Sample records for subducted african plate

  1. The African Plate: A history of oceanic crust accretion and subduction since the Jurassic

    NARCIS (Netherlands)

    Gaina, C.; Torsvik, T.H.; van Hinsbergen, D.J.J.; Medvedev, S.; Werner, S.C.; Labails, C.


    We present a model for the Jurassic to Present evolution of plate boundaries and oceanic crust of the African plate based on updated interpretation of magnetic, gravity and other geological and geophysical data sets. Location of continent ocean boundaries and age and geometry of old oceanic crust

  2. Subducting Plate Breakup by Plume-Lithosphere Interaction (United States)

    Koptev, A.; Gerya, T.; Jolivet, L.; Leroy, S. D.


    We use a 3D high-resolution thermo-mechanical modeling to investigate the impact of active mantle plume on a subducting lithospheric plate. Initial model setup consists of an overriding continental lithosphere and subducting lithospheric plate including oceanic and continental lithosphere. A mantle plume thermal anomaly has been initially seeded at the bottom of the model box underneath the continental segment of subducting plate. Mantle plume impingement on lithospheric bottom leads to thinning of continental lithosphere and decompressional melting of both lithospheric and sublithospheric mantle along stretched trench-parallel zone. Further continental breakup is followed by opening of an oceanic basin separating a newly formed microcontinent from the main subducting continent. Despite continuous push applied at the boundary of subducting plate, plume-induced oceanic basin opens during several Myrs reaching several hundred kilometers wide. Cooling of the mantle plume and beginning of collision between the separated microcontinent and the overriding continental plate lead to gradual closure of newly formed oceanic basin that gets further involved into subduction and collision. The final stage sees continental subduction of main body of subducting plate and simultaneous tectonic exhumation of the upper crust of the subducted microcontinent. This scenario involving a plume-induced rifting of a microcontinent away from main body of subducted plate can be compared to the Mesozoic-Cenozoic development of the African plate characterized by the consecutive separation of the Apulian microcontinent and Arabian plate (in the Jurassic and the Neogene, respectively) during subduction of Neo-Tethys oceanic lithosphere beneath the Eurasian margin.

  3. Convective Removal of Continental Margin Lithosphere at the Edges of Subducting Oceanic Plates (United States)

    Levander, A.; Bezada, M. J.; Palomeras, I.; Masy, J.; Humphreys, E.; Niu, F.


    Although oceanic lithosphere is continuously recycled to the deeper mantle by subduction, the rates and manner in which different types of continental lithospheric mantle are recycled is unclear. Cratonic mantle can be chemically reworked and essentially decratonized, although the frequency of decratonization is unclear. Lithospheric mantle under or adjacent to orogenic belts can be lost to the deeper mantle by convective downwellings and delamination phenomena. Here we describe how subduction related processes at the edges of oceanic plates adjacent to passive continental margins removes the mantle lithosphere from beneath the margin and from the continental interior. This appears to be a widespread means of recycling non-cratonic continental mantle. Lithospheric removal requires the edge of a subducting oceanic plate to be at a relatively high angle to an adjacent passive continental margin. From Rayleigh wave and body wave tomography, and receiver function images from the BOLIVAR and PICASSO experiments, we infer large-scale removal of continental margin lithospheric mantle from beneath 1) the northern South American plate margin due to Atlantic subduction, and 2) the Iberian and North African margins due to Alboran plate subduction. In both cases lithospheric mantle appears to have been removed several hundred kilometers inland from the subduction zones. This type of ';plate-edge' tectonics either accompanies or pre-conditions continental margins for orogenic activity by thinning and weakening the lithosphere. These processes show the importance of relatively small convective structures, i.e. small subducting plates, in formation of orogenic belts.

  4. Reaction-induced rheological weakening enables oceanic plate subduction


    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 goug...

  5. Influence of the subducting plate velocity on the geometry of the slab and migration of the subduction hinge

    NARCIS (Netherlands)

    Schellart, Wouter P.


    Geological observations indicate that along two active continental margins (East Asia and Mediterranean) major phases of overriding plate extension, resulting from subduction hinge-retreat, occurred synchronously with a reduction in subducting plate velocity. In this paper, results of fluid

  6. Slab detachment of subducted Indo-Australian plate beneath Sunda ...

    Indian Academy of Sciences (India)

    2007). We investigate the northward subduction of the. Indo-Australian plate along the eastern Sunda arc right from northwestern Sumatra, along Java to. Keywords. Slab detachment; subduction zone; Sunda arc; Indo-Australian slab; trench migration. J. Earth Syst. Sci. 120, No. 2, April 2011, pp. 193–204 c Indian Academy ...

  7. 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.

  8. A subduction zone reference frame based on slab geometry and subduction partitioning of plate motion and trench migration

    NARCIS (Netherlands)

    Schellart, W. P.


    The geometry of subducted slabs that interact with the transition zone depends critically on the partitioning of the subduction velocity (v S⊥) at the surface into its subducting plate motion component (vSP⊥) and trench migration component (vT⊥). Geodynamic models of progressive subduction

  9. Three-dimensional dynamic laboratory models of subduction with an overriding plate and variable interplate rheology

    NARCIS (Netherlands)

    Duarte, João C.; Schellart, Wouter P.; Cruden, Alexander R.


    Subduction zones are complex 3-D features in which one tectonic plate sinks underneath another into the deep mantle. During subduction the overriding plate (OP) remains in physical contact with the subducting plate and stresses generated at the subduction zone interface and by mantle flowforce the

  10. Seismic Structure of the Subducted Cocos Plate (United States)

    Clayton, R. W.; Davis, P. M.; Perez-Campos, X.


    The Meso-American Subduction Experiment (MASE) was designed to determine the critical parameters to necessary to simulate the subduction process in Central Mexico . A preliminary analysis of the data shows a 200km section of the slab that is subhorizontal and to within the resolution of the receiver functions it underplates the continental crust with no intervening asthenosphere. This is an interesting situation because the short-term (GPS) and long-term (geologic) strain measurements show almost no compressive strain in this region. This would imply that the crust is decoupled from the subducting slab. Near the coast, the receiver functions show that the slab cuts through the crust at an approximately a 15-degree angle, and under the Trans-Mexican Volcanic Belt the slab becomes detached from the crust, but its geometry at depth is not yet determined from the receiver functions, but a well-developed mantle wedge is apparent from the attenuation of regional earthquakes.

  11. 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.

  12. 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.

  13. 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.

  14. 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

  15. Dynamics of interplate domain in subduction zones: influence of rheological parameters and subducting plate age

    Directory of Open Access Journals (Sweden)

    D. Arcay


    Full Text Available The properties of the subduction interplate domain are likely to affect not only the seismogenic potential of the subduction area but also the overall subduction process, as it influences its viability. Numerical simulations are performed to model the long-term equilibrium state of the subduction interplate when the diving lithosphere interacts with both the overriding plate and the surrounding convective mantle. The thermomechanical model combines a non-Newtonian viscous rheology and a pseudo-brittle rheology. Rock strength here depends on depth, temperature and stress, for both oceanic crust and mantle rocks. I study the evolution through time of, on one hand, the brittle-ductile transition (BDT depth, zBDT, and, on the other hand, of the kinematic decoupling depth, zdec, simulated along the subduction interplate. The results show that both a high friction and a low ductile strength at the asthenospheric wedge tip shallow zBDT. The influence of the weak material activation energy is of second order but not negligible. zBDT becomes dependent on the ductile strength increase with depth (activation volume if the BDT occurs at the interplate decoupling depth. Regarding the interplate decoupling depth, it is shallowed (1 significantly if mantle viscosity at asthenospheric wedge tip is low, (2 if the difference in mantle and interplate activation energy is weak, and (3 if the activation volume is increased. Very low friction coefficients and/or low asthenospheric viscosities promote zBDT = zdec. I then present how the subducting lithosphere age affects the brittle-ductile transition depth and the kinematic decoupling depth in this model. Simulations show that a rheological model in which the respective activation energies of mantle and interplate material are too close hinders the mechanical decoupling at the down-dip extent of the interplate

  16. Reevaluating plate driving forces from 3-D models of subduction (United States)

    Stegman, D. R.; Freeman, J.; Schellart, W. P.; Moresi, L.; May, D.; Turnbull, R.


    Subducting lithospheric slabs mechanically attached to tectonic plates provide the main driving force for surface plate motion. Numerical models historically simulate slab dynamics as a 2-D process and further simplify the problem into either a density driven model (no heat transfer) or a corner-flow problem (thermal convection) [Christensen, 2001; Enns et al., (in revision); van Keken, 2003]. Recent 3-D global models of density driven flow incorporating a history of plate motion (Conrad and Lithgow-Bertelloni, 2002) have succussfully ruled out slab "suction" (basal shear traction induced by downward flow of the slabs) as a major driving force, but exact partitioning of the remaining forces acting on the slab remain unconstrained. A survey of trenches around the world reveals that over half of the slabs presently subducted in the upper mantle have a discontinuous edge (either a slab tip on a young slab, or the side edge of a slab with finite width) around which mantle can flow: prime examples being slabs in the Mediterranean and Carribean. However, even slabs with a wide lateral extent (and where a 2-D approximation may seem appropriate), show signs of having 3-D complexity. For example, on the surface Tonga appears relatively symmetric, but when the history of subduction is considered, the slab has a twisted, 3-D structure due to significant eastward retreat of just the northern part of an originally N-S oriented trench edge. Similarly the widest slabs, South American and Kamchatka, show seismic anisotropy attributed to trench parallel mantle flow (Russo and Silver, 1994; Peyton, et al., 2001, respectively), while the Aleutian trench has oblique subduction varying in magnitude from west to east, and medium width Central American slab likely has a slab window allowing 3-D flow (Johnston and Thorkelson, 1997). Recent laboratory experiments of subduction have demonstrated the full complexity of flow occuring in 3-D geometry (Kincaid and Griffiths, 2003; Schellart

  17. 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.

  18. Geodynamical Analysis of Plate Reconstructions based on Subduction History Models (United States)

    Quevedo, L. E.; Butterworth, N. P.; Matthews, K. J.; Morra, G.; Müller, R. D.


    We present a novel method to produce global subduction history models from plate reconstructions and use their predicted geodynamic behaviour as a quality metric for the physical consistency of absolute motions. We show that modelled slabs constructed by advecting material into the mantle according to absolute and relative plate motions given by a particular reconstruction are better correlated with the present day slab dips observed in mantle tomography than instantaneous kinematic quantities like present convergence rate. A complete simulation incorporating lithospheric thickness derived from oceanic age and a rheological model of the lithosphere was run using the Boundary Element Method-based software BEMEarth to infer the global pattern of mantle flow. The predicted plate motion orientations in the form of Euler pole location for the present day and mid-Cretaceous (125 Ma) were compared with the kinematic model for a set of rheologies and mantle structures, and found to be a robust and efficient indicator of the physical consistency of kinematic reconstructions based on their effect on the balance of plate driving forces. As an application example, during the Early Cretaceous, the predicted motion of the Farallon plate was found to be more consistent with the regional geology of the Western North American Cordillera system than the instantaneous motion suggested by a reconstruction at 125 Ma based on sparse hotspot track data on the Pacific Plate. This suggests that a methodology based on forward geodynamic modellling could be used to predict absolute plate motions in reconstructions for times that are ill-constrained by observations constraining absolute plate motions.

  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

  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

  1. A satellite magnetic perspective of subduction zones, large igneous provinces, rifts, and diffuse plate boundary zones (United States)

    Purucker, M. E.; Whaler, K. A.


    Large and intermediate-scale tectonic features such as subduction zones, large igneous provinces, rifts, and diffuse plate boundary zones are often seen to have a magnetic signature visible from the perspective of near-Earth magnetic field satellites such as CHAMP and Orsted. Why do these tectonic features have a magnetic signature, while others do not? A new model of the lithospheric field (MF-6, Maus et al., 2008) extending to spherical harmonic degree 120 (333 km wavelength) has been used to evaluate the magnetic state of the lithosphere under the assumption that the magnetization is either induced (with a seismic starting model), or remanent (with a minimum norm approach). Some of the features identified from these images include the Tethyan and NE Siberian diffuse plate boundary zones, the Red Sea rift, and Cretaceous rift basins developed on the West African shield. Almost without exception, subduction zones exhibit a magnetic signature, as do many large igneous provinces. In this talk we discuss some of the new insights this magnetic perspective provides, and speculate on the controls which determine whether tectonic features will be expressed magnetically.

  2. Kinematics of subduction and plate convergence under Taiwan and its geomorphic, geodetic and seismic expressions (United States)

    Suppe, J.; Carena, S.; Kanda, R. V.; Wu, Y.; Huang, H.; Wu, J. E.


    Deciphering the kinematics of ongoing subduction and rapid plate convergence under Taiwan is neither trivial nor straightforward. A 3D synthesis of diverse constraints is required, for example tomography, geodesy, tectonic geomorphology, stress inversion, and Philippine Sea plate motions. Eurasian-Philippine Sea plate convergence is ~90mm/y in a mildly oblique 300° azimuth relative to the ~NS nearly vertically subducting Eurasian mantle lithosphere which extends to ~500km depth. If all the current plate convergence were consumed in subduction of Eurasian mantle, the subduction flexural hinge would migrate westward at ~80mm/y, which is fast relative to the ~30mm/y long-term slip rate on the Taiwan main detachment that represents the Eurasian subduction interface under the Taiwan Central Mountains. If this fast simple subduction were occurring, subduction would too quickly outrun the mountain belt in conflict with data. Instead we estimate that subduction of Eurasian lithosphere is proceeding at ~50mm/y with the remaining ~40mm/y convergence at a lithospheric level consumed by secondary subduction above and to the east of the main plate interface. This secondary subduction is largely transient deformation that is most obvious under the Coastal Range, which represents the deforming western margin of the Philippine Sea plate during the last ~1-1.5 Ma. The thrust faults of the Coastal Range function as subduction faults with the long-term net motion of their footwalls moving largely down relative to their only slowly uplifting hanging walls, with a net secondary subduction of ~40-50km in the last ~1-1.5Ma as estimated from seismic tomography and other data. In addition we find evidence for ongoing subduction of the eastern Central Mountains of Taiwan. The crest of the mountains coincides with the western edge of the migrating plate flexure, a band of extensional geodetic strain coincides with the flexure, and an extensional stress state in the upper 5-10km coincides

  3. Investigating the Subduction History of the Southwest Pacific using Coupled Plate Tectonic-Mantle Convection Models (United States)

    Matthews, K. J.; Flament, N. E.; Williams, S.; Müller, D.; Gurnis, M.


    The Late Cretaceous to mid Eocene (~85-45 Ma) evolution of the southwest Pacific has been the subject of starkly contrasting plate reconstruction models, reflecting sparse and ambiguous data. Disparate models of (1) west-dipping subduction and back-arc basin opening to the east of the Lord Howe Rise, (2) east-dipping subduction and back-arc basin closure to the east of the Lord Howe Rise, and (3) tectonic quiescence with no subduction have all been proposed for this time frame. To help resolve this long-standing problem we test a new southwest Pacific reconstruction using global mantle flow models with imposed plate motions. The kinematic model incorporates east to northeast directed rollback of a west-dipping subduction zone between 85 and 55 Ma, accommodating opening of the South Loyalty back-arc basin to the east of New Caledonia. At 55 Ma there is a plate boundary reorganization in the region. West-dipping subduction and back-arc basin spreading end, and there is initiation of northeast dipping subduction within the back-arc basin. Consumption of South Loyalty Basin seafloor continues until 45 Ma, when obduction onto New Caledonia begins. West-dipping Tonga-Kermadec subduction initiates at this time at the relict Late Cretaceous-earliest Eocene subduction boundary. We use the 3D spherical mantle convection code CitcomS coupled to the plate reconstruction software GPlates, with plate motions and evolving plate boundaries imposed since 230 Ma. The predicted present-day mantle structure is compared to S- and P-wave seismic tomography models, which can be used to infer the presence of slab material in the mantle at locations where fast velocity anomalies are imaged. This workflow enables us to assess the forward-modeled subduction history of the region.

  4. 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.

  5. Reconstructing Farallon plate subduction beneath North America back to the Late Cretaceous. (United States)

    Liu, Lijun; Spasojevic, Sonja; Gurnis, Michael


    Using an inverse mantle convection model that assimilates seismic structure and plate motions, we reconstruct Farallon plate subduction back to 100 million years ago. Models consistent with stratigraphy constrain the depth dependence of mantle viscosity and buoyancy, requiring that the Farallon slab was flat lying in the Late Cretaceous, consistent with geological reconstructions. The simulation predicts that an extensive zone of shallow-dipping subduction extended beyond the flat-lying slab farther east and north by up to 1000 kilometers. The limited region of flat subduction is consistent with the notion that subduction of an oceanic plateau caused the slab to flatten. The results imply that seismic images of the current mantle provide more constraints on past tectonic events than previously recognized.

  6. Plate coupling across the northern Manila subduction zone deduced from mantle lithosphere buoyancy (United States)

    Lo, Chung-Liang; Doo, Wen-Bin; Kuo-Chen, Hao; Hsu, Shu-Kun


    The Manila subduction zone is located at the plate boundary where the Philippine Sea plate (PSP) moves northwestward toward the Eurasian plate (EU) with a high convergence rate. However, historically, no large earthquakes greater than Mw7 have been observed across the northern Manila subduction zone. The poorly understood plate interaction between these two plates in this region creates significant issues for evaluating the seismic hazard. Therefore, the variation of mantle lithospheric buoyancy is calculated to evaluate the plate coupling status across the northern Manila subduction zone, based on recently published forward gravity modeling constrained by the results of the P-wave seismic crustal structure of the TAIGER (Taiwan Integrated Geodynamic Research) project. The results indicate weak plate coupling between the PSP and EU, which could be related to the release of the overriding PSP from the descending EU's dragging force, which was deduced from the higher elevation of the Luzon arc and the fore-arc basin northward toward the Taiwan orogen. Moreover, serpentinized peridotite is present above the plate boundary and is distributed more widely and thickly closer to offshore southern Taiwan orogen. We suggest that low plate coupling may facilitate the uplifting of serpentinized mantle material up to the plate boundary.

  7. Stress rotation across the Cascadia megathrust requires a weak subduction plate boundary at seismogenic depths (United States)

    Li, Duo; McGuire, Jeffrey J.; Liu, Yajing; Hardebeck, Jeanne L.


    The Mendocino Triple Junction region is the most seismically active part of the Cascadia Subduction Zone. The northward moving Pacific plate collides with the subducting Gorda plate causing intense internal deformation within it. Here we show that the stress field rotates rapidly with depth across the thrust interface from a strike-slip regime within the subducting plate, reflecting the Pacific plate collision, to a thrust regime in the overriding plate. We utilize a dense focal mechanism dataset, including observations from the Cascadia Initiative ocean bottom seismograph experiment, to constrain the stress orientations. To quantify the implications of this rotation for the strength of the plate boundary, we designed an inversion that solves for the absolute stress tensors in a three-layer model subject to assumptions about the strength of the subducting mantle. Our results indicate that the shear stress on the plate boundary fault is likely no more than about ∼50 MPa at ∼20 km depth. Regardless of the assumed mantle strength, we infer a relatively weak megathrust fault with an effective friction coefficient of ∼0 to 0.2 at seismogenic depths. Such a low value for the effective friction coefficient requires a combination of high fluid pressures and/or fault-zone minerals with low inherent friction in the region where a great earthquake is expected in Cascadia.

  8. Stress rotation across the Cascadia megathrust requires a weak subduction plate boundary at seismogenic depths (United States)

    Li, Duo; McGuire, Jeffrey J.; Liu, Yajing; Hardebeck, Jeanne L.


    The Mendocino Triple Junction region is the most seismically active part of the Cascadia Subduction Zone. The northward moving Pacific plate collides with the subducting Gorda plate causing intense internal deformation within it. Here we show that the stress field rotates rapidly with depth across the thrust interface from a strike-slip regime within the subducting plate, reflecting the Pacific plate collision, to a thrust regime in the overriding plate. We utilize a dense focal mechanism dataset, including observations from the Cascadia Initiative ocean bottom seismograph experiment, to constrain the stress orientations. To quantify the implications of this rotation for the strength of the plate boundary, we designed an inversion that solves for the absolute stress tensors in a three-layer model subject to assumptions about the strength of the subducting mantle. Our results indicate that the shear stress on the plate boundary fault is likely no more than about ∼50 MPa at ∼20 km depth. Regardless of the assumed mantle strength, we infer a relatively weak megathrust fault with an effective friction coefficient of ∼0 to 0.2 at seismogenic depths. Such a low value for the effective friction coefficient requires a combination of high fluid pressures and/or fault-zone minerals with low inherent friction in the region where a great earthquake is expected in Cascadia.

  9. 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.

  10. SubductionGenerator: A program to build three-dimensional plate configurations (United States)

    Jadamec, M. A.; Kreylos, O.; Billen, M. I.; Turcotte, D. L.; Knepley, M.


    Geologic, geochemical, and geophysical data from subduction zones indicate that a two-dimensional paradigm for plate tectonic boundaries is no longer adequate to explain the observations. Many open source software packages exist to simulate the viscous flow of the Earth, such as the dynamics of subduction. However, there are few open source programs that generate the three-dimensional model input. We present an open source software program, SubductionGenerator, that constructs the three-dimensional initial thermal structure and plate boundary structure. A 3D model mesh and tectonic configuration are constructed based on a user specified model domain, slab surface, seafloor age grid file, and shear zone surface. The initial 3D thermal structure for the plates and mantle within the model domain is then constructed using a series of libraries within the code that use a half-space cooling model, plate cooling model, and smoothing functions. The code maps the initial 3D thermal structure and the 3D plate interface onto the mesh nodes using a series of libraries including a k-d tree to increase efficiency. In this way, complicated geometries and multiple plates with variable thickness can be built onto a multi-resolution finite element mesh with a 3D thermal structure and 3D isotropic shear zones oriented at any angle with respect to the grid. SubductionGenerator is aimed at model set-ups more representative of the earth, which can be particularly challenging to construct. Examples include subduction zones where the physical attributes vary in space, such as slab dip and temperature, and overriding plate temperature and thickness. Thus, the program can been used to construct initial tectonic configurations for triple junctions and plate boundary corners.

  11. Nitrogen recycling at the Costa Rican subduction zone: The role of incoming plate structure. (United States)

    Lee, Hyunwoo; Fischer, Tobias P; de Moor, J Maarten; Sharp, Zachary D; Takahata, Naoto; Sano, Yuji


    Efficient recycling of subducted sedimentary nitrogen (N) back to the atmosphere through arc volcanism has been advocated for the Central America margin while at other locations mass balance considerations and N contents of high pressure metamorphic rocks imply massive addition of subducted N to the mantle and past the zones of arc magma generation. Here, we report new results of N isotope compositions with gas chemistry and noble gas compositions of forearc and arc front springs in Costa Rica to show that the structure of the incoming plate has a profound effect on the extent of N subduction into the mantle. N isotope compositions of emitted arc gases (9-11 N°) imply less subducted pelagic sediment contribution compared to farther north. The N isotope compositions (δ(15)N = -4.4 to 1.6‰) of forearc springs at 9-11 N° are consistent with previously reported values in volcanic centers (δ(15)N = -3.0 to 1.9‰). We advocate that subduction erosion enhanced by abundant seamount subduction at 9-11 N° introduces overlying forearc crustal materials into the Costa Rican subduction zone, releasing fluids with lighter N isotope signatures. This process supports the recycling of heavier N into the deep mantle in this section of the Central America margin.

  12. Numerical Modelling of Subduction Plate Interface, Technical Advances for Outstanding Questions (United States)

    Le Pourhiet, L.; Ruh, J.; Pranger, C. C.; Zheng, L.; van Dinther, Y.; May, D.; Gerya, T.; Burov, E. B.


    The subduction zone interface is the place of the largest earthquakes on earth. Compared to the size of a subduction zone itself, it constitutes a very thin zone (few kilometers) with effective rheological behaviour that varies as a function of pressure, temperature, loading, nature of the material locally embedded within the interface as well as the amount of water, melts and CO2. Capturing the behaviour of this interface and its evolution in time is crucial, yet modelling it is not an easy task. In the last decade, thermo-mechanical models of subduction zone have flourished in the literature. They mostly focused on the long-term dynamics of the subduction; e.g. flat subduction, slab detachment or exhumation. The models were validated models against PTt path of exhumed material as well as topography. The models that could reproduce the data all included a mechanically weak subduction channel made of extremely weak and non cohesive material. While this subduction channel model is very convenient at large scale and might apply to some real subduction zones, it does not capture the many geological field evidences that point out the exhumation of very large slice of almost pristine oceanic crust along localised shear zone. Moreover, modelling of sismological and geodetic data using short term tectonic modelling approach also point out that large localised patches rupture within the subduction interface, which is in accordance with geological data but not with large-scale long-term tectonic models. I will present how high resolution models permit to produce slicing at the subduction interface and give clues on how the plate coupling and effective location of the plate interface vary over a few millions of year time scale. I will then discuss the implication of these new high-resolution long-term models of subduction zone on earthquake generation, report progress in the development of self-consistent thermomechanical codes which can handle large strain, high resolution

  13. Subduction of the Caribbean Plate and Basement Uplifts in the Overriding South American Plate (United States)

    Kellogg, J. N.; Bonini, W. E.


    The new tectonic interpretations presented in this paper are based on geologic field mapping and gravity data supplemented by well logs, seismic profiles, and radiometric and earthquake data. The present Caribbean-South American plate boundary is the South Caribbean marginal fault, where subduction is indicated by folding and thrusting in the deformed belt and a seismic zone that dips 30° to the southeast and terminates 200 km below the Maracaibo Basin. The Caribbean-South American convergence rate is estimated as 1.9 ± 0.3 cm/yr on the basis of the 390-km length of the seismic zone and a thermal equilibration time of 10 m.y. The Caribbean-South American convergence has produced a northwest-southeast maximum principal stress direction σ1 in the overriding South American plate. The mean σ1 direction for the Maracaibo-Santa Marta block is 310° ± 10° based on earthquake focal mechanism determinations, and structural and gravity data. On the overriding South American plate, basement blocks have been uplifted 7-12 km in the last 10 m.y. to form the Venezuelan Andes, Sierra de Perija, and the Colombian Santa Marta massif. Crystalline basement of the Venezuelan Andes has been thrust to the northwest over Tertiary sediments on a fault dipping about 25° and extending to the mantle. In the Sierra de Perija, Mesozoic sediments have been thrust 16-26 km to the northwest over Tertiary sandstones along the Cerrejon fault. A thrust fault dipping 15° ± 10° to the southeast is consistent with field mapping, and gravity and density data. The Santa Marta massif has been uplifted 12 km in the last 10 m.y. by northwest thrusting over sediments. The basement block overthrusts of the Perijas, Venezuelan Andes, and the Santa Marta massif are Pliocene-Pleistocene analogs for Laramide orogenic structures in the middle and southern Rocky Mountains of the United States. The nonmagmatic basement block uplifts along low-angle thrust faults reveal horizontal compression in the

  14. Geometry and seismic properties of the subducting Cocos plate in central Mexico (United States)

    Kim, Y.; Clayton, R. W.; Jackson, J. M.


    The geometry and properties of the interface of the Cocos plate beneath central Mexico are determined from the receiver functions (RFs) utilizing data from the Meso America Subduction Experiment (MASE). The RF image shows that the subducting oceanic crust is shallowly dipping to the north at 15° for 80 km from Acapulco and then horizontally underplates the continental crust for approximately 200 km to the Trans-Mexican Volcanic Belt (TMVB). The crustal image also shows that there is no continental root associated with the TMVB. The migrated image of the RFs shows that the slab is steeply dipping into the mantle at about 75° beneath the TMVB. Both the continental and oceanic Moho are clearly seen in both images, and modeling of the RF conversion amplitudes and timings of the underplated features reveals a thin low-velocity zone between the plate and the continental crust that appears to absorb nearly all of the strain between the upper plate and the slab. By inverting RF amplitudes of the converted phases and their time separations, we produce detailed maps of the seismic properties of the upper and lower oceanic crust of the subducting Cocos plate and its thickness. High Poisson's and Vp/Vs ratios due to anomalously low S wave velocity at the upper oceanic crust in the flat slab region may indicate the presence of water and hydrous minerals or high pore pressure. The evidence of high water content within the oceanic crust explains the flat subduction geometry without strong coupling of two plates. This may also explain the nonvolcanic tremor activity and slow slip events occurring in the subducting plate and the overlying crust.

  15. Impact of Mantle Wind on Subducting Plate Geometry and Interplate Pressure: Insights From Physical Modelling. (United States)

    Boutelier, D.; Cruden, A. R.


    New physical models of subduction investigate the impact of large-scale mantle flow on the structure of the subducted slab and deformation of the downgoing and overriding plates. The experiments comprise two lithospheric plates made of highly filled silicone polymer resting on a model asthenosphere of low viscosity transparent silicone polymer. Subduction is driven by a piston that pushes the subducting plate at constant rate, a slab-pull force due to the relative density of the slab, and a basal drag force exerted by flow in the model asthenosphere. Large-scale mantle flow is imposed by a second piston moving at constant rate in a tunnel at the bottom of the experiment tank. Passive markers in the mantle track the evolution of flow during the experiment. Slab structure is recorded by side pictures of the experiment while horizontal deformation is studied via passive marker grids on top of both plates. The initial mantle flow direction beneath the overriding plate can be sub-horizontal or sub-vertical. In both cases, as the slab penetrates the mantle, the mantle flow pattern changes to accommodate the subducting high viscosity lithosphere. As the slab continues to descend, the imposed flow produces either over- or under-pressure on the lower surface of the slab depending on the initial mantle flow pattern (sub-horizontal or sub-vertical respectively). Over-pressure imposed on the slab lower surface promotes shallow dip subduction while under-pressure tends to steepen the slab. These effects resemble those observed in previous experiments when the overriding plate moves horizontally with respect to a static asthenosphere. Our experiments also demonstrate that a strong vertical drag force (due to relatively fast downward mantle flow) exerted on the slab results in a decrease in strain rate in both the downgoing and overriding plates, suggesting a decrease in interplate pressure. Furthermore, with an increase in drag force deformation in the downgoing plate can switch

  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. 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 the

  18. 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

  19. 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.

  20. Finding the last 200Ma of subducted lithosphere in tomography and incorporating it into plate reconstructions (United States)

    Suppe, J.; Wu, J.; Chen, Y. W.


    Precise plate-tectonic reconstruction of the Earth has been constrained largely by the seafloor magnetic-anomaly record of the present oceans formed during the dispersal of the last supercontinent since 200Ma. The corresponding world that was lost to subduction has been only sketchily known. We have developed methodologies to map in 3D these subducted slabs of lithosphere in seismic tomography and unfold them to the Earth surface, constraining their initial size, shapes and locations. Slab edges are commonly formed at times of plate reorganization (for example bottom edges typically record initiation of subduction) such that unfolded slabs fit together at times of reorganization, as we illustrate for the Nazca slab at 80Ma and the western Pacific slabs between Kamchatka and New Zealand at 50Ma. Mapping to date suggests that a relatively complete and decipherable record of lithosphere subducted over the last 200Ma may exist in the mantle today, providing a storehouse for new discoveries. We briefly illustrate our procedure for obtaining slab-constrained plate-tectonic models from tomography with our recent study of the Philippine Sea plate, whose motions and tectonic history have been the least known of the major plates because it has been isolated from the global plate and hotspot circuit by trenches. We mapped and unfolded 28 subducted slabs in the mantle under East Asia and Australia/Oceania to depths of 1200km, with a subducted area of 25% of present-day global oceanic lithosphere, and incorporated them as constraints into a new globally-consistent plate reconstruction of the Philippine Sea and surrounding East Asia, leading to a number of new insights, including: [1] discovery of a major (8000 km x 2500 km) set of vanished oceans that we call the East Asia Sea that existed between the Pacific and Indian Oceans, now represented by flat slabs in the lower mantle under present-day Philippine Sea, eastern Sundaland and northern Australia and [2] the Philippine Sea

  1. The relationship between plate velocity and trench viscosity in Newtonian and power-law subduction calculations (United States)

    King, Scott D.; Hager, Bradford H.


    The relationship between oceanic trench viscosity and oceanic plate velocity is studied using a Newtonian rheology by varying the viscosity at the trench. The plate velocity is a function of the trench viscosity for fixed Rayleigh number and plate/slab viscosity. Slab velocities for non-Newtonian rheology calculations are significantly different from slab velocities from Newtonian rheology calculations at the same effective Rayleigh number. Both models give reasonable strain rates for the slab when compared with estimates of seismic strain rate. Non-Newtonian rheology eliminates the need for imposed weak zones and provides a self-consistent fluid dynamical mechanism for subduction in numerical convection models.

  2. Topography of the Overriding Plate During Progressive Subduction: A Dynamic Model to Explain Forearc Subsidence (United States)

    Chen, Zhihao; Schellart, Wouter P.; Duarte, João. C.; Strak, Vincent


    Overriding plate topography provides constraints on subduction zone geodynamics. We investigate its evolution using fully dynamic laboratory models of subduction with techniques of stereoscopic photogrammetry and particle image velocimetry. Model results show that the topography is characterized by an area of forearc dynamic subsidence, with a magnitude scaling to 1.44-3.97 km in nature, and a local topographic high between the forearc subsided region and the trench. These topographic features rapidly develop during the slab free-sinking phase and gradually decrease during the steady state slab rollback phase. We propose that they result from the variation of the vertical component of the trench suction force along the subduction zone interface, which gradually increases with depth and results from the gradual slab steepening during the initial transient slab sinking phase. The downward mantle flow in the nose of the mantle wedge plays a minor role in driving forearc subsidence.

  3. 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

  4. Dynamic Linkages Between the Transition Zone & Surface Plate Motion in 2D Models of Subduction (United States)

    Arredondo, K.; Billen, M. I.


    Subduction zones exhibit a wide range of behavior, from slab stagnation at 660 km to direct penetration into the lower mantle. Due to uncertainties in the tectonic history of individual subduction zones, such as trench velocities, potential mechanisms for controlling slab behavior in the transition zone are explored using numerical models. Numerical simulations have utilized a range of assumptions to improve computational efficiency, such as ignoring latent heat, ignoring compositional effects or fixing the trench location: the net effect of these assumptions resulting modeled dynamics remains unclear. Additionally the eight major, composition-dependent, phase transitions for pyrolite, harzburgite and eclogite may be an important influence on subducting slab dynamics due to the additional forces that are dependent on depth and compositional layering within the slab (e.g., Ricard et al., 2005). With the goal of developing more complete, self-consistent, and less idealized simulations, we test the importance of various factors on slab behavior: the presence of shear, adiabatic and latent heating, compositional layering, composition-dependent phase transitions and explicit plate speeds versus dynamically evolving plate and trench velocities. Preliminary results indicate that individual components have a relatively minor effect, but produce large changes when combined together. The extent of slab folding and stagnation is overestimated by only modeling the 410 and 660 km phase transitions. Dynamic models with all seven composition-dependent phase transitions are very sensitive to the plate strength and weak zone viscosity, causing large changes in plate speed and slab detachment. Changes to the overriding plate buoyance and strength investigate the origin and influence of trench movement on slab deformation. These feedbacks and parameter-sensitive behavior indicate that the wide range of observed slab behavior may result from subtle differences in plate and plate

  5. Geodynamic models of continental subduction and obduction of overriding plate forearc oceanic lithosphere on top of continental crust

    NARCIS (Netherlands)

    Edwards, Sarah J.; Schellart, Wouter P.; Duarte, Joao C.


