to previously published data, CW rotations up to 170° also occur east of the LOFZ and have been related to ongoing LOFZ shear. We suggest that the occurrence and width of the eastern

  14. Geodetic And Seismic Signatures of Episodic Tremor And Slip Beneath Vancouver Island, British Columbia. (United States)

    Dragert, H.; Rogers, G.; Wang, K.


    Slip events with an average duration of about 10 days and effective total slip displacements of several centimetres have been detected on the deeper (25 to 45 km) part of the northern Cascadia subduction zone plate interface by a network of continuously recording Global Positioning System (GPS) sites. The slip events occur down-dip from the currently locked, seismogenic portion of the plate interface, and, for the geographic region around Victoria, British Columbia, repeat at 13 to 16 month intervals. These episodes of slip are accompanied by distinct, low frequency, non-earthquake tremors, similar to those reported in the forearc region of southern Japan, prompting the naming of this phenomenon as Episodic Tremor and Slip (ETS). The tremor-like seismic signals have now been identified beneath most of Vancouver Island. For northern Vancouver Island, where plate convergence is at a much slower rate, return periods of about 14 months were also observed for significant (duration exceeding 7 days) tremor sequences, but about 6 months out of phase with southern Vancouver Island. Slip associated with northern island tremors has not been resolved clearly enough to allow modeling because of sparse GPS coverage, but 3 to 4 mm surface displacements coincident with the most recent tremors were observed at two newer GPS stations located on the northwest coast of Vancouver Island. The total amount of tremor activity, and by inference slip activity, appears to be the same in northern and southern Vancouver Island and therefore independent of plate convergence rate. ETS activity is observed to migrate along the strike of the subduction zone at speeds of 5 to 15 km/day and this migration does not appear to be impeded by the Nootka Fault Zone that marks the change in subduction rates. It is strongly suspected that the youth of the subducting plate and the release of fluids from slab dehydration are key factors contributing to the episodic, semi-brittle behaviour of the ETS zone. It

  15. Signature of slab fragmentation beneath Anatolia from full-waveform tomography (United States)

    Govers, Rob; Fichtner, Andreas


    When oceanic basins close after a long period of convergence and subduction, continental collision and mountain building is a common consequence. Slab segmentation is expected to have been relatively common just prior to closure of other oceans in the geological past, and may explain some of the complexity that geologists have documented in the Tibetan plateau also. We focus on the eastern Mediterranean basin, which is the last remainder of a once hemispherical neo-Tethys ocean that has nearly disappeared due to convergence of the India and Africa/Arabia plates with the Eurasia plate. We present new results of full-waveform tomography that allow us to image both the crust and upper mantle in great detail. We show that a major discontinuity exists between western Anatolia lithosphere and the region to the east of it. Also, the correlation of geological features and the crustal velocities is substantially stronger in the west than in the east. We interpret these observations as the imprint in the overriding plate of fragmentation of the neo-Tethys slab below it. This north-dipping slab may have fragmented following the Eocene (about 35 million years ago) arrival of a continental promontory (Central Anatolian Core Complex) at the subduction contact. From the Eocene through the Miocene, slab roll-back ensued in the Aegean and west Anatolia, while the Cyprus-Bitlis slab subducted horizontally beneath central and east Anatolia. Following collision of Arabia (about 16 million years ago), the Cyprus-Bitlis slab steepened, exposing the crust of central and east Anatolia to high temperature, and resulting in the velocity structure that we image today. Slab fragmentation thus was a major driver of the evolution of the overriding plate as collision unfolded.

  16. Transdimensional imaging of random velocity inhomogeneities in Nankai subduction zone (United States)

    Takahashi, T.; Obana, K.; Yamamoto, Y.; Kaiho, Y.; Nakanishi, A.; Kodaira, S.; Kaneda, Y.


    The Nankai trough in southwestern Japan is a convergent margin where the Philippine Sea plate is subducting beneath the Eurasian plate. We have conducted five seismic observations with ocean bottom seismograms (OBSs) from 2008 to 2012 to elucidate detailed seismic structures and its relations with fault segments of large earthquakes. These observations covered the entire area of the Nankai trough, but quantity and quality of data are not spatially uniform because of different observing lengths and various noises. Waveform data of OBSs suggests variously-sized anomalies of random velocity inhomogeneity (i.e., scattering strength) in this subduction zone. To clarify details of random inhomogeneity structures, we conducted a transdimensional imaging of random inhomogeneities by means of the reversible jump Markov Chain Monte Carlo (rjMCMC) without assuming smooth spatial distributions of unknown parameters. We applied the rjMCMC for the inversion of peak delay times of S-wave envelopes at 4-8, 8-16, and 16-32 Hz, where the peak delay time is defined as the time lag from the S-wave onset to its maximal amplitude arrival. This delay time mainly reflects the accumulated multiple forward scattering effect due to random inhomogeneities. We assumed the von Karman type power spectral density function (PSDF) for random velocity fluctuation, and estimated two parameters related with the PSDF at large wavenumber. Study area is partitioned by discrete Voronoi cells of which number and spatial sizes are variable. Estimated random inhomogeneities show clear lateral variations along the Nankai trough. The strongest inhomogeneity on the Nankai trough was found near the subducted Kyushu-Palau ridge that is located at the western margin of the fault segments. We also find a horizontal variation of inhomogeneity along the non-volcanic tremor zone. Relatively strong inhomogeneities in this tremor zone were imaged beneath west Shikoku and Kii-Peninsula. These anomalies were not clearly

  17. The implications of revised Quaternary palaeoshoreline chronologies for the rates of active extension and uplift in the upper plate of subduction zones (United States)

    Roberts, G. P.; Meschis, M.; Houghton, S.; Underwood, C.; Briant, R. M.


    We demonstrate a synchronous correlation technique to determine the chronology of Quaternary palaeoshorelines to test proposed relationships between tectonics, climate and sea-level change. The elevations of marine palaeoshorelines in Calabria around the active Vibo normal fault have been measured from TIN DEM 10 m data and fieldwork and correlated with global sea-level curves. A synchronous correlation method and new U/Th dates are used to ascertain how the slip-rate on the fault relates to uplift rates across the region. Regional uplift, possibly associated with subduction along the Calabrian trench or due to the cumulative effect of closely-spaced active normal faults, is rapid enough to uplift even the hangingwall of the Vibo normal fault; the actual value for the rate of background uplift can only be ascertained once the rate of slip on the Vibo fault is subtracted. Synchronous correlation of multiple palaeoshorelines sampled along 29 elevation profiles with global sea-levels shows that the resultant uplift rate (background uplift minus local hangingwall subsidence) is constant through time from 0 to 340 ka, and not fluctuating by a factor of 4 as previously suggested. The uplift rate increases from 0.4 mm/yr at the centre of the hangingwall of the fault to 1.75 mm/yr in the hangingwall in the vicinity of the fault tip. Palaeoshorelines can be traced from the hangingwall to the footwall around the fault tip and hence correlated across the fault. The throw-rate on the fault averaged over 340 ka decreases from a maximum at the centre of the fault (1 mm/yr) to zero at the tip. This gradient in throw-rate explains the spatial variation in resultant uplift rates along the fault. We interpret the 1.75 mm/yr resultant uplift rate at and beyond the fault tip as the signature of a regional uplift, presumably related to subduction, although we cannot exclude the possibility that other local faults influence this uplift; the lower uplift rates in the hangingwall of the

  18. Intermittent plate tectonics? (United States)

    Silver, Paul G; Behn, Mark D


    Although it is commonly assumed that subduction has operated continuously on Earth without interruption, subduction zones are routinely terminated by ocean closure and supercontinent assembly. Under certain circumstances, this could lead to a dramatic loss of subduction, globally. Closure of a Pacific-type basin, for example, would eliminate most subduction, unless this loss were compensated for by comparable subduction initiation elsewhere. Given the evidence for Pacific-type closure in Earth's past, the absence of a direct mechanism for termination/initiation compensation, and recent data supporting a minimum in subduction flux in the Mesoproterozoic, we hypothesize that dramatic reductions or temporary cessations of subduction have occurred in Earth's history. Such deviations in the continuity of plate tectonics have important consequences for Earth's thermal and continental evolution.

  19. Subduction and exhumation of continental crust: insights from laboratory models (United States)

    Bialas, Robert W.; Funiciello, Francesca; Faccenna, Claudio


    When slivers of continental crust and sediment overlying oceanic lithosphere enter a subduction zone, they may be scraped off at shallow levels, subducted to depths of up to 100-200 km and then exhumed as high pressure (HP) and ultra-high pressure (UHP) rocks, or subducted and recycled in the mantle. To investigate the factors that influence the behaviour of subducting slivers of continental material, we use 3-D dynamically consistent laboratory models. A laboratory analogue of a slab-upper mantle system is set up with two linearly viscous layers of silicone putty and glucose syrup in a tank. A sliver of continental material, also composed of silicone putty, overlies the subducting lithosphere, separated by a syrup detachment. The density of the sliver, viscosity of the detachment, geometry of the subducting system (attached plate versus free ridge) and dimensions of the sliver are varied in 34 experiments. By varying the density of the sliver and viscosity of the detachment, we can reproduce a range of sliver behaviour, including subduction, subduction and exhumation from various depths and offscraping. Sliver subduction and exhumation requires sufficient sliver buoyancy and a detachment that is strong enough to hold the sliver during initial subduction, but weak enough to allow adequate sliver displacement or detachment for exhumation. Changes to the system geometry alter the slab dip, subduction velocity, pattern of mantle flow and amount of rollback. Shallower slab dips with more trench rollback produce a mantle flow pattern that aids exhumation. Steeper slab dips allow more buoyancy force to be directed in the up-dip direction of the plane of the plate, and aide exhumation of subducted slivers. Slower subduction can also aide exhumation, but if slab dip is too steep or subduction too slow, the sliver will subduct to only shallow levels and not exhume. Smaller slivers are most easily subducted and exhumed and influenced by the mantle flow.

  20. Flat-slab subduction, whole crustal faulting, and geohazards in Alaska: Targets for Earthscope (United States)

    Gulick, S. P.; Pavlis, T. L.; Bruhn, R. L.; Christeson, G. L.; Freymueller, J. T.; Hansen, R. A.; Koons, P. O.; Pavlis, G. L.; Roeske, S.; Reece, R.; van Avendonk, H. J.; Worthington, L. L.


    Crustal structure and evolution illuminated by the Continental Dynamics ST. Elias Erosion and tectonics Project (STEEP) highlights some fundamental questions about active tectonics processes in Alaska including: 1) what are the controls on far field deformation and lithospheric stabilization, 2) do strike slip faults extend through the entire crust and upper mantle and how does this influence mantle flow, and 3) how does the transition from “normal” subduction of the Pacific along the Aleutians to flat slab subduction of the Yakutat Terrane beneath southeast and central Alaska to translation of the Yakutat Terrane past North American in eastern Alaska affect geohazard assessment for the north Pacific? Active and passive seismic studies and geologic fieldwork focusing on the Yakutat Terrane show that the Terrane ranges from 15-35 km thick and is underthrusting the North American plate from the St. Elias Mountains to the Alaska Range (~500 km). Deformation of the upper plate occurs within the offshore Pamplona Zone fold and thrust belt, and onshore throughout the Robinson Mountains. Deformation patterns, structural evolution, and the sedimentary products of orogenesis are fundamentally influenced by feedbacks with glacial erosion. The Yakutat megathrust extends beneath Prince William Sound such that the 1964 Mw 9.2 great earthquake epicenter was on this plate boundary and jumped to the adjacent Aleutian megathrust coseismically; this event illuminates the potential for transitional tectonic systems to enhance geohazards. The northern, southern, and eastern limits of the Yakutat microplate are strike-slip faults that, where imaged, appear to cut the entire crustal section and may allow for crustal extrusion towards the Bering Sea. Yakutat Terrane effects on mantle flow, however, have been suggested to cross these crustal features to allow for far-field deformation in the Yukon, Brooks Range, and Amerasia Basin. From the STEEP results it is clear that the Yakutat

  1. A new tomographic image on the Philippine Sea Slab beneath Tokyo - Implication to seismic hazard in the Tokyo metropolitan region - (United States)

    Hirata, N.; Sakai, S.; Nakagawa, S.; Ishikawa, M.; Sato, H.; Kasahara, K.; Kimura, H.; Honda, R.


    In central Japan, the Philippine Sea plate (PSP) subducts beneath the Tokyo metropolitan region. Devastating M8-class earthquakes occurred on the upper surface of the Philippine Sea plate (SPS), examples of which are the Genroku earthquake of 1703 (magnitude M=8.0) and the Kanto earthquake of 1923 (M=7.9), which had 105,000 fatalities. A M7 or greater (M7+) earthquake in this region at present has high potential to produce devastating loss of life and property with even greater global economic repercussions although it is smaller than the megathrust type M8-class earthquakes. This great earthquake is evaluated to occur with a probability of 70 % in 30 years by the Earthquake Research Committee of Japan. The M7+ earthquakes may occur either on the upper surface or intra slab of PSP. The Central Disaster Management Council of Japan estimates the next great M7+ earthquake will cause 11,000 fatalities and 112 trillion yen (1 trillion US$) economic loss at worst case if it occur beneath northern Tokyo bay with M7.3. However, the estimate is based on a source fault model by conventional studies about the PSP geometry. To evaluate seismic hazard due to the great quake we need to clarify the geometry of PSP and also the Pacific palate (PAP) that subducs beneath PSP. We identify those plates with use of seismic tomography and available deep seismic reflection profiling and borehole data in southern Kanto area. We deployed about 300 seismic stations in the greater Tokyo urban region under the Special Project for Earthquake Disaster Mitigation in Tokyo Metropolitan Area. We obtain clear P- and S- wave velocity (Vp and Vs) tomograms which show a clear image of PSP and PAP. A depth to the top of PSP, 20 to 30 kilometer beneath northern part of Tokyo bay, is about 10 km shallower than previous estimates based on the distribution of seismicity (Ishida, 1992). This shallower plate geometry changes estimations of strong ground motion for seismic hazards analysis within the Tokyo

  2. Origin and dynamics of depositionary subduction margins (United States)

    Vannucchi, Paola; Morgan, Jason P.; Silver, Eli; Kluesner, Jared


    Here we propose a new framework for forearc evolution that focuses on the potential feedbacks between subduction tectonics, sedimentation, and geomorphology that take place during an extreme event of subduction erosion. These feedbacks can lead to the creation of a “depositionary forearc,” a forearc structure that extends the traditional division of forearcs into accretionary or erosive subduction margins by demonstrating a mode of rapid basin accretion during an erosive event at a subduction margin. A depositionary mode of forearc evolution occurs when terrigenous sediments are deposited directly on the forearc while it is being removed from below by subduction erosion. In the most extreme case, an entire forearc can be removed by a single subduction erosion event followed by depositionary replacement without involving transfer of sediments from the incoming plate. We need to further recognize that subduction forearcs are often shaped by interactions between slow, long-term processes, and sudden extreme events reflecting the sudden influences of large-scale morphological variations in the incoming plate. Both types of processes contribute to the large-scale architecture of the forearc, with extreme events associated with a replacive depositionary mode that rapidly creates sections of a typical forearc margin. The persistent upward diversion of the megathrust is likely to affect its geometry, frictional nature, and hydrogeology. Therefore, the stresses along the fault and individual earthquake rupture characteristics are also expected to be more variable in these erosive systems than in systems with long-lived megathrust surfaces.

  3. Origin and dynamics of depositionary subduction margins (United States)

    Vannucchi, Paola; Morgan, Jason P.; Silver, Eli A.; Kluesner, Jared W.


    Here we propose a new framework for forearc evolution that focuses on the potential feedbacks between subduction tectonics, sedimentation, and geomorphology that take place during an extreme event of subduction erosion. These feedbacks can lead to the creation of a "depositionary forearc," a forearc structure that extends the traditional division of forearcs into accretionary or erosive subduction margins by demonstrating a mode of rapid basin accretion during an erosive event at a subduction margin. A depositionary mode of forearc evolution occurs when terrigenous sediments are deposited directly on the forearc while it is being removed from below by subduction erosion. In the most extreme case, an entire forearc can be removed by a single subduction erosion event followed by depositionary replacement without involving transfer of sediments from the incoming plate. We need to further recognize that subduction forearcs are often shaped by interactions between slow, long-term processes, and sudden extreme events reflecting the sudden influences of large-scale morphological variations in the incoming plate. Both types of processes contribute to the large-scale architecture of the forearc, with extreme events associated with a replacive depositionary mode that rapidly creates sections of a typical forearc margin. The persistent upward diversion of the megathrust is likely to affect its geometry, frictional nature, and hydrogeology. Therefore, the stresses along the fault and individual earthquake rupture characteristics are also expected to be more variable in these erosive systems than in systems with long-lived megathrust surfaces.

  4. Combined plate motion and density driven flow in the asthenosphere beneath Saudi Arabia: Evidence from shear-wave splitting and seismic anisotropy

    Energy Technology Data Exchange (ETDEWEB)

    Hansen, S; Schwartz, S


    A comprehensive study of mantle anisotropy along the Red Sea and across Saudi Arabia was performed by analyzing shear-wave splitting recorded by stations from three different seismic networks: the largest, most widely distributed array of stations examined across Saudi Arabia to date. Stations near the Gulf of Aqaba display fast orientations that are aligned parallel to the Dead Sea Transform Fault, most likely related to the strike-slip motion between Africa and Arabia. However, most of our observations across Saudi Arabia are statistically the same, showing a consistent pattern of north-south oriented fast directions with delay times averaging about 1.4 s. Fossilized anisotropy related to the Proterozoic assembly of the Arabian Shield may contribute to the pattern but is not sufficient to fully explain the observations. We feel that the uniform anisotropic signature across Saudi Arabia is best explained by a combination of plate and density driven flow in the asthenosphere. By combining the northeast oriented flow associated with absolute plate motion with the northwest oriented flow associated with the channelized Afar plume along the Red Sea, we obtain a north-south oriented resultant that matches our splitting observations and supports models of active rifting processes. This explains why the north-south orientation of the fast polarization direction is so pervasive across the vast Arabian Plate.

  5. New and Evolving Seismic Images of the Central Andes and Subducting Nazca Slab: 20 Years of Portable Seismology Results (United States)

    Beck, S. L.


    Beno Gutenberg first identified a seismic low velocity zone in the upper mantle that we now refer to as the asthenosphere that is still the focus of many studies in active tectonic regions. The upper-most mantle is very heterogeneous and occupies the depth range where much of the tectonic action occurs especially in subduction zones and convergent margins. The central South American convergent margin is the result of the subduction of the Nazca Plate beneath the South American Plate and includes the Andes, one of the largest actively growing mountain ranges on Earth. The South American subduction zone has two regions of "flat" subduction in Peru and central Chile and Argentina separated by a segment of "normal" subduction and an active magmatic arc. The central Andean plateau has an average elevation of 3-4 km and some of the thickest crust on Earth with deformation reaching ~800 km inland. This active margin is characterized by along-strike variations in magmatism, upper crustal shortening, crustal thickness, and slab geometry that make it an ideal region to study the relationship between the subducting slab, the mantle wedge, and the overriding plate. After 20 years of portable seismic deployments in the Central Andes seismologists have generated unprecedented seismic images spanning ~3000 km of the Andean lithosphere, the subducting Nazca slab, and the surrounding mantle. Seismic travel-time, ambient noise and earthquake surface-wave tomography, receiver function imaging, and joint receiver function - surface wave dispersion inversions have produced along strike images of the Central Andes from the surface to a depth of ~700 km. These new images were made possible by PI-driven portable broadband seismic deployments and data sharing by many international groups. I will highlight images of along-strike variations in crustal properties and thickness, mantle lithospheric structure, and slab geometry. These seismic images allow us to more completely evaluate the role

  6. Shallow Moho with aseismic upper crust and deep Moho with seismic lower crust beneath the Japanese Islands obtained by seismic tomography using data from dense seismic network (United States)