    Continental subduction takes place in the final stage of subduction when all oceanic lithosphere is consumed and continental passive margin is pulled into the mantle. When the overriding plate is oceanic, dense forearc oceanic lithosphere might be obducted onto light continental crust forming an

  6. 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

  7. 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

  8. Evidences for recent plume-induced subduction, microplates and localized lateral plate motions on Venus (United States)

    Davaille, Anne; Smrekar, Suzanne


    Using laboratory experiments and theoretical modeling, we recently showed that plumes could induce roll-back subduction around large coronae. When a hot plume rises under a brittle and visco-elasto-plastic skin/lithosphere, the latter undergoes a flexural deformation which puts it under tension. Radial cracks and rifting of the skin then develop, sometimes using pre-existing weaknesses. Plume material upwells through the cracks (because it is more buoyant) and spreads as a axisymmetric gravity current above the broken denser skin. The latter bends and sinks under the combined force of its own weight and that of the plume gravity current. However, due to the brittle character of the upper part of the experimental lithosphere, it cannot deform viscously to accomodate the sinking motions. Instead, the plate continues to tear, as a sheet of paper would do upon intrusion. Several slabs are therefore produced, associated with trenches localized along partial circles on the plume, and strong roll-back is always observed. Depending on the lithospheric strength, roll-back can continue and triggers a complete resurfacing, or it stops when the plume stops spreading. Two types of microplates are also observed. First, the upwelling plume material creates a set of new plates interior to the trench segments. These plates move rapidly and expand through time, but do not subduct.. In a few cases, we also observe additional microplates exterior to the trenches. This happens when the subducting plate contains preexisting heterogeneities (e.g. fractures) and the subducted slab is massive enough for slab pull to become efficient and induce horizontal plate motions. Scalings derived from the experiments suggest that Venus lithosphere is soft enough to undergo such a regime. And indeed, at least two candidates can be identified on Venus, where plume-induced subduction could have operated. (1) Artemis Coronae is the largest (2300 km across) coronae on Venus and is bounded over 270° of

  9. The potential influence of subduction zone polarity on overriding plate deformation, trench migration and slab dip angle

    NARCIS (Netherlands)

    Schellart, W. P.


    A geodynamic model exists, the westward lithospheric drift model, in which the variety of overriding plate deformation, trench migration and slab dip angles is explained by the polarity of subduction zones. The model predicts overriding plate extension, a fixed trench and a steep slab dip for

  10. Dynamic Linkages Between the Transition Zone & Surface Plate Motions in 2D Models of Subduction (United States)

    Arredondo, K.; Billen, M. I.


    While slab pull is considered the dominant force controlling plate motion and speed, its magnitude is controlled by slab behavior in the mantle, where tomographic studies show a wide range of possibilities from direct penetration to folding, or stagnation directly above the lower mantle (e.g. Fukao et al., 2009). Geodynamic studies have investigated various parameters, such as plate age and two phase transitions, to recreate observed behavior (e.g. Běhounková and Cízková, 2008). However, past geodynamic models have left out known slab characteristics that may have a large impact on slab behavior and our understanding of subduction processes. Mineral experiments and seismic observations have indicated the existence of additional phase transitions in the mantle transition zone that may produce buoyancy forces large enough to affect the descent of a subducting slab (e.g. Ricard et al., 2005). The current study systematically tests different common assumptions used in geodynamic models: kinematic versus free-slip boundary conditions, the effects of adiabatic heating, viscous dissipation and latent heat, compositional layering and a more complete suite of phase transitions. Final models have a complete energy equation, with eclogite, harzburgite and pyrolite lithosphere compositional layers, and seven composition-dependent phase transitions within the olivine, pyroxene and garnet polymorph minerals. Results show important feedback loops between different assumptions and new behavior from the most complete models. Kinematic models show slab weakening or breaking above the 660 km boundary and between compositional layers. The behavior in dynamic models with a free-moving trench and overriding plate is compared to the more commonly found kinematic models. The new behavior may have important implications for the depth distribution of deep earthquakes within the slab. Though the thermodynamic parameters of certain phase transitions may be uncertain, their presence and

  11. Structure of the subducted Cocos Plate from locations of intermediate-depth earthquakes (United States)

    Lomnitz, C.; Rodríguez-Padilla, L. D.; Castaños, H.


    Locations of 3,000 earthquakes of 40 to 300 km depth are used to define the 3-D structure of the subducted Cocos Plate under central and southern Mexico. Discrepancies between deep-seated lineaments and surface tectonics are described. Features of particular interest include: (1) a belt of moderate activity at 40 to 80 km depth that parallels the southern boundary of the Mexican Volcanic Plateau; (2) an offset of 150 km across the Isthmus of Tehuantepec where all seismic activity is displaced toward the northeast; (3) three nests of frequent, deep-seated events (80 to 300 km depth) under southern Veracruz, Chiapas and the coast of Mexico-Guatemala. The active subduction process is sharply delimited along a NW-SE lineament from the Yucatan Peninsula, of insignificant earthquake activity. The focal distribution of intermediate-depth earthquakes in south-central Mexico provides evidence of stepwise deepening of the subduction angle along the Trench, starting at 15 degrees under Michoacan-Guerrero to 45 degrees under NW Guatemala. Historical evidence suggests that the hazard to Mexico City from large intermediate-depth earthquakes may have been underestimated.

  12. 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.

  13. Upper Plate Response to Varying Subduction Styles in the Forearc Cook Inlet Basin in South Central Alaska (United States)

    Sanchez-Lohff, S. K.; Enkelmann, E.; Finzel, E.; Reid, M. M.


    The Cook Inlet forearc basin strata record the upper plate response to changes in subduction since 170 Ma. Subduction of normal oceanic crust during the Jurassic and Cretaceous was followed by spreading ridge subduction in the Paleocene, which initiated near trench magmatism and a shallow subduction angle. This was followed by a period of normal subduction until the Oligocene when subduction of an oceanic plateau commenced causing flat-slab subduction. We study the sedimentary record of the Cook Inlet Basin and analyze the sediment provenance, magmatic sources, paleotopography, and rock exhumation of southern Alaska, and their changes through time. We use a double dating technique on single detrital zircon grains from 25 samples combining fission track and U-Pb dating. We collected Jurassic to Pliocene sandstone, and modern fluvial deposits. Eight Mesozoic samples were taken from the eastern inverted section of the Cook Inlet Basin. Seven Cenozoic samples were taken from outcrops on the northern and southern margin of the basin, and four from northern offshore cores. Six modern river sands were sampled from four rivers to analyze what is currently draining into the basin from the north, east, and south. Zircon fission track data reveal that the Jurassic samples have been fully reset, while Cretaceous and Eocene samples have been partially reset. Subduction of the spreading ridge probably increased the geothermal gradient in the upper plate and caused thermal resetting of the underlying strata. Oligocene to Pliocene sediments contain the youngest age populations with lag times ranging 13-25 Myr. Samples from the northern margin (arc side) yield generally shorter lag times than samples from the south side (prism side). This pattern is consistent with modern sediments that show the youngest ages are sourced from the Alaska Range, revealed by a 14 Ma age peak in the Susitna River. In contrast, the youngest age populations found in the sediments of rivers draining the

  14. Tomography of the subducting Cocos plate in central Mexico: Images of a truncated slab (United States)

    Husker, A. L.; Davis, P. M.


    The location of the subducting slab beneath Mexico City and its relation to the Trans-Mexican Volcanic Belt (TMVB) has been unknown because of the absence of deep seismicity that could be used to define the Wadati-Benioff zone. We used data from a temporary seismic network to locate the slab using seismic tomography. A break is seen in the Cocos plate under the TMVB. The break is seen with both P-wave and S-wave tomography and in a constrained tomographic inversion that finds parameters for a simple slab temperature model. The data used are 172 teleseismic earthquakes recorded by the Middle American Subduction Experiment (MASE). MASE was made up of 100 broadband seismometers spaced every 5 km running from Acapulco north through Mexico City almost to the Gulf Coast. In order to determine arrival time differences, Dt, across the array, waveforms were cross correlated. When Dt is plotted with respect to the latitude of the seismometer at which it was recorded, a Dt minimum (early arrivals) is seen near the TMVB. This minimum is shifted northward for back azimuths from the south, and southward for back azimuths from the north. The shift in the Dt minimum is indicative of a fast structure at depth. If there were no break in the slab, the localized minimum would not be seen. Tomography reveals an approximately 50-80 km thick slab diving into the mantle at about 75° to approximately 550 km depth and 375 km inland from Acapulco. We speculate the absence of deep earthquakes is due to low stresses in a young plate that has been truncated at depth.

  15. Topographic form of the Coast Ranges of the Cascadia Margin in relation ot coastal uplift rates and plate subduction (United States)

    Kelsey, Harvey M.; Engebretson, David C.; Mitchell, Clifton E.; Ticknor, Robert L.


    The Coast Ranges of the Cascadia margin are overriding the subducted Juan de Fuca/Gorda plate. We investigate the extent to which the latitudinal change in attributes related to the subduction process. These attributes include the varibale age of the subducted slab that underlies the Coast Ranges and average vertical crustal velocities of the western margin of the Coast Rnages for two markedly different time periods, the last 45 years and the last 100 kyr. These vertical crustal velocities are computed from the resurveying of highway bech marks and from the present elevation of shore platforms that have been uplifted in the late Quaternary, respectively. Topogarphy of the Coast Ranges is in part a function of the age and bouyancy of the underlying subducted plate. This is evident in the fact that the two highest topographic elements of the Coast Rnages, the Klamath Mountains and the Olympic Mountains, are underlain by youngest subducted oceanic crust. The subducted Blanco Fracture Zone in southernmost Oregon is responsible for an age discontinuity of subducted crust under the Klamath Mountains. The norhtern terminus of hte topographically higher Klamaths is offset to the north relative to the position of the underlying Blanco Fracture Zone, teh offset being in the direction of migration of the farcture zone, as dictated by relative plate motions. Vertical crustal velocities at the coast, derived from becnh mark surveys, are as much as an order of magnitude greater than vertical crustal velocities derived from uplifted shore platforms. This uplift rate discrepancy indicates that strain is accumulating on the plate margin, to be released during the next interplate earthquake. In a latitudinal sense, average Coast Rnage topography is relatively high where bench mark-derived, short-term vertical crustal velocities are highest. Becuase the shore platform vertical crustal velocities reflect longer-term, premanent uplift, we infer that a small percentage of the

  16. The Impact of Surface Bending, A Complete Mineralogical Model and Movement of the Overriding Plate on Subduction Zones (United States)

    Arredondo, Katrina Marie

    Modern observations of subduction zones provide only snapshots of a complex geologic system that can last tens of millions of years. Surface velocity measurements and seismic tomography images provide information on the possible forces acting on the plate and influencing slab shape and behavior. Modern subduction zones exhibit a wide range of behavior, from the rapidly rolling back Tonga subduction zone (where the trench is moving toward the subducting plate) to stationary trenches to trench advance (where the trench is moving toward the overriding plate). Slabs may also stagnate at 660 km while others directly penetrate into the lower mantle. Numerical models can combine observations and laboratory data to test and study possible forces that may explain the wide variety of behavior observed in modern subduction zones. Past numerical model studies have not studied the impact on subduction zone behavior from: composition-dependent phase transitions, a complete mineralogical model and movement of the overriding plate. Here we show that: 1) weakening of the subducting plate can be observed from the forebulge to the trench using highly detailed bathymetry and gravity measurement tracks parallel to the trench, 2) using a complete mineralogy model is important for accurate numerical models because incomplete approximations may overestimate slab stagnation and slab rollback, 3) in free subduction models, the complete mineralogy model creates a strong feedback loop between broad slab folds and trench velocities, and 4) the movement of the overriding plate is very important for slab rollback. Results presented in Chapter 1 indicate that the rheology in the numerical models should produce weakening in the slab as it bends into the trench, which is observed in the models of Chapter 2 and 3. Past published models can be analyzed in relation to Chapter 2 and 3 to determine if their conclusions are skewed by an overestimation of slab stagnation or trench rollback. The presented

  17. 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).

  18. 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...

  19. 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...

  20. Segmentation of plate coupling, fate of subduction fluids, and modes of arc magmatism in Cascadia, inferred from magnetotelluric resistivity (United States)

    Wannamaker, Philip E.; Evans, Rob L.; Bedrosian, Paul A.; Unsworth, Martyn J.; Maris, Virginie; McGary, R. Shane


    Five magnetotelluric (MT) profiles have been acquired across the Cascadia subduction system and transformed using 2-D and 3-D nonlinear inversion to yield electrical resistivity cross sections to depths of ∼200 km. Distinct changes in plate coupling, subduction fluid evolution, and modes of arc magmatism along the length of Cascadia are clearly expressed in the resistivity structure. Relatively high resistivities under the coasts of northern and southern Cascadia correlate with elevated degrees of inferred plate locking, and suggest fluid- and sediment-deficient conditions. In contrast, the north-central Oregon coastal structure is quite conductive from the plate interface to shallow depths offshore, correlating with poor plate locking and the possible presence of subducted sediments. Low-resistivity fluidized zones develop at slab depths of 35–40 km starting ∼100 km west of the arc on all profiles, and are interpreted to represent prograde metamorphic fluid release from the subducting slab. The fluids rise to forearc Moho levels, and sometimes shallower, as the arc is approached. The zones begin close to clusters of low-frequency earthquakes, suggesting fluid controls on the transition to steady sliding. Under the northern and southern Cascadia arc segments, low upper mantle resistivities are consistent with flux melting above the slab plus possible deep convective backarc upwelling toward the arc. In central Cascadia, extensional deformation is interpreted to segregate upper mantle melts leading to underplating and low resistivities at Moho to lower crustal levels below the arc and nearby backarc. The low- to high-temperature mantle wedge transition lies slightly trenchward of the arc.

  1. 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

  2. Crustal and upper mantle structure of the Anatolian plate: Imaging the effects of subduction termination and continental collision with seismic techniques (United States)

    Delph, Jonathan R.

    The neotectonic evolution of the eastern Mediterranean is intimately tied to interactions between the underthrusting/subducting slab along the southern margin of Anatolia and the overriding plate. The lateral variations in the subduction zone can be viewed as a temporal analogue of the transition between continuous subduction and subduction termination by continent-continent collision. By investigating the lateral variations along this subduction zone in the overriding plate, we can gain insight into the processes that precede continent collision. This dissertation summarizes the results of three studies that focus on different parts of the subduction margin: 1) In the west, where the development of a slab tear represents the transition between continuous and enigmatic subduction, 2) In the east, where continent-continent collision between the Arabian and Eurasian Plate is leading to the development of the third largest orogenic plateau on earth after complete slab detachment, and 3) In central Anatolia, where the subducting slab is thought to be in the processes of breaking up, which is affecting the flow of mantle material leading to volcanism and uplift along the margin. In the first study, we interpret that variations in the composition of material in the downgoing plate (i.e. a change from the subduction of oceanic material to continental material) may have led to the development of a slab tear in the eastern Aegean. This underthrusting, buoyant continental fragment is controlling overriding plate deformation, separating the highly extensional strains of western Anatolia from the much lower extensional strains of central Anatolia. Based on intermediate depth seismicity, it appears that the oceanic portion of the slab is still attached to this underthrusting continental fragment. In the second study, we interpret that the introduction of continental lithosphere into the north-dipping subduction zone at the Arabian-Eurasian margin led to the rollback and

  3. 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.

  4. Earthquake Directivity, Orientation, and Stress Drop Within the Subducting Plate at the Hikurangi Margin, New Zealand (United States)

    Abercrombie, Rachel E.; Poli, Piero; Bannister, Stephen


    We develop an approach to calculate earthquake source directivity and rupture velocity for small earthquakes, using the whole source time function rather than just an estimate of the duration. We apply the method to an aftershock sequence within the subducting plate beneath North Island, New Zealand, and investigate its resolution. We use closely located, highly correlated empirical Green's function (EGF) events to obtain source time functions (STFs) for this well-recorded sequence. We stack the STFs from multiple EGFs at each station, to improve the stability of the STFs. Eleven earthquakes (M 3.3-4.5) have sufficient azimuthal coverage, and both P and S STFs, to investigate directivity. The time axis of each STF in turn is stretched to find the maximum correlation between all pairs of stations. We then invert for the orientation and rupture velocity of both unilateral and bilateral line sources that best match the observations. We determine whether they are distinguishable and investigate the effects of limited frequency bandwidth. Rupture orientations are resolvable for eight earthquakes, seven of which are predominantly unilateral, and all are consistent with rupture on planes similar to the main shock fault plane. Purely unilateral rupture is rarely distinguishable from asymmetric bilateral rupture, despite a good station distribution. Synthetic testing shows that rupture velocity is the least well-resolved parameter; estimates decrease with loss of high-frequency energy, and measurements are best considered minimum values. We see no correlation between rupture velocity and stress drop, and spatial stress drop variation cannot be explained as an artifact of varying rupture velocity.

  5. 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.

  6. South-American plate advance and forced Andean trench retreat as drivers for transient flat subduction episodes. (United States)

    Schepers, Gerben; van Hinsbergen, Douwe J J; Spakman, Wim; Kosters, Martha E; Boschman, Lydian M; McQuarrie, Nadine


    At two trench segments below the Andes, the Nazca Plate is subducting sub-horizontally over ∼200-300 km, thought to result from a combination of buoyant oceanic-plateau subduction and hydrodynamic mantle-wedge suction. Whether the actual conditions for both processes to work in concert existed is uncertain. Here we infer from a tectonic reconstruction of the Andes constructed in a mantle reference frame that the Nazca slab has retreated at ∼2 cm per year since ∼50 Ma. In the flat slab portions, no rollback has occurred since their formation at ∼12 Ma, generating 'horse-shoe' slab geometries. We propose that, in concert with other drivers, an overpressured sub-slab mantle supporting the weight of the slab in an advancing upper plate-motion setting can locally impede rollback and maintain flat slabs until slab tearing releases the overpressure. Tear subduction re-establishes a continuous slab and allows the process to recur, providing a mechanism for the transient character of flat slabs.

  7. MASE: A seismological perspective of the sub-horizontal subduction of the Cocos Plate under North America (United States)

    Pérez-Campos, X.; Clayton, R. W.; Davis, P.; Iglesias, A.; Husker, A.; Valdés-González, C. M.


    The main objective of the MesoAmerican Subduction Experiment (MASE) is the generation of a dynamic model of the subduction of Cocos plate underneath the North American plate. One component of this project is a seismic line consisting of 100 broadband seismometers, located every 5 km between Acapulco and Tampico, with its mid-point in Mexico City. The initial instrument was deployed at the end of 2004 and the full line will operate until January 2007. The purpose of this line is to derive a velocity and structure model along the transect, and to determine attenuation and viscosity in the mantle wedge. Various researchers from the three institutions involved (Caltech, UNAM, and UCLA) are using several techniques to achieve these goals, such as receiver functions, surface-wave dispersion, tomography and waveform modeling. Preliminary results from dispersion curves show clearly a Moho that correlates to one obtained with receiver functions, which show a flat subducting slab up to ~200 km from the trench. Also, tomography, together with the previous techniques and ray tracing, show a difference in behavior within the Trans Mexican Volvanic Belt. Furthermore, from microseism correlation, we can distinguish surface waves that give information about the crust structure.

  8. P-wave tomography of Northeast Asia: Constraints on the western Pacific plate subduction and mantle dynamics (United States)

    Ma, Jincheng; Tian, You; Liu, Cai; Zhao, Dapeng; Feng, Xuan; Zhu, Hongxiang


    A high-resolution model of 3-D P-wave velocity structure beneath Northeast Asia and adjacent regions is determined by using 244,180 arrival times of 14,163 local and regional earthquakes and 319,857 relative travel-time residuals of 9988 teleseismic events recorded at ∼2100 seismic stations in the study region. Our tomographic results reveal the subducting Pacific slab clearly as a prominent high-velocity anomaly from the Japan Trench to the North-South Gravity lineament (NSGL) in East China. The NSGL is roughly coincident with the western edge of the stagnant Pacific slab in the mantle transition zone (MTZ). The subducting Pacific slab has partly sunk into the lower mantle beneath Northeast China, but under the Sino-Korean Craton the slab lies horizontally in the MTZ. The NSGL, as an important tectonic line in Mainland China, is marked by sharp differences in the surface topography, gravity anomaly, crustal and lithospheric thickness and mantle seismic velocity from the east to the west. These features of the NSGL and large-scale hot and wet upwelling in the big mantle wedge (BMW) in the east of the NSGL are all related to the subduction processes of the Western Pacific plate. The Changbai intraplate volcanic group is underlain by a striking low-velocity anomaly from the upper MTZ and the BMW up to the surface, and deep earthquakes (410-650 km depths) occur actively in the subducting Pacific slab to the east of the Changbai volcano. We propose that the Changbai volcanic group is caused by upwelling of hot and wet asthenospheric materials and active convection in the BMW. The formation of other volcanic groups in the east of the NSGL is also associated with the subduction-driven corner flow in the BMW.

  9. Differential subsidence of the forearc wedge of the Ryukyu (Nansei-Shoto) Arc caused by subduction of ridges on the Philippine Sea Plate (United States)

    Okamura, Yukinobu; Nishizawa, Azusa; Oikawa, Mitsuhiro; Horiuchi, Daishi


    The Philippine Sea Plate (PSP) carrying several ridges has been sudbucting under the Ryukyu (Nansei-Shoto) Arc since middle Miocene. Because no extensive accretionary prism has been growing along the Ryukyu Trench, the arc provides an opportunity to examine effects of ridge subduction on structure of the forearc wedge and a clue to reconstruct ancient plate motion of the PSP that is inferred to have changed between NW and NNW. To examine this perspective, we clarified structure of the Ryukyu forearc wedge based on seismic profiles and bathymetric data and related them to ridge subduction. An erosional unconformity between pre-Neogen and Neogene rocks is widely recognized through the Ryukyu Arc, and we divided the forearc wedges into Zones I to IV from southwest to northeast by difference of depth of the erosional unconformity. We correlated these four zones to the locations of ridge subduction that have been shifting NE or SW along the Ryukyu Trench. Zone I is underlain by the largely subsided unconformity and we attributed the structure to tearing of the Eurasia plate due to subduction of the western margin of the PSP including the Luzon Arc. Zone II consists of a wide terrace on the shallow erosional unconformity, and no ridge that was subducting in this zone is known. Zone III is characterized by the seaward descending unconformity covered with a thick sequence of Neogene sediments and is related to subduction of the NW-SE trending Daito Ridge and the E-W trending Amami Plateau. Zone IV has the deeper unconformity and slope geometry and corresponds to subduction of the NNW-SSE trending Kyushu-Palau Ridge. The structure of the Ryukyu forearc is consistently related to subduction of ridges on the PSP, suggesting that the change of the plate motion of the PSP can be precisely reconstructed by further detailed survey.

  10. Structural context and variation of ocean plate stratigraphy, Franciscan Complex, California: insight into mélange origins and subduction-accretion processes (United States)

    Wakabayashi, John


    The transfer (accretion) of materials from a subducting oceanic plate to a subduction-accretionary complex has produced rock assemblages recording the history of the subducted oceanic plate from formation to arrival at the trench. These rock assemblages, comprising oceanic igneous rocks progressively overlain by pelagic sedimentary rocks (chert and/or limestone) and trench-fill clastic sedimentary rocks (mostly sandstone, shale/mudstone), have been called ocean plate stratigraphy (OPS). During accretion of OPS, megathrust slip is accommodated by imbricate faults and penetrative strain, shortening the unit and leading to tectonic repetition of the OPS sequence, whereas OPS accreted at different times are separated by non-accretionary megathrust horizons. The Franciscan subduction complex of California accreted episodically over a period of over 150 million years and incorporated OPS units with a variety of characteristics separated by non-accretionary megathrust horizons. Most Franciscan OPS comprises MORB (mid-ocean-ridge basalt) progressively overlain by chert and trench-fill clastic sedimentary rocks that are composed of variable proportions of turbidites and siliciclastic and serpentinite-matrix olistostromes (sedimentary mélanges). Volumetrically, the trench-fill component predominates in most Franciscan OPS, but some units have a significant component of igneous and pelagic rocks. Ocean island basalt (OIB) overlain by limestone is less common than MORB-chert assemblages, as are abyssal serpentinized peridotite slabs. The earliest accreted OPS comprises metabasite of supra-subduction zone affinity imbricated with smaller amounts of metaultramafic rocks and metachert, but lacking a clastic component. Most deformation of Franciscan OPS is localized along discrete faults rather than being distributed in the form of penetrative strain. This deformation locally results in block-in-matrix tectonic mélanges, in contrast to the sedimentary mélanges making up part of

  11. Geometry and Evolution of the Cangdong Sag in the Bohai Bay Basin, China: Implications for Subduction of the Pacific Plate. (United States)

    Luo, Liang; Qi, Jiafu; Li, Hongxiang; Dong, Yueqi; Zhang, Shuai; Zhang, Xichen; Yu, Xiaoxia; Luo, Lingyan


    The Cangdong Sag is a complex Cenozoic rift basin at the center of the Bohai Bay Basin. Cenozoic structures in the Cangdong Sag can be subdivided into the Cangdong Fault System in the west and the Xuxi Fault System in the east. The geometry of the boundary faults varies along the axes of half-grabens. According to the cross-sectional strata geometry, unconformity and planar structural pattern, the Cenozoic structural evolution of the Cangdong Sag can be divided into four distinct stages: (1) major Paleocene initial rift, (2) latest Paleocene-early Eocene intensive rift, (3) late Eocene-Oligocene strike-slip superimposed rift, and (4) Neogene to present-day post-rift depression. The extensional deformation was mainly derived from horizontal stress induced by the upwelling of asthenosphere. The strike-slip structure of the Cangdong Sag provides important information related to the subduction of the Western Pacific Plate. It was found that the strike-slip movement of the southern Xuxi Fault Zone was activated during the deposition of the third member of Shahejie Formation to the Dongying Formation; therefore, ~43 Ma probably marks the time when the Western Pacific Plate initially changed its subduction direction from northwest to nearly west.

  12. 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

  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. Fast intraslab fluid-flow events linked to pulses of high pore fluid pressure at the subducted plate interface (United States)

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


    plate interface, which in turn, may trigger slip events reported from many subduction zones.

  15. Breaking the shell: Initiating plate tectonic-like subduction on Europa (United States)

    Bland, Michael T.; McKinnon, William B.


    Europa’s prominent bands have been proposed to form by a seafloor-spreading-like mechanism involving complete separation of Europa’s lithosphere and the emplacement of fresh ice from below [Prockter et al. 2002]. This formation mechanism poses a challenge for Europa’s strain balance: extensional rifting at bands must be offset by lithospheric shortening elsewhere, yet few obvious contractional features have been observed. Kattenhorn and Prockter [2014] suggested that extension on Europa is accommodated by subduction of the lithosphere at linear, tabular zones termed subsumption bands. Subduction of Europa’s lithosphere implicitly requires that lithospheric-scale thrust faults can develop. This contrasts with previous numerical modeling, which found that lithospheric shortening is instead primarily accommodated by folding or passive thickening [Bland and McKinnon 2012, 2013]. Here we reevaluate the conditions required to form large-scale thrust faults using a numerical model of lithospheric shortening on Europa that includes realistic localization of brittle failure (non-associated plasticity). In the absence of strain weakening (wherein brittle failure decreases the subsequent yield strength) essentially all shortening results in folding or thickening, consistent with previous results. With moderate strain weakening, deformation becomes localized within fault-like zones for surface temperatures ≤100 K; however, the resulting surface deformation suggests a complex interplay between folding and faulting. Only if the ice shell weakens very easily does faulting dominate. Large-scale faults preferentially form at cold surface temperatures and high heat fluxes. Cold temperatures promote faulting (as opposed to folding), and high heat fluxes result in a thinner lithosphere, which is more easily subducted. The subsumption bands identified by Kattenhorn and Prockter [2014] are at a relatively high latitude (cold temperature), and are associated with putative

  16. 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

  17. Fluid release from the subducted Cocos plate and partial melting of the crust deduced from magnetotelluric studies in southern Mexico: Implications for the generation of volcanism and subduction dynamics


    Jödicke, A; Jording, H.; Ferrari, L.; Arzate, J.; Mezger, K.; Rüpke, Lars


    In order to study electrical conductivity phenomena that are associated with subduction related fluid release and melt production, magnetotelluric (MT) measurements were carried out in southern Mexico along two coast to coast profiles. The conductivity-depth distribution was obtained by simultaneous two-dimensional inversion of the transverse magnetic and transverse electric modes of the magnetotelluric transfer functions. The MT models demonstrate that the plate southern profile shows enhanc...

  18. Subduction evolution in the Anatolian region : the rise, demise, and fate of the Anadolu Plate

    NARCIS (Netherlands)

    Gürer, M.D.


    A major ocean basin once intervened the African and Arabian continents in the south and the Eurasian continent in the north: the Neotethys Ocean. Unlike the present-day Atlantic Ocean, it was not a single, wide ocean with one mid-oceanic ridge, but consisted of several relatively narrow oceanic

  19. Plume-induced subduction (United States)

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


    Dominant present-day subduction initiation mechanisms require acting plate forces and/or pre-existing zones of lithospheric weakness, which are themselves consequences of plate tectonics. In contrast, recently discovered plume-induced subduction initiation could have started the first subduction zone without pre-existing plate tectonics. Here, we investigate this new mechanism with high-resolution 3D numerical thermomechanical modeling experiments. We show that typical plume-induced subduction dynamics is subdivided into five different stages: (1) oceanic plateau formation by arrival of a mantle plume head; (2) formation of an incipient trench and a descending nearly-circular slab at the plateau margins; (3) tearing of the circular slab; (4) formation of several self-sustained retreating subduction zones and (5) cooling and spreading of the new lithosphere formed between the retreating subduction zones. At the final stage of plume-induced subduction initiation, a mosaic of independently moving, growing and cooling small oceanic plates heading toward individual retreating subduction zones forms. The plates are separated by spreading centers, triple junctions and transform faults and thus the newly formed multi-slab subduction system operates as an embryonic plate tectonic cell. We demonstrate that three key physical factors combine to trigger self-sustained plume-induced subduction: (1) old negatively buoyant oceanic lithosphere; (2) intense weakening of the lithosphere by plume-derived magmas; and (3) lubrication of the forming subduction interface by hydrated oceanic crust. We furthermore discuss that plume-induced subduction, which is rare at present day conditions, may have been common in the Precambrian time and likely started global plate tectonics on Earth.

  20. Modeled temperatures and fluid source distributions for the Mexican subduction zone: Effects of hydrothermal circulation and implications for plate boundary seismic processes (United States)

    Perry, Matthew; Spinelli, Glenn A.; Wada, Ikuko; He, Jiangheng


    In subduction zones, spatial variations in pore fluid pressure are hypothesized to control the sliding behavior of the plate boundary fault. The pressure-temperature paths for subducting material control the distributions of dehydration reactions, a primary control on the pore fluid pressure distribution. Thus, constraining subduction zone temperatures are required to understand the seismic processes along the plate interface. We present thermal models for three margin-perpendicular transects in the Mexican subduction zone. We examine the potential thermal effects of vigorous fluid circulation in a high-permeability aquifer within the basaltic basement of the oceanic crust and compare the results with models that invoke extremely high pore fluid pressures to reduce frictional heating along the megathrust. We combine thermal model results with petrological models to determine the spatial distribution of fluid release from the subducting slab and compare dewatering locations with the locations of seismicity, nonvolcanic tremor, slow-slip events, and low-frequency earthquakes. Simulations including hydrothermal circulation are most consistent with surface heat flux measurements. Hydrothermal circulation has a maximum cooling effect of 180°C. Hydrothermally cooled crust carries water deeper into the subduction zone; fluid release distributions in these models are most consistent with existing geophysical data. Our models predict focused fluid release, which could generate overpressures, coincident with an observed ultraslow layer (USL) and a region of nonvolcanic tremor. Landward of USLs, a downdip decrease in fluid source magnitude could result in the dissipation in overpressure in the oceanic crust without requiring a downdip increase in fault zone permeability, as posited in previous studies.

  1. Fluid release from the subducted Cocos plate and partial melting of the crust deduced from magnetotelluric studies in southern Mexico: Implications for the generation of volcanism and subduction dynamics (United States)

    JöDicke, H.; Jording, A.; Ferrari, L.; Arzate, J.; Mezger, K.; Rüpke, L.


    In order to study electrical conductivity phenomena that are associated with subduction related fluid release and melt production, magnetotelluric (MT) measurements were carried out in southern Mexico along two coast to coast profiles. The conductivity-depth distribution was obtained by simultaneous two-dimensional inversion of the transverse magnetic and transverse electric modes of the magnetotelluric transfer functions. The MT models demonstrate that the plate southern profile shows enhanced conductivity in the deep crust. The northern profile is dominated by an elongated conductive zone extending >250 km below the Trans-Mexican Volcanic Belt (TMVB). The isolated conductivity anomalies in the southern profile are interpreted as slab fluids stored in the overlying deep continental crust. These fluids were released by progressive metamorphic dehydration of the basaltic oceanic crust. The conductivity anomalies may be related to the main dehydration reactions at the zeolite → blueschist → eclogite facies transitions and the breakdown of chlorite. This relation allows the estimation of a geothermal gradient of ˜8.5°C/km for the top of the subducting plate. The same dehydration reactions may be recognized along the northern profile at the same position relative to the depth of the plate, but more inland due to a shallower dip, and merge near the volcanic front due to steep downbending of the plate. When the oceanic crust reaches a depth of 80-90 km, ascending fluids produce basaltic melts in the intervening hot subcontinental mantle wedge that give rise to the volcanic belt. Water-rich basalts may intrude into the lower continental crust leading to partial melting. The elongated highly conductive zone below the TMVB may therefore be caused by partial melts and fluids of various origins, ongoing migmatization, ascending basaltic and granitic melts, growing plutons as well as residual metamorphic fluids. Zones of extremely high conductance (>8000 S) in the

  2. Tsunami Hazard Posed to New Zealand by the Kermadec and Southern New Hebrides Subduction Margins: An Assessment Based on Plate Boundary Kinematics, Interseismic Coupling, and Historical Seismicity (United States)

    Power, William; Wallace, Laura; Wang, Xiaoming; Reyners, Martin


    We assess the tsunami hazard posed to New Zealand by the Kermadec and southern New Hebrides subduction margins. Neither of these subduction zones has produced tsunami large enough to cause significant damage in New Zealand over the past 150 years of well-recorded history. However, as this time frame is short compared to the recurrence interval for major tsunamigenic earthquakes on many of the Earth's subduction zones, it should not be assumed that what has been observed so far is representative of the long term. For each of these two subduction zones we present plate kinematic and fault-locking results from block modelling of earthquake slip vector data and GPS velocities. The results are used to estimate the current rates of strain accumulation on the plate interfaces where large tsunamigenic earthquakes typically occur. We also review data on the larger historical earthquakes that have occurred on these margins, as well as the Global CMT catalogue of events since 1976. Using this information we have developed a set of scenarios for large earthquakes which have been used as initial conditions for the COMCOT tsunami code to estimate the subsequent tsunami propagation in the southwest Pacific, and from these the potential impact on New Zealand has been evaluated. Our results demonstrate that there is a significant threat posed to the Northland and Coromandel regions of New Zealand should a large earthquake ( M w ≳8.5) occur on the southern or middle regions of the Kermadec Trench, and that a similarly large earthquake on the southern New Hebrides Trench has the potential to strongly impact on the far northern parts of New Zealand close to the southern end of the submarine Three Kings Ridge. We propose logic trees for the magnitude-frequency parameters of large earthquakes originating on each trench, which are intended to form the basis for future probabilistic studies.

  3. Crustal structure and configuration of the subducting Philippine Sea plate beneath the Pacific coast industrial zone in Japan inferred from receiver function analysis (United States)

    Igarashi, T.; Iidaka, T.; Sakai, S.; Hirata, N.


    We apply receiver function (RF) analyses to estimate the crustal structure and configuration of the subducting Philippine Sea (PHS) plate beneath the Pacific coast industrial zone stretching from Tokyo to Fukuoka in Japan. Destructive earthquakes often occurred at the plate interface of the PHS plate, and seismic activities increase after the 2011 Tohoku earthquake (Mw9.0) around the Tokyo metropolitan area. Investigation on the crustal structure is the key to understanding the stress concentration and strain accumulation process, and information on configuration of the subducting plate is important to mitigate future earthquake disasters. In this study, we searched for the best-correlated velocity structure model between an observed receiver function at each station and synthetic ones by using a grid search method. Synthetic RFs were calculated from many assumed one-dimensional velocity structures that consist of four layers with positive velocity steps. Observed receiver functions were stacked without considering back azimuth or epicentral distance. We further constructed the vertical cross-sections of depth-converted RF images transformed the lapse time of time series to depth by using the estimated structure models. Telemetric seismographic network data covered on the Japanese Islands including the Metropolitan Seismic Observation network, which constructed under the Special Project for Earthquake Disaster Mitigation in the Tokyo Metropolitan area and maintained by Special Project for Reducing Vulnerability for Urban Mega Earthquake Disasters, are used. We selected events with magnitudes greater or equal to 5.0 and epicentral distance between 30 and 90 degrees based on USGS catalogues. As a result, we clarify spatial distributions of the crustal S-wave velocities. Estimated average one-dimensional S-wave velocity structure is approximately equal to the JMA2011 structural model although the velocity from the ground surface to 5 km in depth is slow. In particular

  4. The Role of Proto-Thrusts in Frontal Accretion and Accommodation of Plate Convergence, Hikurangi Subduction Margin, New Zealand (United States)

    Barnes, P.; Ghisetti, F.; Ellis, S. M.; Morgan, J.


    Proto-thrusts are an enigmatic structural feature at the toe of many subduction accretionary wedges. They are commonly recognised in seismic reflection sections as relatively small-displacement (tens of metres) faults seaward of the primary deformation front. Although widely assumed to reflect incipient accretionary deformation and to mark the location of future thrusts, proto-thrusts have received relatively little attention. Few studies have attempted to characterise their displacement properties, evolution, and kinematic role in frontal accretion processes associated with propagation of the interface décollement. In this study, we make use of excellent quality geophysical and bathymetric imaging of the spectacular 25 km-wide Hikurangi margin proto-thrust zone (PTZ), the structure of which varies significantly along strike. From a detailed structural analysis, we provide the first substantial quantitative dataset on proto-thrust geometry, displacement profiles, fault scaling relationships, and fault population characteristics. These analyses provide new insights into the role of inferred stratigraphic inhomogeneity in proto-thrust development, and the role of proto-thrust arrays in frontal accretion. Our observations, combined with our own recently published reconstructions of the wedge, and ongoing numerical simulations, indicate a migrating wave of proto-thrust activity in association with forward-advancement of the décollement. Calculation of tectonic shortening accommodated by the active PTZ east of the present deformation front, from measurements of seismically-imaged fault displacements and estimates of sub-seismic faulting derived from power law relationships, reveal their surprisingly significant role in accommodating regional plate convergence. South of the colliding Bennett Knoll Seamount, the predominantly seaward-vergent PTZ has accommodated 3.3 km of tectonic shortening, of which 70% is at sub-seismic scale. In comparison, north of Bennett Knoll

  5. Cervical plate fracture: A rare complication | Veli | Pan African ...

    African Journals Online (AJOL)

    In traumatic and degenerative diseases cervical fusion with anterior cervical plate are commonly used. The increase in the use of cervical plate segment level is also increased risk of developing complications. This case report shows that the increase in the use of cervical plate segment level and also the complications in ...

  6. 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.

  7. Upper-plate splay fault earthquakes along the Arakan subduction belt recorded by uplifted coral microatolls on northern Ramree Island, western Myanmar (Burma) (United States)

    Shyu, J. Bruce H.; Wang, Chung-Che; Wang, Yu; Shen, Chuan-Chou; Chiang, Hong-Wei; Liu, Sze-Chieh; Min, Soe; Aung, Lin Thu; Than, Oo; Tun, Soe Thura


    Upper-plate structures that splay out from the megathrusts are common features along major convergent plate boundaries. However, their earthquake and tsunami hazard potentials have not yet received significant attention. In this study, we identified at least one earthquake event that may have been produced by an upper-plate splay fault offshore western Myanmar, based on U-Th ages of uplifted coral microatolls. This event is likely an earthquake that was documented historically in C.E. 1848, with an estimated magnitude between 6.8 and 7.2 based on regional structural characteristics. Such magnitude is consistent with the observed co-seismic uplift amount of ∼0.5 m. Although these events are smaller in magnitude than events produced by megathrusts, they may produce higher earthquake and tsunami hazards for local coastal communities due to their proximity. Our results also indicate that earthquake events with co-seismic uplift along the coast may not necessarily produce a flight of marine terraces. Therefore, using only records of uplifted marine terraces as megathrust earthquake proxies may overlook the importance of upper-plate splay fault ruptures, and underestimate the overall earthquake frequency for future seismic and tsunami hazards along major subduction zones of the world.

  8. Neotectonic deformation in Tunisia (North of the African plate) (United States)

    Soumaya, Abdelkader; Ben Ayed, Noureddine; Kadri, Ali; Delvaux, Damien; Khayati Ammar, Hayet; Braham, Ahmed


    In Tunisia, at the extreme North of the African plate, the neotectonic context is largely influenced by the Eurasia-Africa convergence. The aim of this work is to characterize the neotectonic regime that affected this region during Quaternary. Field work investigations integrated with published data allowed to evidence a spatial-temporal variation of the tectonic stress regime during this period. The spatial repartition of the different types of Quaternary to historical deformation shows a North-South neotectonic zoning in Tunisia. After lower Pleistocene, the Tellian domain (Maghrebides) in the North and its Atlassic foreland in central Tunisia are affected by NNW-SSE compression. It generated E-W to NE-SW folds and reverse faults, well developed in the Plio-Quaternary molassic basins of Kechabta and Jendouba (Northern Tunisia). In the Atlas, the major E-W and N-S pre-existing faults have been reactivated with dextral and sinistral strike-slip kinematic respectively, associated to en-echelon folds (Kasserine, N-S Axis, Northern Chott belt...). After the Tyrrhenian, a submeridian compressional regime affected Northern Tunisia (e.g., Bizerte region) and was responsible for the E-W folding of marine strata. More to the South, in the Tunisian Sahel, transtensional tectonics with a NW-SE horizontal maximal compression (SHmax) deformed the Tyrrhenian marine series (Khénis, Skanès, Monastir…). During the Holocene and up to present-day times, N-S compressional tectonics reactivated the E-W pre-existing faults with a reverse movement in Northern Tunisia (Bulla Regia, Utica …), generating historical earthquakes. In Central Tunisia, the Aqueduct of Cherichira (built around AD 850) is displaced by a N-S normal fault. Similarly, a mosaic of a roman house is shifted by 10 cm, along a N-S sinistral normal fault. These deformations evidence a transtensional tectonic regime. During the Quaternary, all the NW-SE oriented grabens are subsiding (e.g., Bizerte Lake, Grombalia

  9. Understanding lithospheric stresses: systematic analysis of controlling mechanisms with applications to the African Plate (United States)

    Medvedev, Sergei


    Many mechanisms control the state of stress within Earth plates. First-order well-known mechanisms include stresses induced by lateral variations of lithospheric density structure, sublithospheric tractions, ridge push and subduction pull. In this study, we attempt to quantify the influence of these mechanisms to understand the origin of stresses in the lithosphere, choosing the African plate (TAP) as an example. A finite-element based suite, Proshell, was developed to combine several data sets, to estimate the gravitational potential energy (GPE) of the lithosphere and to calculate stresses acting on the real (non-planar) geometry of TAP. We introduce several quantitative parameters to measure the degree of fit between the model and observations. Our modelling strategy involves nine series of numerical experiments. We start with the simplest possible model and then, step by step, build it up to be a more physically realistic model, all the while discussing the influence of each additional component. The starting (oversimplified) model series (1) is based on the CRUST2 data set for the crust and a half-space-cooling approximation of the lithospheric mantle. We then describe models (series 2-5) that account for lithospheric mantle density heterogeneities to build a more reliable GPE model. The consecutive series involve basal traction from the convective mantle (series A, C) and the rheological heterogeneity of the TAP via variations in its effective elastic thickness (series B, C). The model quality reflects the increase in complexity between series with an improving match to observed stress regimes and directions. The most complex model (series D) also accounts for the bending stresses in the elastic lithosphere and achieves a remarkably good fit to observations. All of our experiments were based on the iteration of controlling parameters in order to achieve the best fit between modelled and observed stresses, always considering physically feasible values. This

  10. 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......, the origin of Chlorine is explained via slab-derived fluids, and the contrast between backarc and frontal arc magmas is discussed. These results add to the understanding of the origin of the complexities in the mantle wedge under arc-backarc in a subduction zone which has transition to flat slab conditions...

  11. 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.

  12. On the initiation of subduction (United States)

    Mueller, Steve; Phillips, Roger J.


    Estimates of shear resistance associated with lithospheric thrusting and convergence represent lower bounds on the force necessary to promote trench formation. Three environments proposed as preferential sites of incipient subduction are investigated: passive continental margins, transform faults/fracture zones, and extinct ridges. None of these are predicted to convert into subduction zones simply by the accumulation of local gravitational stresses. Subduction cannot initiate through the foundering of dense oceanic lithosphere immediately adjacent to passive continental margins. The attempted subduction of buoyant material at a mature trench can result in large compressional forces in both subducting and overriding plates. This is the only tectonic force sufficient to trigger the nucleation of a new subduction zone. The ubiquitous distribution of transform faults and fracture zones, combined with the common proximity of these features to mature subduction complexes, suggests that they may represent the most likely sites of trench formation if they are even marginally weaker than normal oceanic lithosphere.

  13. A discussion of numerical subduction initiation (United States)

    Buiter, Susanne; Ellis, Susan


    In nature, subduction can initiate in various ways: Shortening can localise at oceanic transform faults, extinct spreading centres, or inherited passive margin faults; or, alternatively, subduction can be triggered from existing subduction systems by along-strike trench propagation, polarity reversals, or trench jumps. Numerical studies that specifically address subduction initiation have highlighted the roles of sediment loading, rheological strength contrasts, strain softening, and continental topographic gradients, among others. Usually, however, numerical models that aim to investigate subduction dynamics prefer to bypass the subduction initiation phase and its complexities, and focus instead on the stages during which the slab is descending into the mantle. However, even in these models, subduction still needs to begin. It is disturbingly easy to define initial model geometries that do not result in subduction. The specific combination of initial model geometries and values for rheological parameters that successfully initiates subduction has even been referred to as 'the sweet spot' in model space. One cause of subduction initiation failure is when the subducting and overriding plates lock, resulting in either indentation or severe dragging downwards of the overriding plate. This may point to a difficulty in maintaining a weak subduction interface during model evolution. A second factor that may cause difficulties is that initial model geometry and stresses need to balance, as otherwise the first model stages may show spurious deformation associated with reaching equilibrium. A third requirement that may cause problems is that the surface needs to have sufficient displacement freedom to allow the overriding plate to overthrust the subducting plate. That also implies an exclusion of sharp corners in the subduction interface near the surface. It is the interplay of subduction interface geometry, interface strength and subducting plate rheology that determines

  14. Linking the initial subduction of the South Tianshan Oceanic Plate and associated magmatism to Kazakhstan orocline: insights from petrogenesis of granites in the southern Yili Block (United States)

    Bao, Zihe; Cai, Keda; Sun, Min; Wang, Yannan; Wang, Xiangsong; Xia, Xiaoping


    The Kazakhstan orocline is a striking collage system of the Central Asian Orogenic Belt. It has been documented to be a composite continent via assembly of several orogenic components by the Devonian and finally to attain its U-shaped structure through oroclinal bending in the Late Paleozoic. In order to reveal the relationship between the Kazakhstan orocline and regional magmatism, granitic rocks including monzogranites and K-feldspar granites in the south limb of the orocline have been conducted geochronological and geochemical studies. Zircon LA-ICP-MS U-Pb dating of the monzogranites gave crystallization ages of 360±1.8 Ma and 360.5±1.7 Ma, and the K-feldspar granites have a coeval age (361.3±1.8 Ma). Both of the granites are high-K granites, and show enrichment in light rare earth elements (LREE) and obvious negative Eu anomalies. They display negative anomalies in Ba, Nb, Sr, Eu, and Ti. The K-feldspar granites have higher SiO2, K2O contents and lower MgO, Fe2O3T, Zr contents than those of the monzogranites. Geochemical data support that the K-feldspar granites are highly fractionated I-type granites, and the monzogranites are unfractionated I-type granites. Distinguishable Nd and Hf isotope suggest that the K-feldspar granites and the monzogranites may share a common magma chamber. The negative Eu anomalies and depletions of Ba and Sr possibly imply plagioclase as residue in the magma source. The Sr-Nd isotopic data and the ɛHf(t) values (-3.6 - 2.9) indicate that the parental magma was probably derived from crustal rock with minor mantle-derived melt. The new geochemical data and regional geology evidences indicate that the granites may be generated in a continental back-arc environment, which was inferred to be a response to the initial subduction of the South Tianshan Oceanic Plate. Given that the Kazakhstan orocline was developed during this period, it is plausible to link the initial subduction of the South Tianshan Oceanic Plate and associated

  15. Formation and metasomatism of continental lithospheric mantle in intra-plate and subduction-related tectonic settings (United States)

    Ionov, Dmitri


    , major and trace element and isotope compositions of fertile lherzolites and thus cannot provide viable alternatives to the concept of melt extraction from pristine mantle as the major mechanism of CLM formation. Published data on xenoliths from andesitic volcanoes and on supra-subduction oceanic peridotites [4] show that the most common rocks in mantle wedge lithosphere are highly refractory harzburgites characterized by a combination of variable but generally high modal opx (18-30%) with very low modal cpx (1.5-3%). At a given olivine (or MgO) content, they have higher opx and silica, and lower cpx, Al and Ca contents than normal refractory peridotite xenoliths in continental basalts; the Mg-Si and Al-Si trends in those rocks resemble those in cratonic peridotites. These features may indicate either fluid fluxing during melting in the mantle wedge or selective post-melting metasomatic enrichments in silica to transform some olivine to opx. High oxygen fugacities and radiogenic Os-isotope compositions in those rocks may be related to enrichments by slab-derived fluids, but these features are not always coupled with trace element enrichments or patterns commonly attributed to "subduction zone metasomatism" deduced from studies of arc volcanic rocks and experiments. The valuable insights provided by experimental work and xenolith case studies are difficult to apply to many natural peridotite series because late-stage processes commonly overlap the evidence for initial melting. References: [1] Herzberg C., J. Petrol. 45: 2507 (2004). [2] Ionov D. & Sobolev A., GCA 72 (S1): A410 (2008). [3] Ionov D., Contrib. Miner. Petrol. (2007) [4] Ionov D., J. Petrol. doi: 10.1093/petrology/egp090 (2010)

  16. Insights into a fossil plate interface of an erosional subduction zone: a tectono-metamorphic study of the Tianshan metamorphic belt. (United States)

    Bayet, Lea; Moritz, Lowen; Li, Jilei; Zhou, Tan; Agard, Philippe; John, Timm; Gao, Jun


    Subduction zone seismicity and volcanism are triggered by processes occurring at the slab-wedge interface as a consequence of metamorphic reactions, mass-transfer and deformation. Although the shallow parts of subduction zones (60km). In order to better understand the plate interface dynamics at these greater depths, one has to rely on the rock record from fossil subduction zones. The Chinese Tianshan metamorphic belt (TMB) represents an ideal candidate for such studies, because structures are well exposed with exceptionally fresh high-pressure rocks. Since previous studies from this area focused on fluid-related processes and its metamorphic evolution was assessed on single outcrops, the geodynamic setting of this metamorphic belt is unfortunately heavily debated. Here, we present a new geodynamic concept for the TMB based on detailed structural and petrological investigations on a more regional scale. A ~11km x 13km area was extensively covered, together with E-W and N-S transects, in order to produce a detailed map of the TMB. Overall, the belt is composed of two greenschist-facies units that constitute the northern and southern border of a large high-pressure (HP) to ultra high-pressure (UHP) unit in the center. This HP-UHP unit is mainly composed of metasediments and volcanoclastic rocks, with blueschist, eclogite and carbonate lenses. Only the southern part of the HP-UHP unit is composed of the uppermost part of an oceanic crust (e.g., pillow basalts and deep-sea carbonates). From south to north, the relative abundance and size of blueschist massive boudins and layers (as well as eclogite boudins) decreases and the sequence is increasingly interlayered with metasedimentary and carbonate-rich horizons. This indicates that the subducted material was dominated by trench filling made of sediments and volcanoclastic rocks, with only subordinate pieces of oceanic crust/lithosphere. The whole sequence is cut by km-scale major shear planes orientated WNW-ESE showing

  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. 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.

  19. Average slip rate at the transition zone on the plate interface in the Nankai subduction zone, Japan, estimated from short-term SSE catalog (United States)

    Itaba, S.; Kimura, T.


    Short-term slow slip events (S-SSEs) in the Nankai subduction zone, Japan, have been monitored by borehole strainmeters and borehole accelerometers (tiltmeters) mainly. The scale of the S-SSE in this region is small (Mw5-6), and therefore there were two problems in S-SSE identification and estimation of the fault model. (1) There were few observatories that can detect crustal deformation associated with S-SSEs. Therefore, reliability of the estimated fault model was low. (2) The signal associated with the S-SSE is relatively small. Therefore, it was difficult to detect the S-SSE only from strainmeter and tiltmeter. The former problem has become resolvable to some extent by integrating the data of borehole strainmeter, tiltmeter and groundwater (pore pressure) of the National Institute of Advanced Industrial Science and Technology, tiltmeter of the National Research Institute for Earthquake Science and Disaster Prevention and borehole strainmeter of the Japan Meteorological Agency. For the latter, by using horizontal redundant component of a multi-component strainmeter, which consists generally of four horizontal extensometers, it has become possible to extract tectonic deformation efficiently and detect a S-SSE using only strainmeter data. Using the integrated data and newly developed technique, we started to make a catalog of S-SSE in the Nankai subduction zone. For example, in central Mie Prefecture, we detect and estimate fault model of eight S-SSEs from January 2010 to September 2012. According to our estimates, the average slip rate of S-SSE is 2.7 cm/yr. Ishida et al. [2013] estimated the slip rate as 2.6-3.0 cm/yr from deep low-frequency tremors, and this value is consistent with our estimation. Furthermore, the slip deficit rate in this region evaluated by the analysis of GPS data from 2001 to 2004 is 1.0 - 2.6 cm/yr [Kobayashi et al., 2006], and the convergence rate of the Philippine Sea plate in this region is estimated as 5.0 - 7.0 cm/yr. The difference

  20. 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.

  1. 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.

  2. 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

  3. Horizontal mantle flow controls subduction dynamics. (United States)

    Ficini, E; Dal Zilio, L; Doglioni, C; Gerya, T V


    It is generally accepted that subduction is driven by downgoing-plate negative buoyancy. Yet plate age -the main control on buoyancy- exhibits little correlation with most of the present-day subduction velocities and slab dips. "West"-directed subduction zones are on average steeper (~65°) than "East"-directed (~27°). Also, a "westerly"-directed net rotation of the lithosphere relative to the mantle has been detected in the hotspot reference frame. Thus, the existence of an "easterly"-directed horizontal mantle wind could explain this subduction asymmetry, favouring steepening or lifting of slab dip angles. Here we test this hypothesis using high-resolution two-dimensional numerical thermomechanical models of oceanic plate subduction interacting with a mantle flow. Results show that when subduction polarity is opposite to that of the mantle flow, the descending slab dips subvertically and the hinge retreats, thus leading to the development of a back-arc basin. In contrast, concordance between mantle flow and subduction polarity results in shallow dipping subduction, hinge advance and pronounced topography of the overriding plate, regardless of their age-dependent negative buoyancy. Our results are consistent with seismicity data and tomographic images of subduction zones. Thus, our models may explain why subduction asymmetry is a common feature of convergent margins on Earth.

  4. 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.

  5. 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

  6. Influence of trench width on subduction hinge retreat rates in 3-D models of slab rollback

    NARCIS (Netherlands)

    Stegman, D. R.; Freeman, J.A.; Schellart, W. P.; Moresi, L.; May, D.

    Subduction of tectonic plates limited in lateral extent and with a free-trailing tail, i.e., "free subduction,'' is modeled in a three-dimensional (3-D) geometry. The models use a nonlinear viscoplastic rheology for the subducting plate and exhibit a wide range of behaviors depending on such plate

  7. Seismicity and the subduction process (United States)

    Ruff, L.; Kanamori, H.


    There is considerable variation between subduction zones in the largest characteristic earthquake within each zone. Assuming that coupling between downgoing and upper plates is directly related to characteristic earthquake size, tests for correlations between variation in coupling and other physical features of subduction zones are conducted: the lateral extent and penetration depth of Benioff zones, age of subducting lithosphere, convergence rate, and back-arc spreading. Using linear multivariate regression, coupling is correlated with two variables: convergence rate and lithosphere age. Secondary correlations within the data set are penetration depth versus lithosphere age, and lateral extent versus convergence rate. Taken together, the observed correlations suggest a simple qualitative model where convergence rate and lithosphere age determine the horizontal and sinking rates, respectively, of slabs: these parameters influence the seismic coupling in the subduction zone. In the limit of a fast sinking rate and slow convergence rate, back-arc spreading occurs and thereby appears to be a passive process.

  8. The earthquake cycle in subduction zones (United States)

    Melosh, H. J.; Fleitout, L.


    A simplified model of a subduction zone is presented, which incorporates the mechanical asymmetry induced by the subducted slab to anchor the subducting plate during post-seismic rebound and thus throw most of the coseismic stream release into the overthrust plate. The model predicts that the trench moves with respect to the deep mantle toward the subducting plate at a velocity equal to one-half of the convergence rate. A strong extensional pulse is propagated into the overthrust plate shortly after the earthquake, and although this extension changes into compression before the next earthquake in the cycle, the period of strong extension following the earthquake may be responsible for extensional tectonic features in the back-arc region.

  9. Global correlations between maximum magnitudes of subduction zone interface thrust earthquakes and physical parameters of subduction zones

    NARCIS (Netherlands)

    Schellart, W. P.; Rawlinson, N.


    The maximum earthquake magnitude recorded for subduction zone plate boundaries varies considerably on Earth, with some subduction zone segments producing giant subduction zone thrust earthquakes (e.g. Chile, Alaska, Sumatra-Andaman, Japan) and others producing relatively small earthquakes (e.g.

  10. 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.|info:eu-repo/dai/nl/269263624; 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

  11. PLATE

    DEFF Research Database (Denmark)

    Kling, Joyce; Hjulmand, Lise-Lotte


    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......’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...

  12. Kinematics of subduction and subduction-induced flow in the upper mantle

    NARCIS (Netherlands)

    Schellart, W. P.


    Results of fluid dynamical experiments are presented to model the kinematics of lithospheric subduction in the upper mantle. The experiments model a dense highviscosity plate (subducting lithosphere) overlying a less dense low-viscosity layer (upper mantle). The overriding lithosphere is not

  13. Earthquake nucleation in weak subducted carbonates

    NARCIS (Netherlands)

    Kurzawski, Robert M.; Stipp, Michael; Niemeijer, André R.; Spiers, Chirstopher J.; Behrmann, Jan H.

    Ocean-floor carbonate- and clay-rich sediments form major inputs to subduction zones, especially at low-latitude convergent plate margins. Therefore, knowledge of their frictional behaviour is fundamental for understanding plate-boundary earthquakes. Here we report results of mechanical tests

  14. 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.

  15. 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

  16. Subduction trench migration since the Cretaceous (United States)

    Williams, S.; Flament, N. E.; Müller, D.; Butterworth, N. P.


    Much of our knowledge about subduction zone processes is derived from analyzing present-day Earth. Several studies of contemporary plate motions have investigated the balance between retreating and advancing trenches and shown that subduction zone kinematics are sensitive to the choice of Absolute Plate Motion (APM) model (or "reference frame"). For past times, the absolute motions of the lithospheric plates relative to the Earth's deep interior over tens of millions of years are commonly constrained using observations from paleomagnetism and age-progressive seamount trails. In contrast, a reference frame linking surface plate motions to subducted slab remnants mapped from seismic tomography has recently been proposed. APM models derived using different methodologies, different subsets of hotspots, or differing assumptions of hotspot motion, have contrasting implications for parameters that describe the long term state of the plate-mantle system, such as the balance between advance and retreat of subduction zones, plate velocities, and net lithospheric rotation. Here we quantitatively compare the subduction zone kinematics, net lithospheric rotation and fit to hotspot trails derived the last 130 Myr for a range of alternative reference frames and a single relative plate motion model. We find that hotspot and tomographic slab-remnant reference frames yield similar results for the last 70 Myr. For the period between 130 and 70 Ma, when hotspot trails become scarce, hotspot reference frames yield a much more dispersed distribution of slab advance and retreat velocities, which is considered geodynamically less plausible. By contrast, plate motions calculated using the slab-remnant reference frame, or using a reference frame designed to minimise net rotation, yield more consistent subduction zone kinematics for times older than 70 Ma. Introducing the global minimisation of trench migration rates as a key criterion in the construction of APM models forms the foundation

  17. Punctuated Neogene tectonics and stratigraphy of the African-Iberian plate-boundary zone: concurrent development of Betic-Rif basins (southern Spain, northern Morocco)

    NARCIS (Netherlands)

    Sissingh, W.


    This paper integrates the sequence stratigraphic and tectonic data related to the Neogene geodynamic and palaeogeographic development of the African-Iberian plate boundary zone between Spain and Morocco. Though the dating of individual tectonostratigraphic sequences and their delimiting sequence

  18. Seismic coupling and uncoupling at subduction zones (United States)

    Ruff, L.; Kanamori, H.


    Some of the correlations concerning the properties of subduction zones are reviewed. A quantitative global comparison of many subduction zones reveals that the largest earthquakes occur in zones with young lithosphere and fast convergence rates. Maximum earthquake size is directly related to the asperity distribution on the fault plane. This observation can be translated into a simple model of seismic coupling where the horizontal compressive stress between two plates is proportional to the ratio of the summed asperity area to the total area of the contact surface. Plate age and rate can control asperity distribution directly through the horizontal compressive stress associated with the vertical and horizontal velocities of subducting slabs. The basalt to eclogite phase change in the down-going oceanic crust may be largely responsible for the uncoupling of subduction zones below a depth of about 40 km.

  19. Seismotectonic features of the African plate: the possible dislocation of a continent (United States)

    Meghraoui, Mustapha


    The African continent is made of seismically active structures with active deformation in between main substratum shields considered as stable continental interiors. Seismically active regions are primarily located along rift zones, thrust and fold mountain belts, transform faults and volcanic fields. The active tectonic structures generated large and destructive earthquakes in the past with significant damage and economic losses in Africa. Although some regions of the continent show a low-level of seismic activity, several large earthquakes (with M > 7) have occurred in the past. The presence of major active faults that generate destructive earthquakes is among the most important geological and geophysical hazards for the continent. National and International scientific projects dealing with the seismic hazards assessment are increasing in seismically active regions in Africa. The UNESCO-SIDA/IGCP (Project 601 support the preparation and implementation of the "Seismotectonic Map of Africa". Therefore, new seismotectonic data with the regional analysis of earthquake hazards became necessary as a basis for a mitigation of the earthquake damage. A database in historical and instrumental seismicity, active tectonics, stress tensor distribution, earthquake geology and paleoseismology, active deformation, earthquake geodesy (GPS) and gravity, crustal structure studies, magnetic and structural segmentation, volcanic fields, collision tectonics and rifting processes is prepared to constrain the geodynamic evolution of the continent. Taking into account the geological, tectonic and geophysical characteristics, we define six seismotectonic provinces that characterize the crustal deformation. With the previously identified Somalia tectonic block, the seismotectonic and geophysical framework of the continent reveal the existence of the Cameroon volcanic line, the South African tectonic block with transform faulting and Cape folding system

  20. Origin and dynamics of depositionary subduction margins (United States)

    Vannucchi, Paola; Morgan, Jason P.; Silver, Eli; 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.

  1. 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.

  2. 3D geometry of a plate boundary fault related to the 2016 Off-Mie earthquake in the Nankai subduction zone, Japan (United States)

    Tsuji, Takeshi; Minato, Shohei; Kamei, Rie; Tsuru, Tetsuro; Kimura, Gaku


    We used recent seismic data and advanced techniques to investigate 3D fault geometry over the transition from the partially coupled to the fully coupled plate interface inboard of the Nankai Trough off the Kii Peninsula, Japan. We found that a gently dipping plate boundary décollement with a thick underthrust layer extends beneath the entire Kumano forearc basin. The 1 April 2016 Off-Mie earthquake (Mw6.0) and its aftershocks occurred, where the plate boundary décollement steps down close to the oceanic crust surface. This location also lies beneath the trenchward edge of an older accretionary prism (∼14 Ma) developed along the coast of the Kii peninsula. The strike of the 2016 rupture plane was similar to that of a formerly active splay fault system in the accretionary prism. Thus, the fault planes of the 2016 earthquake and its aftershocks were influenced by the geometry of the plate interface as well as splay faulting. The 2016 earthquake occurred within the rupture area of large interplate earthquakes such as the 1944 Tonankai earthquake (Mw8.1), although the 2016 rupture area was much smaller than that of the 1944 event. Whereas the hypocenter of the 2016 earthquake was around the underplating sequence beneath the younger accretionary prism (∼6 Ma), the 1944 great earthquake hypocenter was close to oceanic crust surface beneath the older accretionary prism. The variation of fault geometry and lithology may influence the degree of coupling along the plate interface, and such coupling variation could hinder slip propagation toward the deeper plate interface in the 2016 event.

  3. 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

  4. 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)

  5. 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

  6. GPS Monitoring of Subduction Zone Deformation in Costa Rica (United States)

    Lundgren, Paul


    The subduction of the Cocos plate beneath Costa Rica is among the highest convergence rates in the world. The high subduction rate and nearness of the Nicoya Peninsula, Costa Rica to the Middle America Trench (MAT) provide a unique opportunity to map variations in interseismic strain of the crust above the seismogenic zone in response to variations in seismic coupling.

  7. 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

  8. Global patterns in Earth's dynamic topography since the Jurassic: the role of subducted slabs (United States)

    Rubey, Michael; Brune, Sascha; Heine, Christian; Rhodri Davies, D.; Williams, Simon E.; Dietmar Müller, R.


    We evaluate the spatial and temporal evolution of Earth's long-wavelength surface dynamic topography since the Jurassic using a series of high-resolution global mantle convection models. These models are Earth-like in terms of convective vigour, thermal structure, surface heat-flux and the geographic distribution of heterogeneity. The models generate a degree-2-dominated spectrum of dynamic topography with negative amplitudes above subducted slabs (i.e. circum-Pacific regions and southern Eurasia) and positive amplitudes elsewhere (i.e. Africa, north-western Eurasia and the central Pacific). Model predictions are compared with published observations and subsidence patterns from well data, both globally and for the Australian and southern African regions. We find that our models reproduce the long-wavelength component of these observations, although observed smaller-scale variations are not reproduced. We subsequently define geodynamic rules for how different surface tectonic settings are affected by mantle processes: (i) locations in the vicinity of a subduction zone show large negative dynamic topography amplitudes; (ii) regions far away from convergent margins feature long-term positive dynamic topography; and (iii) rapid variations in dynamic support occur along the margins of overriding plates (e.g. the western US) and at points located on a plate that rapidly approaches a subduction zone (e.g. India and the Arabia Peninsula). Our models provide a predictive quantitative framework linking mantle convection with plate tectonics and sedimentary basin evolution, thus improving our understanding of how subduction and mantle convection affect the spatio-temporal evolution of basin architecture.

  9. Global patterns in Earth's dynamic topography since the Jurassic: the role of subducted slabs

    Directory of Open Access Journals (Sweden)

    M. Rubey


    Full Text Available We evaluate the spatial and temporal evolution of Earth's long-wavelength surface dynamic topography since the Jurassic using a series of high-resolution global mantle convection models. These models are Earth-like in terms of convective vigour, thermal structure, surface heat-flux and the geographic distribution of heterogeneity. The models generate a degree-2-dominated spectrum of dynamic topography with negative amplitudes above subducted slabs (i.e. circum-Pacific regions and southern Eurasia and positive amplitudes elsewhere (i.e. Africa, north-western Eurasia and the central Pacific. Model predictions are compared with published observations and subsidence patterns from well data, both globally and for the Australian and southern African regions. We find that our models reproduce the long-wavelength component of these observations, although observed smaller-scale variations are not reproduced. We subsequently define geodynamic rules for how different surface tectonic settings are affected by mantle processes: (i locations in the vicinity of a subduction zone show large negative dynamic topography amplitudes; (ii regions far away from convergent margins feature long-term positive dynamic topography; and (iii rapid variations in dynamic support occur along the margins of overriding plates (e.g. the western US and at points located on a plate that rapidly approaches a subduction zone (e.g. India and the Arabia Peninsula. Our models provide a predictive quantitative framework linking mantle convection with plate tectonics and sedimentary basin evolution, thus improving our understanding of how subduction and mantle convection affect the spatio-temporal evolution of basin architecture.

  10. Intrinsic and Extrinsic Factors in Subduction Dynamics (United States)

    Billen, Magali; Arredondo, Katrina


    Since the realization that tectonic plates sink into the mantle, in a process we now call subduction, our understanding of this process has improved dramatically through the combined application of observations, theory and modeling. During that time independent research groups focusing on different aspects of subduction have identified factors with a significant impact on subduction, such as three-dimensionality, slab rollback, rheology of the slab and mantle and magnitude of phase changes. However, as each group makes progress we often wonder how these different factors interact as we all strive to understand the real world subduction system. These factors can be divided in two groups: intrinsic factors, including the age of the slab, its thermal structure, composition, and rheology, and extrinsic factors including others forces on plates, overall mantle flow, structure of the overriding plate, rheology of the mantle and phase changes. In addition, while modeling has been a powerful tool for understanding subduction, all models make important (but often necessary) approximations, such as using two dimensions, imposed boundary conditions, and approximations of the conservation equations and material properties. Here we present results of a study in which the "training wheels" are systematically removed from 2D models of subduction to build a more realistic model of subduction and to better understand how combined effects of intrinsic and extrinsic factors contribute to the dynamics. We find that a change from the Boussinesq to the extended Boussinesq form of the conservation equations has a dramatic effect on slab evolution in particular when phase changes are included. Allowing for free (dynamically-driven) subduction and trench motion is numerically challenging, but also an important factor that allows for more direct comparison to observations of plate kinematics. Finally, compositional layering of the slab and compositionally-controlled phase changes also have

  11. 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.

  12. 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.

  13. 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

  14. Plating of Femoral Shaft Fractures: the Experience in an African Teaching Hospital. (United States)

    Ogunlade, Samuel O; Alonge, Temitope; Omololu, Bade; Ifesanya, Adeleke; Nottidge, Timothy; Diete-Spiff, Theophilus


    Femoral shaft fractures are common presentation in our trauma units. It is obvious that all these fractures cannot be treated conservatively due to the pressure on trauma beds and thus a suitable method of internal fixation that is feasible in the environment has had to be adopted. This study is a report of our experience with plate fixation of femoral shaft fracture in our environment. A retrospective hospital based study. All patients with femoral shaft fractures stabilized with plates and screws between 1997 and 2004 at the University College Hospital were reviewed. The case notes were retrieved and data extracted from them; all case notes entry gave sufficient information. The fracture pattern showed 56 cases (35.4%) of Type 32-A, 45 cases (28.5%) of Type 32-B and 57 cases (36.1%) of Type 32-C using AO classification. The outcome of treatment was excellent to good in 125 fractures (77.2%). The average time of healing was 20 weeks (range 16-48). Fracture related complications occurred in nine fractures (5.7%) which included deep infection in four fractures (2.5%) and implant failure in five fractures (3.2%). Femoral shaft plating gives good result if the principles of fixation is carefully followed and in developing countries where initial cost of procurement of equipments for closed nailing may not be forth coming, it thus provide a safe efficient and low cost method of fixation of femoral shaft fracture.

  15. Ablative subduction - A two-sided alternative to the conventional subduction model (United States)

    Tao, Winston C.; O'Connell, Richard J.


    The plausibility of a two-sided fluid-based model of lithospheric subduction that is based upon current views of lithospheric structure is examined. In this model the viscous lower lithosphere flows downward, and the brittle upper lithosphere deforms in passive response. This process is potentially double-sided, since it is found that even a buoyant plate can be dragged downward by a dense descending neighbor. Thus an apparent overriding plate may be worn away by a process of viscous ablation, with the rate of ablation a function of plate buoyancy. This process, called 'ablative subduction,' makes it possible to simply interpret observations concerning slab profiles, interplate seismicity, back arc tectonics, and complex processes such as double subduction and subduction polarity reversal. When experiments modeling the evolution of simple fluid 'slabs' are performed, slab profile is found to be strongly influenced by ablation in the overriding plate. When ablation is weak, as when a buoyant continent borders the trench, deformable slabs adopt shallow Andean-style profiles.

  16. Splay fault branching along the Nankai subduction zone. (United States)

    Park, Jin-Oh; Tsuru, Tetsuro; Kodaira, Shuichi; Cummins, Phil R; Kaneda, Yoshiyuki


    Seismic reflection profiles reveal steeply landward-dipping splay faults in the rupture area of the magnitude (M) 8.1 Tonankai earthquake in the Nankai subduction zone. These splay faults branch upward from the plate-boundary interface (that is, the subduction zone) at a depth of approximately 10 kilometers, approximately 50 to 55 kilometers landward of the trough axis, breaking through the upper crustal plate. Slip on the active splay fault may be an important mechanism that accommodates the elastic strain caused by relative plate motion.