    Matsubara, Makoto; Obara, Kazushige


    P-wave seismic velocity is well known to be up to 7.0 km/s and over 7.5 km/s in the lower crust and in the mantle, respectively. A large velocity gradient is the definition of the Moho discontinuity between the crust and mantle. In this paper, we investigates the configuration of Moho discontinuity defined as an isovelocity plane with large velocity gradient derived from our fine-scale three-dimensional seismic velocity structure beneath Japanese Islands using data obtained by dense seismic network with the tomographic method (Matsubara and Obara, 2011). Japanese Islands are mainly on the Eurasian and North American plates. The Philippine Sea and Pacific plates are subducting beneath these continental plates. We focus on the Moho discontinuity at the continental side. We calculate the P-wave velocity gradients between the vertical grid nodes since the grid inversion as our tomographic method does not produce velocity discontinuity. The largest velocity gradient is 0.078 (km/s)/km at velocities of 7.2 and 7.3 km/s. We define the iso-velocity plane of 7.2 km/s as the Moho discontinuity. We discuss the Moho discontinuity above the upper boundary of the subducting oceanic plates with consideration of configuration of plate boundaries of prior studies (Shiomi et al., 2008; Kita et al., 2010; Hirata et al, 2012) since the Moho depth derived from the iso-velocity plane denotes the oceanic Moho at the contact zones of the overriding continental plates and the subducting oceanic plates. The Moho discontinuity shallower than 30 km depth is distributed within the tension region like northern Kyushu and coastal line of the Pacific Ocean in the northeastern Japan and the tension region at the Cretaceous as the northeastern Kanto district. These regions have low seismicity within the upper crust. Positive Bouguer anomaly beneath the northeastern Kanto district indicates the ductile material with large density in lower crust at the shallower portion and the aseismic upper crust

  7. Normal fault populations across the Costa Rica margin, NW of the Osa Penninsula, and implications for upper plate stress (United States)

    Bangs, N. L.; McIntosh, K. D.


    The upper plate of the Costa Rica subduction zone is dissected by hundreds of normal faults that cut through the uppermost 500 - 1000m of slope sediment cover sequences within the upper slope and outer shelf of the Costa Rica margin. These faults are typically spaced 10s to 100s of m apart and have only small offsets of Cocos Ridge (~75 km to the SE) and the Costa Rica margin (La Femina, et al., 2009). The second set of normal faults strikes east with an azimuth of 85°. This set of faults has a consistent orientation across the shelf and upper slope. This orientation is roughly parallel to the orientation of the subducting basement ridges (78°), which form horst and graben structures on the down going plate. These faults may be a result of uplift and extension as subducting ridges pass underneath. However, beneath the upper slope additional fault populations emerge with dominant azimuths primarily oriented at 5° and 65°. These faults appear to mark the localized extension caused by growth and uplift in the underlying margin wedge. Further, recent movement on shallow thrust faults indicates active shortening of the upper plate. We speculate that the contrast in the variability of fault populations beneath the upper slope and shelf is a result of a change in the competence of upper plate that allows more stress localization within the margin wedge beneath the slope than beneath the shelf. LaFemina, et al. (2009), Fore-arc motion and Cocos Ridge collision in Central America, Geochem. Geophys. Geosyst., 10, Q05S14.

  8. The ADN project : an integrated seismic monitoring of the northern Ecuadorian subduction (United States)

    Nocquet, Jean-Mathieu; Yepes, Hugo; Vallee, Martin; Mothes, Patricia; Regnier, Marc; Segovia, Monica; Font, Yvonne; Vaca, Sandro; Bethoux, Nicole; Ramos, Cristina


    The subduction of the Nazca plate beneath South America has caused one of the largest megathrust earthquake sequence during the XXth century with three M>7.7 earthquakes that followed the great 1906 (Mw = 8.8) event. Better understanding the processes leading to the occurrence of large subduction earthquakes requires to monitor the ground motion over a large range of frequencies. We present a new network (ADN) developed under a collaboration between the IRD-GeoAzur (Nice, France) and the IG-EPN (Quito, Ecuador). Each station of the ADN network includes a GPS recording at 5 Hz, an accelerometer and a broadband seismometer. CGPS data will quantify the secular deformation induced by elastic locking along the subduction interface, enabling a detailed modelling of the coupling distribution. CGPS will be used to monitor any transient deformation induced by Episodic Slip Event along the subduction, together with broadband seismometers that can detect any tremors or seismic signatures that may accompany them. In case of any significant earthquake, 5 Hz GPS and accelerometer will provide near field data for earthquake source detailed study. Finally, the broadband seismometers will be used for study of the microseismicity and structure of the subduction zone. The network includes 9 stations, operating since 2008 and covering the coastal area from latitude 1.5°S to the Colombian border. In this poster, we will present preliminary assessment of the data, first hypocenters location, magnitude and focal mechanism determination, as well as results about an episodic slip event detected in winter 2008.

  9. Seismic imaging of a megathrust splay fault in the North Chilean subduction zone (Central Andes) (United States)

    Storch, Ina; Buske, Stefan; Schmelzbach, Cedric; Wigger, Peter


    Prominent trench-parallel fault systems in the arc and fore-arc of the Chilean subduction zone can be traced for several thousand kilometers in north-south direction. These fault systems possibly crosscut the entire crust above the subduction megathrust and are expected to have a close relationship to transient processes of the subduction earthquake cycles. With the motivation to image and characterize the structural inventory and the processes that occur in the vicinity of these large-scale fault zones, we re-processed the ANCORP'96 controlled-source seismic data set to provide images of the faults at depth and to allow linking geological information at the surface to subsurface structures. The correlation of the imaging results with observed hypocenter locations around these fault systems reveals the origin and the nature of the seismicity bound to these fault systems. Active and passive seismic data together yield a picture of a megathrust splay fault beneath the Longitudinal Valley at mid-crustal level, which can be observed from the top of the subduction plate interface and which seems to be connected to the Precordilleran Fault System (PFS) known at the surface. This result supports a previously proposed tectonic model where a megathrust splay fault defines the Western Altiplano as a crustal-scale fault-bend-fold. Furthermore, we clearly imaged two branches of the Uyuni-Kenayani Fault (UKF) in a depth range between 0 and 20 km. In summary, imaging of these faults is important for a profound understanding of the tectonic evaluation and characterization of the subduction zone environment, for which the results of this study provide a reliable basis.

  10. Conjecture with water and rheological control for subducting slab in the mantle transition zone

    Institute of Scientific and Technical Information of China (English)

    Fumiko Tajima; Masaki Yoshida; Eiji Ohtani


    Seismic observations have shown structural variation near the base of the mantle transition zone (MTZ) where subducted cold slabs, as visualized with high seismic speed anomalies (HSSAs), flatten to form stagnant slabs or sink further into the lower mantle. The different slab behaviors were also accompanied by variation of the“660 km”discontinuity depths and low viscosity layers (LVLs) beneath the MTZ that are suggested by geoid inversion studies. We address that deep water transport by subducted slabs and dehydration from hydrous slabs could affect the physical properties of mantle minerals and govern slab dynamics. A systematic series of three-dimensional numerical simulation has been conducted to examine the effects of viscosity reduction or contrast between slab materials on slab behaviors near the base of the MTZ. We found that the viscosity reduction of subducted crustal material leads to a sepa-ration of crustal material from the slab main body and its transient stagnation in the MTZ. The once trapped crustal materials in the MTZ eventually sink into the lower mantle within 20e30 My from the start of the plate subduction. The results suggest crustal material recycle in the whole mantle that is consistent with evidence from mantle geochemistry as opposed to a two-layer mantle convection model. Because of the smaller capacity of water content in lower mantle minerals than in MTZ minerals, dehydration should occur at the phase transformation depth, w660 km. The variation of the disconti-nuity depths and highly localized low seismic speed anomaly (LSSA) zones observed from seismic P waveforms in a relatively high frequency band (w1 Hz) support the hypothesis of dehydration from hydrous slabs at the phase boundary. The LSSAs which correspond to dehydration induced fluids are likely to be very local, given very small hydrogen (Hþ) diffusivity associated with subducted slabs. The image of such local LSSA zones embedded in HSSAs may not be necessarily captured

  11. Conjecture with water and rheological control for subducting slab in the mantle transition zone

    Directory of Open Access Journals (Sweden)

    Fumiko Tajima


    Full Text Available Seismic observations have shown structural variation near the base of the mantle transition zone (MTZ where subducted cold slabs, as visualized with high seismic speed anomalies (HSSAs, flatten to form stagnant slabs or sink further into the lower mantle. The different slab behaviors were also accompanied by variation of the “660 km” discontinuity depths and low viscosity layers (LVLs beneath the MTZ that are suggested by geoid inversion studies. We address that deep water transport by subducted slabs and dehydration from hydrous slabs could affect the physical properties of mantle minerals and govern slab dynamics. A systematic series of three-dimensional numerical simulation has been conducted to examine the effects of viscosity reduction or contrast between slab materials on slab behaviors near the base of the MTZ. We found that the viscosity reduction of subducted crustal material leads to a separation of crustal material from the slab main body and its transient stagnation in the MTZ. The once trapped crustal materials in the MTZ eventually sink into the lower mantle within 20–30 My from the start of the plate subduction. The results suggest crustal material recycle in the whole mantle that is consistent with evidence from mantle geochemistry as opposed to a two-layer mantle convection model. Because of the smaller capacity of water content in lower mantle minerals than in MTZ minerals, dehydration should occur at the phase transformation depth, ∼660 km. The variation of the discontinuity depths and highly localized low seismic speed anomaly (LSSA zones observed from seismic P waveforms in a relatively high frequency band (∼1 Hz support the hypothesis of dehydration from hydrous slabs at the phase boundary. The LSSAs which correspond to dehydration induced fluids are likely to be very local, given very small hydrogen (H+ diffusivity associated with subducted slabs. The image of such local LSSA zones embedded in HSSAs may not

  12. Postseismic deformation after Maule earthquake and the mechanical properties of the asthenosphere and subduction interface (United States)