  17. Subduction zone decoupling/retreat modeling explains south Tibet (Xigaze) and other supra-subduction zone ophiolites and their UHP mineral phases (United States)

    Butler, Jared P.; Beaumont, Christopher


    The plate tectonic setting in which proto-ophiolite 'oceanic' lithosphere is created remains controversial with a number of environments suggested. Recent opinions tend to coalesce around supra-subduction zone (SSZ) forearc extension, with a popular conceptual model in which the proto-ophiolite forms during foundering of oceanic lithosphere at the time of spontaneous or induced onset of subduction. This mechanism is favored in intra-oceanic settings where the subducting lithosphere is old and the upper plate is young and thin. We investigate an alternative mechanism; namely, decoupling of the subducting oceanic lithosphere in the forearc of an active continental margin, followed by subduction zone (trench) retreat and creation of a forearc oceanic rift basin, containing proto-ophiolite lithosphere, between the continental margin and the retreating subduction zone. A template of 2D numerical model experiments examines the trade-off between strength of viscous coupling in the lithospheric subduction channel and net slab pull of the subducting lithosphere. Three tectonic styles are observed: 1) C, continuous subduction without forearc decoupling; 2) R, forearc decoupling followed by rapid subduction zone retreat; 3) B, breakoff of subducting lithosphere followed by re-initiation of subduction and in some cases, forearc decoupling (B-R). In one case (BA-B-R; where BA denotes backarc) subduction zone retreat follows backarc rifting. Subduction zone decoupling is analyzed using frictional-plastic yield theory and the Stefan solution for the separation of plates containing a viscous fluid. The numerical model results are used to explain the formation of Xigaze group ophiolites, southern Tibet, which formed in the Lhasa terrane forearc, likely following earlier subduction and not necessarily during subduction initiation. Either there was normal coupled subduction before subduction zone decoupling, or precursor slab breakoff, subduction re-initiation and then decoupling

  18. Multiscale Architecture of a Subduction Complex and Insight into Large-scale Material Movement in Subduction Systems (United States)

    Wakabayashi, J.


    The >1000 km by >100 km Franciscan complex of California records >100 Ma of subduction history that terminated with conversion to a transform margin. It affords an ideal natural laboratory to study the rock record of subduction-interface and related processes exhumed from 10-70 km. The Franciscan comprises coherent and block-in-matrix (mélange) units forming a nappe stack that youngs structurally downward in accretion age, indicating progressive subduction accretion. Gaps in accretion ages indicate periods of non-accretion or subduction erosion. The Franciscan comprises siliciclastic trench fill rocks, with lesser volcanic and pelagic rocks and serpentinite derived from the downgoing plate, as well as serpentinite and felsic-intermediate igneous blocks derived as detritus from the upper plate. The Franciscan records subduction, accretion, and metamorphism (including HP), spanning an extended period of subduction, rather than a single event superimposed on pre-formed stratigraphy. Melanges (serpentinite and siliciclastic matrix) with exotic blocks, that include high-grade metamorphic blocks, and felsic-intermediate igneous blocks from the upper plate, are mostly/entirely of sedimentary origin, whereas block-in-matrix rocks formed by tectonism lack exotic blocks and comprise disrupted ocean plate stratigraphy. Mélanges with exotic blocks are interbedded with coherent sandstones. Many blocks-in-melange record two HP burial events followed by surface exposure, and some record three. Paleomegathrust horizons, separating nappes accreted at different times, appear restricted to narrow fault zones of structures, are accommodated by discrete faults or narrow shear zones, rather than by significant penetrative strain. Exhumation of Franciscan HP units, both coherent and mélange, was accommodated by significant extension of the overlying plate, and possibly extension within the subduction complex, with cross-sectional extrusion, and like subduction burial, took place at

  19. Plate tectonics, damage and inheritance. (United States)

    Bercovici, David; Ricard, Yanick


    The initiation of plate tectonics on Earth is a critical event in our planet's history. The time lag between the first proto-subduction (about 4 billion years ago) and global tectonics (approximately 3 billion years ago) suggests that plates and plate boundaries became widespread over a period of 1 billion years. The reason for this time lag is unknown but fundamental to understanding the origin of plate tectonics. Here we suggest that when sufficient lithospheric damage (which promotes shear localization and long-lived weak zones) combines with transient mantle flow and migrating proto-subduction, it leads to the accumulation of weak plate boundaries and eventually to fully formed tectonic plates driven by subduction alone. We simulate this process using a grain evolution and damage mechanism with a composite rheology (which is compatible with field and laboratory observations of polycrystalline rocks), coupled to an idealized model of pressure-driven lithospheric flow in which a low-pressure zone is equivalent to the suction of convective downwellings. In the simplest case, for Earth-like conditions, a few successive rotations of the driving pressure field yield relic damaged weak zones that are inherited by the lithospheric flow to form a nearly perfect plate, with passive spreading and strike-slip margins that persist and localize further, even though flow is driven only by subduction. But for hotter surface conditions, such as those on Venus, accumulation and inheritance of damage is negligible; hence only subduction zones survive and plate tectonics does not spread, which corresponds to observations. After plates have developed, continued changes in driving forces, combined with inherited damage and weak zones, promote increased tectonic complexity, such as oblique subduction, strike-slip boundaries that are subparallel to plate motion, and spalling of minor plates.

  20. Friction and stress coupling on the subduction interfaces (United States)

    Tan, E.; Lavier, L.; van Avendonk, H.


    At a subduction zone, the down-going oceanic plate slides underneath the overriding plate. The frictional resistance to the relative motion between the plates generates great earthquakes along the subduction interface, which can cause tremendous damage in the civil life and property. There is a strong incentive to understand the frictional strength of the subduction interface. One fundamental question of mechanics of subuction is the degree of coupling between the plates, which is linked to the size of earthquakes. It has been noted that the trench-parallel (along-strike) gravity variation correlates positively with the trench-parallel topography anomaly and negatively with the activity of great earthquake (Song and Simons, 2003). Regions with a negative trench-parallel gravity anomaly are more likely to have great earthquakes. The interpretation of such correlation is that strong coupling along subduction interface will drag down the for-arc region of the overriding plate, which generates the gravity and topography anomalies, and could store more strain energy to be released during a great earthquake. We developed a 2D numerical thermo-mechanical code for modeling subduction. The numerical method is based on an explicit finite element method similar to the Fast Lagrangian Analysis of Continua (FLAC) technique. The constitutive law is visco-elasti-plastic with strain weakening. The cohesion and friction angle are reduced with increasing plastic strain after yielding. To track different petrologic phases, Lagrangian particles are distributed in the domain. Basalt-eclogite, sediment-schist and peridotite-serpentinite phase changes are included in the model. Our numerical models show that the degree of coupling negatively correlates with the coefficient of friction. In the low friction case, the subduction interface has very shallow dipping angle, which helps to elastically couple the downing plate with the overriding plate. The topography and gravity anomalies of the

  1. Shallow and buoyant lithospheric subduction : causes and implications from thermo-chemical numerical modeling

    NARCIS (Netherlands)

    Hunen, Jeroen van


    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

  2. Depositionary Margins: The Destruction and Renovation of Subduction Forearcs (United States)

    Vannucchi, P.; Morgan, J. P.; Silver, E. A.; Kluesner, J.


    A depositionary margin is 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 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. 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

  4. The initiation of subduction: criticality by addition of water? (United States)

    Regenauer-Lieb, K; Yuen, D A; Branlund, J


    Subduction is a major process of plate tectonics; however, its initiation is not understood. We used high-resolution (less than 1 kilometer) finite-element models based on rheological data of the lithosphere to investigate the role played by water on initiating subduction. A solid-fluid thermomechanical instability is needed to drive a cold, stiff, and negatively buoyant lithosphere into the mantle. This instability can be triggered slowly by sedimentary loading over a time span of 100 million years. Our results indicate that subduction can proceed by a double feedback mechanism (thermoelastic and thermal-rheological) promoted by lubrication due to water.

  5. Subduction of a buoyant plateau at the Manila Trench: Tomographic evidence and geodynamic implications (United States)

    Fan, Jianke; Zhao, Dapeng; Dong, Dongdong


    We determined P-wave tomographic images by inverting a large number of arrival-time data from 2749 local earthquakes and 1462 teleseismic events, which are used to depict the three-dimensional morphology of the subducted Eurasian Plate along the northern segment of the Manila Trench. Dramatic changes in the dip angle of the subducted Eurasian Plate are revealed from the north to the south, being consistent with the partial subduction of a buoyant plateau beneath the Luzon Arc. Slab tears may exist along the edges of the buoyant plateau within the subducted plate induced by the plateau subduction, and the subducted lithosphere may be absent at depths greater than 250 km at ˜19°N and ˜21°N. The subducted buoyant plateau is possibly oriented toward NW-SE, and the subducted plate at ˜21°N is slightly steeper than that at ˜19°N. These results may explain why the western and eastern volcanic chains in the Luzon Arc are separated by ˜50 km at ˜18°N, whereas they converge into a single volcanic chain northward, which may be related to the oblique subduction along the Manila Trench caused by the northwestern movement of the Philippine Sea Plate. A low-velocity zone is revealed at depths of 20-200 km beneath the Manila Accretionary Prism at ˜22°N, suggesting that the subduction along the Manila Trench may stop there and the collision develops northward. The Taiwan Orogeny may originate directly from the subduction of the buoyant plateau, because the initial time of the Taiwan Orogeny is coincident with that of the buoyant plateau subduction.

  6. Large Scale Screening of Southern African Plant Extracts for the Green Synthesis of Gold Nanoparticles Using Microtitre-Plate Method. (United States)

    Elbagory, Abdulrahman M; Cupido, Christopher N; Meyer, Mervin; Hussein, Ahmed A


    The preparation of gold nanoparticles (AuNPs) involves a variety of chemical and physical methods. These methods use toxic and environmentally harmful chemicals. Consequently, the synthesis of AuNPs using green chemistry has been under investigation to develop eco-friendly nanoparticles. One approach to achieve this is the use of plant-derived phytochemicals that are capable of reducing gold ions to produce AuNPs. The aim of this study was to implement a facile microtitre-plate method to screen a large number of aqueous plant extracts to determine the optimum concentration (OC) for the bio-synthesis of the AuNPs. Several AuNPs of different sizes and shapes were successfully synthesized and characterized from 17 South African plants. The characterization was done using Ultra Violet-Visible Spectroscopy, Dynamic Light Scattering, High Resolution Transmission Electron Microscopy and Energy-Dispersive X-ray Spectroscopy. We also studied the effects of temperature on the synthesis of the AuNPs and showed that changes in temperatures affect the size and dispersity of the generated AuNPs. We also evaluated the stability of the synthesized AuNPs and showed that some of them are stable in biological buffer solutions.

  7. Large Scale Screening of Southern African Plant Extracts for the Green Synthesis of Gold Nanoparticles Using Microtitre-Plate Method

    Directory of Open Access Journals (Sweden)

    Abdulrahman M. Elbagory


    Full Text Available The preparation of gold nanoparticles (AuNPs involves a variety of chemical and physical methods. These methods use toxic and environmentally harmful chemicals. Consequently, the synthesis of AuNPs using green chemistry has been under investigation to develop eco-friendly nanoparticles. One approach to achieve this is the use of plant-derived phytochemicals that are capable of reducing gold ions to produce AuNPs. The aim of this study was to implement a facile microtitre-plate method to screen a large number of aqueous plant extracts to determine the optimum concentration (OC for the bio-synthesis of the AuNPs. Several AuNPs of different sizes and shapes were successfully synthesized and characterized from 17 South African plants. The characterization was done using Ultra Violet-Visible Spectroscopy, Dynamic Light Scattering, High Resolution Transmission Electron Microscopy and Energy-Dispersive X-ray Spectroscopy. We also studied the effects of temperature on the synthesis of the AuNPs and showed that changes in temperatures affect the size and dispersity of the generated AuNPs. We also evaluated the stability of the synthesized AuNPs and showed that some of them are stable in biological buffer solutions.

  8. 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.

  9. Subduction and Slab Advance at Orogen Syntaxes: Predicting Exhumation Rates and Thermochronometric Ages with Numerical Modeling (United States)

    Nettesheim, Matthias; Ehlers, Todd A.; Whipp, David M.


    The change in plate boundary orientation and subducting plate geometry along orogen syntaxes may have major control on the subduction and exhumation dynamics at these locations. Previous work documents that the curvature of subducting plates in 3D at orogen syntaxes forces a buckling and flexural stiffening of the downgoing plate. The geometry of this stiffened plate region, also called indenter, can be observed in various subduction zones around the world (e.g. St. Elias Range, Alaska; Cascadia, USA; Andean syntaxis, South America). The development of a subducting, flexurally stiffened indenter beneath orogen syntaxes influences deformation in the overriding plate and can lead to accelerated and focused rock uplift above its apex. Moreover, the style of deformation in the overriding plate is influenced by the amount of trench or slab advance, which is the amount of overall shortening not accommodated by underthrusting. While many subduction zones exhibit little to no slab advance, the Nazca-South America subduction and especially the early stages of the India-Eurasia collision provide end-member examples. Here, we use a transient, lithospheric-scale, thermomechanical 3D model of an orogen syntaxis to investigate the effects of subducting a flexurally stiffened plate geometry and slab advance on upper plate deformation. A visco-plastic upper-plate rheology is used, along with a buckled, rigid subducting plate. The free surface of the thermomechanical model is coupled to a landscape evolution model that accounts for erosion by fluvial and hillslope processes. The cooling histories of exhumed rocks are used to predict the evolution of low-temperature thermochronometer ages on the surface. With a constant overall shortening for all simulations, the magnitude of slab advance is varied stepwise from no advance, with all shortening accommodated by underthrusting, to full slab advance, i.e. no motion on the megathrust. We show that in models where most shortening is

  10. Review of subduction and its association with geothermal system in Sumatera-Java (United States)

    Ladiba, A. F.; Putriyana, L.; Sibarani, B. br.; Soekarno, H.


    Java and Sumatera have the largest geothermal resources in Indonesia, in which mostly are spatially associated with volcanoes of subduction zones. However, those volcanoes are not distributed in a regular pattern due to the difference of subduction position. Subduction position in java is relatively more perpendicular to the trench than in Sumatera. In addition, Java has a concentration of large productive geothermal field with vapour dominated system in the western part of Java, which may be caused by the various subduction dip along the island. In order to understand the relationship between the subduction process and geothermal system in the subduction zone volcanoes, we examined several kinematic parameters of subduction that potentially relevant to the formation of geothermal system in overriding plate such as slab dip, subduction rate, and direction of subduction. Data and information regarding tectonic setting of Sumatera and Java and productive geothermal field in Sumatera and Java have been collected and evaluated. In conclusion, there are three condition that caused the geothermal fluid to be more likely being in vapour phase, which are: the subduction is in an orthogonal position, the slab dip is high, and rate of subduction is high. Although there are plenty researches of subduction zone volcanoes, only a few of them present information about its formation and implication to the geothermal system. The result of this study may be used as reference in exploration of geothermal field in mutual geologic environment.

  11. Trench dynamics: Effects of dynamically migrating trench on subducting slab morphology and characteristics of subduction zones systems (United States)

    Yoshida, Masaki


    Understanding the mechanisms of trench migration (retreat or advance) is crucial to characterizing the driving forces of Earth's tectonics plates, the origins of subducting slab morphologies in the deep mantle, and identifying the characteristics of subduction zones systems, which are among the fundamental issues of solid Earth science. A series of numerical simulations of mantle convection, focusing on plate subduction in a three-dimensional (3-D) regional spherical shell coordinate system, was performed to examine subduction zone characteristics, including geodynamic relationships among trench migration, back-arc stress, and slab morphology. The results show that a subducting slab tends to deflect around the base of the mantle transition zone and form a sub-horizontal slab because its front edge (its 'toe') is subject to resistance from the highly viscous lower mantle. As the sub-horizontal slab starts to penetrate into the lower mantle from its 'heel,' the toe of the slab is drawn into the lower mantle. The results for models with dynamically migrating trenches suggest that trench retreat is the dynamically self-consistent phenomenon in trench migration. The reason for this is that the strong lateral mantle flow that is generated as a sequence of events leading from corner flow at the subduction initiation to return flow of the formation of a sub-horizontal slab in the shallower part of mantle wedge produces the retreat of the subducting slab. In fact, a 'mantle suction force,' which is generated in the mantle wedge to fill space left by the retreating subducting plate, is enhanced by the subsequent trench retreat. Even when upwelling flow with significant positive buoyancy originates just above a mantle phase boundary at a depth of 410 km (as inferred from independent seismic tomographic, geodynamic, geochemical, and mineral physics), reaches the base of the overriding plate, and the overriding plate is slightly thinned, lithospheric stress tends to be

  12. Great earthquakes hazard in slow subduction zones (United States)

    Marcaillou, B.; Gutscher, M.; Westbrook, G. K.


    Research on the Sumatra-Andaman earthquake of 2004 has challenged two popular paradigms; that the strongest subduction earthquakes strike in regions of rapid plate convergence and that rupture occurs primarily along the contact between the basement of the overriding plate and the downgoing plate. Subduction zones presenting similar structural and geodynamic characteristics (slow convergence and thick wedges of accreted sediment) may be capable of generating great megathrust earthquakes (M>8.5) despite an absence of thrust type earthquakes over the past 40 years. Existing deep seismic sounding data and hypocenters are used to constrain the geometry of several key slow subduction zones (Antilles, Hellenic, Sumatra). This geometry forms the basis for numerical modelling of fore-arc thermal structure, which is applied to calculate the estimated width of the seismogenic portion of the subduction fault plane. The margins with the thickest accretionary wedges are commonly found to have the widest (predicted) seismogenic zone. Furthermore, for these margins there exists a substantial (20-60 km wide) region above the up-dip limit for which the contribution to tsunami generation is poorly understood. As the rigidity (mu) of these high-porosity sediments is low, co-seismic slip here can be expected to be slow. Accordingly, the contribution to seismic moment will be low, but the contribution to tsunami generation may be very high. Indeed, recent seismological data from Nankai indicate very low frequency shallow-thrust earthquakes beneath this portion of the accretionary wedge, long-considered to be "aseismic". We propose that thick accumulations of sediment on the downgoing plate and the presence of a thick accretionary wedge can increase the maximum size of the potential rupture fault plane in two ways; 1) by thermally insulating the downgoing plate and thereby increasing the total downdip length of the fault which can rupture seismically and 2) by "smoothing out" the

  13. 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.

  14. A model for the termination of the Ryukyu subduction zone against Taiwan: A junction of collision, subduction/separation, and subduction boundaries (United States)

    Wu, F.T.; Liang, W.-T.; Lee, J.-C.; Benz, H.; Villasenor, A.


    The NW moving Philippine Sea plate (PSP) collides with the Eurasian plate (EUP) in the vicinity of Taiwan, and at the same time, it subducts toward the north along SW Ryukyu. The Ryukyu subduction zone terminates against eastern Taiwan. While the Ryukyu Trench is a linear bathym??trie low about 100 km east of Taiwan, closer to Taiwan, it cannot be clearly identified bathymetrically owing to the deformation related to the collision, making the location of the intersection of the Ryukyu with Taiwan difficult to decipher. We propose a model for this complex of boundaries on the basis of seismicity and 3-D velocity structures. In this model the intersection is placed at the latitude of about 23.7??N, placing the northern part of the Coastal Range on EUP. As PSP gets deeper along the subduction zone it collides with EUP on the Taiwan side only where they are in direct contact. Thus, the Eurasian plate on the Taiwan side is being pushed and compressed by the NW moving Philippine Sea plate, at increasing depth toward the north. Offshore of northeastern Taiwan the wedge-shaped EUP on top of the Ryukyu subducting plate is connected to the EUP on the Ryukyu side and coupled to the NW moving PSP by friction at the plate interface. The two sides of the EUP above the western end of the subduction zone are not subjected to the same forces, and a difference in motions can be expected. The deformation of Taiwan as revealed by continuous GPS measurements, geodetic movement along the east coast of Taiwan, and the formation of the Hoping Basin can be understood in terms of the proposed model. Copyright 2009 by the American Geophysical Union.

  15. Seismic reflection imaging of two megathrust shear zones in the northern Cascadia subduction zone. (United States)

    Calvert, Andrew J


    At convergent continental margins, the relative motion between the subducting oceanic plate and the overriding continent is usually accommodated by movement along a single, thin interface known as a megathrust. Great thrust earthquakes occur on the shallow part of this interface where the two plates are locked together. Earthquakes of lower magnitude occur within the underlying oceanic plate, and have been linked to geochemical dehydration reactions caused by the plate's descent. Here I present deep seismic reflection data from the northern Cascadia subduction zone that show that the inter-plate boundary is up to 16 km thick and comprises two megathrust shear zones that bound a >5-km-thick, approximately 110-km-wide region of imbricated crustal rocks. Earthquakes within the subducting plate occur predominantly in two geographic bands where the dip of the plate is inferred to increase as it is forced around the edges of the imbricated inter-plate boundary zone. This implies that seismicity in the subducting slab is controlled primarily by deformation in the upper part of the plate. Slip on the shallower megathrust shear zone, which may occur by aseismic slow slip, will transport crustal rocks into the upper mantle above the subducting oceanic plate and may, in part, provide an explanation for the unusually low seismic wave speeds that are observed there.

  16. Dynamics and Significance of Plume-Induced Subduction Initiation: Numerical Modeling (United States)

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


    How did the first subduction zone form? Most present-day subduction initiation mechanisms require acting plate forces and/or preexisting zones of lithospheric weakness, which are themselves the consequence of plate tectonics (Stern 2004). In contrast, spontaneous plume-induced subduction initiation - suggested on the basis of numerical thermo-mechanical experiments (Ueda et al., 2008) and supported by data re-interpretation of how subduction started in Late Cretaceous time around the Caribbean LIP (Whattam and Stern, 2014) - does not require pre-existing lithospheric fabric, such as are created by active plate tectonics and is viable for both stagnant lid and mobile/deformable lid conditions. Here, we present first results of high-resolution 3D numerical thermo-mechanical modeling of plume-induced subduction resulting from mechanical-magmatic interaction of an ascending thermal mantle plume with old, cold, dense oceanic lithosphere. We demonstrate that weakening of the strong lithosphere by plume-induced magmatism is the key factor enabling subduction initiation around the plume head. A large plume head is required to overcome ring confinement, and subduction initiation is further favored when plume activity and lithospheric weakening continues for several tens of Ma. We further discuss possible implications of this scenario for modern plate tectonics as well as for plate tectonics initiation in Precambrian time. ReferencesStern, R.J., 2004. Subduction initiation: spontaneous and induced. EPSL 226, 275-292.Ueda, K., Gerya, T., Sobolev, S.V., 2008. Subduction initiation by thermal-chemical plumes. PEPI 171, 296-312.Whattam, S.A., Stern, R. 2014. Late Cretaceous plume-induced subduction initiation along the southern margin of the Caribbean and NW South America: The first documented example with implications for the onset of plate tectonics. Gondwana Research, (accepted).

  17. Impact-driven subduction on the Hadean Earth (United States)

    O'Neill, C.; Marchi, S.; Zhang, S.; Bottke, W.


    Impact cratering was a dominant geologic process in the early Solar System that probably played an active role in the crustal evolution of the young terrestrial planets. The Earth's interior during the Hadean, 4.56 to 4 billion years ago, may have been too hot to sustain plate tectonics. However, whether large impacts could have triggered tectonism on the early Earth remains unclear. Here we conduct global-scale tectonic simulations of the evolution of the Earth through the Hadean eon under variable impact fluxes. Our simulations show that the thermal anomalies produced by large impacts induce mantle upwellings that are capable of driving transient subduction events. Furthermore, we find that moderate-sized impacts can act as subduction triggers by causing localized lithospheric thinning and mantle upwelling, and modulate tectonic activity. In contrast to contemporary subduction, the simulated localized subduction events are relatively short-lived (less than 10 Myr) with relatively thin, weak plates. We suggest that resurgence in subduction activity induced by an increased impact flux between 4.1 and 4.0 billion years ago may explain the coincident increase in palaeointensity of the magnetic field. We further suggest that transient impact-driven subduction reconciles evidence from Hadean zircons for tectonic activity with other lines of evidence consistent with an Earth that was largely tectonically stagnant from the Hadean into the Archaean.

  18. A two-way interaction between the Hainan plume and the Manila subduction zone

    NARCIS (Netherlands)

    Mériaux, Catherine A.; Duarte, João C.; Schellart, Wouter P.; Mériaux, Anne Sophie


    The interaction between mantle plumes and subducting slabs is well accepted, but the influence of slabs on plumes has more often been portrayed than the reverse. Here we present three-dimensional upper mantle laboratory models in which a compositional plume rises underneath a subducting plate.

  19. Subduction, back-arc spreading and global mantle flow (United States)

    Hager, B. H.; Oconnell, R. J.; Raefsky, A.


    It is pointed out that the subducted lithosphere associated with Benioff zones provides the only direct evidence about the flow in the earth's interior associated with plate motions. It is the primary objective of the present investigation to study the relation between the orientation of subducting lithosphere and the flow patterns (both local and global) near subduction zones. Most of the calculations conducted are based on simple flow models for radially symmetric, Newtonian viscous spheres. The investigation is concerned with the possibility that a simple model of global mantle flow could account for some features of subduction zones. It is found that such a model can account for the orientation of the seismic zones, and, in addition, also for features related to back-arc spreading and perhaps the maximum earthquake size.

  20. Where does subduction initiate and die? Insights from global convection models with continental drift (United States)

    Ulvrova, Martina; Williams, Simon; Coltice, Nicolas; Tackley, Paul


    Plate tectonics is a prominent feature on Earth. Together with the underlying convecting mantle, plates form a self-organized system. In order to understand the dynamics of the coupled system, subduction of the lithospheric plates plays the key role since it links the exterior with the interior of the planet. In this work we study subduction initiation and death with respect to the position of the continental rafts. Using thermo-mechanical numerical calculations we investigate global convection models featuring self-consistent plate tectonics and continental drifting employing a pseudo-plastic rheology and testing the effect of a free surface. We consider uncompressible mantle convection in Boussinesq approximation that is basaly and internaly heated. Our calculations indicate that the presence of the continents alterns stress distribution within a certain distance from the margins. Intra-oceanic subudction initiation is favorable during super-continent cycles while the initiation at passive continental margin prevails when continents are dispersed. The location of subduction initiation is additionally controlled by the lithospheric strength. Very weak lithosphere results in domination of intra-oceanic subduction initiation. The subduction zones die more easily in the vicinity of the continent due to the strong rheological contrast between the oceanic and continental lithosphere. In order to compare our findings with subduction positions through time recorded on Earth, we analyse subduction birth in global plate reconstruction back to 410 My.

  1. Subduction Mode Selection During Slab and Mantle Transition Zone Interaction: Numerical Modeling (United States)

    Shi, Yanan; Wei, Dongping; Li, Zhong-Hai; Liu, Ming-Qi; Liu, Mengxue


    Global seismic tomography of the subduction zones shows that the subducting slabs could either stagnate around the 660-km discontinuity, or penetrate into the lower mantle. The stagnating slabs also have various morphologies. These are directly related to the interaction between the subducting slabs and the mantle transition zone (MTZ), the dynamics of which are still debated. Using a 2-D thermo-mechanical model, we systematically investigated the modes of subduction in the mantle transition zone and explored the key constraints of various subduction styles. Four basic subduction modes are obtained in the numerical experiments, including one with slab penetrating through the 660-km discontinuity and three other modes with slab stagnating in the MTZ (i.e. folding, lying and rolling-back). The numerical models indicate that the age of subducting oceanic plate, the thickness of overriding continental lithosphere and the convergence velocity play crucial roles in the dynamics of subducting slab and MTZ interaction. In general, the young subducting slab favors the penetration or folding mode, whereas the old subducting slab tends to result in lying or rolling-back mode, although other parameters can also affect. Our models also show a strong correlation between the subduction mode selection and dip angle of the slab tip when reaching the 660-km phase boundary.

  2. Cascadia subduction tremor muted by crustal faults (United States)

    Wells, Ray; Blakely, Richard J.; Wech, Aaron G.; McCrory, Patricia A.; Michael, Andrew


    Deep, episodic slow slip on the Cascadia subduction megathrust of western North America is accompanied by low-frequency tremor in a zone of high fluid pressure between 30 and 40 km depth. Tremor density (tremor epicenters per square kilometer) varies along strike, and lower tremor density statistically correlates with upper plate faults that accommodate northward motion and rotation of forearc blocks. Upper plate earthquakes occur to 35 km depth beneath the faults. We suggest that the faults extend to the overpressured megathrust, where they provide fracture pathways for fluid escape into the upper plate. This locally reduces megathrust fluid pressure and tremor occurrence beneath the faults. Damping of tremor and related slow slip caused by fluid escape could affect fault properties of the megathrust, possibly influencing the behavior of great earthquakes.

  3. Evolution of passive continental margins and initiation of subduction zones

    NARCIS (Netherlands)

    Cloetingh, Sierd


    The initiation of subduction is a key element in plate tectonic schemes for the evolution of the Earth's lithosphere. Nevertheless, up to present, the underlying mechanism has not been very well understood (e.g. Dickinson and Seely, 1979; Hager, 1980; Kanamori, 1980). The insight into the initiation

  4. Evolution of passive continental margins and initiation of subduction zones

    NARCIS (Netherlands)

    Cloetingh, S.A.P.L.


    The initiation of subduction is a key element in plate tectonic schemes for the evolution of the Earth's lithosphere. Nevertheless, up to present, the underlying mechanism has not been very well understood (e.g. Dickinson and Seely, 1979; Hager, 1980; Kanamori, 1980). The insight into the

  5. Some consequences of the subduction of young slabs

    NARCIS (Netherlands)

    England, P.; Wortel, R.

    The negative buoyancy force exerted by a subducting oceanic slab depends on its descent velocity, and strongly on its age. For lithosphere close to thermal equilibrium, this force dominates by a large margin the resisting forces arising from friction on the plate boundary and compositional buoyancy.

  6. Laboratory models of the thermal evolution of the mantle during rollback subduction. (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. Information on mantle flow, thermal conditions and chemical transport in subduction zones come from the geochemistry of arc volcanoes, seismic images and geodynamic models. The majority of this work considers subduction as a two-dimensional process, assuming limited variability in the direction parallel to the trench. In contrast, observationally based models increasingly appeal to three-dimensional flow associated with trench migration and the sinking of oceanic plates with a translational component of motion (rollback). Here we report results from laboratory experiments that reveal fundamental differences in three-dimensional mantle circulation and temperature structure in response to subduction with and without a rollback component. 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 centres. In contrast, during rollback subduction flow is driven around and beneath the sinking plate, velocities increase within the mantle wedge and are focused towards the centre of the plate, and the surface of the plate heats more along the centreline.

  7. Release of mineral-bound water prior to subduction tied to shallow seismogenic slip off Sumatra. (United States)

    Hüpers, Andre; Torres, Marta E; Owari, Satoko; McNeill, Lisa C; Dugan, Brandon; Henstock, Timothy J; Milliken, Kitty L; Petronotis, Katerina E; Backman, Jan; Bourlange, Sylvain; Chemale, Farid; Chen, Wenhuang; Colson, Tobias A; Frederik, Marina C G; Guèrin, Gilles; Hamahashi, Mari; House, Brian M; Jeppson, Tamara N; Kachovich, Sarah; Kenigsberg, Abby R; Kuranaga, Mebae; Kutterolf, Steffen; Mitchison, Freya L; Mukoyoshi, Hideki; Nair, Nisha; Pickering, Kevin T; Pouderoux, Hugo F A; Shan, Yehua; Song, Insun; Vannucchi, Paola; Vrolijk, Peter J; Yang, Tao; Zhao, Xixi


    Plate-boundary fault rupture during the 2004 Sumatra-Andaman subduction earthquake extended closer to the trench than expected, increasing earthquake and tsunami size. International Ocean Discovery Program Expedition 362 sampled incoming sediments offshore northern Sumatra, revealing recent release of fresh water within the deep sediments. Thermal modeling links this freshening to amorphous silica dehydration driven by rapid burial-induced temperature increases in the past 9 million years. Complete dehydration of silicates is expected before plate subduction, contrasting with prevailing models for subduction seismogenesis calling for fluid production during subduction. Shallow slip offshore Sumatra appears driven by diagenetic strengthening of deeply buried fault-forming sediments, contrasting with weakening proposed for the shallow Tohoku-Oki 2011 rupture, but our results are applicable to other thickly sedimented subduction zones including those with limited earthquake records. Copyright © 2017, American Association for the Advancement of Science.

  8. Reevaluating carbon fluxes in subduction zones, what goes down, mostly comes up. (United States)

    Kelemen, Peter B; Manning, Craig E


    Carbon fluxes in subduction zones can be better constrained by including new estimates of carbon concentration in subducting mantle peridotites, consideration of carbonate solubility in aqueous fluid along subduction geotherms, and diapirism of carbon-bearing metasediments. Whereas previous studies concluded that about half the subducting carbon is returned to the convecting mantle, we find that relatively little carbon may be recycled. If so, input from subduction zones into the overlying plate is larger than output from arc volcanoes plus diffuse venting, and substantial quantities of carbon are stored in the mantle lithosphere and crust. Also, if the subduction zone carbon cycle is nearly closed on time scales of 5-10 Ma, then the carbon content of the mantle lithosphere + crust + ocean + atmosphere must be increasing. Such an increase is consistent with inferences from noble gas data. Carbon in diamonds, which may have been recycled into the convecting mantle, is a small fraction of the global carbon inventory.

  9. Louisville seamount subduction and its implication on mantle flow beneath the central Tonga-Kermadec arc. (United States)

    Timm, Christian; Bassett, Daniel; Graham, Ian J; Leybourne, Matthew I; de Ronde, Cornel E J; Woodhead, Jon; Layton-Matthews, Daniel; Watts, Anthony B


    Subduction of intraplate seamounts beneath a geochemically depleted mantle wedge provides a seldom opportunity to trace element recycling and mantle flow in subduction zones. Here we present trace element and Sr, Nd and Pb isotopic compositions of lavas from the central Tonga-Kermadec arc, west of the contemporary Louisville-Tonga trench intersection, to provide new insights into the effects of Louisville seamount subduction. Elevated (206)Pb/(204)Pb, (208)Pb/(204)Pb, (86)Sr/(87)Sr in lavas from the central Tonga-Kermadec arc front are consistent with localized input of subducted alkaline Louisville material (lavas and volcaniclastics) into sub-arc partial melts. Furthermore, absolute Pacific Plate motion models indicate an anticlockwise rotation in the subducted Louisville seamount chain that, combined with estimates of the timing of fluid release from the subducting slab, suggests primarily trench-normal mantle flow beneath the central Tonga-Kermadec arc system.

  10. The dynamical control of subduction parameters on surface topography (United States)

    Crameri, F.; Lithgow-Bertelloni, C. R.; Tackley, P. J.


    The long-wavelength surface deflection of Earth's outermost rocky shell is mainly controlled by large-scale dynamic processes like isostasy or mantle flow. The largest topographic amplitudes are therefore observed at plate boundaries due to the presence of large thermal heterogeneities and strong tectonic forces. Distinct vertical surface deflections are particularly apparent at convergent plate boundaries mostly due to the convergence and asymmetric sinking of the plates. Having a mantle convection model with a free surface that is able to reproduce both realistic single-sided subduction and long-wavelength surface topography self-consistently, we are now able to better investigate this interaction. We separate the topographic signal into distinct features and quantify the individual topographic contribution of several controlling subduction parameters. Results are diagnosed by splitting the topographic signal into isostatic and residual components, and by considering various physical aspects like viscous dissipation during plate bending. Performing several systematic suites of experiments, we are then able to quantify the topographic impact of the buoyancy, rheology, and geometry of the subduction-zone system to each and every topographic feature at a subduction zone and to provide corresponding scaling laws. We identify slab dip and, slightly less importantly, slab buoyancy as the major agents controlling surface topography at subduction zones on Earth. Only the island-arc high and the back-arc depression extent are mainly controlled by plate strength. Overall, his modeling study sets the basis to better constrain deep-seated mantle structures and their physical properties via the observed surface topography on present-day Earth and back through time.

  11. Subducting characteristic of the Pacific slab beneath northeast China (United States)

    Jiang, G.; Zhang, G.; Xu, Y.


    The volcanoes locating in northeast China are very active. Some researchers consider that the origin of volcanoes is closely related to the subducting western Pacific plate and the upwelling asthenosphere. The thickness and the existing range of the subducted plate are not clear as far although the seismic tomography results obviously show that the Pacific plate exists below the volcano region. Therefore, in this study, we adopted the method combining the teleseismic tomography with travel time forward modeling to further study the velocity structure beneath northeast China, especially the precise model of subducted Pacific plate. Our results show that (1) the average thickness and velocity perturbation of slab is 85 km and 1%, respectively, and the slab has not been thickened compared with the previous result of the Japan Sea; (2) the Pacific plate subducted into the mantle transition zone with a shallow dip angle, and changed horizontally when it touched the bottom of mantle transition zone, and extended westward to Longitude 127°E and then stops over there; (3) the horizontal slab locates right below the volcano region. These above features help people understand the origin of intraplate volcanoes and the geodynamical process better. (a) Tomographic result along 43°N. Red and blue colors represent the high and low velocity anomalies, respectively, and the scale is shown at the right-bottom; The profile line is shown in (b); The black triangles represent the volcanoes locating near the profile; The black solid and dashed lines show the depths of upper and lower boundaries of Pacific plate, respectively. The red dots represent the deep earthquakes around the profile. (b) Location of profile AA' along 43°N. Black triangles denote volcanoes; White squares represent the stations; Blue contours denote the depth of upper boundary of Pacific plate; Black and red dots represent the deep epicenters.

  12. Deep electrical resistivity structure of Costa Rican Subduction Zone (United States)

    Worzewski, T.; Jegen, M.; Brasse, H.; Taylor, W.


    The water content and its distribution play an important role in the subduction process. Water is released from the subducting slab in a series of metamorphic reactions and the hydration of the mantle wedge may trigger the onset of melting, weakening and changes in the dynamics and thermal structure of subduction zones. However, the amount of water carried into the subduction zone and its distribution are not well constrained by existing data and are subject of vigorous current research in SFB574 (Volatiles and Fluids in Subduction Zones: Climate Feedback and Trigger Mechanisms for Natural Disasters). We will show numerical modeling studies which are used to determine the resolution and sensitivity of the MT response to fluids in the crust and subducting slab under the special condition of a coastal setting. In 2007-2008 we conducted a long-period magnetotelluric investigations in northwestern Costa Rica on- and offshore, where the Cocos Plate subducts beneath the Carribean plate. Eleven marine magnetotelluric Stations newly developed and constructed by IFM-GEOMAR and University of Kiel were deployed on the 200 km long marine extension of the profile for several months. We will present the data and its processing, as well as our attempts to eliminate motion induced noise observed on some stations on the cliffy shelf due to tidal waves hitting the shelf and trench parallel- and perpendicular currents. The marine profile was extended landwards by the Free University of Berlin over length of 160 kilometers with further 18 stations. We present preliminary modeling results of land data, which revealed interesting features, inter alia a possible image of fluid release from the downgoing slab in the forearc, as well as ongoing modeling of the combined on- and offshore data sets.

  13. 3D Numerical modelling of topography development associated with curved subduction zones (United States)

    Munch, Jessica; Ueda, Kosuke; Burg, Jean-Pierre; May, Dave; Gerya, Taras


    retreat. Topography associated with slab retreat is curved. Coupling I3ELVIS with SPM yields more accurate topography of the curved subduction zone. This allows balancing the relative importance of surface and deep processes in the evolution of curved subduction zones and the development of their related topography. References: Gerya, T. V., & Yuen, D. A. (2007). Robust characteristics method for modelling multiphase visco-elasto-plastic thermo-mechanical problems. Physics of the Earth and Planetary Interiors, 163(1), 83-105. Gerya, T. V., Stern, R. J., Baes, M., Sobolev, S. V., & Whattam, S. A. (2015). Plate tectonics on the Earth triggered by plume-induced subduction initiation. Nature, 527(7577), 221-225.

  14. Geologic signature of early Tertiary ridge subduction in Alaska (United States)

    Bradley, Dwight C.; Kusky, Timothy M.; Haeussler, Peter J.; Goldfarb, Richard J.; Miller, Marti L.; Dumoulin, Julie A.; Nelson, Steven W.; Karl, Susan M.


    A mid-Paleocene to early Eocene encounter between an oceanic spreading center and a subduction zone produced a wide range of geologic features in Alaska. The most striking effects are seen in the accretionary prism (Chugach–Prince William terrane), where 61 to 50 Ma near-trench granitic to gabbroic plutons were intruded into accreted trench sediments that had been deposited only a few million years earlier. This short time interval also saw the genesis of ophiolites, some of which contain syngenetic massive sulfide deposits; the rapid burial of these ophiolites beneath trench turbidites, followed immediately by obduction; anomalous high-T, low-P, near-trench metamorphism; intense ductile deformation; motion on transverse strike-slip and normal faults; gold mineralization; and uplift of the accretionary prism above sea level. The magmatic arc experienced a brief flare-up followed by quiescence. In the Alaskan interior, 100 to 600 km landward of the paleotrench, several Paleocene to Eocene sedimentary basins underwent episodes of extensional subsidence, accompanied by bimodal volcanism. Even as far as 1000 km inboard of the paleotrench, the ancestral Brooks Range and its foreland basin experienced a pulse of uplift that followed about 40 million years of quiescence.All of these events - but most especially those in the accretionary prism - can be attributed with varying degrees of confidence to the subduction of an oceanic spreading center. In this model, the ophiolites and allied ore deposits were produced at the soon-to-be subducted ridge. Near-trench magmatism, metamorphism, deformation, and gold mineralization took place in the accretionary prism above a slab window, where hot asthenosphere welled up into the gap between the two subducted, but still diverging, plates. Deformation took place as the critically tapered accretionary prism adjusted its shape to changes in the bathymetry of the incoming plate, changes in the convergence direction before and after

  15. Kinematics of Late Cretaceous subduction initiation in the Neo-Tethys Ocean reconstructed from ophiolites of Turkey, Cyprus, and Syria


    Maffione, Marco; van Hinsbergen, Douwe J.J.; de Gelder, Giovanni I.N.O.; van der Goes, Freek C.; Morris, Antony


    Formation of new subduction zones represents one of the cornerstones of plate tectonics, yet both the kinematics and geodynamics governing this process remain enigmatic. A major subduction initiation event occurred in the Late Cretaceous, within the Neo-Tethys Ocean between Gondwana and Eurasia. Suprasubduction zone ophiolites (i.e., emerged fragments of ancient oceanic lithosphere formed at suprasubduction spreading centers) were generated during this subduction event and are today distribut...

  16. Experimental and observational evidence for plume-induced subduction on Venus (United States)

    Davaille, A.; Smrekar, S. E.; Tomlinson, S.


    Why Venus lacks plate tectonics remains an unanswered question in terrestrial planet evolution. There is observational evidence for subduction--a requirement for plate tectonics--on Venus, but it is unclear why the features have characteristics of both mantle plumes and subduction zones. One explanation is that mantle plumes trigger subduction. Here we compare laboratory experiments of plume-induced subduction in a colloidal solution of nanoparticles to observations of proposed subduction sites on Venus. The experimental fluids are heated from below to produce upwelling plumes, which in turn produce tensile fractures in the lithosphere-like skin that forms on the upper surface. Plume material upwells through the fractures and spreads above the skin, analogous to volcanic flooding, and leads to bending and eventual subduction of the skin along arcuate segments. The segments are analogous to the semi-circular trenches seen at two proposed sites of plume-triggered subduction at Quetzalpetlatl and Artemis coronae. Other experimental deformation structures and subsurface density variations are also consistent with topography, radar and gravity data for Venus. Scaling analysis suggests that this regime with limited, plume-induced subduction is favoured by a hot lithosphere, such as that found on early Earth or present-day Venus.

  17. Dynamical effects of subducting ridges: Insights from 3-D laboratory models

    CERN Document Server

    Martinod, Joseph; Faccenna, Claudio; Labanieh, Shasa; Regard, Vincent; 10.1111/j.1365-246X.2005.02797.x


    We model the subduction of buoyant ridges and plateaus to study their effect on slab dynamics. Oceanic ridges parallel to the trench have a stronger effect on the process of subduction because they simultaneously affect a longer trench segment. Large buoyant slab segments sink more slowly into the asthenosphere, and their subduction result in a diminution of the velocity of subduction of the plate. We observe a steeping of the slab below those buoyant anomalies, resulting in smaller radius of curvature of the slab, that augments the energy dissipated in folding the plate and further diminishes the velocity of subduction. When the 3D geometry of a buoyant plateau is modelled, the dip of the slab above the plateau decreases, as a result of the larger velocity of subduction of the dense "normal" oceanic plate on both sides of the plateau. Such a perturbation of the dip of the slab maintains long time after the plateau has been entirely incorporated into the subduction zone. We compare experiments with the presen...

  18. Assessment of Optimum Value for Dip Angle and Locking Rate Parameters in Makran Subduction Zone (United States)

    Safari, A.; Abolghasem, A. M.; Abedini, N.; Mousavi, Z.


    Makran subduction zone is one of the convergent areas that have been studied by spatial geodesy. Makran zone is located in the South Eastern of Iran and South of Pakistan forming the part of Eurasian-Arabian plate's border where oceanic crust in the Arabian plate (or in Oman Sea) subducts under the Eurasian plate ( Farhoudi and Karig, 1977). Due to lack of historical and modern tools in the area, a sampling of sparse measurements of the permanent GPS stations and temporary stations (campaign) has been conducted in the past decade. Makran subduction zone from different perspectives has unusual behaviour: For example, the Eastern and Western parts of the region have very different seismicity and also dip angle of subducted plate is in about 2 to 8 degrees that this value due to the dip angle in other subduction zone is very low. In this study, we want to find the best possible value for parameters that differs Makran subduction zone from other subduction zones. Rigid block modelling method was used to determine these parameters. From the velocity vectors calculated from GPS observations in this area, block model is formed. These observations are obtained from GPS stations that a number of them are located in South Eastern Iran and South Western Pakistan and a station located in North Eastern Oman. According to previous studies in which the locking depth of Makran subduction zone is 38km (Frohling, 2016), in the preparation of this model, parameter value of at least 38 km is considered. With this function, the amount of 2 degree value is the best value for dip angle but for the locking rate there is not any specified amount. Because the proposed model is not sensitive to this parameter. So we can not expect big earthquakes in West of Makran or a low seismicity activity in there but the proposed model definitely shows the Makran subduction layer is locked.

  19. Kinematics of Late Cretaceous subduction initiation in the Neo-Tethys Ocean reconstructed from ophiolites of Turkey, Cyprus, and Syria

    NARCIS (Netherlands)

    Maffione, Marco; van Hinsbergen, Douwe J.J.; de Gelder, Giovanni I.N.O.; van der Goes, Freek C.; Morris, Antony

    Formation of new subduction zones represents one of the cornerstones of plate tectonics, yet both the kinematics and geodynamics governing this process remain enigmatic. A major subduction initiation event occurred in the Late Cretaceous, within the Neo-Tethys Ocean between Gondwana and Eurasia.

  20. Intra-Panthalassa Ocean subduction zones revealed by fossil arcs and mantle structure

    NARCIS (Netherlands)

    Meer, D.G. van der; Torsvik, T.H.; Spakman, W.; Hinsbergen, D.J.J. van; Amaru, M.L.


    The vast Panthalassa Ocean once surrounded the supercontinent Pangaea. Subduction has since consumed most of the oceanic plates that formed the ocean floor, so classic plate reconstructions based on magnetic anomalies can be used only to constrain the ocean’s history since the Cretaceous period, and

  1. Dry Juan de Fuca slab revealed by quantification of water entering Cascadia subduction zone (United States)

    Canales, J. P.; Carbotte, S. M.; Nedimović, M. R.; Carton, H.


    Water is carried by subducting slabs as a pore fluid and in structurally bound minerals, yet no comprehensive quantification of water content and how it is stored and distributed at depth within incoming plates exists for any segment of the global subduction system. Here we use seismic data to quantify the amount of pore and structurally bound water in the Juan de Fuca plate entering the Cascadia subduction zone. Specifically, we analyse these water reservoirs in the sediments, crust and lithospheric mantle, and their variations along the central Cascadia margin. We find that the Juan de Fuca lower crust and mantle are drier than at any other subducting plate, with most of the water stored in the sediments and upper crust. Variable but limited bend faulting along the margin limits slab access to water, and a warm thermal structure resulting from a thick sediment cover and young plate age prevents significant serpentinization of the mantle. The dryness of the lower crust and mantle indicates that fluids that facilitate episodic tremor and slip must be sourced from the subducted upper crust, and that decompression rather than hydrous melting must dominate arc magmatism in central Cascadia. Additionally, dry subducted lower crust and mantle can explain the low levels of intermediate-depth seismicity in the Juan de Fuca slab.

  2. Transient uplift after a 17th-century earthquake along the Kuril subduction zone. (United States)

    Sawai, Yuki; Satake, Kenji; Kamataki, Takanobu; Nasu, Hiroo; Shishikura, Masanobu; Atwater, Brian F; Horton, Benjamin P; Kelsey, Harvey M; Nagumo, Tamotsu; Yamaguchi, Masaaki


    In eastern Hokkaido, 60 to 80 kilometers above a subducting oceanic plate, tidal mudflats changed into freshwater forests during the first decades after a 17th-century tsunami. The mudflats gradually rose by a meter, as judged from fossil diatom assemblages. Both the tsunami and the ensuing uplift exceeded any in the region's 200 years of written history, and both resulted from a shallow plate-boundary earthquake of unusually large size along the Kuril subduction zone. This earthquake probably induced more creep farther down the plate boundary than did any of the region's historical events.

  3. Using the Mesozoic History of the Canadian Cordillera as a Case Study in Teaching Plate Tectonics. (United States)

    Chamberlain, Valerie Elaine


    Reviews a model used in the teaching of plate tectonics which includes processes and concepts related to: terranes and the amalgamation of terranes, relative plate motion and oblique subduction, the effects of continent-continent collision, changes in plate motion, plate configuration, and the type of plate boundary. Diagrams are included.…

  4. 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

  5. The interpretation of crustal dynamics data in terms of plate interactions and active tectonics of the Anatolian plate and surrounding regions in the Middle East (United States)

    Toksoz, M. Nafi; Reilinger, Robert


    A detailed study was made of the consequences of the Arabian plate convergence against Eurasia and its effects on the tectonics of Anatolia and surrounding regions of the eastern Mediterranean. A primary source of information is time rates of change of baseline lengths and relative heights determined by repeated SLR measurements. These SLR observations are augmented by a network of GPS stations in Anatolia, Aegea, and Greece, established and twice surveyed since 1988. The existing SLR and GPS networks provide the spatial resolution necessary to reveal the details of ongoing tectonic processes in this area of continental collision. The effort has involved examining the state of stress in the lithosphere and relative plate motions as revealed by these space based geodetic measurements, seismicity, and earthquake mechanisms as well as the aseismic deformations of the plates from conventional geodetic data and geological evidence. These observations are used to constrain theoretical calculations of the relative effects of: (1) the push of the Arabian plate; (2) high topography of Eastern Anatolia; (3) the geometry and properties of African-Eurasian plate boundary; (4) subduction under the Hellenic Arc and southwestern Turkey; and (5) internal deformation and rotation of the Anatolian plate.

  6. Back-arc Extension: Critical Analisys of Subduction-related and Non Subduction-related Driving Mechanisms (United States)

    Mantovani, E.; Viti, M.; Babbucci, D.; Tamburelli, C.; Albarello, D.

    It is argued that the opening of back arc basins can hardly be explained as an effect of subduction related forces, since this kind of interpretation has not yet provided plausible explanations for several major features of such processes in the world. In particular, it is not clear why back arc extension occurs in some subduction zones and not in others, why extension ceased in zones where subduction has remained active, why the arcs associated with back arc basins are often characterized by a strongly curved shape, why arc-trench-back arc systems do not develop along the entire length of consuming borders and why no significant correlation can be recognized between any parameter of subduction processes and the occurrence of back arc extension. In addition, modelling experiments indicate that the magnitude of the tensional stress induced in the overriding plate by subduction-related forces is significantly lower than the lithospheric strength. These problems are discussed, in particular, for three subduction-related interpretations, the "slab-pull", the "corner flow" and the "sea an- chor" models, which seem to be the most quoted in literature. It is then argued that possible solutions of the above problems may be provided by the extrusion model, which postulates that back arc basins are generated by the forced separation of the arc from the overriding plate, along a sector of the consuming border. This separa- tion is generally caused by the oblique indentation of strong and buoyant structures against the accretionary belt. In this view, subduction and back arc extension are not causally linked one to the other, but rather represent simultaneous effects of the lateral migration of the arc, driven by plate convergence. It is pointed out that the conditions required for the occurrence of this kind of mechanism may be recognized in the tec- tonic contexts where back arc basins developed in the wake of arc-trench migrating systems. On the other hand, in the zones

  7. The Geodynamics of Continental Lithosphere Entering a Subduction Zone (United States)

    Steedman, C. E.; Kaus, B. J.; Becker, T. W.; Okaya, D.; Wu, F. T.


    As deformation patterns resulting from subduction of a passive continental margin are insufficiently understood, here we perform 2-D numerical simulations to explore the effects of continental lithosphere entering a subduction zone. The model setup consists of a subduction zone in which the oceanic part of a passive continental margin initially subducts beneath an oceanic plate. A particle-based 2-D visco-elasto-plastic thermo-mechanical finite element code is employed to study the dynamics of the system. A novel new feature of the code is that the resolution of the model can be significantly increased in selected parts of the domain, which allows for self-consistent modelling of mantle-lithosphere interaction. In the present study this feature is employed to study how crustal scale deformation around the subduction zone is influenced by surface processes and by flow in the upper mantle. Using systematic 2-D numerical simulations, we explore the parameters that are dominant in controlling near- surface structures, both with regards to changes in topography over time, and subsurface features such as Moho undulations. The main parameters that have been varied are: the lithospheric density structure; the strength of the lower crust; the amounts of erosion; imposed pushing versus density-driven (slab-pull and ridge- push) convergence; the upper boundary condition (free surface versus free slip); rheology (non-Newtonian versus Newtonian, viscous, visco-elasto-plastic); and finally the effect of an imposed slab breakoff. In all cases we track surface uplift, subduction evolution and rock exhumation history. The results can be compared to evidence from areas such as Taiwan where continental subduction or convergence is thought to be happening. Preliminary results indicate that a low viscosity lower crust may contribute to crustal uplift.

  8. Subduction processes related to the Sea of Okhotsk (United States)

    Zabarinskaya, Ludmila P.; Sergeyeva, Nataliya


    It is obviously important to study a role of subduction processes in tectonic activity within the continental margins. They are marked by earthquakes, volcanic eruptions, tsunami and other natural disasters hazardous to the people,plants and animals that inhabit such regions. The northwest part of the Sea of Okhotsk including the northern part of Sakhalin Island and the Deryugin Basin is the area of the recent intensive tectonic movements. The geological and geophysical data have made it possible to construct the geodynamic model of a deep structure of a lithosphere for this region. This geodynamic model has confirmed the existence of the ophiolite complex in the region under consideration. It located between the North Sakhalin sedimentary basin and the Deryugin basin. The Deryugin basin was formed on the side of an ancient deep trench after subducting the Okhotsk Sea Plate under Sakhalin in the Late Cretaceous-Paleogene. The North Sakhalin Basin with oil and gas resources was formed on the side of back-arc basin at that time. Approximately in the Miocene period the subduction process, apparently, has stopped. The remains of the subduction zone in the form of ophiolite complex have been identified according to geological and geophysical data. On a surface the subduction zone is shown as deep faults stretched along Sakhalin.

  9. Kinematics of Late Cretaceous subduction initiation in the Neo-Tethys Ocean reconstructed from ophiolites of Turkey, Cyprus, and Syria (United States)

    Maffione, Marco; van Hinsbergen, Douwe; de Gelder, Giovanni; van der Goes, Freek; Morris, Antony


    Formation of new subduction zones represents one of the cornerstones of plate tectonics, yet both the kinematics and geodynamics governing this process remain enigmatic. A major subduction initiation event occurred in the Late Cretaceous, within the Neo-Tethys Ocean between Gondwana and Eurasia. Supra-subduction zone (SSZ) ophiolites (i.e., emerged fragments of ancient oceanic lithosphere accreted at supra-subduction spreading centers) were generated during this subduction event, and are today distributed in the eastern Mediterranean region along three E-W trending ophiolitic belts. Current models associate these ophiolite belts to simultaneous initiation of multiple, E-W trending subduction zones at 95 Ma. Here we report paleospreading direction data obtained from paleomagnetic analysis of sheeted dyke sections from seven Neo-Tethyan ophiolites of Turkey, Cyprus, and Syria, demonstrating that these ophiolites formed at NNE-SSW striking ridges parallel to the newly formed subduction zones. This subduction system was step-shaped and composed of NNE-SSW and ESE-WNW segments. The eastern subduction segment invaded the SW Mediterranean, leading to a radial obduction pattern similar to the Banda arc. Emplacement age constraints indicate that this subduction system formed close to the Triassic passive and paleo-transform margins of the Anatolide-Tauride continental block. Because the original Triassic-Jurassic Neo-Tethyan spreading ridge must have already subducted below the Pontides before the Late Cretaceous, we infer that the Late Cretaceous Neo-Tethyan subduction system started within ancient lithosphere, along NNE-SSW oriented fracture zones and faults parallel to the E-W trending passive margins. This challenges current concepts suggesting that subduction initiation occurs along active intra-oceanic plate boundaries.

  10. 3D geodynamic models for the development of opposing continental subduction zones: The Hindu Kush-Pamir example (United States)

    Liao, Jie; Gerya, Taras; Thielmann, Marcel; Webb, A. Alexander G.; Kufner, Sofia-Katerina; Yin, An


    The development of opposing continental subduction zones remains scantly explored in three dimensions. The Hindu Kush-Pamir orogenic system at the western end of the Himalayan orogen provides a rare example of continental collision linked to two opposing intra-continental subduction zones. The subducted plates feature a peculiar 3D geometry consisting of two distinct lithospheric fragments with different polarities, subduction angles and slab-curvatures beneath the Hindu Kush and Pamir, respectively. Using 3D geodynamic modeling, we simulate possible development of two opposing continental subduction zones to understand the dynamic evolution of the Hindu Kush-Pamir orogenic system. Our geodynamic model reproduces the major tectonic elements observed: (1) the deeper subduction depth, the steeper dip angle and the southward offset of the Hindu Kush subduction zone relative to the Pamir naturally occur if convergence direction of the subducting Indian plate and dip-direction of the Hindu Kush subduction zone match. (2) The formation of the highly asymmetrically curved Pamir region and the south-dipping subduction is promoted by the initial geometry of the indenting Indian lithosphere together with the existence of a major strike-slip fault on the eastern margin of the Pamir region. (3) Subduction of only the lower continental crust during continental collision can occur if the coupling between upper and lower crusts is weak enough to allow a separation of these two components, and that (4) the subduction of mainly lower crust then facilitates that conditions for intermediate-depth seismicity can be reached. (5) The secondary tectonic features modeled here such as strike-slip-fault growth, north-northwest striking extension zone, and lateral flow of the thickened ductile upper crust are comparable to the current tectonics of the region. (6) Model results are further compared to the potentially similar orogenic system, i.e., the Alpine orogen, in terms of the curved

  11. Fore-arc deformation at the transition between collision and subduction: insights from 3D thermo-mechanical laboratory experiments.


    D. Boutelier; Onno Oncken; A. Cruden


    Three-dimensional thermomechanical laboratory experiments of arc-continent collision investigate the deformation of the fore arc at the transition between collision and subduction. The deformation of the plates in the collision area propagates into the subduction-collision transition zone via along-strike coupling of the neighboring segments of the plate boundary. In our experiments, the largest along-strike gradient of trench-perpendicular compression does not produce sufficiently localized ...

  12. Seamount subduction at the North-Ecuadorian convergent margin : effects on structures, inter-seismic coupling and seismogenesis


    Marcaillou, Boris; Collot, Jean-Yves; Ribodetti, Alessandra; d'Acremont, E.; Mahamat, A. A.; Alvarado, A.


    At the North-Ecuadorian convergent margin (1 degrees S-1.5 degrees N), the subduction of the rough Nazca oceanic plate leads to tectonic erosion of the upper plate and complex seismogenic behavior of the megathrust. We used three selected pre-stack depth migrated, multi-channel seismic reflection lines collected during the SISTEUR cruise to investigate the margin structure and decipher the impact of the subducted Atacames seamounts on tectonic erosion, interseismic coupling, and seismogenesis...

  13. Oblique subduction modelling indicates along-trench tectonic transport of sediments. (United States)

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


    Convergent plate margins are currently distinguished as 'accretional' or 'erosional', depending on the tendency to accumulate sediments, or not, at the trench. Accretion and erosion can coexist along the same margin and we have noticed that this mostly occurs where subduction is oblique. Here we show that at oblique subduction zones, sediments that enter the trench are first buried, and later migrate laterally parallel to the trench and at various depths. Lateral migration of sediments continues until they reach a physical barrier where they begin to accumulate. The accretionary wedge size decreases along the trench moving away from the barrier. We therefore suggest that the gradual variation of the accretionary wedge size and sediment amount at the trench along one single subduction zone, as observed in many active plate margins worldwide, can be explained by the lateral tectonic migration of sediments driven by obliquity of subduction as well.

  14. Discovering the plates boundaries in the Mediterranean sea (United States)

    Marinelli, Maurizio


    During the 8th class the students learn geology. We analyze the earth's layers, the earthquakes, the volcanoes and other natural phenomena like subduction and orogeny. We start with a global study but our goal is to focus on the crust to discover the plates boundaries, particularly the boundary between Eurasian and African Plate in the Mediterranean sea. It's very simple for the students to discover all the information using the Internet or the science book, but I want to make with them an exploration of earth science with the help of the natural phenomena we studied during the year. We connect with Istituto Nazionale di Geofisica e Vulcanologia ( ) where we can find a map with the earthquakes happened in the last years in Italy and in the Mediterranean sea and the list of the main volcanoes. In this way we can draw a map of the mediterranean plates and we can talk about the past and the future of the Mediterranean sea, Europe and Africa based on our maps and on the Alps orogeny. Using youtube we can have a confirm of our hypothesis about the future of the Mediterranean sea ( ). A good observation for the students is given by the fact that we live in Europe but actually we stay on the African plate. The boundary is 5 km north of our school and we can go and visit the place where it is possible to see the different height of the two plates.

  15. The Two Subduction Zones of the Southern Caribbean: Lithosphere Tearing and Continental Margin Recycling in the East, Flat Slab Subduction and Laramide-Style Uplifts in the West (United States)

    Levander, A.; Bezada, M. J.; Niu, F.; Schmitz, M.


    The southern Caribbean plate boundary is a complex strike-slip fault system bounded by oppositely vergent subduction zones, the Antilles subduction zone in the east, and a currently locked Caribbean-South American subduction zone in the west (Bilham and Mencin, 2013). Finite-frequency teleseismic P-wave tomography images both the Atlanic (ATL) and the Caribbean (CAR) plates subducting steeply in opposite directions to transition zone depths under northern South America. Ps receiver functions show a depressed 660 discontinuity and thickened transition zone associated with each subducting plate. In the east the oceanic (ATL) part of the South American (SA) plate subducts westward beneath the CAR, initiating the El Pilar-San Sebastian strike slip system, a subduction-transform edge propagator (STEP) fault (Govers and Wortel, 2005). The point at which the ATL tears away from SA as it descends into the mantle is evidenced by the Paria cluster seismicity at depths of 60-110 km (Russo et al, 1993). Body wave tomography and lithosphere-asthenosphere boundary (LAB) thickness determined from Sp and Ps receiver functions and Rayleigh waves suggest that the descending ATL also viscously removes the bottom third to half of the SA continental margin lithospheric mantle as it descends. This has left thinned continental lithosphere under northern SA in the wake of the eastward migrating Antilles subduction zone. The thinned lithosphere occupies ~70% of the length of the El Pilar-San Sebastian fault system, from ~64oW to ~69oW, and extends inland several hundred kilometers. In northwestern SA the CAR subducts east-southeast at low angle under northern Colombia and western Venezuela. The subducting CAR is at least 200 km wide, extending from northernmost Colombia as far south as the Bucaramanga nest seismicity. The CAR descends steeply under Lake Maracaibo and the Merida Andes. This flat slab is associated with three Neogene basement cored, Laramide-style uplifts: the Santa Marta

  16. Nonuniform subduction of the Indian crust beneath the Himalayas. (United States)

    Guo, Xiaoyu; Li, Wenhui; Gao, Rui; Xu, Xiao; Li, Hongqiang; Huang, Xingfu; Ye, Zhuo; Lu, Zhanwu; Klemperer, Simon L


    Himalayan tectonic activity is triggered by downward penetration of the Indian plate beneath the Asian plate. The subsurface geometry of this interaction has not been fully investigated. This study presents novel constraints on this geometry provided by two newly obtained, deep seismic reflection profiles. The profiles cover 100- and 60-km transects across the Yarlung-Zangbo suture of the Himalaya-Tibet orogen at c. 88°E. Both profiles show a crustal-scale outline of the subducting Indian crust. This outline clearly shows Indian understhrusting southern Tibet, but only to a limited degree. When combined with a third seismic reflection profile of the western Himalayas, the new profiles reveal progressive, eastward steepening and shortening in the horizontal advance of the subducting Indian crust.

  17. Uplift in the Fiordland region, New Zealand: implications for incipient subduction. (United States)

    House, M A; Gurnis, M; Kamp, P J J; Sutherland, R


    Low-temperature thermochronometry reveals regional Late Cenozoic denudation in Fiordland, New Zealand, consistent with geodynamic models showing uplift of the overriding plate during incipient subduction. The data show a northward progression of exhumation in response to northward migration of the initiation of subduction. The locus of most recent uplift coincides with a large positive Bouguer gravity anomaly within Fiordland. Thermochronometrically deduced crustal thinning, anomalous gravity, and estimates of surface uplift are all consistent with approximately 2 kilometers of dynamic support. This amount of dynamic support is in accord with geodynamic predictions, suggesting that we have dated the initiation of subduction adjacent to Fiordland.

  18. Boron cycling in subduction zones


    Palmer, Martin R.


    Subduction zones are geologically dramatic features, with much of the drama being driven by the movement of water. The “light and lively” nature of boron, coupled with its wide variations in isotopic composition shown by the different geo-players in this drama, make it an ideal tracer for the role and movement of water during subduction. The utility of boron ranges from monitoring how the fluids that are expelled from the accretionary prism influence seawater chemistry, to the subduction of c...

  19. The dominant surface-topography contributions of individual subduction parameters (United States)

    Crameri, Fabio; Lithgow-Bertelloni, Carolina; Tackley, Paul


    It is no secret, not any longer, that dynamic processes below the plate exert a significant contribution to the elevation of the plate at the surface (e.g., Flament et al., 2013). We have therefore studied* the individual impact each and every major subduction parameter has on surface topography. This allows us to qualitatively compare the different sources amongst each other, and to quantify their actual potential to vertically deflect the surface. The gained knowledge from this compilation is crucial: We might finally be able to link the directly-observable surface topography to the dynamics (buoyancy, rheology, and geometry) of the subduction system. *This study is made possible by the efficient convection code StagYY (Tackley 2008), the largely-automated post-processing and visualisation toolbox StagLab (, and crucial model developments (Crameri and Tackley, 2015; Crameri et al., G-cubed, submitted, Crameri and Lithgow-Bertelloni, Tectonophysics, submitted). REFERENCES 
Flament, N., M. Gurnis, and R. D. Müller (2013), A review of observations and models of dynamic topography, Lithosphere, 5(2), 189-210. Crameri, F., and P. J. Tackley (2015), Parameters controlling dynamically self-consistent plate tectonics and single-sided subduction in global models of mantle convection, J. Geophys. Res. Solid Earth, 120(5), 3680-3706. Crameri, F., C. R. Lithgow-Bertelloni, and P. J. Tackley (submitted), The dynamical control of subduction parameters on surface topography, Geochem. Geophys. Geosyst. Crameri, F., and C. R. Lithgow-Bertelloni (submitted), Dynamic Mantle-Transition-Zone Controls on Upper-Plate Tilt, Tectonophysics. Tackley, P.J (2008) Modelling compressible mantle convection with large viscosity contrasts in a three- dimensional spherical shell using the yin-yang grid. Physics of the Earth and Planetary Interiors 171(1-4), 7-18.

  20. 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.

  1. 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.

  2. Effect of the Earth's rotation on subduction processes (United States)

    Levin, B. W.; Rodkin, M. V.; Sasorova, E. V.


    The role played by the Earth's rotation is very important in problems of physics of the atmosphere and ocean. The importance of inertia forces is traditionally estimated by the value of the Rossby number: if this parameter is small, the Coriolis force considerably affects the character of movements. In the case of convection in the Earth's mantle and movements of lithospheric plates, the Rossby number is quite small; therefore, the effect of the Coriolis force is reflected in the character of movements of the lithospheric plates. Analysis of statistical data on subduction zones verifies this suggestion.

  3. Subducting slab ultra-slow velocity layer coincident with silent earthquakes in southern Mexico. (United States)

    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 ultra-slow velocity layer (USL) varies spatially (3 to 5 kilometers, with an S-wave velocity of approximately 2.0 to 2.7 kilometers per second). Most slow slip patches coincide with the presence of the USL, and they are bounded by the absence of the USL. The extent of the USL delineates the zone of transitional frictional behavior.

  4. Necessity of the Ridge for the Flat Slab Subduction: Insights from the Peruvian Flat Slab (United States)

    Knezevic Antonijevic, S.; Wagner, L. S.; Beck, S. L.; Long, M. D.; Zandt, G.; Tavera, H.


    Flattening of the subducting plate has been linked to the formation of various geological features, including basement-cored uplifts, the cessation of arc volcanism, ignimbrite flare-ups, and the formation of high plateaus and ore deposits [Humphreys et al., 2003; Gutscher et al., 2000; Rosenbaum et al., 2005]. However, the mechanism responsible for the slab flattening is still poorly understood. Here we focus on the Peruvian flat slab, where the Nazca plate starts to bend at ~80 km depth and travels horizontally for several hundred kilometers, at which point steep subduction resumes. Based on a 1500 km long volcanic gap and intermediate depth seismicity patterns, the Peruvian flat slab appears to have the greatest along-strike extent and, therefore, has been suggested as a modern analogue to the putative flat slab during the Laramide orogeny in the western United States (~80-55 Ma). Combining 3D shear wave velocity structure and Rayleigh wave phase anisotropy between ~10° and 18° S, we find that the subducting Nazca plate is not uniformly flat along the entire region, but fails to the north of the subducting Nazca Ridge. Our results show that, in combination with trench retreat, rapid overriding plate motion, and/or presence of a thick cratonic root, the subduction of buoyant overthickened oceanic crust, such as the Nazca Ridge, is necessary for the formation and sustainability of flat slabs. This finding has important implications for the formation of flat slabs both past and present.

  5. To what depth can continental crust be subducted: numerical predictions and critical observations (United States)

    Gerya, T.; Faccenda, M.


    We performed systematic two-dimensional numerical modeling of continental collision associated with subduction of the lithospheric mantle. Results of our experiments suggest that two contrasting modes of lithospheric subduction below an orogen can exist: one-sided and double-sided. One-sided subduction brings continental crust subducting atop the slab to the contact with hot asthenosperic mantle wedge below the overriding plate. This can result in strong heating, partial melting and rheological weakening of the crust triggering its delamination from subducting mantle lithosphere in form of compositionally buoyant structures (cold plumes) propagating away from subducting plate, passing through the hot mantle wedge, underplating the overriding lithosphere and producing large amount of relatively felsic syn-orogenic magmas at sub-lithospheric depths. One-sided subduction of the buoyant continental crust can also result in a transient "hot channel effect" triggering formation and exhumation of coesite- and diamond- bearing rocks metamorphosed at 700 to 900oC. Anomalously high temperature is caused by intense viscous and radiogenic heating in the channel composed of deeply subducted radiogenic upper-crustal rocks. Low effective viscosity of the channel subsequent to increased temperature and partial melting permits profound mixing of mantle and crustal rocks. The hot channel exists during few million years only but rapidly produces and exhumes large amounts of ultrahigh-pressure, high-temperature rocks within the orogen. Double-sided subduction can follow the one-sided mode at later stages of orogeny when significant rheological coupling between two plates occurs during the collision. In this case the orogen is characterized by double- verging structure, the layer of subducting continental crust is embedded between two negatively buoyant lithospheric slabs and delamination of the crust does not occur. This mode of subduction can bring crustal rocks from the bottom of an

  6. 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...