    Klein, Emilie; Fleitout, Luce; Vigny, Christophe


    The interseismic and postseismic deformations preceding and following the large subduction earthquake of Maule (Chile, Mw8.8, 2010) have been closely monitored with GPS from 70 km up to 2000 km away from the trench. Post-seismic deformations exhibit a behavior generally similar to that already observed after the Aceh and Tohoku-Oki earthquakes: vertical uplift is observed on the oceanward side of the volcanic arc. A moderate large scale subsidence is associated with sizeable horizontal deformation in the far-field (500-2000km from the trench). In addition, near-field data (70-200km from the trench) feature a rather complex deformation pattern. A 3D FE code (Zebulon Zset) is used to relate these deformations to the mechanical properties of the mantle and of the subduction interface. The mesh features a spherical shell-portion from the core-mantle boundary to the Earth's surface, extending over more than 60 degrees in latitude and longitude. The overridding and subducting plates are elastic, and the asthenosphere is viscoelastic. We test the presence and shape of two low viscosity areas in the mantle : a low viscosity wedge (LVW) above the subducting plate extending beneath the volcanic arc, and a narrow low viscosity channel (LVCh) along the lower part of the subduction interface, and potentially deeper. All the viscoelastic regions feature a Burgers rheology and we invert for their mechanical properties and geometrical characteristics. Our best fitting models present, (i) an asthenosphere extending down to 270km, with a 'long-term' viscosity of the order of 3.1018Pa.s; (ii) a LVCh along the plate interface extending from depths of 50 to 150 km with viscosities slightly below 1018 Pa.s; (iii) a LVW restricted to the base of the lithosphere below the volcanic arc, with viscosities of a few 1018 Pa.s. Increased horizontal velocities are due to relaxation in both the asthenosphere and the LVCh. A deep channel is necessary to produce enough uplift in the middle

  13. A seismic reflection image for the base of a tectonic plate. (United States)

    Stern, T A; Henrys, S A; Okaya, D; Louie, J N; Savage, M K; Lamb, S; Sato, H; Sutherland, R; Iwasaki, T


    Plate tectonics successfully describes the surface of Earth as a mosaic of moving lithospheric plates. But it is not clear what happens at the base of the plates, the lithosphere-asthenosphere boundary (LAB). The LAB has been well imaged with converted teleseismic waves, whose 10-40-kilometre wavelength controls the structural resolution. Here we use explosion-generated seismic waves (of about 0.5-kilometre wavelength) to form a high-resolution image for the base of an oceanic plate that is subducting beneath North Island, New Zealand. Our 80-kilometre-wide image is based on P-wave reflections and shows an approximately 15° dipping, abrupt, seismic wave-speed transition (less than 1 kilometre thick) at a depth of about 100 kilometres. The boundary is parallel to the top of the plate and seismic attributes indicate a P-wave speed decrease of at least 8 ± 3 per cent across it. A parallel reflection event approximately 10 kilometres deeper shows that the decrease in P-wave speed is confined to a channel at the base of the plate, which we interpret as a sheared zone of ponded partial melts or volatiles. This is independent, high-resolution evidence for a low-viscosity channel at the LAB that decouples plates from mantle flow beneath, and allows plate tectonics to work.

  14. Metallogeny of subduction zones

    Directory of Open Access Journals (Sweden)

    Sorokhtin N. O.


    Full Text Available The paper deals with the multistage mechanism of the Earth's crust enrichment in ore elements in underthrust zones. The processes of metamorphism and the formation of hydrothermal solutions at pulling of the watered oceanic lithospheric plate into the subduction zone have been described. Some physical and chemical transformation regularities of structural-material complexes in these areas and mechanisms of the formation of ore deposits have been discussed. Spatio-temporal patterns of the localization of a number of endogenetic and exogenetic deposits have been described using metallogeny of the Ural and the Verkhoyansk-Kolyma Fold Belts as an example. It has been shown that in nature there are several effective mechanisms of the enrichment of the crust in ore minerals. One of them is the process of pulling into subduction zone of metalliferous sediments and ferromanganese crusts as well as seabed nodules, their metamorphic transformation, partial melting and transition of ore components into magmatic melts and mineralized fluids. In the future this leads to the release of ore material by magmas and hydrothermal solutions into the folded formations of island-arc and Andean types and the formation of igneous, metasomatic and hydrothermal deposits. Another, yet no less powerful natural mechanism of a conveyor enrichment of the crust in ore elements is the process of destruction and sedimentation of mineral deposits formed in the folded areas as well as the formation of placers and their transfer to the marginal parts of the continent. Later, during the collision of active and passive margins of two lithospheric plates, such as the collision of the Kolyma Massif with the eastern part of the Siberian craton in the middle of the Mesozoic there was a thrusting of a younger lithospheric plate over a more ancient one. As a result, the sedimentary sequences of the passive margin of the Siberian plate were submerged and partially melted by the basic magmas

  15. Subducting slab ultra-slow velocity layer coincident with silent earthquakes in southern Mexico


    Song, Teh-Ru Alex; Helmberger, Donald V.; Brudzinski, Michael R.; Clayton, Robert W.; Davis, Paul; Pérez-Campos, Xyoli; Singh, Shri K.


    Great earthquakes have repeatedly occurred on the plate interface in a few shallow-dipping subduction zones where the subducting and overriding plates are strongly locked. Silent earthquakes (or slow slip events) were recently discovered at the down-dip extension of the locked zone and interact with the earthquake cycle. Here, we show that locally observed converted SP arrivals and teleseismic underside reflections that sample the top of the subducting plate in southern Mexico reveal that the...

  16. Subduction and collision processes in the Central Andes constrained by converted seismic phases. (United States)

    Yuan, X; Sobolev, S V; Kind, R; Oncken, O; Bock, G; Asch, G; Schurr, B; Graeber, F; Rudloff, A; Hanka, W; Wylegalla, K; Tibi, R; Haberland, C; Rietbrock, A; Giese, P; Wigger, P; Röwer, P; Zandt, G; Beck, S; Wallace, T; Pardo, M; Comte, D

    The Central Andes are the Earth's highest mountain belt formed by ocean-continent collision. Most of this uplift is thought to have occurred in the past 20 Myr, owing mainly to thickening of the continental crust, dominated by tectonic shortening. Here we use P-to-S (compressional-to-shear) converted teleseismic waves observed on several temporary networks in the Central Andes to image the deep structure associated with these tectonic processes. We find that the Moho (the Mohorovicić discontinuity--generally thought to separate crust from mantle) ranges from a depth of 75 km under the Altiplano plateau to 50 km beneath the 4-km-high Puna plateau. This relatively thin crust below such a high-elevation region indicates that thinning of the lithospheric mantle may have contributed to the uplift of the Puna plateau. We have also imaged the subducted crust of the Nazca oceanic plate down to 120 km depth, where it becomes invisible to converted teleseismic waves, probably owing to completion of the gabbro-eclogite transformation; this is direct evidence for the presence of kinetically delayed metamorphic reactions in subducting plates. Most of the intermediate-depth seismicity in the subducting plate stops at 120 km depth as well, suggesting a relation with this transformation. We see an intracrustal low-velocity zone, 10-20 km thick, below the entire Altiplano and Puna plateaux, which we interpret as a zone of continuing metamorphism and partial melting that decouples upper-crustal imbrication from lower-crustal thickening.

  17. Global correlation of lower mantle structure and past subduction

    NARCIS (Netherlands)

    Domeier, M.; Doubrovine, Pavel V.; Torsvik, Trond H.; Spakman, W.|info:eu-repo/dai/nl/074103164; Bull, A.L.


    Advances in global seismic tomography have increasingly motivated identification of subducted lithosphere in Earth's deep mantle, creating novel opportunities to link plate tectonics and mantle evolution. Chief among those is the quest for a robust subduction reference frame, wherein the mantle asse

  18. Complete 40Ar resetting in an ultracataclasite by reactivation of a fossil seismogenic fault along the subducting plate interface in the Mugi Mélange of the Shimanto accretionary complex, southwest Japan (United States)

    Tonai, Satoshi; Ito, Shun; Hashimoto, Yoshitaka; Tamura, Hajimu; Tomioka, Naotaka


    We used the K-Ar ages of clay-sized mineral grains to investigate the timing of activity on the Minami-Awa Fault, which is a fossil seismogenic fault along a subducting plate interface separating the coherent strata of the Shimanto accretionary complex to the north from the tectonic mélange to the south. The K-Ar ages from the matrix shale of the mélange range from 85 to 48 Ma and decrease with decreasing amount of detrital mica, indicating that they record a mixture of authigenic illite related to burial diagenesis and detrital mica. In contrast, the K-Ar ages of an ultracataclasite within the fault core are significantly younger, ranging from 29 to 23 Ma, and are unrelated to grain size and amount of detrital mica. This indicates that s Ar diffused completely from the ultracataclasite between 29 and 23 Ma, which postdates the formation of authigenic illite by at least several million years. The diffusion of 40Ar in the ultracataclasite was probably caused by frictional heating or high-temperature fluid migration that occurred when the fault was reactivated. The results indicate that seismogenic faults that separate tectonic mélange from coherent strata in accretionary complexes may slip, not only during accretion, but also long after accretion.

  19. Pore Fluid Pressure and State of Stress Above the Plate Interface from Observations in a 3 Kilometer Deep Borehole: IODP Site C0002, Nankai Trough Subduction Zone (United States)

    Tobin, H. J.; Saffer, D. M.; Hirose, T.; Castillo, D. A.; Kitajima, H.; Sone, H.


    During IODP Expedition 348 from October 2013 to January 2014, Site C0002 was drilled to more than 3000 meters' depth into the inner accretionary wedge at the Nankai Trough, setting a new depth record for scientific ocean drilling. It is the first hole to access the deep interior of an active convergent margin. Site C0002 is part of the NanTroSEIZE project off the Kii-Kumano region of Japan, designed to shed light on plate boundary fault zone processes near the up-dip edge of seismogenic locking and slip. The zone from 865 - 3056 meters below the sea floor was sampled via logging-while-drilling measurements, continuous sampling of drill cuttings, and limited coring. This interval was composed of lithified middle to late Miocene hemipelagic sediments and turbidites that are markedly deformed and dip steeply. P-wave speeds from sonic logs increase with depth to ~ 1600 meters, but are constant to slightly decreasing with depth from 1600 to 3050 meters. We hypothesize that this change in trend indicates the onset of elevated pore fluid pressure, but structural and lithologic factors may also play a role. We explore several methods for quantitative estimation of sonic-derived fluid pressure conditions in the inner wedge. A borehole leak-off test (LOT) and a series of borehole pressurization and injection tests were also performed, which we synthesize to estimate the least principal stress, or Shmin. Furthermore, downhole pressure while drilling (PWD) measurements recorded during borehole packoff events provide information on the maximum principal stress, SHmax. Taken together, the LOT and PWD observations suggest that the inner wedge at ~ 2000 meters depth is currently in a strike-slip stress regime, despite its position as the hanging wall of a main plate boundary thrust. This may be a transitional stress regime between shallow normal and deep thrust, controlled by depth-dependent magnitude of the tectonic convergence-related principal stress. Our results document for

  20. Rheological Heterogeneity Along the Deep Subduction Interface: Insights from Exhumed HP Metamorphic Rocks Exposed on Syros Island, Greece (United States)

    Kotowski, A. J.; Behr, W. M.; Stockli, D. F.; Ashley, K. T.