  7. Geophysical detection of relict metasomatism from an Archean (approximately 3.5 Ga) subduction zone. (United States)

    Chen, Chin-Wu; Rondenay, Stéphane; Evans, Rob L; Snyder, David B


    When plate tectonics started on Earth has been uncertain, and its role in the assembly of early continents is not well understood. By synthesizing coincident seismic and electrical profiles, we show that subduction processes formed the Archean Slave craton in Canada. The spatial overlap between a seismic discontinuity and a conductive anomaly at approximately 100 kilometers depth, in conjunction with the occurrence of mantle xenoliths rich in secondary minerals representative of a metasomatic front, supports cratonic assembly by subduction and accretion of lithospheric fragments. Although evidence of cratonic assembly is rarely preserved, these results suggest that plate tectonics was operating as early as Paleoarchean times, approximately 3.5 billion years ago (Ga).

  8. Geodynamic Modeling of the Subduction Zone around the Japanese Islands (United States)

    Honda, S.


    In this review, which focuses on our research, we describe the development of the thermomechanical modeling of subduction zones, paying special attention to those around the Japanese Islands. Without a sufficient amount of data and observations, models tended to be conceptual and general. However, the increasing power of computational tools has resulted in simple analytical and numerical models becoming more realistic, by incorporating the mantle flow around the subducting slab. The accumulation of observations and data has made it possible to construct regional models to understand the detail of the subduction processes. Recent advancements in the study of the seismic tomography and geology around the Japanese Islands has enabled new aspects of modeling the mantle processes. A good correlation between the seismic velocity anomalies and the finger-like distribution of volcanoes in northeast Japan has been recognized and small-scale convection (SSC) in the mantle wedge has been proposed to explain such a feature. The spatial and temporal evolution of the distribution of past volcanoes may reflect the characteristics of the flow in the mantle wedge, and points to the possibility of the flip-flopping of the finger-like pattern of the volcano distribution and the migration of volcanic activity from the back-arc side to the trench side. These observations are found to be qualitatively consistent with the results of the SSC model. We have also investigated the expected seismic anisotropy in the presence of SSC. The fast direction of the P-wave anisotropy generally shows the trench-normal direction with a reduced magnitude compared to the case without SSC. An analysis of full 3D seismic anisotropy is necessary to confirm the existence and nature of SSC. The 3D mantle flow around the subduction zone of plate-size scale has been modeled. It was found that the trench-parallel flow in the sub-slab mantle around the northern edge of the Pacific plate at the junction between

  9. Alps, Carpathians and Dinarides-Hellenides: about plates, micro-plates and delaminated crustal blocks (United States)

    Schmid, Stefan


    thickened crust ripped of the African plate, invaded the northern part of this oceanic embayment, virtually floating on asthenospheric mantle. The presently still surviving semi-detached Vrancea slab in Romania manifests of the combined effect of roll back and delamination of mantle lithosphere. On the other hand Tisza-Dacia, another crustal block formerly ripped off the European plate and forming a single entity since mid-Cretaceous times, also at least partly floating on asthenospheric mantle, invaded the Carpathian embayment from the south. Thereby the Tisza-Dacia crustal block underwent clockwise rotation by as much as 90° due to the corner effect of the Moesian platform firmly attached to Europe since mid-Cretaceous times (Ustaszewski et al. 2008). In the Dinaric-Aegean realm collision occurred much earlier than in the Alps and the Carpathians, i.e. at around the Cretaceous-Cenozoic boundary, provided that one accepts that there is yet no convincing evidence for the existence of a second "Pindos oceanic domain" closing later, i.e. in Eocene times. However, in spite of early collision, the old subduction zone that consumed the northern branch of Neotethys (Meliata-Vardar) since at least mid-Cretaceous times persisted in the eastern Hellenides (but not in the Dinarides) until now, penetrating the transition zone all the way to a depth of some 1500km (Bijwaard et al. 1998). Continued subduction of mantle lithosphere in the Aegean since 60 Ma was concomitant with complete delamination of lithospheric mantle and lower crust from non-subducted or re-exhumed high pressure crustal flakes of largely continental derivation that were piled up to form the subsequently extended Hellenic orogen (Jolivet & Brun 2010). At around 25 Ma when the southern branch of Neotethys (the present-day Eastern Mediterranean ocean) entered this subduction zone, massive extension and core complex formation in the upper plate combined with an acceleration of south-directed hinge retreat of the lower

  10. Seismic anisotropy and mantle flow below subducting slabs (United States)

    Walpole, Jack; Wookey, James; Kendall, J.-Michael; Masters, T.-Guy


    Subduction is integral to mantle convection and plate tectonics, yet the role of the subslab mantle in this process is poorly understood. Some propose that decoupling from the slab permits widespread trench parallel flow in the subslab mantle, although the geodynamical feasibility of this has been questioned. Here, we use the source-side shear wave splitting technique to probe anisotropy beneath subducting slabs, enabling us to test petrofabric models and constrain the geometry of mantle fow. Our global dataset contains 6369 high quality measurements - spanning ∼ 40 , 000 km of subduction zone trenches - over the complete range of available source depths (4 to 687 km) - and a large range of angles in the slab reference frame. We find that anisotropy in the subslab mantle is well characterised by tilted transverse isotropy with a slow-symmetry-axis pointing normal to the plane of the slab. This appears incompatible with purely trench-parallel flow models. On the other hand it is compatible with the idea that the asthenosphere is tilted and entrained during subduction. Trench parallel measurements are most commonly associated with shallow events (source depth < 50 km) - suggesting a separate region of anisotropy in the lithospheric slab. This may correspond to the shape preferred orientation of cracks, fractures, and faults opened by slab bending. Meanwhile the deepest events probe the upper lower mantle where splitting is found to be consistent with deformed bridgmanite.

  11. 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.

  12. Rapid conversion of an oceanic spreading center to a subduction zone inferred from high-precision geochronology. (United States)

    Keenan, Timothy E; Encarnación, John; Buchwaldt, Robert; Fernandez, Dan; Mattinson, James; Rasoazanamparany, Christine; Luetkemeyer, P Benjamin


    Where and how subduction zones initiate is a fundamental tectonic problem, yet there are few well-constrained geologic tests that address the tectonic settings and dynamics of the process. Numerical modeling has shown that oceanic spreading centers are some of the weakest parts of the plate tectonic system [Gurnis M, Hall C, Lavier L (2004) Geochem Geophys Geosys 5:Q07001], but previous studies have not favored them for subduction initiation because of the positive buoyancy of young lithosphere. Instead, other weak zones, such as fracture zones, have been invoked. Because these models differ in terms of the ages of crust that are juxtaposed at the site of subduction initiation, they can be tested by dating the protoliths of metamorphosed oceanic crust that is formed by underthrusting at the beginning of subduction and comparing that age with the age of the overlying lithosphere and the timing of subduction initiation itself. In the western Philippines, we find that oceanic crust was less than ∼1 My old when it was underthrust and metamorphosed at the onset of subduction in Palawan, Philippines, implying forced subduction initiation at a spreading center. This result shows that young and positively buoyant, but weak, lithosphere was the preferred site for subduction nucleation despite the proximity of other potential weak zones with older, denser lithosphere and that plate motion rapidly changed from divergence to convergence.

  13. Multiple subduction imprints in the mantle below Italy detected in a single lava flow (United States)

    Nikogosian, Igor; Ersoy, Özlem; Whitehouse, Martin; Mason, Paul R. D.; de Hoog, Jan C. M.; Wortel, Rinus; van Bergen, Manfred J.


    Post-collisional magmatism reflects the regional subduction history prior to collision but the link between the two is complex and often poorly understood. The collision of continents along a convergent plate boundary commonly marks the onset of a variety of transitional geodynamic processes. Typical responses include delamination of subducting lithosphere, crustal thickening in the overriding plate, slab detachment and asthenospheric upwelling, or the complete termination of convergence. A prominent example is the Western-Central Mediterranean, where the ongoing slow convergence of Africa and Europe (Eurasia) has been accommodated by a variety of spreading and subduction systems that dispersed remnants of subducted lithosphere into the mantle, creating a compositionally wide spectrum of magmatism. Using lead isotope compositions of a set of melt inclusions in magmatic olivine crystals we detect exceptional heterogeneity in the mantle domain below Central Italy, which we attribute to the presence of continental material, introduced initially by Alpine and subsequently by Apennine subduction. We show that superimposed subduction imprints of a mantle source can be tapped during a melting episode millions of years later, and are recorded in a single lava flow.

  14. 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.

  15. Kinematics and flow patterns in deep mantle and upper mantle subduction models : Influence of the mantle depth and slab to mantle viscosity ratio

    NARCIS (Netherlands)

    Schellart, W. P.

    Three-dimensional fluid dynamic laboratory simulations are presented that investigate the subduction process in two mantle models, an upper mantle model and a deep mantle model, and for various subducting plate/mantle viscosity ratios (ηSP/ηM = 59-1375). The models investigate the mantle flow field,

  16. Water and the oxidation state of subduction zone magmas. (United States)

    Kelley, Katherine A; Cottrell, Elizabeth


    Mantle oxygen fugacity exerts a primary control on mass exchange between Earth's surface and interior at subduction zones, but the major factors controlling mantle oxygen fugacity (such as volatiles and phase assemblages) and how tectonic cycles drive its secular evolution are still debated. We present integrated measurements of redox-sensitive ratios of oxidized iron to total iron (Fe3+/SigmaFe), determined with Fe K-edge micro-x-ray absorption near-edge structure spectroscopy, and pre-eruptive magmatic H2O contents of a global sampling of primitive undegassed basaltic glasses and melt inclusions covering a range of plate tectonic settings. Magmatic Fe3+/SigmaFe ratios increase toward subduction zones (at ridges, 0.13 to 0.17; at back arcs, 0.15 to 0.19; and at arcs, 0.18 to 0.32) and correlate linearly with H2O content and element tracers of slab-derived fluids. These observations indicate a direct link between mass transfer from the subducted plate and oxidation of the mantle wedge.

  17. Thermobarometric and fluid expulsion history of subduction zones

    Energy Technology Data Exchange (ETDEWEB)

    Ernst, W.G. (Univ. of California, Los Angeles (United States))


    Phanerozoic, unmetamorphosed, weathered, and altered lithotectonic complexes subjected to subduction exhibit the prograde metamorphic facies sequence: zeolite {r arrow} prehnite-pumpellyite {r arrow} glaucophane schist {r arrow} eclogite. Parageneses reflect relatively high-P trajectories, accompanied by semicontinuous devolatilization. The thermal evolution of convergent plate junctions results in early production of high-rank blueschists, high-P amphibolites, and eclogites at depth. Inclusion studies suggest that two-phase immiscible volatiles are evolved in turn during progressive metamorphism of the subducted sections. Expulsion of pore fluids and transitions from weathered and altered supracrustal rocks to zeolite facies assemblages release far more fluid than the better understood higher-grade transformations. Many blueschist parageneses (e.g., Western Alps) have been partially overprinted by later greenschist and/or epidote-amphibolite facies assemblages. Less common blueschist terranes (e.g., Franciscan belt of western California) preserve metamorphic aragonite and other high-P minerals, and lack a low-pressure overprint; physical conditions during retrogression approximately retraced the prograde path or, for early formed high-grade blocks, reflect somewhat higher pressures and lower temperatures. The ease with which volatiles are expelled from a subduction complex and migrate upward along the plate junction zone is roughly proportional to the sandstone/shale ratio: low-permeability mudstones tend to maintain P{sub fluid} values approaching lithostatic, lose strength, and deform chaotically (forming melange belts), whereas permeable sandstone-rich sections retain structural/stratigraphic coherence and fail brittlely (forming coherent terranes).

  18. From the global scale to the Mediterranean plate kinematics


    Riguzzi, F.


    Plate motions with respect to the mantle represent the most direct evidence to understand the origin of plate tectonic processes. The research here described has the aim to improve the knowledge on the global scale plate kinematics in “absolute” reference frames, or better, relative to the mantle, incorporating both geological–geophysical and space geodesy data. Geophysical and geological signatures of subduction and rift zones independently show a global polarity of current plate motions, su...

  19. Neotectonics of a subduction/strike-slip transition: the northeastern Dominican Republic

    Energy Technology Data Exchange (ETDEWEB)

    Winslow, M.A.; McCann, W.R.


    The Septentrional fault system in the northeastern Dominican Republic marks the zone where the North American-Carribean plate boundary is evolving from subduction to strike-slip motion, and where terranes appear to be forming and migrating laterally in a subduction complex/forearc region. On the Island of Hispaniola, slip vectors are oblique to the strike of the Puerto Rico trench, and oblique subduction thrusts the upper plate over normal seafloor. The offshore geology and seismicity of the northern Caribbean suggest that uplift, broad crustal warping, thrusting, and strike-slip faulting (ie. collisional tectonics) should be present in the northern part of the Dominican Republic. The high topography (>1000m), high levels of seismicity, and large earthquakes support the hypothesis of contemporary deformation in Hispaniola. In this region, the subduction regime dies out toward the west, and deformation is transferred to onshore, oblique-slip faults. As this change in tectonic style has occurred in Neogene to Recent times, we are investigating the modern evolution of a plate boundary. We have already documented: (1) the presence of a strike-slip faulting in the northeastern Dominican Republic; (2) an anomalous push-up structure; and (3) a region of numerous splay faults. In conclusion, recent seismicity suggest a wide zone of deformation and variations in interplate motions near Hispaniola. This island lies at the western limit of active underthrusting and at the eastern limit of onshore faulting, i.e., at an important transition from a subduction to strike-slip regime.

  20. 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 (1999; Sharp, W.E., Earth Planet. Sci. Lett., v.21, pp.351-354, 1974.

  1. Deformation Patterns and Subduction Behavior of Continental Lithosphere Entering a Trench (United States)

    Steedman, C. E.; Kaus, B. J.; Becker, T. W.; Okaya, D.


    We perform 2-D numerical simulations of continental lithosphere entering a subduction zone, to better understand deformation patterns resulting from subduction of a continental margin. The model consists of a subduction zone in which an attached slab drives subduction of a passive continental margin beneath an oceanic plate. A particle-based 2-D visco-elasto-plastic thermo-mechanical finite element code is employed to study the dynamics of the system. A novel feature of the code is that the resolution of the model can be significantly increased in selected parts of the domain, which allows for self-consistent modelling of mantle-lithosphere interaction. In the present study we employ this feature to study how lithospheric-scale deformation around and within the subduction zone is influenced by surface processes such as erosion, and by flow in the upper mantle. Using systematic 2-D numerical simulations, we explore the parameters that are dominant in controlling near- surface structures, both with regards to changes in topography and trench location, and subsurface features such as Moho undulations. The main parameters that have been varied are: the lithospheric density structure; the lithospheric age and temperature structure; the strength of the lower crust; the presence of a weak zone at the plate interface; the amounts of erosion; the upper boundary condition (free surface versus free slip); rheology (non-Newtonian versus Newtonian, viscous, visco-elasto-plastic); and finally the effect of an imposed slab breakoff. In all cases we track surface uplift, subduction evolution and rock exhumation history. We find that the strength of the overriding plate influences surface uplift and the shape of subsurface deformation, and that the density and thermal structure of the subducting plate affects trench motion. Denser slab roll back, and younger, lighter slabs advance, while neither slab rheology nor the presence of erosion greatly affect trench location. For all cases

  2. Mantle hydration and Cl-rich fluids in the subduction forearc (United States)

    Reynard, Bruno


    In the forearc region, aqueous fluids are released from the subducting slab at a rate depending on its thermal state. Escaping fluids tend to rise vertically unless they meet permeability barriers such as the deformed plate interface or the Moho of the overriding plate. Channeling of fluids along the plate interface and Moho may result in fluid overpressure in the oceanic crust, precipitation of quartz from fluids, and low Poisson ratio areas associated with tremors. Above the subducting plate, the forearc mantle wedge is the place of intense reactions between dehydration fluids from the subducting slab and ultramafic rocks leading to extensive serpentinization. The plate interface is mechanically decoupled, most likely in relation to serpentinization, thereby isolating the forearc mantle wedge from convection as a cold, potentially serpentinized and buoyant, body. Geophysical studies are unique probes to the interactions between fluids and rocks in the forearc mantle, and experimental constrains on rock properties allow inferring fluid migration and fluid-rock reactions from geophysical data. Seismic velocities reveal a high degree of serpentinization of the forearc mantle in hot subduction zones, and little serpentinization in the coldest subduction zones because the warmer the subduction zone, the higher the amount of water released by dehydration of hydrothermally altered oceanic lithosphere. Interpretation of seismic data from petrophysical constrain is limited by complex effects due to anisotropy that needs to be assessed both in the analysis and interpretation of seismic data. Electrical conductivity increases with increasing fluid content and temperature of the subduction. However, the forearc mantle of Northern Cascadia, the hottest subduction zone where extensive serpentinization was first demonstrated, shows only modest electrical conductivity. Electrical conductivity may vary not only with the thermal state of the subduction zone, but also with time for

  3. Processes and consequences of deep subduction

    NARCIS (Netherlands)

    Rubie, David C.; Hilst, R.D. van der


    Subduction of slabs of oceanic lithosphere into the deep mantle involves a wide range of geophysical and geochemical processes and is of major importance for the physical and chemical evolution of the Earth. For example, subduction and subduction-related volcanism are major processes through

  4. Plio-Quaternary paleostresses in the Atlantic passive margin of the Moroccan Meseta: Influence of the Central Rif escape tectonics related to Eurasian-African plate convergence (United States)

    Chabli, Ahmed; Chalouan, Ahmed; Akil, Mostapha; Galindo-Zaldívar, Jesús; Ruano, Patricia; Sanz de Galdeano, Carlos; López-Garrido, Angel Carlos; Marín-Lechado, Carlos; Pedrera, Antonio


    The Atlantic Moroccan Meseta margin is affected by far field recent tectonic stresses. The basement belongs to the variscan orogen and was deformed by hercynian folding and metamorphism followed by a post-Permian erosional stage, producing the flat paleorelief of the region. Tabular Mesozoic and Mio-Plio-Quaternary deposits locally cover the Meseta, which has undergone recent uplift, while north of Rabat the subsidence continues in the Gharb basin, constituting the foreland basin of the Rif Cordillera. The Plio-Quaternary sedimentary cover of the Moroccan Meseta, mainly formed by aeolian and marine terraces deposits, is affected by brittle deformations (joints and small-scale faults) that evidence that this region - considered up to date as stable - is affected by the far field stresses. Striated faults are recognized in the oldest Plio-Quaternary deposits and show strike-slip and normal kinematics, while joints affect up to the most recent sediments. Paleostress may be sorted into extensional, only affecting Rabat sector, and three main compressive groups deforming whole the region: (1) ENE-WSW to ESE-WNW compression; (2) NNW-SSE to NE-SW compression and (3) NNE-SSW compression. These stresses can be attributed mainly to the NW-SE oriented Eurasian-African plate convergence in the western Mediterranean and the escape toward the SW of the Rif Cordillera. Local paleostress deviations may be related to basement fault reactivation. These new results reveal the tectonic instability during Plio-Quaternary of the Moroccan Meseta margin in contrast to the standard passive margins, generally considered stable.

  5. Building a Subduction Zone Observatory (United States)

    Gomberg, Joan S.; Bodin, Paul; Bourgeois, Jody; Cashman, Susan; Cowan, Darrel; Creager, Kenneth C.; Crowell, Brendan; Duvall, Alison; Frankel, Arthur; Gonzalez, Frank; Houston, Heidi; Johnson, Paul; Kelsey, Harvey; Miller, Una; Roland, Emily C.; Schmidt, David; Staisch, Lydia; Vidale, John; Wilcock, William; Wirth, Erin


    Subduction zones contain many of Earth’s most remarkable geologic structures, from the deepest oceanic trenches to glacier-covered mountains and steaming volcanoes. These environments formed through spectacular events: Nature’s largest earthquakes, tsunamis, and volcanic eruptions are born here.

  6. Plate tectonics in the late Paleozoic


    Domeier, Mathew; Torsvik, Trond H.


    As the chronicle of plate motions through time, paleogeography is fundamental to our understanding of plate tectonics and its role in shaping the geology of the present-day. To properly appreciate the history of tectonics—and its influence on the deep Earth and climate—it is imperative to seek an accurate and global model of paleogeography. However, owing to the incessant loss of oceanic lithosphere through subduction, the paleogeographic reconstruction of ‘full-plates’ (including oceanic lit...

  7. Implications for metal and volatile cycles from the pH of subduction zone fluids. (United States)

    Galvez, Matthieu E; Connolly, James A D; Manning, Craig E


    The chemistry of aqueous fluids controls the transport and exchange-the cycles-of metals and volatile elements on Earth. Subduction zones, where oceanic plates sink into the Earth's interior, are the most important geodynamic setting for this fluid-mediated chemical exchange. Characterizing the ionic speciation and pH of fluids equilibrated with rocks at subduction zone conditions has long been a major challenge in Earth science. Here we report thermodynamic predictions of fluid-rock equilibria that tie together models of the thermal structure, mineralogy and fluid speciation of subduction zones. We find that the pH of fluids in subducted crustal lithologies is confined to a mildly alkaline range, modulated by rock volatile and chlorine contents. Cold subduction typical of the Phanerozoic eon favours the preservation of oxidized carbon in subducting slabs. In contrast, the pH of mantle wedge fluids is very sensitive to minor variations in rock composition. These variations may be caused by intramantle differentiation, or by infiltration of fluids enriched in alkali components extracted from the subducted crust. The sensitivity of pH to soluble elements in low abundance in the host rocks, such as carbon, alkali metals and halogens, illustrates a feedback between the chemistry of the Earth's atmosphere-ocean system and the speciation of subduction zone fluids via the composition of the seawater-altered oceanic lithosphere. Our findings provide a perspective on the controlling reactions that have coupled metal and volatile cycles in subduction zones for more than 3 billion years(7).

  8. Spreading continents kick-started plate tectonics. (United States)

    Rey, Patrice F; Coltice, Nicolas; Flament, Nicolas


    Stresses acting on cold, thick and negatively buoyant oceanic lithosphere are thought to be crucial to the initiation of subduction and the operation of plate tectonics, which characterizes the present-day geodynamics of the Earth. Because the Earth's interior was hotter in the Archaean eon, the oceanic crust may have been thicker, thereby making the oceanic lithosphere more buoyant than at present, and whether subduction and plate tectonics occurred during this time is ambiguous, both in the geological record and in geodynamic models. Here we show that because the oceanic crust was thick and buoyant, early continents may have produced intra-lithospheric gravitational stresses large enough to drive their gravitational spreading, to initiate subduction at their margins and to trigger episodes of subduction. Our model predicts the co-occurrence of deep to progressively shallower mafic volcanics and arc magmatism within continents in a self-consistent geodynamic framework, explaining the enigmatic multimodal volcanism and tectonic record of Archaean cratons. Moreover, our model predicts a petrological stratification and tectonic structure of the sub-continental lithospheric mantle, two predictions that are consistent with xenolith and seismic studies, respectively, and consistent with the existence of a mid-lithospheric seismic discontinuity. The slow gravitational collapse of early continents could have kick-started transient episodes of plate tectonics until, as the Earth's interior cooled and oceanic lithosphere became heavier, plate tectonics became self-sustaining.

  9. Defining Incipient Subduction by Detecting Serpentenised Mantle in the Regional Magnetic Field (United States)

    Pires, Rui; Clark, Stuart; Reis, Rui


    Keywords: Subduction initiation, Incipient Subduction, Active Margins, Southeast Asia, Mantle wedge The mechanisms of subduction initiation are poorly understood. One idea is to look for incipient subduction zones in the present day and see what features are common in these zones. However, incipient subduction zones are very difficult to detect and debate surrounds particular cases as to whether they qualify as incipient or not. In the analysis conducted in this work, we use the signal of the presence of a mantle wedge in the magnetic anomaly field as an indicator of incipient subduction. Each subduction zone exhibits variations in the particular responses of the system, such as slab-dip angle, maximum earthquake depths and volcanism to various parameters. So far, attempts to reduce the system to a dominate controlling parameter have failed, probably as a result of the limited number of cases and the large variety of controlling parameters. Parameters such as down-going and overriding plate morphology and velocity, mantle flow, the presence of plumes or not, sediment transport into the trench are a few of the parameters that have been studied in the literature. However, one of the characteristics associated with a subduction zones is the presence of a mantelic wedge as a result of the partial melt of the subducting plate and the development of a mantle wedge between the subducting plate and the overriding plate. The wedge is characterised by the presence of water (coming from sediments in the down-going plate) as well as lower temperatures (because the wedge is between two relatively cold lithospheres). As a results a serpentinized mantle wedge is formed that contains hydrous minerals, of which magnetite is an example, that alter the composition and properties of this region. According to Blakely (2005), this region exhibits both higher magnetic susceptibility and lower densities than the surrounding medium. We analysed five active margin boundaries located

  10. Subduction and vertical coastal motions in the eastern Mediterranean (United States)

    Howell, Andy; Jackson, James; Copley, Alex; McKenzie, Dan; Nissen, Ed


    Convergence in the eastern Mediterranean of oceanic Nubia with Anatolia and the Aegean is complex and poorly understood. Large volumes of sediment obscure the shallow structure of the subduction zone, and since much of the convergence is accommodated aseismically, there are limited earthquake data to constrain its kinematics. We present new source models for recent earthquakes, combining these with field observations, published GPS velocities and reflection-seismic data to investigate faulting in three areas: the Florence Rise, SW Turkey and the Pliny and Strabo Trenches. The depths and locations of earthquakes reveal the geometry of the subducting Nubian plate NE of the Florence Rise, a bathymetric high that is probably formed by deformation of sediment at the surface projection of the Anatolia-Nubia subduction interface. In SW Turkey, the presence of a strike-slip shear zone has often been inferred despite an absence of strike-slip earthquakes. We show that the GPS-derived strain-rate field is consistent with extension on the orthogonal systems of normal faults observed in the region and that strike-slip faulting is not required to explain observed GPS velocities. Further SW, the Pliny and Strabo Trenches are also often interpreted as strike-slip shear zones, but almost all nearby earthquakes have either reverse-faulting or normal-faulting focal mechanisms. Oblique convergence across the trenches may be accommodated either by a partitioned system of strike-slip and reverse faults or by oblique slip on the Aegean-Nubia subduction interface. The observed late-Quaternary vertical motions of coastlines close to the subduction zone are influenced by the interplay between: (1) thickening of the material overriding the subduction interface associated with convergence, which promotes coastal uplift; and (2) subsidence due to extension and associated crustal thinning. Long-wavelength gravity data suggest that some of the observed topographic contrasts in the eastern

  11. Mapping seismic azimuthal anisotropy of the Japan subduction zone (United States)

    Zhao, D.; Liu, X.


    We present 3-D images of azimuthal anisotropy tomography of the crust and upper mantle of the Japan subduction zone, which are determined using a large number of high-quality P- and S-wave arrival-time data of local earthquakes and teleseismic events recorded by the dense seismic networks on the Japan Islands. A tomographic method for P-wave velocity azimuthal anisotropy is modified and extended to invert S-wave travel times for 3-D S-wave velocity azimuthal anisotropy. A joint inversion of the P and S wave data is conducted to constrain the 3-D azimuthal anisotropy of the Japan subduction zone. Main findings of this work are summarized as follows. (1) The high-velocity subducting Pacific and Philippine Sea (PHS) slabs exhibit trench-parallel fast-velocity directions (FVDs), which may reflect frozen-in lattice-preferred orientation of aligned anisotropic minerals formed at the mid-ocean ridge as well as shape-preferred orientation such as normal faults produced at the outer-rise area near the trench axis. (2) Significant trench-normal FVDs are revealed in the mantle wedge, which reflects corner flow in the mantle wedge due to the active subduction and dehydration of the oceanic plates. (3) Obvious toroidal FVDs and low-velocity anomalies exist in and around a window (hole) in the aseismic PHS slab beneath Southwest Japan, which may reflect a toroidal mantle flow pattern resulting from hot and wet mantle upwelling caused by the joint effects of deep dehydration of the Pacific slab and the convective circulation process in the mantle wedge above the Pacific slab. (4) Significant low-velocity anomalies with trench-normal FVDs exist in the mantle below the Pacific slab beneath Northeast Japan, which may reflect a subducting oceanic asthenosphere affected by hot mantle upwelling from the deeper mantle. ReferencesLiu, X., D. Zhao (2016) Seismic velocity azimuthal anisotropy of the Japan subduction zone: Constraints from P and S wave traveltimes. J. Geophys. Res. 121, doi

  12. Are subduction zones invading the atlantic? Evidence from the southwest iberia margin

    NARCIS (Netherlands)

    Duarte, João C.; Rosas, Filipe M.; Terrinha, Pedro; Schellart, Wouter P.; Boutelier, David; Gutscher, Marc André; Ribeiro, António

    Subduction initiation at passive margins plays a central role in the plate tectonics theory. However, the process by which a passive margin becomes active is not well understood. In this paper we use the southwest Iberia margin (SIM) in the Atlantic Ocean to study the process of passive margin

  13. Structure and evolution of subducted lithosphere beneath the Sunda arc, Indonesia

    NARCIS (Netherlands)

    Widiyantoro, Sri; Hilst, R.D. van der


    Tomographic imaging reveals seismic anomalies beneath the Sunda island arc, Indonesia, that suggest that the lithospheric slab penetrates to a depth of at least 1500 kilometers. The Sunda slab forms the eastern end of a deep anomaly associated with the past subduction of the plate underlying the

  14. Thermal buoyancy on Venus - Underthrusting vs subduction (United States)

    Burt, Jeffrey D.; Head, James W.


    The thermal and buoyancy consequences of the subduction endmember are modeled in an attempt to evaluate the conditions distinguishing underthrusting and subduction. Thermal changes in slabs subducting into the Venusian mantle with a range of initial geotherms are used to predict density changes and, thus, slab buoyancy. Based on a model for subduction-induced mantle flow, it is then argued that the angle of the slab dip helps differentiate between underthrusting and subduction. Mantle flow applies torques to the slab which, in combination with torques due to slab buoyancy, act to change the angle of slab dip.

  15. Progressive migration of slab break-off along the southern Tyrrhenian plate boundary: Constraints for the present day kinematics (United States)

    Chiarabba, Claudio; Palano, Mimmo


    The Ionian subduction in the central Mediterranean, just 200 km wide, is one of the narrowest in the world. Its evolution has involved a progressive disruption of the subducting slab, contemporaneous to the retreat and step-wise opening of back-arc basins. In this study, we analyse velocity anomalies of the upper mantle, together with the most comprehensive set of earthquake locations and kinematic indicators available for Italy, to reconstruct the geodynamics and tectonic evolution of the Ionian subduction system. Along the Sicilian boundary, we identify an eastward migration of the slab edge with detachment of the Ionian oceanic lithosphere. We hypothesize that the progressive detachment of the slab took place along lithospheric transform faults of the Neo-Tethys Ocean. Among the main active kinematic elements of the Ionian accretionary wedge, we suggest that a ∼400-km-long and highly segmented shear zone formed by the Aeolian-Tindari-Letojanni fault system and the Ionian fault represents the surface expression of such a lithospheric tearing. The present day convergence between the Eurasian and African plates is accommodated both at the frontal thrust of the flexed Hyblean margin in southern Sicily and offshore along the Tyrrhenian Sea. Lithospheric bending favors the wedging of the mantle underneath northern Sicily, while magmatic fluids are channeled along slab tears.

  16. Reconstructions of subducted ocean floor along the Andes: a framework for assessing Magmatic and Ore Deposit History (United States)

    Sdrolias, M.; Müller, R.


    The South American-Antarctic margin has been characterised by numerous episodes of volcanic arc activity and ore deposit formation throughout much of the Mesozoic and Cenozoic. Although its Cenozoic subduction history is relatively well known, placing the Mesozoic arc-related volcanics and the emplacement of ore bodies in their plate tectonic context remains poorly constrained. We use a merged moving hotspot (Late Cretaceous- present) and palaeomagnetic /fixed hotspot (Early Cretaceous) reference frame, coupled with reconstructed spreading histories of the Pacific, Phoenix and Farallon plates to understand the convergence history of the South American and Antarctic margins. We compute the age-area distribution of oceanic lithosphere through time, including subducting oceanic lithosphere and estimate convergence rates along the margin. Additionally, we map the location and migration of spreading ridges along the margin and relate this to processes on the overriding plate. The South American-Antarctic margin in the late Jurassic-early Cretaceous was dominated by rapid convergence, the subduction of relatively young oceanic lithosphere (Verdes" in southern South America. The speed of subduction increased again along the South American-Antarctic margin at ~105 Ma after another change in tectonic regime. Newly created crust from the Farallon-Phoenix ridge continued to be subducted along southern South America until the cessation of the Farallon-Phoenix ridge in the latest Cretaceous / beginning of the Cenozoic. The age of the subducting oceanic lithosphere along the South American-Antarctic margin has increased steadily through time.

  17. Slab-mantle interactions in simulations of self-consistent mantle convection with single-sided subduction (United States)

    Crameri, F.; Tackley, P. J.; Meilick, I.; Gerya, T. V.; Kaus, B. J. P.


    Subduction zones on present-day Earth are strongly asymmetric features (Zhao 2004) composed of an overriding plate above a subducting plate that sinks into the mantle. Our recent advances in numerical modelling allow global mantle convection models to produce single-sided subduction self-consistently by allowing for free surface topography on and lubrication between the converging plates (Crameri et al., 2012). Thereby, they are indicating important mantle-slab interactions. The increase of viscosity with depth is an important mantle property affecting the dynamics of subduction: a large viscosity increase on the one hand favours an immediate stagnant lid because the slab cannot sink fast enough, while a small increase on the other hand does not provide enough resistance for the sinking slab and therefore facilitates an immediate slab break-off. While in the mobile lid (plate tectonic like) regime, our model also shows that single-sided subduction in turn has strong implications on Earth's interior such as its rms. velocity or its stress distribution. The arcuate trench curvature is such a feature that is caused by single-sided subduction in 3-D geometry. The pressure difference between the mantle region below the inclined sinking slab and the region above it causes a toroidal mantle flow around the slab edges. This flow of mantle material is responsible for forming the slabs and subsequently also the subduction trenches above it towards an arcuate shape. For this study we perform experiments in 2-D and global spherical 3-D, fully dynamic mantle convection models with self-consistent plate tectonics. These are calculated using the finite volume multi-grid code StagYY (Tackley 2008) with strongly temperature and pressure-dependent viscosity, ductile and/or brittle plastic yielding, and non-diffusive tracers tracking compositional variations (the 'air' and the weak crustal layer in this case).

  18. Kinematics of Late Cretaceous subduction initiation in the Neo-Tethys Ocean reconstructed from ophiolites of Turkey, Cyprus, and Syria (United States)

    Maffione, Marco; van Hinsbergen, Douwe J. J.; de Gelder, Giovanni I. N. O.; van der Goes, Freek C.; Morris, Antony


    Formation of new subduction zones represents one of the cornerstones of plate tectonics, yet both the kinematics and geodynamics governing this process remain enigmatic. A major subduction initiation event occurred in the Late Cretaceous, within the Neo-Tethys Ocean between Gondwana and Eurasia. Suprasubduction zone ophiolites (i.e., emerged fragments of ancient oceanic lithosphere formed at suprasubduction spreading centers) were generated during this subduction event and are today distributed in the eastern Mediterranean region along three E-W trending ophiolitic belts. Several models have been proposed to explain the formation of these ophiolites and the evolution of the associated intra-Neo-Tethyan subduction zone. Here we present new paleospreading directions from six Upper Cretaceous ophiolites of Turkey, Cyprus, and Syria, calculated by using new and published paleomagnetic data from sheeted dyke complexes. Our results show that NNE-SSW subduction zones were formed within the Neo-Tethys during the Late Cretaceous, which we propose were part of a major step-shaped subduction system composed of NNE-SSW and WNW-ESE segments. We infer that this subduction system developed within old (Triassic?) lithosphere, along fracture zones and perpendicular weakness zones, since the Neo-Tethyan spreading ridge formed during Gondwana fragmentation would have already been subducted at the Pontides subduction zone by the Late Cretaceous. Our new results provide an alternative kinematic model of Cretaceous Neo-Tethyan subduction initiation and call for future research on the mechanisms of subduction inception within old (and cold) lithosphere and the formation of metamorphic soles below suprasubduction zone ophiolites in the absence of nearby spreading ridges.

  19. Effect of Aseismic Ridge Subduction on Volcanism in the NE Lesser Antilles Arc (United States)

    Stinton, A. J.; Hatfield, R. G.; McCanta, M. C.