    Rheological properties of subduction interface shear zones control several aspects of subduction zone dynamics, including shear tractions along the plate interface, rates and amounts of exhumation, and depths and styles of seismicity. We document the rheological properties of a deep subduction interface using exhumed eclogite and blueschist-facies rocks from Syros Island, Greece. These rocks were subducted to ~60 km depth during the Eocene, were exhumed part way along the top of the subducting slab, and were then exhumed to upper-crustal levels beneath Miocene detachment faults. Localization of strain during exhumation allowed prograde fabrics to be preserved. The PT conditions (400-550°C, 12-16kb) of these fabrics are comparable to conditions of episodic tremor and slow slip (ETS) observed in some modern subduction zones, including Cascadia. Two types of prograde fabrics were distinguished after analyzing macro-scale distributions of strain and microphysical mechanisms of creep in metamafic rocks. Type 1 fabrics contain eclogite pods boudinaged within a blueschist matrix. The eclogites show brittle deformation with cross-cutting veins containing high-pressure minerals. Deformation in matrix blueschists is accommodated by rigid rotation of amphibole and diffusion creep in plagioclase. Type 2 fabrics contain blueschists and eclogites that are isoclinally folded at similar wavelengths, thus are approximately isoviscous. Deformation is again accommodated by diffusion creep in blueschists, but by dislocation creep of omphacite in eclogites. These deformation types characterizing boudin-matrix and isoviscous rheologies of blueschist-eclogite assemblages appear to reflect varying amounts of finite strain, but work is in progress to determine whether they also record different PT conditions. The transition from Type 1 to 2 fabrics represents a significant change in bulk viscosity and seismic anisotropy, and may correspond to a transition from ETS-type behavior

  1. IODP Expedition 334: An Investigation of the Sedimentary Record, Fluid Flow and State of Stress on Top of the Seismogenic Zone of an Erosive Subduction Margin

    Directory of Open Access Journals (Sweden)

    Paola Vannucchi


    Full Text Available The Costa Rica Seismogenesis Project (CRISP is an experiment to understand the processes that control nucleation and seismic rupture of large earthquakes at erosional subduction zones. Integrated Ocean Drililng Program (IODP Expedition 334 by R/V JOIDES Resolution is the first step toward deep drilling through the aseismic and seismicplate boundary at the Costa Rica subduction zone offshore the Osa Peninsula where the Cocos Ridge is subducting beneath the Caribbean plate. Drilling operations included logging while drilling (LWD at two slope sites (Sites U1378 and U1379 and coring at three slope sites (Sites U1378–1380and at one site on the Cocos plate (Site U1381. For the first time the lithology, stratigraphy, and age of the slope and incoming sediments as well as the petrology of the subducting Cocos Ridge have been characterized at this margin.The slope sites recorded a high sediment accumulation rate of 160–1035m m.y.-1 possibly caused by on-land uplift triggered by the subduction of the Cocos Ridge. The geochemical data as well as the in situ temperature data obtained at the slope sites suggest that fluids are transported from greater depths. The geochemical profiles at Site U1381 reflect diffusional communication of a fluid with seawater-likechemistry and the igneous basement of the Cocos plate (Solomon et al., 2011; Vannucchi et al., 2012a. The present-day in situ stress orientation determined by borehole breakouts at Site U1378 in the middle slope and Site U1379 in the upper slope shows a marked change in stress state within ~12 km along the CRISP transect; that maycorrespond to a change from compression (middle slope to extension (upper slope.

  2. Plate Tectonics: A Paradigm under Threat. (United States)

    Pratt, David


    Discusses the challenges confronting plate tectonics. Presents evidence that contradicts continental drift, seafloor spreading, and subduction. Reviews problems posed by vertical tectonic movements. (Contains 242 references.) (DDR)

  3. Plate Tectonics: A Paradigm under Threat. (United States)

    Pratt, David


    Discusses the challenges confronting plate tectonics. Presents evidence that contradicts continental drift, seafloor spreading, and subduction. Reviews problems posed by vertical tectonic movements. (Contains 242 references.) (DDR)

  4. Receiver Function Analysis of the Lithospheric Structure Beneath the Western Great Plains (United States)

    Thurner, S.; Zhai, Y.; Levander, A.


    The lithosphere in the western Great Plain region of the Southwestern U.S. has been subject to tectonic deformation from the Proterozoic to present day. Proterozoic island arc terranes accreted onto the North American continent between 1.8 and 1.1 Ga, forming the original continent, and there is evidence for Proterozoic continental extension which formed basement penetrating faults between 1.5 and .6 Ga . This was followed by the uplift of the Ancestral Rockies and, most recently, the subduction of the Farallon plate beneath North America. Extension has occurred throughout the Basin and Range and formed the Rio Grand Rift (RGR). However, the relative impact that large scale tectonic forces, regional asthenospheric upwelling, and preexisting structural weaknesses have on the extension of the RGR is still undetermined. This study seeks to better understand the current tectonic system east of the Colorado Plateau beneath the RGR and western Great Plains. We use teleseismic receiver functions to investigate the nature of extension in the RGR as well as its connection to the small-scale convection thought to be occurring beneath the Colorado Plateau-RGR-Great Plains region. Our receiver function images were generated from 85 earthquake events recorded at 187 USArray Transportable Array seismic stations located throughout the western Great Plains (Latitude: 28-48, Longitude: -105-100). Previous studies have indicated crustal thickness between 39 km and 50 km beneath the Great Plains and as thin as 35 km beneath the RGR (Wilson, 2005). Tomography results have shown high velocity anomalies on both sides of the RGR, extending to 600 km depth beneath the western Great Plains, and a low velocity anomaly directly beneath the RGR (Gok et. al, 2003, Wilson et. al, 2005, Gao et. al, Song and Helmberger, 2007). The western Great Plains high velocity anomaly has been interpreted to be part of the downwelling portion of an edge driven convection system induced by a lateral

  5. Background seismicity rate at subduction zones linked to slab-bending-related hydration (United States)

    Nishikawa, Tomoaki; Ide, Satoshi


    Tectonic properties strongly control variations in seismicity among subduction zones. In particular, fluid distribution in subduction zones influences earthquake occurrence, and it varies among subduction zones due to variations in fluid sources such as hydrated oceanic plates. However, the relationship between variations in fluid distribution and variations in seismicity among subduction zones is unclear. Here we divide Earth's subduction zones into 111 regions and estimate background seismicity rates using the epidemic type aftershock sequence model. We demonstrate that background seismicity rate correlates to the amount of bending of the incoming oceanic plate, which in turn is related to the hydration of oceanic plates via slab-bending-related faults. Regions with large bending may have high-seismicity rates because a strongly hydrated oceanic plate causes high pore fluid pressure and reduces the strength of the plate interface. We suggest that variations in fluid distribution can also cause variations in seismicity in subduction zones.

  6. Reorganization of convergent plate boundaries. Geologica Ultraiectina (340)

    NARCIS (Netherlands)

    Baes, M.|info:eu-repo/dai/nl/304824739


    It is still unclear where a subduction is initiated and what are the responsible mechanisms involved in subduction initiation process. Understanding of subduction initiation will advance our knowledge of how and when plate tectonics started on Earth. Another issue concerning the subduction process

  7. Rapid pulses of uplift, subsidence, and subduction erosion offshore Central America: Implications for building the rock record of convergent margins

    Digital Repository Service at National Institute of Oceanography (India)

    Vannucchi, P.; Sak, P.B.; Morgan, J.P.; Ohkushi, K.; Ujiie, K.; IODP Expedition 334 Shipboard Scientists; Yatheesh, V.

    Integrated Ocean Drilling Program (IODP) Expedition 334 to southern Costa Rica, Central America, documented unprecedented subduction erosion in an area of active seismic slip. Widespread subduction erosion of the upper plate initiated when the Cocos...

  8. A numerical reference model for themomechanical subduction

    DEFF Research Database (Denmark)

    Quinquis, Matthieu; Chemia, Zurab; Tosi, Nicola


    . Our reference model represents ocean-ocean convergence and describes initial geometries and lithological stratification for a three-layered subducting slab and overriding plate along with their respective flow laws and chemical composition. It also includes kinematic and thermal boundary conditions...

  9. 25 years of continental deep subduction

    Institute of Scientific and Technical Information of China (English)

    ZHENG YongFei


    @@ This year marks the 25th anniversary of the discovery of coesite in metamorphic rocks of supracrustal origin.This initiated a revolution of the plate tectonics theory due to intensive studies of ultrahigh pressure metamorphism and continental deep subduction.The occurrence of coesite was first reported in 1984 by two French scientists,C.Chopin and D.C.Smith,respectively.

  10. Tracing Lithospheric Structure Using Flexural Rigidity in South America: Implications for Intra-Continental Deformation and Subduction Geometry. (United States)

    Perez-Gussinye, M.; Lowry, A. R.; Watts, A. B.; Phipps Morgan, J.


    The effective elastic thickness of the lithosphere, Te, is a proxy for its flexural rigidity, which primarily depends on thermal gradient and composition. As such Te maps reflect lithospheric structure. We present here a new Te map of South America generated using a compilation of satellite and terrestrial gravity data and a multitapered Bouguer coherence technique. Our Te map reflects the terrane structure of the continent, and correlates well with other published proxies for lithospheric structure: areas with high Te have, in general, high mantle shear wave velocity and low heat flow. Te is high (> 70 km) within the old, stable cratonic nuclei (> ~ 1.5 Ga old); lower Te occurs in areas repeatedly reactivated as major sutures, rift zones and at sites of hotspot magmatism. These areas concentrate most of the intracontinental seismicity and have high heat flow and low seismic velocity, implying that intra-continental deformation repeatedly focuses within thin, hot and hence weak lithosphere and that cratonic interiors are strong enough to inhibit tectonism. Along the Andean chain, Te illuminates interactions between the subducting slab and the pre-existing terrane structure. In the forearc, conductive cooling of the upper plate by the subducting slab primarily controls the rigidity, so that Te is largest (~ 40 km) where the oceanic plate is oldest and coldest (~ 20° S). In the central Andes, Te is relatively low (~ 20 km) along the volcanic chain and the Altiplano and Puna plateaus. We interpret these low Te values to reflect a shallow (70-100 km), hot and possible water-saturated asthenosphere that may extend to the western limit of the Eastern cordillera. Finally, regions of flat slab, located to the North and South of the plateaus, are characterized by high Te. Based on published tomographic results which indicate that the upper plate in the Chile flat slab segment is cratonic, we suggest that the lithospheric structure of the upper plate may influence the

  11. Plume head - trench interaction: impact on subduction dynamics (United States)

    Betts, P. G.; Moresi, L. N.; Mason, W. G.; Willis, D.


    The geologic record provides numerous examples where plumes and their associated buoyancy swell have disrupted convergent plate margins. These interactions have produced a variety of responses in the overriding plate including transient episodes of arc amagmatism, transient episodes of crustal shortening followed by plume-related magmatism in the overriding plate. The latter observation implies the plume must have transitioned from the subducting plate to the overriding plate. We present several 3D Underworld numerical models of plume heads of variable dimension and buoyancy interacting with a subduction trench. The models indicate that plume heads impact enormously on trench geometry. Arcuate trenches are created as the trench retreats around the edges of the plume head, whereas trench advance occurs in front of the plume resulting in transient crustal shortening in the overriding plate. Stalling of subduction when the plume head impacts the trench causes slab windowing. The size of the slab window is dependent on the size and buoyancy of the plume. The creation of the slab window provides a potential conduit for plume migration to the overriding plate. Alternatively, the plume head may be transferred to the overriding plate as subduction is re-established behind the plume. Models with "strong" slabs, characterized by high yield strengths, display different behavior. Plume-heads are entrained in the slab and are subducted without the development of a slab window.

  12. Process Based Explanations for Correlations Between the Structural and Seismic Segmentation of the Cascadia Subduction Wedge (United States)

    Fuller, C. W.; Brandon, M. T.; Willett, S. D.


    between coseismic slip and basins given the universal applicability of basin forming processes. Our models also show that the segmentation with respect to the CR structural high depends on variations in the viscous rheology of the wedge and in the effective flexural rigidity of the subducting plate. Uplift of the CR is due to viscous weakening of the landward region of the wedge, and the style of uplift depends on the viscosity and distribution of ductile material within the wedge. For example, the Olympic Mountains are the highest and deepest exhumed portion of the CR partially due to the viscously weaker felsic rocks comprising the core of the Olympics compared to stronger basaltic CRT underlying much of the remaining CR. The subducting plate beneath the Olympics also has a higher effective flexural rigidity than the rest of the Olympics due to the bend in the subducting plate as the trench trend turns from N to NNW. The increased rigidity provides less flexurally created accommodation space for accreted material leading to an earlier emergence of the CR in the Olympics. The wedge is also segmented with respect to upper plate seismicity in that minor seismic activity is observed most everywhere except within the core of the Olympic Mountains where the CRT has been removed. We hypothesize that the weaker viscous strength of the wedge within the core of the Olympics allows for the deformation to accumulate ductilely and aseismically, while the greater viscous strength of segments dominated by the CRT allows for more brittle and seismogenic deformation.

  13. Influence of Forearc Structure on the Extent of Great Subduction Zone Earthquakes (United States)

    McGuire, J. J.; Llenos, A.


    Structural features associated with forearc basins appear to strongly influence the rupture processes of large subduction zone earthquakes. Recent studies demonstrated that a significant percentage of the global seismic moment release on subduction zone thrust faults is concentrated beneath the gravity lows resulting from forearc basins. To better determine the nature of this correlation and examine its effect on rupture directivity and termination, we estimated the rupture areas of a set of Mw 7.5-8.7 earthquakes that occurred in circum-Pacific subduction zones. We compare synthetic and observed seismograms by measuring frequency- dependent amplitude and arrival time differences of the first orbit Rayleigh waves. At low frequencies, the amplitude anomalies primarily result from the spatial and temporal extent of the rupture. We then invert the amplitude and arrival time measurements to estimate the second moments of the slip distribution which describe the rupture length, width, duration and propagation velocity of each earthquake. Comparing the rupture areas to the trench-parallel gravity anomaly (TPGA, Song and Simons 2003) above each rupture, we find that in 12 of the 14 events considered in this study the TPGA increases between the centroid and the limits of the rupture. Thus, local increases in TPGA appear to be related to the physical conditions along the plate interface that favor rupture termination. Owing to the inherently long time scales required for forearc basin formation, the correlation between the TPGA field and rupture termination regions indicates that long-lived material heterogeneity rather than short time-scale stress heterogeneities are responsible for arresting most great subduction zone ruptures.

  14. Crustal and Upper Mantle Density Structure Beneath the Qinghai-Tibet Plateau and Surrounding Areas Derived from EGM2008 Geoid Anomalies

    Directory of Open Access Journals (Sweden)

    Honglei Li


    Full Text Available As the most active plateau on the Earth, the Qinghai-Tibet Plateau (TP has a complex crust–mantle structure. Knowledge of the distribution of such a structure provides information for understanding the underlying geodynamic processes. We obtain a three-dimensional model of the density of the crust and the upper mantle beneath the TP and surrounding areas from height anomalies using the Earth Gravitational Model 2008 (EGM2008. We refine the estimated density in the model iteratively using an initial density contrast model. We confirm that the EGM2008 products can be used to constrain the crust–mantle density structures. Our major findings are: (1 At a depth of 300–400 km, high-D(ensity anomalies terminate around the Jinsha River Suture (JRS in the central TP, which suggests that the Indian Plate has reached across the Bangong Nujiang Suture (BNS and almost reaches the JRS. (2 On the eastern TP, low-D(ensity anomalies at a depth of 0–300 km and with high-D anomalies at 400–670 km further verified the current eastward subduction of the Indian Plate. The ongoing subduction process provides force that results in frequent earthquakes and volcanoes. (3 At a depth of 600 km, low-D anomalies inside the TP illustrate the presence of hot weak material beneath it, which contribute to the inward thrusting of external material.

  15. Carbonation of subduction-zone serpentinite (high-pressure ophicarbonate; Ligurian Western Alps) and implications for the deep carbon cycling (United States)

    Scambelluri, Marco; Bebout, Gray E.; Belmonte, Donato; Gilio, Mattia; Campomenosi, Nicola; Collins, Nathan; Crispini, Laura


    Much of the long-term carbon cycle in solid earth occurs in subduction zones, where processes of devolatilization, partial melting of carbonated rocks, and dissolution of carbonate minerals lead to the return of CO2 to the atmosphere via volcanic degassing. Release of COH fluids from hydrous and carbonate minerals influences C recycling and magmatism at subduction zones. Contradictory interpretations exist regarding the retention/storage of C in subducting plates and in the forearc to subarc mantle. Several lines of evidence indicate mobility of C, of uncertain magnitude, in forearcs. A poorly constrained fraction of the 40-115 Mt/yr of C initially subducted is released into fluids (by decarbonation and/or carbonate dissolution) and 18-43 Mt/yr is returned at arc volcanoes. Current estimates suggest the amount of C released into subduction fluids is greater than that degassed at arc volcanoes: the imbalance could reflect C subduction into the deeper mantle, beyond subarc regions, or storage of C in forearc/subarc reservoirs. We examine the fate of C in plate-interface ultramafic rocks, and by analogy serpentinized mantle wedge, via study of fluid-rock evolution of marble and variably carbonated serpentinite in the Ligurian Alps. Based on petrography, major and trace element concentrations, and carbonate C and O isotope compositions, we demonstrate that serpentinite dehydration at 2-2.5 GPa, 550 °C released aqueous fluids triggering breakdown of dolomite in nearby marbles, thus releasing C into fluids. Carbonate + olivine veins document flow of COH fluids and that the interaction of these COH fluids with serpentinite led to the formation of high-P carbonated ultramafic-rock domains (high-P ophicarbonates). We estimate that this could result in the retention of ∼0.5-2.0 Mt C/yr in such rocks along subduction interfaces. As another means of C storage, 1 to 3 km-thick layers of serpentinized forearc mantle wedge containing 50 modal % dolomite could sequester 1.62 to

  16. Stochastic modelling of a large subduction interface earthquake in Wellington, New Zealand (United States)

    Francois-Holden, C.; Zhao, J.


    The Wellington region, home of New Zealand's capital city, is cut by a number of major right-lateral strike slip faults, and is underlain by the currently locked west-dipping subduction interface between the down going Pacific Plate, and the over-riding Australian Plate. A potential cause of significant earthquake loss in the Wellington region is a large magnitude (perhaps 8+) "subduction earthquake" on the Australia-Pacific plate interface, which lies ~23 km beneath Wellington City. "It's Our Fault" is a project involving a comprehensive study of Wellington's earthquake risk. Its objective is to position Wellington city to become more resilient, through an encompassing study of the likelihood of large earthquakes, and the effects and impacts of these earthquakes on humans and the built environment. As part of the "It's Our Fault" project, we are working on estimating ground motions from potential large plate boundary earthquakes. We present the latest results on ground motion simulations in terms of response spectra and acceleration time histories. First we characterise the potential interface rupture area based on previous geodetically-derived estimates interface of slip deficit. Then, we entertain a suitable range of source parameters, including various rupture areas, moment magnitudes, stress drops, slip distributions and rupture propagation directions. Our comprehensive study also includes simulations from historical large world subduction events translated into the New Zealand subduction context, such as the 2003 M8.3 Tokachi-Oki Japan earthquake and the M8.8 2010 Chili earthquake. To model synthetic seismograms and the corresponding response spectra we employed the EXSIM code developed by Atkinson et al. (2009), with a regional attenuation model based on the 3D attenuation model for the lower North-Island which has been developed by Eberhart-Phillips et al. (2005). The resulting rupture scenarios all produce long duration shaking, and peak ground

  17. Mantle discontinuities beneath Izu-Bonin and the implications

    Institute of Scientific and Technical Information of China (English)

    臧绍先; 周元泽; 蒋志勇


    The SdP, pdP and sdP phases are picked up with the Nth root slant stack method from the digital waveform data recorded by the networks and arrays in USA, Germany and Switzerland for the earthquakes occurring beneath Izu-Bonin and Japan Sea. The mantle discontinuities and the effects of subducting slab on the 660 km and 410 km discontinuities are studied. It is found that there are mantle discontinuities existing at the depths of 170, 220, 300, 410, 660, 850 and 1150 km. Beneath Izu-Bonin, the 410 km discontinuity is elevated, while the 660 km discontinuity is depressed; for both discontinuities, there are regionalized differences. Beneath Japan Sea, however, there is no depth variation of the 410 km discontinuity, and the 660 km discontinuity is depressed without obvious effect of the subducting slab.