    The interaction of aseismic ridges or buoyant crust in subduction zones can affect the volcanism occurring on the overriding plate. Here we describe the affect of the subduction of an aseismic ridge on volcanism in the NE Lesser Antilles. The Lesser Antilles island arc is a result of westward subduction of the North American plate beneath the Caribbean plate and stretches 800 km from Saba in the north to Grenada in the south. From Guadeloupe northwards, the arc bifurcates into an eastern, inactive arc (known as the Limestone Caribees) and a western, active arc (Volcanic Caribees). It has been suggested that this bifurcation is the result of the subduction of buoyant crust in the form of at least two aseismic ridges, in the North American plate. In 2012, IODP Expedition 340 recovered 130 m of core from site U1396, located 55 km SW of Montserrat, Lesser Antilles. The core contains a detailed record of volcanism, in the form of more than 180 tephra layers, that stretches back nearly 4.5 Ma. This is the longest and most complete record of volcanism for the NE Lesser Antilles and provides insight into the evolution and development of the island arc in this region. A variety of techniques are being applied to the tephra layers from U1396 to determine their age, chemistry, components and origin. Here we present preliminary results from paeleomagnetic age determinations for each tephra layer to show how the subduction of aseismic ridges on the North American plate has affected the rate of volcanism and development of the island arc in the NE Lesser Antilles over the last 4.5 Ma.

  20. Slow earthquakes linked along dip in the Nankai subduction zone. (United States)

    Hirose, Hitoshi; Asano, Youichi; Obara, Kazushige; Kimura, Takeshi; Matsuzawa, Takanori; Tanaka, Sachiko; Maeda, Takuto


    We identified a strong temporal correlation between three distinct types of slow earthquakes distributed over 100 kilometers along the dip of the subducting oceanic plate at the western margin of the Nankai megathrust rupture zone, southwest Japan. In 2003 and 2010, shallow very-low-frequency earthquakes near the Nankai trough as well as nonvolcanic tremor at depths of 30 to 40 kilometers were triggered by the acceleration of a long-term slow slip event in between. This correlation suggests that the slow slip might extend along-dip between the source areas of deeper and shallower slow earthquakes and thus could modulate the stress buildup on the adjacent megathrust rupture zone.

  1. Subduction dynamics and the origin of Andean orogeny and the Bolivian orocline. (United States)

    Capitanio, F A; Faccenna, C; Zlotnik, S; Stegman, D R


    The building of the Andes results from the subduction of the oceanic Nazca plate underneath the South American continent. However, how and why the Andes and their curvature, the Bolivian orocline, formed in the Cenozoic era (65.5 million years (Myr) ago to present), despite subduction continuing since the Mesozoic era (251.0-65.5 Myr ago), is still unknown. Three-dimensional numerical subduction models demonstrate that variations in slab thickness, arising from the Nazca plate's age at the trench, produce a cordilleran morphology consistent with that observed. The age-dependent sinking of the slab in the mantle drives traction towards the trench at the base of the upper plate, causing it to thicken. Thus, subducting older Nazca plate below the Central Andes can explain the locally thickened crust and higher elevations. Here we demonstrate that resultant thickening of the South American plate modifies both shear force gradients and migration rates along the trench to produce a concave margin that matches the Bolivian orocline. Additionally, the varying forcing along the margin allows stress belts to form in the upper-plate interior, explaining the widening of the Central Andes and the different tectonic styles found on their margins, the Eastern and Western Cordilleras. The rise of the Central Andes and orocline formation are directly related to the local increase of Nazca plate age and an age distribution along the margin similar to that found today; the onset of these conditions only occurred in the Eocene epoch. This may explain the enigmatic delay of the Andean orogeny, that is, the formation of the modern Andes.

  2. One microplate - three orogens: Alps, Dinarides, Apennines and the role of the Adriatic plate (United States)

    Ustaszewski, Kamil; Le Breton, Eline; Balling, Philipp; Handy, Mark R.; Molli, Giancarlo; Tomljenović, Bruno


    The motion of the Adriatic microplate with respect to the Eurasian and African plates is responsible for the Mesozoic to present tectonic evolution of the Alps, Carpathians, the Dinarides and Hellenides as well as the Apennines. The classical approach for reconstructing plate motions is to assume that tectonic plates are rigid, then apply Euler's theorem to describe their rotation on an ideally spherical Earth by stepwise restorations of magnetic anomalies and fracture zones in oceanic basins. However, this approach is inadequate for reconstructing the motion of Mediterranean microplates like Adria, which, at present, is surrounded by convergent margins and whose oceanic portions have by now been entirely subducted. Most constraints on the motion of the Adriatic microplate come either from palaeomagnetics or from shortening estimates in the Alps, i.e., its northern margin. This approach renders plate tectonic reconstructions prone to numerous errors, yielding inadmissible misfits in the Ionian Sea between southern Italy and northern Greece. At the same time, Adria's western and eastern margins in the Apennines and in the Dinarides have hitherto not been appropriately considered for improving constraints on the motion of Adria. This presentation presents new results of ongoing collaborative research that aims at improving the relative motion path for the Adriatic microplate for the Cenozoic by additionally quantifying and restoring the amount of shortening and extension in a set of geophysical-geological transects from the Tyrrhenian Sea, the Apennines and the Dinarides. Already now, our approach yields an improved motion path for the Adriatic microplate for the last 20 Ma, which minimizes misfits in previous reconstructions. The currently largest challenge in our reconstructions is to reconcile amount and age of shortening in the Dinarides fold-and-thrust belt. For one thing, we see good agreement between the cross-sectional length of subducted material (c. 135 km

  3. Thermobarometric and fluid expulsion history of subduction zones (United States)

    Ernst, W. G.


    Phanerozoic, unmetamorphosed, weathered, and altered lithotectonic complexes subjected to subduction exhibit the prograde metamorphic facies sequence: zeolite → prehnite-pumpellyite → glaucophane schist → eclogite. Parageneses reflect relatively high-P trajectories, accompanied by semicontinuous devolatilization. The thermal evolution of convergent plate junctions results in early production of high-rank blueschists, high-P amphibolites, and eclogues at depth within narrow subduction zones while the hanging wall lithosphere is still hot. Protracted underflow drains heat from the nonsubducted plate and, even at profound depths, generates very low-T/high-P parageneses. Inclusion studies suggest that two-phase immiscible volatiles (liquid H2O, and gaseous high-hydrocarbons, CH4 and CO2) are evolved in turn during progressive metamorphism of the subducted sections. Expulsion of pore fluids and transitions from weathered and altered supracrustal rocks to zeolite facies assemblages release far more fluid than the better understood higher-grade transformations. Many blueschist parageneses, such as those of the internal Western Alps, have been partially overprinted by later greenschist and/or epidote-amphibolite facies assemblages. Alpine-type postblueschist metamorphic paths involved fairly rapid, nearly adiabatic decompression; some terranes even underwent modest continued heating and fluid evolution during early stages of ascent. Uplift probably occurred as a consequence of the underthrusting of low-density island arc or microcontinental crust along the convergent plate junction, resulting in marked deceleration or cessation of lithospheric underflow, decoupling, and nearly isothermal rise of the recrystallized subduction complex. Other, less common blueschist terranes, such as the eastern Franciscan belt of western California, preserve metamorphic aragonite and other high-P minerals, and lack a low-pressure overprint; physical conditions during retrogression

  4. The Terminal Stage of Subduction: the Hindu Kush Slab Break-off (United States)

    Kufner, S. K.; Schurr, B.; Sippl, C.; Yuan, X.; Ratschbacher, L.; Akbar, A. S. M.; Ischuk, A.; Murodkulov, S.; Schneider, F.; Mechie, J.; Tilmann, F. J.


    The terminal stage of subduction arrives when the ocean basin is closed and the continental margin arrives at the trench. The opposite forces of the sinking slab and buoyant continent ultimately leads to break-off of the subducted slab. This process, although common in geological history, is rarely observed, because it is short-lived. Here we report new precise earthquake hypocenters, detailed tomographic images and earthquake source mechanisms from the Hindu Kush region in Central Asia, which hint at continental subduction and plate necking. Our images provide a rare glimpse at the ephemeral process of slab break-off: the Hindu Kush slablet in its uppermost section is thinned or already severed and that intermediate depth earthquakes cluster at the neck connecting it to the deeper slab. From a strain rate analysis, we deduce that the deep portion of the slab is in the process of detaching from the shallower fragment at much higher rates than the current convergence rate at the surface. The increased strain rate might arise as the buoyant continental crust, which is dragged into the subduction system in its terminal stage, resists subduction, whereas the earlier subducted mantle lithosphere pulls from underneath.

  5. Modeling mantle circulation and density distributions in subduction zones: Implications for seismic studies (United States)

    Kincaid, C. R.; Druken, K. A.; Griffiths, R. W.; Long, M. D.; Behn, M. D.; Hirth, G.


    Subduction of ocean lithosphere drives plate tectonics, large-scale mantle circulation and thermal-chemical recycling processes through arcs. Seismologists have made important advances in our ability to map circulation patterns in subduction zones though anisotropy data/methods and in providing detailed images of mantle density fields. Increasingly, seismic and geodynamic disciplines are combining to extend our understanding of time varying subduction processes and associated vertical mass and energy fluxes. We use laboratory experiments to characterize three-dimensional flow fields in convergent margins for a range in plate forcing conditions and background, buoyancy-driven flow scenarios. Results reveal basic patterns in circulation, buoyant flow morphologies and density distributions that have implications for reconciling seismic data with mantle convection models. Models utilize a glucose working fluid with a temperature dependent viscosity to represent the upper 2000km of the mantle. Subducting lithosphere is modeled with a Phenolic plate and back-arc extension is produced using Mylar sheets. We recreate basic subduction styles observed in previous dynamic subduction models using simplified, kinematic forcing. Slab plate segments, driven by hydraulic pistons, move with various combinations of downdip, rollback and steepening motion. Neutral density finite strain markers are distributed throughout the fluid and used as proxies for tracking the evolution of olivine alignment through space and time in the evolving flow fields. Particle image velocimetry methods are also used to track time varying 3D velocity fields for use in directly calculating anisotropy patterns. Results show that complex plate motions (rollback, steepening, back-arc extension) in convergent margins produce relatively simple anisotropy patterns (e.g., trench-normal alignments) and underscore the importance of initial strain marker orientations on alignment patterns in the wedge. Results also

  6. Kinematics of a former oceanic plate of the Neotethys revealed by deformation in the Ulukışla basin (Turkey)

    NARCIS (Netherlands)

    Gürer, Derya; van Hinsbergen, Douwe J J; Matenco, Liviu; Corfu, Fernando; Cascella, Antonio


    Kinematic reconstruction of modern ocean basins shows that since Pangea breakup a vast area in the Neotethyan realm was lost to subduction. Here we develop a first-order methodology to reconstruct the kinematic history of the lost plates of the Neotethys, using records of subducted plates accreted

  7. Convergent plate margin dynamics : New perspectives from structural geology, geophysics and geodynamic modelling

    NARCIS (Netherlands)

    Schellart, W. P.; Rawlinson, N.


    Convergent plate margins occur when two adjoining tectonic plates come together to form either a subduction zone, where at least one of the converging plates is oceanic and plunges beneath the other into the mantle, or a collision zone, where two continents or a continent and a magmatic arc collide.

  8. Influence of Initial Geometry and Boundary Conditions on Flat Subduction Models and Resulting Topography (United States)

    Nelson, P.; Moucha, R.


    Numerical investigations of surface deformation in response to flat slab subduction began with seminal papers by Bird (1988) and Mitrovica et al. (1989). Recently, a number of numerical studies have begun to explore the complexity in the dynamics of flat-slab subduction initiation and continuation, but did not address the corresponding surface deformation (English et al., 2003; Pérez-Campos et al., 2008; Liu et al., 2010; Jones et al., 2011; Arrial and Billen, 2013; Vogt and Gerya, 2014). Herein, we explore the conditions that lead to flat-slab subduction and characterize the resulting surface deformation using a 2D finite-difference marker-in-cell method. We specifically explore how initial model geometry and boundary conditions affect the evolution of the angle at which a slab subducts in the presence/absence of a buoyant oceanic plateau and the resulting surface topography. In our simulations, the surface is tracked through time as an internal erosion/sedimentation surface. The top boundary of the crust is overlaid by a "sticky" (viscous 10^17 Pa.s) water/air layer with correspondingly stratified densities. We apply a coupled surface processes model that solves the sediment transport/diffusion erosion equation at each time step to account for the corresponding crustal mass flux and its effect on crustal deformation. Model results show the initial angle of subduction has a substantial impact on the subduction angle of the slab and hence the evolution of topography. The results also indicate plate velocity and the presence of an oceanic plateau in a forced subduction only have a moderate effect on the angle of subduction.

  9. Geodetic Observations of Interseismic Strain Segmentation at the Sumatra Subduction Zone (United States)

    Prawirodirdjo, L.; Bock, Y.; McCaffrey, R.; Genrich, J.; Calais, E.; Puntodewo, S. S. O.; Subarya, C.; Rais, J.; Zwick, P.; Fauzi


    Deformation above the Sumatra subduction zone, revealed by Global Positioning System (GPS) geodetic surveys, shows nearly complete coupling of the forearc to the subducting plate south of 0.5 deg S and half as much to north. The abrupt change in plate coupling coincides with the boundary between the rupture zones of the 1833 and 1861 (Mw greater than 8) thrust earthquakes. The rupture boundary appears as an abrupt change in strain accumulation well into the interseismic cycle, suggesting that seismic segmentation is controlled by properties of the plate interface that persist occupied through more than one earthquake cycle. Structural evidence indicates that differences in basal shear stress may be related to elevated pore pressure in the north.

  10. MACMA: a Virtual Lab for Plate Tectonics (United States)

    Grigne, C.; Combes, M.; Tisseau, C.


    MACMA (Multi-Agent Convective MAntle) is a tool developed to simulate evolutive plate tectonics and mantle convection in a 2-D cylindrical geometry (Combes et al., 2012). The model relies mainly on a force balance to compute the velocity of each plate, and on empirical rules to determine how plate boundaries move and evolve. It includes first-order features of plate tectonics: (a) all plates on Earth do not have the same size, (b) subduction zones are asymmetric, (c) plates driven by subducting slabs and upper plates do not exhibit the same velocities, and (d) plate boundaries are mobile, can collide, merge and disappear, and new plate boundaries can be created. The MACMA interface was designed to be user-friendly and a simple use of the simulator can be achieved without any prerequisite knowledge in fluid dynamics, mantle rheology, nor in numerical methods. As a preliminary study, the simulator was used by a few students from bachelor's degree to master's degree levels. An initial configuration for plate tectonics has to be created before starting a simulation: the number and types of plate boundaries (ridge, subduction, passive margins) has to be defined and seafloor ages must be given. A simple but interesting exercise consists in letting students build such an initial configuration: they must analyze a map of tectonic plates, choose a 2-D section and examine carefully a map of seafloor ages. Students mentioned that the exercise made them realize that the 3-D spherical structure of plate tectonics does not translate directly in a simple 2-D section, as opposed to what is usually shown in books. Physical parameters: e.g. mantle viscosity, number of layers to consider in the mantle (upper and lower mantle, possible asthenosphere), initial time and mantle temperature, have to be chosen, and students can use this virtual lab to see how different scenarios emerge when parameters are varied. Very importantly, the direct visualization of the mobility of plate

  11. Lasting mantle scars lead to perennial plate tectonics. (United States)

    Heron, Philip J; Pysklywec, Russell N; Stephenson, Randell


    Mid-ocean ridges, transform faults, subduction and continental collisions form the conventional theory of plate tectonics to explain non-rigid behaviour at plate boundaries. However, the theory does not explain directly the processes involved in intraplate deformation and seismicity. Recently, damage structures in the lithosphere have been linked to the origin of plate tectonics. Despite seismological imaging suggesting that inherited mantle lithosphere heterogeneities are ubiquitous, their plate tectonic role is rarely considered. Here we show that deep lithospheric anomalies can dominate shallow geological features in activating tectonics in plate interiors. In numerical experiments, we found that structures frozen into the mantle lithosphere through plate tectonic processes can behave as quasi-plate boundaries reactivated under far-field compressional forcing. Intraplate locations where proto-lithospheric plates have been scarred by earlier suturing could be regions where latent plate boundaries remain, and where plate tectonics processes are expressed as a 'perennial' phenomenon.

  12. Lasting mantle scars lead to perennial plate tectonics (United States)

    Heron, Philip J.; Pysklywec, Russell N.; Stephenson, Randell


    Mid-ocean ridges, transform faults, subduction and continental collisions form the conventional theory of plate tectonics to explain non-rigid behaviour at plate boundaries. However, the theory does not explain directly the processes involved in intraplate deformation and seismicity. Recently, damage structures in the lithosphere have been linked to the origin of plate tectonics. Despite seismological imaging suggesting that inherited mantle lithosphere heterogeneities are ubiquitous, their plate tectonic role is rarely considered. Here we show that deep lithospheric anomalies can dominate shallow geological features in activating tectonics in plate interiors. In numerical experiments, we found that structures frozen into the mantle lithosphere through plate tectonic processes can behave as quasi-plate boundaries reactivated under far-field compressional forcing. Intraplate locations where proto-lithospheric plates have been scarred by earlier suturing could be regions where latent plate boundaries remain, and where plate tectonics processes are expressed as a ‘perennial' phenomenon. PMID:27282541

  13. Age of the subducting Pacific slab beneath East Asia and its geodynamic implications (United States)

    Liu, Xin; Zhao, Dapeng; Li, Sanzhong; Wei, Wei


    We study the age of the subducting Pacific slab beneath East Asia using a high-resolution model of P-wave tomography and paleo-age data of ancient seafloor. Our results show that the lithosphere age of the subducting slab becomes younger from the Japan Trench (∼130 Ma) to the slab's western edge (∼90 Ma) beneath East China, and the flat (stagnant) slab in the mantle transition zone (MTZ) is the subducted Pacific plate rather than the proposed Izanagi plate which should have already collapsed into the lower mantle. The flat Pacific slab has been in the MTZ for no more than ∼10-20 million years, considerably less than the age of the big mantle wedge beneath East Asia (>110 million years). Hence, the present flat Pacific slab in the MTZ has contributed to the Cenozoic destruction of the East Asian continental lithosphere with extensive intraplate volcanism and back-arc spreading, whereas the destruction of the North China Craton during the Early Cretaceous (∼140-110 Ma) was caused by the subduction of the Izanagi (or the Paleo-Pacific) plate.

  14. Controls on continental strain partitioning above an oblique subduction zone, Northern Andes (United States)

    Schütt, Jorina M.; Whipp, David M., Jr.


    Strain partitioning is a common process at obliquely convergent plate margins dividing oblique convergence into margin-normal slip on the plate-bounding fault and horizontal shearing on a strike-slip system parallel to the subduction margin. In subduction zones, strain partitioning in the upper continental plate is mainly controlled by the shear forces acting on the plate interface and the strength of the continental crust. The plate interface forces are influenced by the subducting plate dip angle and the obliquity angle between the normal to the plate margin and the convergence velocity vector, and the crustal strength of the continent is strongly affected by the presence or absence of a volcanic arc, with the presence of the volcanic arcs being common at steep subduction zones. Along the ˜7000 km western margin of South America the convergence obliquity, subduction dip angles and presence of a volcanic arc all vary, but strain partitioning is only observed along parts of it. This raises the questions, to what extent do subduction zone characteristics control strain partitioning in the overriding continental plate, and which factors have the largest influence? We address these questions using lithospheric-scale 3D numerical geodynamic experiments to investigate the influence of subduction dip angle, convergence obliquity, and weaknesses in the crust owing to the volcanic arc on strain partitioning behavior. We base the model design on the Northern Volcanic Zone of the Andes (5° N - 2° S), characterized by steep subduction (˜ 35°), a convergence obliquity between 31° -45° and extensive arc volcanism, and where strain partitioning is observed. The numerical modelling software (DOUAR) solves the Stokes flow and heat transfer equations for a viscous-plastic creeping flow to calculate velocity fields, thermal evolution, rock uplift and strain rates in a 1600 km x 1600 km box with depth 160 km. Subduction geometry and material properties are based on a

  15. Analyzing One-Sided vs. Two-Sided Subduction Arising from Mantle Convection Simulations (United States)

    Kaplan, M. S.; Becker, T. W.


    Purely thermal plate tectonic generation models struggle to consistently reproduce one-sided subduction as is observed on Earth (Tackley 2000; Van Heck and Tackley 2008; Foley and Becker 2009), and instead produce two-sided subduction where the subducting slab contains a significant flux of material from both plates. The models of Crameri et al. (2012) demonstrate that the implementation of a free upper surface boundary condition and the inclusion of a weak hydrated crust can facilitate one-sided subduction. We employ a similar model configuration to Crameri et al. (2012) to further investigate the dynamics and energetics which are associated with one-sided vs. two-sided subduction. We use a 2D finite difference code based off of the algorithms of I2ELVIS (Gerya and Yuen 2007) where material parameters are tracked on Lagrangian markers and the Stokes and Energy equations are solved on a Cartesian grid. A free surface is implemented by a low viscosity and density 'sticky air layer' (Schmeling et al., 2008; Crameri et al., 2012) with the stabilization routine of Duretz et al. (2011) to prevent the 'drunken seaman' instability (Kaus et al., 2010). The effects of a weak crust, shear heating, a free surface or free slip upper mechanical boundary condition, plasticity as a function of depth or pressure, and the sticky air layer thermal conductivity on one-sided vs. two-sided subduction are investigated. When we observe one-sided subduction it is transient and can smoothly evolve back to a two-sided configuration. In our models, 'sidedness' is a spectrum, rather than either discretely one or two sided, and the models move between the two regimes throughout the model runs. We observe that the thermal conductivity of the sticky air layer can influence the dynamics of the convective domain. Elevated values of thermal conductivity compared to those of rock must be implemented in the sticky air layer in order to maintain a constant temperature at the surface of the convective

  16. Modeling Diverse Pathways to Age Progressive Volcanism in Subduction Zones. (United States)

    Kincaid, C. R.; Szwaja, S.; Sylvia, R. T.; Druken, K. A.


    One of the best, and most challenging clues to unraveling mantle circulation patterns in subduction zones comes in the form of age progressive volcanic and geochemical trends. Hard fought geological data from many subduction zones, like Tonga-Lau, the Cascades and Costa-Rica/Nicaragua, reveal striking temporal patterns used in defining mantle flow directions and rates. We summarize results from laboratory subduction models showing a range in circulation and thermal-chemical transport processes. These interaction styles are capable of producing such trends, often reflecting apparent instead of actual mantle velocities. Lab experiments use a glucose working fluid to represent Earth's upper mantle and kinematically driven plates to produce a range in slab sinking and related wedge transport patterns. Kinematic forcing assumes most of the super-adiabatic temperature gradient available to drive major downwellings is in the tabular slabs. Moreover, sinking styles for fully dynamic subduction depend on many complicating factors that are only poorly understood and which can vary widely even for repeated parameter combinations. Kinematic models have the benefit of precise, repeatable control of slab motions and wedge flow responses. Results generated with these techniques show the evolution of near-surface thermal-chemical-rheological heterogeneities leads to age progressive surface expressions in a variety of ways. One set of experiments shows that rollback and back-arc extension combine to produce distinct modes of linear, age progressive melt delivery to the surface through a) erosion of the rheological boundary layer beneath the overriding plate, and deformation and redistribution of both b) mantle residuum produced from decompression melting and c) formerly active, buoyant plumes. Additional experiments consider buoyant diapirs rising in a wedge under the influence of rollback, back-arc spreading and slab-gaps. Strongly deflected diapirs, experiencing variable rise

  17. Three-dimensional structure and seismicity beneath the Central Vanuatu subduction zone (United States)

    Foix, Oceane; Crawford, Wayne; Pelletier, Bernard; Regnier, Marc; Garaebiti, Esline; Koulakov, Ivan


    The 1400-km long Vanuatu subduction zone results from subduction of the oceanic Australian plate (OAP) beneath the North-Fijian microplate (NFM). Seismic and volcanic activity are both high, and several morphologic features enter into subduction, affecting seismicity and probably plate coupling. The Entrecasteaux Ridge, West-Torres plateau, and Bougainville seamount currently enter into subduction below the large forearc islands of Santo and Malekula. This collision coincides with a strongly decreased local convergence velocity rate - 35 mm/yr compared to 120-160 mm/yr to the north and south - and significant uplift on the overriding plate, indicating a high degree of deformation. The close proximity of large uplifted forearc islands to the trench provides excellent coverage of the megathrust seismogenic zone for a seismological study. We used 10 months of seismological data collected using the 30-instrument land and sea ARC-VANUATU seismology network to construct a 3D velocity model — using the LOTOS joint location/model inversion software — and locate 11655 earthquakes using the NonLinLoc software suite. The 3-D model reveals low P and S velocities in the first tens of kilometers beneath both islands, probably due to water infiltration in the heavily faulted upper plate. The model also suggests the presence of a subducted seamount beneath south Santo. The earthquake locations reveal a complex interaction of faults and stress zones related to high and highly variable deformation. Both brittle deformation and the seismogenic zone depth limits vary along-slab and earthquake clusters are identified beneath central and south Santo, at about 10-30 km of depth, and southwest of Malekula island between 10-20 km depth.

  18. A wave equation migration method for receiver function imaging: 2. Application to the Japan subduction zone (United States)

    Chen, Ling; Wen, Lianxing; Zheng, Tianyu


    The newly developed wave equation poststack depth migration method for receiver function imaging is applied to study the subsurface structures of the Japan subduction zone using the Fundamental Research on Earthquakes and Earth's Interior Anomalies (FREESIA) broadband data. Three profiles are chosen in the subsurface imaging, two in northeast (NE) Japan to study the subducting Pacific plate and one in southwest (SW) Japan to study the Philippine Sea plate. The descending Pacific plate in NE Japan is well imaged within a depth range of 50-150 km. The slab image exhibits a little more steeply dipping angle (˜32°) in the south than in the north (˜27°), although the general characteristics between the two profiles in NE Japan are similar. The imaged Philippine Sea plate in eastern SW Japan, in contrast, exhibits a much shallower subduction angle (˜19°) and is only identifiable at the uppermost depths of no more than 60 km. Synthetic tests indicate that the top 150 km of the migrated images of the Pacific plate is well resolved by our seismic data, but the resolution of deep part of the slab images becomes poor due to the limited data coverage. Synthetic tests also suggest that the breakdown of the Philippine Sea plate at shallow depths reflects the real structural features of the subduction zone, rather than caused by insufficient coverage of data. Comparative studies on both synthetics and real data images show the possibility of retrieval of fine-scale structures from high-frequency contributions if high-frequency noise can be effectively suppressed and a small bin size can be used in future studies. The derived slab geometry and image feature also appear to have relatively weak dependence on overlying velocity structure. The observed seismicity in the region confirms the geometries inferred from the migrated images for both subducting plates. Moreover, the deep extent of the Pacific plate image and the shallow breakdown of the Philippine Sea plate image are

  19. Current plate velocities relative to the hotspots incorporating the NUVEL-1 global plate motion model (United States)

    Gripp, Alice E.; Gordon, Richard G.


    The NUVEL-1 model of current global relative plate velocities is presently incorporated into HS2-NUVEL1, a global model for plate velocities relative to hotspots; the results thus obtained are compared with those of the AM1-2 model of hotspot-relative plate velocities. While there are places in which plate velocities relative to the hotspots differ between HS2-NUVEL1 and AM1-2 by tens of degrees in direction and 15 mm/yr in speed, the hotspot Euler vectors differ with 95 percent confidence only for the Arabian and Indian plates. Plates attached to subducting slabs move faster relative to the hotspots than do plates without slabs.

  20. Current plate velocities relative to the hotspots incorporating the NUVEL-1 global plate motion model (United States)

    Gripp, Alice E.; Gordon, Richard G.


    The NUVEL-1 model of current global relative plate velocities is presently incorporated into HS2-NUVEL1, a global model for plate velocities relative to hotspots; the results thus obtained are compared with those of the AM1-2 model of hotspot-relative plate velocities. While there are places in which plate velocities relative to the hotspots differ between HS2-NUVEL1 and AM1-2 by tens of degrees in direction and 15 mm/yr in speed, the hotspot Euler vectors differ with 95 percent confidence only for the Arabian and Indian plates. Plates attached to subducting slabs move faster relative to the hotspots than do plates without slabs.

  1. Incorporating Cutting Edge Scientific Results from the Margins-Geoprisms Program into the Undergraduate Curriculum: The Subduction Factory (United States)

    Penniston-Dorland, S.; Stern, R. J.; Edwards, B. R.; Kincaid, C. R.


    The NSF-MARGINS Program funded a decade of research on continental margin processes. The NSF-GeoPRISMS Mini-lesson Project, funded by NSF-TUES, is designed to integrate fundamental results from the MARGINS program into open-source college-level curriculum. Three Subduction Factory (SubFac) mini-lessons were developed as part of this project. These include hands-on examinations of data sets representing 3 key components of the subduction zone system: 1) Heat transfer in the subducted slab; 2) Metamorphic processes happening at the plate interface; and 3) Typical magmatic products of arc systems above subduction zones. Module 1: "Slab Temperatures Control Melting in Subduction Zones, What Controls Slab Temperature?" allows students to work in groups using beads rolling down slopes as an analog for the mathematics of heat flow. Using this hands-on, exploration-based approach, students develop an intuition for the mathematics of heatflow and learn about heat conduction and advection in the subduction zone environment. Module 2: "Subduction zone metamorphism" introduces students to the metamorphic rocks that form as the subducted slab descends and the mineral reactions that characterize subduction-related metamorphism. This module includes a suite of metamorphic rocks available for instructors to use in a lab, and exercises in which students compare pressure-temperature estimates obtained from metamorphic rocks to predictions from thermal models. Module 3: "Central American Arc Volcanoes, Petrology and Geochemistry" introduces students to basic concepts in igneous petrology using the Central American volcanic arc, a MARGINS Subduction Factory focus site, as an example. The module relates data from two different volcanoes - basaltic Cerro Negro (Nicaragua) and andesitic Ilopango (El Salvador) including hand sample observations and major element geochemistry - to explore processes of mantle and crustal melting and differentiation in arc volcanism.

  2. Two-dimensional Numerical Models of Accretionary Wedges Deformation in Response to Subduction and Obduction: Evidence from the Middle Part of the Manila Trench (United States)

    Ma, L.; Ding, W.; Chen, L.; Gerya, T.


    The Manila Trench is located at the eastern boundary of the South China Sea (SCS). It was created by the subduction of the South China Sea Plate beneath the Philippine Sea Plate since the early Neogene, and also influenced by the northwestern movement of the Philippine Sea Plate. There is wide discussion whether the dual-subduction and widespread seamounts in the South China Sea would have play important roles in the 'S-shaped' geometry and the different diving angle along the Manila Trench. Multi-beam tectono-geomorphological studies on the accretionary wedges have suggested that: (1) the stress direction of the subduction along the middle part of the Manila Trench, between 17o and 18 o N, is NW55 o; (2) The Manila Trench is actually caused by obduction due to the northwestern movement of the Philippine Sea Plate. Although the NW 55 o stress direction has been supported by detailed analysis on the trend of the folds, thrust faults, extension fractures and large sea-floor canyon, its obduction-origin is purely based on regional structure. Here we use 2D numerical modeling experiments to investigate the deformation style of accretionary wedge in response to the seamounts subduction and obduction, and provide new insights into the mechanism responsible for the Luzon obduction along the Manila Trench. Our preliminary results show that: (1) the accretionary wedge is eroded faster in subduction model; (2) the velocity field direction of the slab differs in two models at the beginning of seamount subduction, which is vertical in obduction model, but oblique in subduction model; (3) both sides of the accretionary wedge deform strongly in subduction model, whereas in obduction model only the leading edge shows intensive deformation. Further modelling will focus on other parts of the Manila Trench with different slab age and subduction velocity to see their tectonic influences on the accretionary wedges.

  3. Cold plate

    Energy Technology Data Exchange (ETDEWEB)

    Marroquin, Christopher M.; O' Connell, Kevin M.; Schultz, Mark D.; Tian, Shurong


    A cold plate, an electronic assembly including a cold plate, and a method for forming a cold plate are provided. The cold plate includes an interface plate and an opposing plate that form a plenum. The cold plate includes a plurality of active areas arranged for alignment over respective heat generating portions of an electronic assembly, and non-active areas between the active areas. A cooling fluid flows through the plenum. The plenum, at the non-active areas, has a reduced width and/or reduced height relative to the plenum at the active areas. The reduced width and/or height of the plenum, and exterior dimensions of cold plate, at the non-active areas allow the non-active areas to flex to accommodate surface variations of the electronics assembly. The reduced width and/or height non-active areas can be specifically shaped to fit between physical features of the electronics assembly.

  4. Subduction of the oceanic Hikurangi Plateau and its impact on the Kermadec arc. (United States)

    Timm, Christian; Davy, Bryan; Haase, Karsten; Hoernle, Kaj A; Graham, Ian J; de Ronde, Cornel E J; Woodhead, Jon; Bassett, Dan; Hauff, Folkmar; Mortimer, Nick; Seebeck, Hannu C; Wysoczanski, Richard J; Caratori-Tontini, Fabio; Gamble, John A


    Large igneous province subduction is a rare process on Earth. A modern example is the subduction of the oceanic Hikurangi Plateau beneath the southern Kermadec arc, offshore New Zealand. This segment of the arc has the largest total lava volume erupted and the highest volcano density of the entire Kermadec arc. Here we show that Kermadec arc lavas south of ~32°S have elevated Pb and Sr and low Nd isotope ratios, which argues, together with increasing seafloor depth, forearc retreat and crustal thinning, for initial Hikurangi Plateau-Kermadec arc collision ~250 km north of its present position. The combined data set indicates that a much larger portion of the Hikurangi Plateau (the missing Ontong Java Nui piece) than previously believed has already been subducted. Oblique plate convergence caused southward migration of the thickened and buoyant oceanic plateau crust, creating a buoyant 'Hikurangi' mélange beneath the Moho that interacts with ascending arc melts.

  5. Crustal Gravitational Potential Energy Change and Subduction Earthquakes (United States)

    Zhu, P. P.


    Crustal gravitational potential energy (GPE) change induced by earthquakes is an important subject in geophysics and seismology. For the past forty years the research on this subject stayed in the stage of qualitative estimate. In recent few years the 3D dynamic faulting theory provided a quantitative solution of this subject. The theory deduced a quantitative calculating formula for the crustal GPE change using the mathematic method of tensor analysis under the principal stresses system. This formula contains only the vertical principal stress, rupture area, slip, dip, and rake; it does not include the horizontal principal stresses. It is just involved in simple mathematical operations and does not hold complicated surface or volume integrals. Moreover, the hanging wall vertical moving (up or down) height has a very simple expression containing only slip, dip, and rake. The above results are significant to investigate crustal GPE change. Commonly, the vertical principal stress is related to the gravitational field, substituting the relationship between the vertical principal stress and gravitational force into the above formula yields an alternative formula of crustal GPE change. The alternative formula indicates that even with lack of in situ borehole measured stress data, scientists can still quantitatively calculate crustal GPE change. The 3D dynamic faulting theory can be used for research on continental fault earthquakes; it also can be applied to investigate subduction earthquakes between oceanic and continental plates. Subduction earthquakes hold three types: (a) crust only on the vertical up side of the rupture area; (b) crust and seawater both on the vertical up side of the rupture area; (c) crust only on the vertical up side of the partial rupture area, and crust and seawater both on the vertical up side of the remaining rupture area. For each type we provide its quantitative formula of the crustal GPE change. We also establish a simplified model (called

  6. Intra-oceanic subduction shaped the assembly of Cordilleran North America. (United States)

    Sigloch, Karin; Mihalynuk, Mitchell G


    The western quarter of North America consists of accreted terranes--crustal blocks added over the past 200 million years--but the reason for this is unclear. The widely accepted explanation posits that the oceanic Farallon plate acted as a conveyor belt, sweeping terranes into the continental margin while subducting under it. Here we show that this hypothesis, which fails to explain many terrane complexities, is also inconsistent with new tomographic images of lower-mantle slabs, and with their locations relative to plate reconstructions. We offer a reinterpretation of North American palaeogeography and test it quantitatively: collision events are clearly recorded by slab geometry, and can be time calibrated and reconciled with plate reconstructions and surface geology. The seas west of Cretaceous North America must have resembled today's western Pacific, strung with island arcs. All proto-Pacific plates initially subducted into almost stationary, intra-oceanic trenches, and accumulated below as massive vertical slab walls. Above the slabs, long-lived volcanic archipelagos and subduction complexes grew. Crustal accretion occurred when North America overrode the archipelagos, causing major episodes of Cordilleran mountain building.