  18. Imaging of the subducted Kyushu-Palau Ridge in the Hyuga-nada region, western Nankai Trough subduction zone (United States)

    Yamamoto, Yojiro; Obana, Koichiro; Takahashi, Tsutomu; Nakanishi, Ayako; Kodaira, Shuichi; Kaneda, Yoshiyuki


    We performed 3D seismic tomography of the Hyuga-nada region, western Nankai subduction zone, to investigate the relationship of the subducted part of Kyushu-Palau Ridge (KPR) to coseismic rupture propagation, seismicity, and shallow very low frequency earthquakes. Combining active-source and passive-source data recorded both onshore and offshore, we imaged the deep slab from near the trough axis to the coastal area. Our results show the subducted KPR as a low-velocity belt oriented NW-SE extending down the plate boundary to around 30 km depth. At this depth, we suggest that the subducted KPR detaches from the slab and becomes underplated on the overriding continental plate. As the coseismic slip areas of past large earthquakes do not extend into the subducted KPR, we suggest that it may inhibit rupture propagation. The interior of the subducted KPR shows active intraslab seismicity with a wide depth distribution. Shallow very low frequency earthquakes are continuously active above the location of the subducted KPR, whereas they are intermittent to the northeast of the subducted KPR. Thus, the subducted KPR appears to be an important factor in coseismic rupture propagation and seismic phenomena in this region.

  19. Consideration of optimum site distribution for detecting seafloor crustal deformation at the Nankai subduction zone (United States)

    Watanabe, T.; Tadokoro, K.; Sugimoto, S.; Okuda, T.; Miyata, K.; Kuno, M.


    The Philippine Sea plate subducts beneath the southwest Japan from the Nankai Trough with a rate of about 4-6 cm/yr, where great interplate earthquakes have repeatedly occurred every 100-150 years. To clarify the mechanism of earthquake occurrence at such subduction zones, we require the geodetic data obtained from not only onshore area but also offshore area. However it is difficult to estimate the strength of interplate coupling in offshore areas, due to the poverty of those data. For this issue, we have conducted seafloor geodetic observation using GPS/Acoustic techniques around the Nankai Trough since 2004. In this system, we estimate the position of a surveying vessel by Kinematic GPS analysis and measure the distance between the vessel and the benchmark on the seafloor by Acoustic measurements. Next, we determine the location of the benchmark and detected crustal movement on the seafloor. In the Kumano Basin, we have two seafloor benchmarks, which are located about 60 and 80 km away from the deformation front of the Nankai Trough. The observations from 2005 to 2008 have illustrated that those benchmarks are moving at rates of about 5-6 cm/yr toward west-northwest with velocity uncertainties of about 2 cm/yr relative to the Amurian plate. In this study, in order to estimate infer coupling at the Nankai Trough, we calculated surface deformations accompanied with subduction of the Philippine Sea plate in an elastic half-space and compared them with on- and offshore GPS velocities. Then, we checked the effect of seafloor geodetic observation on slip resolution on the plate interface. Moreover, we investigated optimum seafloor site distribution at the Nankai Trough using numerical simulation, because we require more seafloor sites to understand spatial variation of the slip and strain accumulation on the plate interface. We conclude that seafloor geodetic observation data provide good constraints for the estimation of slips at the shallower part of the plate

  20. P wave anisotropic tomography of the Nankai subduction zone in Southwest Japan (United States)

    Wang, Jian; Zhao, Dapeng


    The active subduction of the young Philippine Sea (PHS) plate and the old Pacific plate has resulted in significant seismic heterogeneity and anisotropy in Southwest (SW) Japan. In this work we determined a detailed 3-D P wave anisotropic tomography of the crust and upper mantle beneath SW Japan using ˜540,000 P wave arrival times from 5,249 local earthquakes recorded by 1095 stations. The PHS slab is imaged clearly as a high-velocity (high-V) anomaly which exhibits considerable lateral variations. Significant low-velocity (low-V) anomalies are revealed above and below the PHS slab. The low-V anomalies above the PHS slab may reflect the upwelling flow in the mantle wedge and the PHS slab dehydration, and they form the source zone of the arc volcanoes in SW Japan. The low-V zones under the PHS slab may reflect the upwelling flow in the big mantle wedge above the Pacific slab. The anisotropy in the crust and upper mantle is complex. In Kyushu, the P wave fast velocity direction (FVD) is generally trench-normal in the mantle wedge under the back-arc, which is consistent with the corner flow driven by the PHS slab subduction. The FVD is trench-parallel in the subducting PHS slab under Kyushu. We think that the intraslab seismicity is a potential indicator to the slab anisotropy. That is, the PHS slab with seismicity has kept its original fossil anisotropy formed at the mid-ocean ridge, while the aseismic PHS slab has reproduced the anisotropy according to its current deformation.

  1. Subduction of the South Chile active spreading ridge: A 17 Ma to 3 Ma magmatic record in central Patagonia (western edge of Meseta del Lago Buenos Aires, Argentina) (United States)

    Boutonnet, E.; Arnaud, N.; Guivel, C.; Lagabrielle, Y.; Scalabrino, B.; Espinoza, F.


    The Chile Triple Junction is a natural laboratory to study the interactions between magmatism and tectonics during the subduction of an active spreading ridge beneath a continent. The MLBA plateau (Meseta del Lago Buenos Aires) is one of the Neogene alkali basaltic plateaus located in the back-arc region of the Andean Cordillera at the latitude of the current Chile Triple Junction. The genesis of MLBA can be related with successive opening of slabs windows beneath Patagonia: within the subducting Nazca Plate itself and between the Nazca and Antarctic plates. Detailed 40Ar/ 39Ar dating and geochemical analysis of bimodal magmatism from the western flank of the MLBA show major changes in the back-arc magmatism which occurred between 14.5 Ma and 12.5 Ma with the transition from calc-alkaline lavas (Cerro Plomo) to alkaline lavas (MLBA) in relation with slab window opening. In a second step, at 4-3 Ma, alkaline felsic intrusions were emplaced in the western flank of the MLBA coevally with the MLBA basalts with which they are genetically related. These late OIB-like alkaline to transitional basalts were generated by partial melting of the subslab asthenosphere of the subducting Nazca plate during the opening of the South Chile spreading ridge-related slab window. These basalts differentiated with small amounts of assimilation in shallow magma chambers emplaced along transtensional to extensional zones. The close association of bimodal magmatism with extensional tectonic features in the western MLBA is a strong support to the model of Patagonian collapse event proposed to have taken place between 5 and 3 Ma as a consequence of the presence of the asthenospheric window (SCR-1 segment of South Chile Ridge) below the MLBA area.

  2. Subduction obliquity as a prime indicator for geotherm in subduction zone (United States)

    Plunder, Alexis; Thieulot, Cédric; van Hinsbergen, Douwe


    The geotherm of a subduction zone is thought to vary as a function of subduction rate and the age of the subducting lithosphere. Along a single subduction zone the rate of subduction can strongly vary due to changes in the angle between the trench and the plate convergence vector, namely the subduction obliquity. This phenomenon is observed all around the Pacific (i.e., Marianna, South America, Aleutian…). However due to observed differences in subducting lithosphere age or lateral convergence rate in nature, the quantification of temperature variation due to obliquity is not obvious. In order to investigate this effect, 3D generic numerical models were carried out using the finite element code ELEFANT. We designed a simplified setup to avoid interaction with other parameters. An ocean/ocean subduction setting was chosen and the domain is represented by a 800 × 300 × 200 km Cartesian box. The trench geometry is prescribed by means of a simple arc-tangent function. Velocity of the subducting lithosphere is prescribed using the analytical solution for corner flow and only the energy conservation equation is solved in the domain. Results are analysed after steady state is reached. First results show that the effect of the trench curvature on the geotherm with respect to the convergence direction is not negligible. A small obliquity yields isotherms which are very slightly deflected upwards where the obliquity is maximum. With an angle of ˜30°, the isotherms are deflected upwards of about 10 kilometres. Strong obliquity (i.e., angles from 60° to almost 90°) reveal extreme effects of the position of the isotherms. Further model will include other parameter as the dip of the slab and convergence rate to highlight their relative influence on the geotherm of subduction zone.

  3. Relative Motion between the Rivera and North American Plates: Constraints from Focal Mechanisms (United States)

    Suárez, Gerardo; Jaramillo, Said H.; Bandy, William


    The direction and velocity of the Rivera Plate in western Mexico relative to the North American plate has been a source of controversy. The southeastern segment of this plate boundary has been the site of one of the largest subduction events observed in Mexico during the last 100 years: the 3 June 1932 earthquake (Mw 8.2). To the northwest of the rupture zone of the 1932 event, however, there are no other known large subduction events, either from the historical or instrumental record. We analyze all focal mechanisms in this northern segment of the plate boundary to define the direction of relative motion between these two plates. The largest event occurred beneath the Tres Marias Escarpment, the earthquake of 4 December 1948. The recomputed magnitude yields Mw 6.4. This event caused widespread damage in a penal colony on the Tres Marias Islands. Although the focal mechanism of the 1948 event is not well constrained, the first arrival data collected shows reverse faulting with P axes oriented in a NE-SW direction. This mechanism coincides with other two fault plane solutions of more recent events. These mechanisms indicate reverse faulting beneath the Tres Marias Escarpment. To the northwest of the Islas Marias, in area where no clear physiographic feature defines the plate limits, we identify a group of strike-slip events, where the E-W trending nodal plane indicates right-lateral motion. These mechanisms suggest that the relative motion between Rivera and North America may be taken up by right-lateral strike slip motion. The accuracy of the locations does not allow to define in detail the geometry of this plate boundary. The slip vectors determined from these focal mechanisms are compared with the flow lines resulting from the various poles of relative motion between Rivera and North America to constrain its location.

  4. How mantle slabs drive plate tectonics. (United States)

    Conrad, Clinton P; Lithgow-Bertelloni, Carolina


    The gravitational pull of subducted slabs is thought to drive the motions of Earth's tectonic plates, but the coupling between slabs and plates is not well established. If a slab is mechanically attached to a subducting plate, it can exert a direct pull on the plate. Alternatively, a detached slab may drive a plate by exciting flow in the mantle that exerts a shear traction on the base of the plate. From the geologic history of subduction, we estimated the relative importance of "pull" versus "suction" for the present-day plates. Observed plate motions are best predicted if slabs in the upper mantle are attached to plates and generate slab pull forces that account for about half of the total driving force on plates. Slabs in the lower mantle are supported by viscous mantle forces and drive plates through slab suction.

  5. Geodynamics of divergent double subduction: 3-D numerical modeling of a Cenozoic example in the Molucca Sea region, Indonesia (United States)

    Zhang, Qingwen; Guo, Feng; Zhao, Liang; Wu, Yangming


    Geological observations reveal existence of a unique form of plate subduction featuring subduction on both sides of one single oceanic plate, which is termed divergent double subduction (DDS). DDS may play an important role in facilitating tectonic processes like closure of oceanic basins, accretion and amalgamation of magmatic arcs, and growth of continents. However, this type of subduction has been largely a conceptual model and the geodynamics behind DDS are still poorly constrained. The Molucca Sea subduction zone in SE Asia has been considered as a Cenozoic example of DDS based on geophysical and geological data and provides an opportunity for detailed assessment of how DDS occurs. Here we present 3-D numerical modeling with aims to reproduce the geodynamic processes of DDS. Several factors that may have important influences on the evolution of DDS are evaluated, including the geometry of the subducting plate, the order of subduction initiation on both sides, the far-field boundary conditions and thickness of the overriding plates, and the negative buoyancy of the subducting plate. Our results reproduce the observed asymmetrical shape of the subducting Molucca Sea plate and the bending of Halmahera and Sangihe arcs and suggest that DDS is possible if effective escape of the slab-trapped upper mantle overcomes the space problem, otherwise the slab-trapped mantle may hinder the sustainability of subduction. We therefore conclude that DDS is associated with closure of narrow and short oceanic plate, and large-scale double subduction is rare in nature probably owing to space problem.

  6. Seismic velocity variations beneath central Mongolia: Evidence for upper mantle plumes? (United States)

    Zhang, Fengxue; Wu, Qingju; Grand, Stephen P.; Li, Yonghua; Gao, Mengtan; Demberel, Sodnomsambuu; Ulziibat, Munkhuu; Sukhbaatar, Usnikh


    Central Mongolia is marked by wide spread recent volcanism as well as significant topographic relief even though it is far from any plate tectonic boundaries. The cause of the recent magmatism and topography remains uncertain partially because little is known of the underlying mantle seismic structure due to the lack of seismic instrumentation in the region. From August 2011 through August 2013, 69 broadband seismic stations were deployed in central Mongolia. Teleseismic traveltime residuals were measured using waveform correlation and were inverted to image upper mantle P and S velocity variations. Significant lateral variations in seismic velocity are imaged in the deep upper mantle (100 to 800 km depth). Most significant are two continuous slow anomalies from the deep upper mantle to near the surface. One slow feature has been imaged previously and may be a zone of deep upwelling bringing warm mantle to beneath the Hangay Dome resulting in uplift and magmatism including the active Khanuy Gol and Middle Gobi volcanoes. The second, deep low velocity anomaly is seen in the east from 800 to 150 km depth. The anomaly ends beneath the Gobi Desert that is found to have fast shallow mantle indicating a relatively thick lithosphere. We interpret the second deep slow anomaly as a mantle upwelling that is deflected by the thick Gobi Desert lithosphere to surrounding regions such as the Hentay Mountains to the north. The upwellings are a means of feeding warmer than normal asthenospheric mantle over a widely distributed region beneath Mongolia resulting in distributed volcanic activity and uplift. There is no indication that the upwellings are rooted in the deep lower mantle i.e. classic plumes. We speculate the upwellings may be related to deep subduction of the Pacific and Indian plates and are thus plumes anchored in the upper mantle.

  7. Shallow and buoyant lithospheric subduction : causes and implications from thermo-chemical numerical modeling



    Where two lithospheric plates converge on the Earth, one of them disappears into the mantle. The dominant driving mechanism for plate motion is regarded to be `slab pull': the subducted plate, the slab, exerts a pulling force on the attached plate at the surface. However, what has been puzzling geodynamicists since their discovery in the seventies, is that shallow, almost horizontal subduction, as occurring below Peru or Central Chile, does not fit into this simple picture. This forms the mot...

  8. Distribution and migration of aftershocks of the 2010 Mw 7.4 Ogasawara Islands intraplate normal-faulting earthquake related to a fracture zone in the Pacific plate (United States)

    Obana, Koichiro; Takahashi, Tsutomu; No, Tetsuo; Kaiho, Yuka; Kodaira, Shuichi; Yamashita, Mikiya; Sato, Takeshi; Nakamura, Takeshi


    describe the aftershocks of a Mw 7.4 intraplate normal-faulting earthquake that occurred 150 km east Ogasawara (Bonin) Islands, Japan, on 21 December 2010. It occurred beneath the outer trench slope of the Izu-Ogasawara trench, where the Pacific plate subducts beneath the Philippine Sea plate. Aftershock observations using ocean bottom seismographs (OBSs) began soon after the earthquake and multichannel seismic reflection surveys were conducted across the aftershock area. Aftershocks were distributed in a NW-SE belt 140 km long, oblique to the N-S trench axis. They formed three subparallel lineations along a fracture zone in the Pacific plate. The OBS observations combined with data from stations on Chichi-jima and Haha-jima Islands revealed a migration of the aftershock activity. The first hour, which likely outlines the main shock rupture, was limited to an 80 km long area in the central part of the subsequent aftershock area. The first hour activity occurred mainly around, and appears to have been influenced by, nearby large seamounts and oceanic plateau, such as the Ogasawara Plateau and the Uyeda Ridge. Over the following days, the aftershocks expanded beyond or into these seamounts and plateau. The aftershock distribution and migration suggest that crustal heterogeneities related to a fracture zone and large seamounts and oceanic plateau in the incoming Pacific plate affected the rupture of the main shock. Such preexisting structures may influence intraplate normal-faulting earthquakes in other regions of plate flexure prior to subduction.

  9. Anisotropy from SKS splitting across the Pacific-North America plate boundary offshore southern California (United States)

    Ramsay, Joseph; Kohler, Monica D.; Davis, Paul M.; Wang, Xinguo; Holt, William; Weeraratne, Dayanthie S.


    SKS arrivals from ocean bottom seismometer (OBS) data from an offshore southern California deployment are analysed for shear wave splitting. The project involved 34 OBSs deployed for 12 months in a region extending up to 500 km west of the coastline into the oceanic Pacific plate. The measurement process consisted of removing the effects of anisotropy using a range of values for splitting fast directions and delay times to minimize energy along the transverse seismometer axis. Computed splitting parameters are unexpectedly similar to onland parameters, exhibiting WSW-ENE fast polarization directions and delays between 0.8 and 1.8 s, even for oceanic plate sites. This is the first SKS splitting study to extend across the entire boundary between the North America and Pacific plates, into the oceanic part of the Pacific plate. The splitting results show that the fast direction of anisotropy on the Pacific plate does not align with absolute plate motion (APM), and they extend the trend of anisotropy in southern California an additional 500 km west, well onto the oceanic Pacific plate. We model the finite strain and anisotropy within the asthenosphere associated with density-buoyancy driven mantle flow and the effects of APM. In the absence of plate motion effects, such buoyancy driven mantle flow would be NE-directed beneath the Pacific plate observations. The best-fit patterns of mantle flow are inferred from the tomography-based models that show primary influences from foundering higher-density zones associated with the history of subduction beneath North America. The new offshore SKS measurements, when combined with measurements onshore within the plate boundary zone, indicate that dramatic lateral variations in density-driven upper-mantle flow are required from offshore California into the plate boundary zone in California and western Basin and Range.

  10. The Link between Hi - Magnesium Andesite Distribution in Baja California Peninsula and the Undetached Fragments of the Farallon Plate (United States)

    Wang, Y.; Forsyth, D. W.; Savage, B.


    About 12 Ma, the Guadalupe and Magdalena microplates ceased subducting beneath the North American continent, leaving behind plate fragments that became incorporated into the Pacific plate as spreading ceased. Spreading directions changed dramatically on Magdalena spreading centers, suggesting that the Farallon slab detached from the microplate fragments before or during the cessation of spreading. Although the sinking Farallon plate must have detached from those two microplates, it is not known where the detachments occurred and how much of the young slab was left behind still attached to the unsubducted surface microplates. We delineate the undetached Farallon fragments by looking for associated seismic velocity anomalies using teleseismic Rayleigh wave tomography and the stations of the USArray, NARS-Baja and RESBAN arrays. The lateral extent of the remanent plate fragments is indicated by a high (positive) velocity anomaly at 100 km depth (Figure 1). This landward edge of this anomaly coincides with the distribution of post-subduction high-Mg andesites (Bajaites, black region in Figure 1), which are inferred to involve fluid fluxed melting in overlying asthenospheric wedge and melting of the subducted oceanic crust. Shear velocity anomaly at 100 km

  11. Active Subduction on Both Coasts of Costa Rica Does not Represent an Important Tsunami Hazard (United States)

    Protti, M.; Gonzalez, V.


    Costa Rica, on the southern terminus of the Middle American Trench is being affected by active subduction