  7. Seamount subduction underneath an accretionary wedge: modelling mass wasting and wedge collapse (United States)

    Mannu, Utsav; Ueda, Kosuke; Willett, Sean; Gerya, Taras; Strasser, Michael


    Seamounts (h >1 km) and knolls (h = 500 m-1000 m) cover about one-fifth of the total ocean floor area. These topographical highs of the ocean floor eventually get subducted. Subduction of these topographical features leads to severe deformation of the overriding plate and can cause extensive tectonic erosion and mass wasting of the frontal prism, which can ultimately cause a forearc wedge collapse. Large submarine landslides and the corresponding wedge collapse have previously been reported, for instance, in the northern part of the Hikurangi margin where the landslide is known as the giant Ruatoria debris avalanche, and have also been frequently reported in several seismic sections along the Costa Rica margin. Size and frequency relation of landslides suggest that the average size of submarine landslides in margins with rough subducting plates tends to be larger. However, this observation has not yet been tested or explained by physical models. In numerical subduction models, landslides take place, if at all, on a much larger timescale (in the order of 104-105 years, depending on the time steps of the model) than in natural cases. On the other hand, numerical models simulating mass wasting events such as avalanches and submarine landslides, typically model single events at a much smaller spatio-temporal domain, and do not consider long-term occurrence patterns of freely forming landslides. In this contribution, we present a multi-scale nested numerical approach to emulate short-term landslides within long-term progressive subduction. The numerical approach dynamically produces instantaneous submarine landslides and the resulting debris flow in the spatially and temporally refined inner model. Then we apply these convoluted changes in topography (e.g. due to the submarine landslide etc.) back to an outer larger-scale model instance that addresses wedge evolution. We use this approach to study the evolution of the accretionary wedge during seamount subduction.

  8. Topography and subduction geometry in the central Andes: Clues to the mechanics of a noncollisional orogen (United States)

    Gephart, John W.


    The central Andeean orogen between 12 deg and 32 deg S latitude exhibits a high degree of spatial order: principally an extraordinary bilateral symmetry that is common to the Earth's surface, the underlying Wadati-Benioff zone, and the Nazca/South America plate kinematics, which has been stable since the mid-Tertiary. This spatial order must reflect the physical mechanisms of mountain building in this noncollisional orogen. The shapes of the topography and subduction zone can be reduced to symmetric and antisummeric components relative to any verical symmetry plane; the particular plaen which minimizes the antisymmetry (and maximizes the symmetry) is well resolved and is essentially coincident with the stable Euler equator of Nacza/South America relative motion since the mid-Tertiary. That the topography, subduction geometry, and persistent mid-Tertiary plate kinematics share common spatial and geometric elements suggests that he distribution of topography in this orogen depends strongly on the dynamics of subduction. Other factors that might affect the topography and underlying tectonics, such as climate and inherited strutura fabric, which have different spatial characterisitcs, must be of less significance at a continental scale. Furthermore, the small components of asymmetry among the various elements of the orogen appear to be mutually relate in a simple way; it is possible that this coupled asymmetry is associated with a late Teriary change in plate kinematics. These observations suggest that there is a close connection between plate tectonics and the form of the Earth's surface in this noncollisional setting. It follows hta the distribution of topography near convergent plate boundaries may provide a powerful constraing for understanding the dynamics of subduction.

  9. Dynamics of double-polarity subduction: application to the Western Mediterranean (United States)

    Peral, Mireia; Zlotnik, Sergio; Fernandez, Manel; Vergés, Jaume; Jiménez-Munt, Ivone; Torne, Montserrat


    The evolution of the Western Mediterranean is a highly debated question by geologists and geophysicists. Even though most scientists agree in considering slab roll-back to be the driving mechanism of the tectonic evolution of this area, there is still no consensus about the initial setup and its time evolution. A recent model suggests a lateral change in subduction polarity of the Ligurian-Thetys oceanic domain to explain the formation and evolution of the Betic-Rif orogenic system and the associated Alboran back-arc basin. Such geodynamic scenario is also proposed for different converging regions. The aim of this study is to analyze the dynamic evolution of a double-polarity subduction process and its consequences in order to test the physical feasibility of this interaction and provide geometries and evolutions comparable to those proposed for the Western Mediterranean. The 3D numerical model is carried out via the Underworld framework. Tectonic plate behavior is described by equations of fluid dynamics in the presence of several different phases. Underworld solves a non-linear Stokes flow problem using Finite Elements combined with particle-in-cell approach, thus the discretization combines a standard Eulerian Finite Element mesh with Lagrangian particles to track the location of the phases. The final model consists of two oceanic plates with viscoplastic rheology subducting into the upper mantle in opposite direction and the problem is driven by Rayleigh-Taylor instability. We study the influence of the boundary conditions in the model evolution, and the slab deformation produced by the proximity between both plates. Moreover the case of asymmetric friction on the lateral sides of slabs is also considered. Simulations of single subduction models are used as a reference, to compare results and understand the influence of the second plate. We observe slight differences in the trench retreat velocity and the slab morphology near the contact area when plates are

  10. What favors the occurrence of subduction mega-earthquakes? (United States)

    Brizzi, Silvia; Funiciello, Francesca; Corbi, Fabio; Sandri, Laura; van Zelst, Iris; Heuret, Arnauld; Piromallo, Claudia; van Dinther, Ylona


    uncertainties related to the short observational timespan with respect to the seismic cycle duration, we are systematically testing the influence of Wtrench and Tsed with novel 3D analogue and numerical models, respectively. Analogue models consist of a gelatin wedge underthrusted by a planar, 10° dipping slab including a rectangular patch with velocity-weakening frictional behavior. The experimental setup, specifically designed for the purpose, has the advantage of varying Wtrench from 50 cm to 1.5 m (i.e., 300 to 1000 km in nature), thus offering the opportunity to investigate its influence on MMax. Numerical models are performed using the visco-elasto-plastic Seismo-Thermo-Mechanical code (STM; van Dinther et al., 2013). The 2D setup has been modified including a layer of sediments on top of the subducting plate to test the role of Tsed on MMax. Results coming from the different adopted methodologies will be coupled to develop an integrated conceptual model, pointing out the potential cause-effect relationships between subduction zone parameters and the MMax of STF earthquakes

  11. Subduction dynamics: Constraints from gravity field observations (United States)

    Mcadoo, D. C.


    Satellite systems do the best job of resolving the long wavelength components of the Earth's gravity field. Over the oceans, satellite-borne radar altimeters such as SEASAT provide the best resolution observations of the intermediate wavelength components. Satellite observations of gravity contributed to the understanding of the dynamics of subduction. Large, long wavelength geoidal highs generally occur over subduction zones. These highs are attributed to the superposition of two effects of subduction: (1) the positive mass anomalies of subducting slabs themselves; and (2) the surface deformations such as the trenches convectively inducted by these slabs as they sink into the mantle. Models of this subduction process suggest that the mantle behaves as a nonNewtonian fluid, its effective viscosity increases significantly with depth, and that large positive mass anomalies may occur beneath the seismically defined Benioff zones.

  12. Mantle convection, tectonics and the evolution of the Tethyan subduction zone (United States)

    Jolivet, Laurent; Sternai, Pietro; Menant, Armel; Faccenna, Claudio; Becker, Thorsten; Burov, Evguenii


    side of Africa from the Jurassic until the collision in the Oligocene, and even afterward when Arabia formed by opening of the Red Sea and the Gulf of Aden. This also suggests a dominant role of an underlying flow at large scale, dragging and mechanically eroding plates and breaking them into fragments, then passively carried. Only during a short period of the Late Cretaceous did the situation change drastically with the obduction event giving the large ophiolitic nappes observed from Oman to Turkey. This obduction event has never been really explained. It has been shown to be coeval with faster plate velocities and more active formation of oceanic crust globally, which in turn suggests a link with deep mantle convection. We discuss this succession of events and propose to relate them with the basal drag induced by convective mantle flow below the African continental lithosphere. We discuss the effects of convection on crustal deformation at different scales from deep convection related to plumes and subduction zones to more local mantle flow due to slab retreat and tearing.

  13. Seismotectonics of the southern boundary of Anatolia, eastern Mediterranean region: Subduction, collision, and arc jumping (United States)

    Rotstein, Yair; Kafka, Alan L.


    The pattern of seismicity and fault plane solutions of earthquakes are used to outline the tectonic features of the southern boundary of Anatolia in the eastern Mediterranean and southeastern Turkey. The results of this study show that this boundary is composed of two distinct parts. One, in southeastern Turkey and Syria, is a wide and complex zone of continental collision. The other, in the Levantine basin of the eastern Mediterranean, is a zone of oceanic subduction. In the region of continental collision three zones of seismicity are observed. Most of the seismic activity in this region follows the Bitlis zone and is associated with a zone of thrusting and mountain building. This appears to be the zone of most active deformation and plate consumption in the plate boundary region between Arabia and Turkey. A less active zone of seismicity to the north of the Bitlis zone is interpreted to have been more active in the past whereas another active zone of seismicity to the south is interpreted to be a zone which may be more active in the future as the main zone of plate consumption jumps to the south. In the subduction zone of the eastern Mediterranean the depth of the subducted slab and the rate of seismicity generally increase from east to west. The zone of present-day convergence between Africa and Turkey in the Levantine basin can be best outlined by the northern edge of the Mediterranean ridge. The subduction zone in this area sequentially jumps to the south as small continental fragments collide with existing zones of subduction. Deep seismic activity near the Gulf of Antalya is associated with a detached subducted slab north of the Anaximander Mountains that is distinctly different from the seismic trend which is associated with present-day active subduction. The plate boundary between Africa and Turkey at the center of the Levantine basin appears to have shifted to the south of the Anaximander Mountains and Florence rise. Most of the focal mechanisms of the

  14. Shear wave splitting and the dynamics of the hydrated mantle wedge in subduction regions constrained by the example of the Ryukyu subduction zone (United States)

    Nagaya, T.; Walker, A.; Wookey, J. M.; Wallis, S.; Ishii, K.; Kendall, J. M.


    H2O-rich subduction fluids are a key component of convergent plate margin dynamics, essential to earthquake initiation and magma formation. These fluids in the wedge mantle are dominantly derived from antigorite dragged down by plate motion. However, the accurate distribution of antigorite-rich serpentinite related to the fluid transport in subduction zones has thus far been difficult to determine. Our approach is to model the S-wave splitting of the Ryukyu arc in order to constrain the distribution, amount and orientation of antigorite, while taking into account the geometry of seismic ray paths and the elastic anisotropy of deformed antigorite-bearing mantle. We have also carried out a full assessment of uncertainties associated with our analysis including time delay estimates from the seismic waves themselves, crustal anisotropy, averaging schemes for CPO, and the strength of antigorite CPO patterns. The results suggest the presence of a large-scale flow in the hydrous mantle with a low viscosity and more than 54% of this domain consists of antigorite. Other geophysical observations in the forearc mantle including the low seismic velocity and gravity anomaly are also compatible with our inference of the presence of induced flow in an antigorite-rich, hydrated mantle wedge in the Ryukyu arc. We have also constructed a geodynamic model to examine flow patterns in the hydrated shallow wedge mantle using the distribution and proportion of serpentinite derived from our seismic model and subduction parameters that are close to those of the arc. The results clearly show that convection occurs in the serpentinized mantle wedge and that this domain is associated with a low surface heat flow. S-wave splitting observations in other subduction zones implies this large-scale serpentinization and hydrous mantle flow is likely to be more widespread than generally recognized and the view that the forearc mantle of cold subduction zones lacks significant zones of hydration needs

  15. Long-term fore-arc basin evolution in response to changing subduction styles in southern Alaska (United States)

    Finzel, Emily S.; Enkelmann, Eva; Falkowski, Sarah; Hedeen, Tyler


    Detrital zircon U-Pb and fission track double-dating and Hf isotopes from the Mesozoic and Cenozoic strata in the southern Alaska fore-arc basin system reveal the effects of two different modes of flat-slab subduction on the evolution of the overriding plate. The southern margin of Alaska has experienced subduction of a spreading-ridge ( 62-50 Ma) and an oceanic plateau ( 40-0 Ma). When a subducting spreading ridge drives slab flattening, our data suggest that after the ridge has moved along strike retro-arc sediment sources to the fore arc become more predominant over more proximal arc sources. Spreading-ridge subduction also results in thermal resetting of rocks in the upper plate that is revealed by thermochronologic data that record the presence of young age peaks found in subsequent, thin sedimentary strata in the fore-arc basin. When a subducting oceanic plateau drives slab flattening, our data suggest that basin catchments get smaller and local sediment sources become more predominant. Crustal thickening due to plateau subduction drives widespread surface uplift and significant vertical uplift in rheologically weak zones that, combined, create topography and increase rock exhumation rates. Consequently, the thermochronologic signature of plateau subduction has generally young age peaks that generate short lag times indicating rapid exhumation. The cessation of volcanism associated with plateau subduction limits the number of syndepositional volcanic grains that produce identical geochronologic and thermochronologic ages. This study demonstrates the merit of double-dating techniques integrated with stratigraphic studies to expose exhumational age signatures diagnostic of large-scale tectonic processes in magmatic regions.

  16. Origin and consequences of western Mediterranean subduction, rollback, and slab segmentation (United States)

    van Hinsbergen, Douwe J. J.; Vissers, Reinoud L. M.; Spakman, Wim


    The western Mediterranean recorded subduction rollback, slab segmentation and separation. Here we address the questions of what caused Oligocene rollback initiation, and how its subsequent evolution split up an originally coherent fore arc into circum-southwest Mediterranean segments. We kinematically reconstruct western Mediterranean geology from subduction initiation to present, using Atlantic plate reconstructions as boundary condition. We test possible reconstructions against remnants of subducted lithosphere imaged by seismic tomography. Transform motion between Africa and Iberia (including the Baleares) between 120 and 85 Ma was followed by up to 150 km convergence until 30 Ma. Subduction likely initiated along the transform fault that accommodated pre-85 Ma translation. By the 30 Ma inception of rollback, up to 150 km of convergence had formed a small slab below the Baleares. Iberia was disconnected from Sardinia/Calabria through the North Balearic Transform Zone (NBTZ). Subduction below Sardinia/Calabria was slightly faster than below the Baleares, the difference being accommodated in the Pyrenees. A moving triple junction at the trench-NBTZ intersection formed a subduction transform edge propagator fault between the Baleares and Calabria slab segments. Calabria rolled back eastward, whereas the Baleares slab underwent radial (SW-S-SE) rollback. After Kabylides-Africa collision, the western slab segment retreated toward Gibraltar, here reconstructed as the maximum rollback end-member model, and a Kabylides slab detached from Africa. Opening of a slab window below the NBTZ allowed asthenospheric rise to the base of the fore arc creating high-temperature metamorphism. Western Mediterranean rollback commenced only after sufficient slab-pull was created from 100 to 150 km of slow, forced subduction before 30 Ma.

  17. Long distance transport of eclogite and blueschist during early Pacific Ocean subduction rollback (United States)

    Tamblyn, Renee; Hand, Martin; Kelsey, David; Phillips, Glen; Anczkiewicz, Robert


    The Tasmanides in eastern Australia represent a period of continental crustal growth on the western margin of the Pacific Ocean associated with slab rollback from the Cambrian until the Triassic. During rollback numerical models predict that subduction products can become trapped in the forearc (Geyra et al., 2002), and can migrate with the trench as it retreats. In a long-lived subduction controlled regime such as the Tasmanides, this should result in an accumulation of subduction products with protracted geochronological and metamorphic histories. U-Pb, Lu-Hf, Sm-Nd and Ar-Ar geochronology and phase equilibria modelling of lawsonite-eclogite and garnet blueschist in the Southern New England Fold Belt in Australia demonstrate that high-P low-T rocks remained within a subduction setting for c. 40 Ma, from c. 500 to 460 Ma. High-P metamorphic rocks initially formed close to the Australian cratonic margin during the late Cambrian, and were subsequently transported over 1500 Ma oceanward, during which time subducted material continued to accumulate, resulting in the development of complex mélange which records eclogite and blueschist metamorphism and partial exhumation over 40 Ma. The duration of refrigerated metamorphism approximates the extensional evolution of the upper plate which culminated in the development of the Lachlan Fold Belt. The protracted record of eclogite and blueschist metamorphism indicates that rapid exhumation is not necessarily required for preservation of high-pressure metamorphic rocks from subduction systems. Reference: Gerya, T. V., Stockhert, B., & Perchuk, A. L. (2002). Exhumation of high-pressure metamorphic rocks in a subduction channel: A numerical simulation. Tectonics, 21(6), 6-1-6-19. doi:10.1029/2002tc001406

  18. The characteristics of mantle lithosphere buoyancy revealed from the northern Manila subduction zone to the active collision in Taiwan region (United States)

    Lo, Chung-Liang; Doo, Wen-Bin; Kuo-Chen, Hao; Hsu, Shu-Kun; Lin, Jing-Yi


    It has been widely studied on the complexity tectonic structure in the active Taiwan orogenesis, since the converging between the Philippine Sea plate (PSP) and the Eurasian plate (EU) along with the Manila subduction zone extended from the Philippine to offshore the southern Taiwan and the Ryukyu subduction zone in the east. Considering the separate contribution of the crust and the mantle lithosphere to the topography, we try to examine the mantle lithosphere buoyancy (Hm) behavior from the northern Manila subduction zone to the active collision in Taiwan region. In this study, we present several Hm profiles across the northern Manila subduction zone and the Taiwan island. In order to calculate the Hm, the crust structures are constrained by the forward gravity modeling, in which the density is provided from the multi-channel seismic data and on land seismic data (thanks to the Taiwan Integrated Geodynamic Research (TAIGER) project). The result shows that the Hm across the northern Manila subduction zone displays apparent undulations, and undulates more drastic approaching the north end of the subduction zone. It implies that the plate coupling between the PSP and the EU here is weak. The Hm across the southern Taiwan undulates still, but the amplitudes are smaller with relative gentle undulations. This reflects the contribution from the slab underneath while the initial collision occurs in south Taiwan. Into the central Taiwan, the Hm pattern behaves undulating mild comparing with that across the subduction zone because the slab structure effects not obvious. Besides, the Hm in the central Taiwan primarily is affects by both the thickening crust and high elevation caused by the strong lateral external compression stress.

  19. Seismotectonics of the southern boundary of Anatolia, Eastern Mediterranean region: subduction, collision, and arc jumping

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    Rotstein, Y.; Kafka, A.L.


    The pattern of seismicity and fault plane solutions of earthquakes are used to outline the tectonic features of the southern boundary of Anatolia in the eastern Mediterranean and southeastern Turkey. The results of this study show that this boundary is composed of two distinct parts. One, in southeastern Turkey and Syria, is a wide and complex zone of continental collision. The other, in the Levantine basin of the eastern Mediterranean, is a zone of oceanic subduction. In the region of continental collision three zones of seismicity are observed. Most of the seismic activity in this region follows the Bitlis zone and is associated with a zone of thrusting and mountain building. This appears to be the zone of most active deformation and plate consumption in the plate boundary region between Arabia and Turkey. A less active zone of seismicity to the north of the Bitlis zone is interpreted to have been more active in the past whereas another active zone of seismicity to the south is interpreted to be a zone which may be more active in the future as the main zone of plate consumption jumps to the south. In the subduction zone of the eastern Mediterranean the depth of the subducted slab and the rate of seismicity generally increease from east to west. The zone of present-day convergence between Africa and Turkey in the Levantine basin can be best outlined by the northern edge of the Mediterranean ridge. Deep seismic activity near the Gulf of Antalya is associated with a detached subducted slab north of the Anaximander Mountains that is distinctly different from the seismic trend which is associated with present-day active subduction. Most of the focal mechanisms of the earthquakes along the entire southern boundary of Anatolia indicate that N to NNW thrusting is the dominant mode of seismic deformation.

  20. Postcollisional mafic igneous rocks record crust-mantle interaction during continental deep subduction. (United States)

    Zhao, Zi-Fu; Dai, Li-Qun; Zheng, Yong-Fei


    Findings of coesite and microdiamond in metamorphic rocks of supracrustal protolith led to the recognition of continental subduction to mantle depths. The crust-mantle interaction is expected to take place during subduction of the continental crust beneath the subcontinental lithospheric mantle wedge. This is recorded by postcollisional mafic igneous rocks in the Dabie-Sulu orogenic belt and its adjacent continental margin in the North China Block. These rocks exhibit the geochemical inheritance of whole-rock trace elements and Sr-Nd-Pb isotopes as well as zircon U-Pb ages and Hf-O isotopes from felsic melts derived from the subducted continental crust. Reaction of such melts with the overlying wedge peridotite would transfer the crustal signatures to the mantle sources for postcollisional mafic magmatism. Therefore, postcollisonal mafic igneous rocks above continental subduction zones are an analog to arc volcanics above oceanic subduction zones, providing an additional laboratory for the study of crust-mantle interaction at convergent plate margins.

  1. 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

  2. Present-day kinematics of the Rivera plate and implications for tectonics in southwestern Mexico (United States)

    Demets, Charles; Stein, Seth


    A model for the present-day motion of the Rivera plate relative to the North America, Cocos, and Pacific plates is derived using new data from the Pacific-Rivera rise and Rivera transform fault, together with new estimates of Pacific-Rivera motions. The results are combined with the closure-consistent NUVEL-1 global plate motion model of DeMets et al. (1990) to examine present-day deformation in southwestern Mexico. The analysis addresses several questions raised in previous studies of the Rivera plate. Namely, do plate motion data from the northern East Pacific rise require a distinct Rivera plate? Do plate kinematic data require the subduction of the Rivera plate along the seismically quiescent Acapulco trench? If so, what does the predicted subduction rate imply about the earthquake recurrence interval in the Jalisco region of southwestern Mexico?

  3. Investigation on subduction erosion of the Central Costa Rica margin with seismic wide- angle data (United States)

    Zhu, J.; Flueh, E. R.; Kopp, H.; Klaeschen, D.


    Seismic wide-angle investigations along the Pacific margin off Central Costa Rica were carried out using closely spaced ocean bottom hydrophones and seismometers along two parallel strike and two parallel dip lines, intersecting at the mid slope. The structure and the P-wave velocities of the subducted oceanic Cocos Plate and overriding Carribean Plate were determined by modeling the wide-angle seismic data combined with the analysis of coincident reflection seismic data and the use of synthetic seismograms. Detailed velocity-depth distributions of two dip-lines and two strike-lines on the continental slope will be presented. Below the slope sediment, a wedge-shaped body, the margin wedge is defined by high velocities (4.3-6.1 km/s). This wedge shows a high velocity gradient zone in the uppermost one to two km, underlain by a low velocity gradient to the plate boundary. Between the subducted plate and overriding plate the low velocity zone including a lense-type structure is seen. This Megalens (4.0-4.3 km/s) and the subducted sediment comprise a low velocity zone (LVZ) all along the plate boundary. This LVZ is constrained by joint analysis of reflection seismic data and wide-angle data. The thickness of the wedge varies along the strike, this is associated with the subduction of the extension of Quepos Plateau, which also resulted in uplift of the margin. The extensional forearc environment is manifested by the normal faults indicated on the the multi-channel seismic (MCS) data. The Megalens is most probably comprised of material transferred from upper margin wedge at the tip of the wedge. The velocity structure within the Megalense resembles the velocities at the tip of the wedge, and is clearly lower than the oceanic crust, but higher thn subducted sediment. If this interpretation is valid, this material has been transported 16 km landward, which implies it was detached from the upper plate 0.2 Ma ago.

  4. Oceanic-style Subduction Controls Late Cenozoic Deformation of the Northern Pamir and Alai (United States)

    Sobel, E. R.; Chen, J.; Schoenbohm, L. M.; Thiede, R. C.; Stockli, D. F.; Sudo, M.; Strecker, M. R.


    The Pamir - Alai represents the preeminent example of an active intracontinental subduction zone in the early stages of continent-continent collision. Such zones are the least understood type of plate boundary because modern examples are few and of limited access, and ancient analogs have been extensively overprinted by subsequent continent-continent collision and erosion processes. In the Pamir, at least 300 km of convergence has apparently occurred between the North Pamir and the South Tien Shan. Published P-wave tomography and earthquake epicenters suggest subduction of a ~300 km-long slab. The MPT and Pamir Frontal Thrusts (PFT) correspond to the updip projection of this subduction zone. We have compiled ca. 260 published and 18 new apatite and zircon (U-Th)/He and fission track, and biotite and muscovite Argon cooling ages from basement samples as well as several detrital samples from key areas in the Pamir region. Our synopsis shows that the hanging wall of the MPT experienced relatively minor amounts of late Cenozoic exhumation. This is incompatible with a model of a huge overthrust such as the Himalayan Main Central Thrust. Rather, the bulk of the convergence is apparently accommodated by underthrusting. The Pamir orogen as a whole is an integral part of the overriding plate in a subduction system, while the remnant basin to the north constitutes the downgoing plate. Herein, we demonstrate that the observed deformation of the upper and lower plates within the Pamir-Alai convergence zone resembles highly arcuate oceanic subduction systems characterized by slab rollback, subduction erosion, subduction accretion, and marginal slab-tear faults. We suggest that the curvature of the North Pamir is genetically linked to the short width and rollback of the south-dipping Alai slab; northward motion (indentation) of the Pamir is accommodated by crustal processes related to slab rollback and intracontinental subduction. Our model relates late Oligocene - early Miocene

  5. 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)

    Zuo, Xuran; 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.

  6. The interplay between subduction and lateral extrusion : A case study for the European Eastern Alps based on analogue models

    NARCIS (Netherlands)

    van Gelder, I. E.; Willingshofer, E.; Sokoutis, D.; Cloetingh, S. A.P.L.


    A series of analogue experiments simulating intra-continental subduction contemporaneous with lateral extrusion of the upper plate are performed to study the interference between these two processes at crustal levels and in the lithospheric mantle. The models demonstrate that intra-continental

  7. Mw 8.6 Sumatran earthquake of 11 April 2012: rare seaward expression of oblique subduction (United States)

    Ishii, Miaki; Kiser, Eric; Geist, Eric L.


    The magnitude 8.6 and 8.2 earthquakes off northwestern Sumatra on 11 April 2012 generated small tsunami waves that were recorded by stations around the Indian Ocean. Combining differential travel-time modeling of tsunami waves with results from back projection of seismic data reveals a complex source with a significant trench-parallel component. The oblique plate convergence indicates that ~20-50 m of trench-parallel displacement could have accumulated since the last megathrust earthquake, only part of which has been taken up by the Great Sumatran fault. This suggests that the remaining trench-parallel motion was released during the magnitude 8.6 earthquake on 11 April 2012 within the subducting plate. The magnitude 8.6 earthquake is interpreted to be a result of oblique subduction as well as a reduction in normal stress due to the occurrence of the Sumatra-Andaman earthquake in 2004.

  8. Slow slip near the trench at the Hikurangi subduction zone, New Zealand. (United States)

    Wallace, Laura M; Webb, Spahr C; Ito, Yoshihiro; Mochizuki, Kimihiro; Hino, Ryota; Henrys, Stuart; Schwartz, Susan Y; Sheehan, Anne F


    The range of fault slip behaviors near the trench at subduction plate boundaries is critical to know, as this is where the world's largest, most damaging tsunamis are generated. Our knowledge of these behaviors has remained largely incomplete, partially due to the challenging nature of crustal deformation measurements at offshore plate boundaries. Here we present detailed seafloor deformation observations made during an offshore slow-slip event (SSE) in September and October 2014, using a network of absolute pressure gauges deployed at the Hikurangi subduction margin offshore New Zealand. These data show the distribution of vertical seafloor deformation during the SSE and reveal direct evidence for SSEs occurring close to the trench (within 2 kilometers of the seafloor), where very low temperatures and pressures exist. Copyright © 2016, American Association for the Advancement of Science.

  9. Interplay between deformation, fluid release and migration across a nascent subduction interface: evidence from Oman-UAE and implications for warm subduction zones (United States)

    Agard, Philippe; Prigent, Cécile; Soret, Mathieu; Guillot, Stéphane; Dubacq, Benoît


    Frozen-in subduction plate interfaces preserving the first 1-2 My of the subduction history are found beneath ophiolites. These contacts are a key target to study the inception of mantle wedge metasomatism and the mechanical coupling between the upper plate and the top part of the sinking slab shortly after subduction initiation. Combining structural field and EBSD data, detailed petrology, thermodynamic modelling and geochemistry on both sides, i.e. the base of the mantle wedge (Oman-UAE basal peridotites) and the underlying accreted crustal fragments from the subducting slab (metamorphic soles), this study documents the continuous evolution of the plate contact from 1 GPa 900-750°C to 0.6 GPa 750-600°C, with emphasis on strain localization and feedbacks between deformation and fluid migration. In the mantle wedge, the (de)formation of proto-ultramylonitic peridotites is coeval with mantle metasomatism by focused hydrous fluid migration. Peridotite metasomatism results in the precipitation of new minerals (clinopyroxene, amphibole and spinel ± olivine and orthopyroxene) and their enrichment in FMEs (particularly B, Li and Cs, with concentrations up to 40 times that of the PM). Boron concentrations and isotopes (δ11B of metasomatized peridotites up to +25‰) suggest that these fluids with a "subduction signature" are probably sourced from the dehydrating amphibolitic metamorphic sole. Concomitantly, deformation in the lower plate results in the stepwise formation, detachment and accretion to the mylonitic s.l. mantle of successive slices of HT metabasalts from the downgoing slab, equilibrated at amphibolite/granulite conditions (900-750°C). Two major stages may be outlined: - between 900 and 750°C, the garnet-clinopyroxene-amphibole bearing sinking crust (with melting < 6 vol%) gets juxtaposed and mechanically coupled to the mantle, leading to the transfer of subduction fluids and metasomatism (possibly into the arc zone ultimately). Deformation is

  10. Postglacial (after 18 ka) deep-sea sedimentation along the Hikurangi subduction margin (New Zealand): Characterisation, timing and origin of turbidites


    Pouderoux, Hugo; Proust, Jean-Noël; Lamarche, Geoffroy; Orpin, Alan; Neil, Helen


    International audience; Recent sedimentation along the Hikurangi subduction margin off northeastern New Zealand is investigated using a series of piston cores collected between 2003 and 2008. The active Hikurangi Margin lies along the Pacific-Australia subduction plate boundary and contains a diverse range of geomorphologic settings. Slope basin stratigraphy is thick and complex, resulting from sustained high rates of sedimentation from adjacent muddy rivers throughout the Quaternary. Turbidi...

  11. Transfer of subduction fluids into the deforming mantle wedge during nascent subduction: Evidence from trace elements and boron isotopes (Semail ophiolite, Oman) (United States)

    Prigent, C.; Guillot, S.; Agard, P.; Lemarchand, D.; Soret, M.; Ulrich, M.


    The basal part of the Semail ophiolitic mantle was (de)formed at relatively low temperature (LT) directly above the plate interface during "nascent subduction" (the prelude to ophiolite obduction). This subduction-related LT deformation was associated with progressive strain localization and cooling, resulting in the formation of porphyroclastic to ultramylonitic shear zones prior to serpentinization. Using petrological and geochemical analyses (trace elements and B isotopes), we show that these basal peridotites interacted with hydrous fluids percolating by porous flow during mylonitic deformation (from ∼850 down to 650 °C). This process resulted in 1) high-T amphibole crystallization, 2) striking enrichments of minerals in fluid mobile elements (FME; particularly B, Li and Cs with concentrations up to 400 times those of the depleted mantle) and 3) peridotites with an elevated δ11B of up to +25‰. These features indicate that the metasomatic hydrous fluids are most likely derived from the dehydration of subducting crustal amphibolitic materials (i.e., the present-day high-T sole). The rapid decrease in metasomatized peridotite δ11B with increasing distance to the contact with the HT sole (to depleted mantle isotopic values in slab-derived elements to the locus of partial melting in subduction zones.

  12. Determination of recent horizontal crustal movements and deformations of African and Eurasian plates in western Mediterranean region using geodetic-GPS computations extended to 2006 (from 1997) related to NAFREF and AFREF frames. (United States)

    Azzouzi, R.


    Determination of recent horizontal crustal movements and deformations of African and Eurasian plates in western Mediterranean region using geodetic-GPS computations extended to 2006 (from 1997) related to NAFREF and AFREF frames. By: R. Azzouzi*, M. Ettarid*, El H. Semlali*, et A. Rimi+ * Filière de Formation en Topographie Institut Agronomique et Vétérinaire Hassan II B.P. 6202 Rabat-Instituts MAROC + Département de la Physique du Globe Université Mohammed V Rabat MAROC This study focus on the use of the geodetic spatial technique GPS for geodynamic purposes generally in the Western Mediterranean area and particularly in Morocco. It aims to exploit this technique first to determine the geodetic coordinates on some western Mediterranean sites. And also this technique is used to detect and to determine movements cross the boundary line between the two African and Eurasian crustal plates on some well chosen GPS-Geodynamics sites. It will allow us also to estimate crustal dynamic parameters of tension that results. These parameters are linked to deformations of terrestrial crust in the region. They are also associated with tectonic constraints of the study area. The usefulness of repeated measurements of these elements, the estimate of displacements and the determination of their temporal rates is indisputable. Indeed, sismo-tectonique studies allow a good knowledge of the of earthquake processes, their frequency their amplitude and even of their prediction in the world in general and in Moroccan area especially. They allow also contributing to guarantee more security for all most important management projects, as projects of building great works (dams, bridges, nuclear centrals). And also as preliminary study, for the most important joint-project between Europe and Africa through the Strait of Gibraltar. For our application, 23 GPS monitoring stations under the ITRF2000 reference frame are chosen in Eurasian and African plates. The sites are located around the

  13. Indonesian Landforms and Plate Tectonics

    Directory of Open Access Journals (Sweden)

    Herman Th. Verstappen


    Full Text Available DOI: 10.17014/ijog.v5i3.103The horizontal configuration and vertical dimension of the landforms occurring in the tectonically unstable parts of Indonesia were resulted in the first place from plate tectonics. Most of them date from the Quaternary and endogenous forces are ongoing. Three major plates – the northward moving Indo-Australian Plate, the south-eastward moving SE-Asian Plate and the westward moving Pacific Plate - meet at a plate triple-junction situated in the south of New Guinea’s Bird’s Head. The narrow North-Moluccan plate is interposed between the Asia and Pacific. It tapers out northward in the Philippine Mobile Belt and is gradually disappearing. The greatest relief amplitudes occur near the plate boundaries: deep ocean trenches are associated with subduction zones and mountain ranges with collision belts. The landforms of the more stable areas of the plates date back to a more remote past and, where emerged, have a more subdued relief that is in the first place related to the resistance of the rocks to humid tropical weathering Rising mountain ranges and emerging island arcs are subjected to rapid humid-tropical river erosions and mass movements. The erosion products accumulate in adjacent sedimentary basins where their increasing weight causes subsidence by gravity and isostatic compensations. Living and raised coral reefs, volcanoes, and fault scarps are important geomorphic indicators of active plate tectonics. Compartmental faults may strongly affect island arcs stretching perpendicular to the plate movement. This is the case on Java. Transcurrent faults and related pull-apart basins are a leading factor where plates meet at an angle, such as on Sumatra. The most complicated situation exists near the triple-junction and in the Moluccas. Modern research methods, such as GPS measurements of plate movements and absolute dating of volcanic outbursts and raised coral reefs are important tools. The mega-landforms resulting

  14. Interactions between strike-slip earthquakes and the subduction interface near the Mendocino Triple Junction (United States)

    Gong, Jianhua; McGuire, Jeffrey J.


    The interactions between the North American, Pacific, and Gorda plates at the Mendocino Triple Junction (MTJ) create one of the most seismically active regions in North America. The earthquakes rupture all three plate boundaries but also include considerable intraplate seismicity reflecting the strong internal deformation of the Gorda plate. Understanding the stress levels that drive these ruptures and estimating the locking state of the subduction interface are especially important topics for regional earthquake hazard assessment. However owing to the lack of offshore seismic and geodetic instruments, the rupture process of only a few large earthquakes near the MTJ have been studied in detail and the locking state of the subduction interface is not well constrained. In this paper, first, we use the second moments inversion method to study the rupture process of the January 28, 2015 Mw 5.7 earthquake on the Mendocino transform fault that was unusually well recorded by both onshore and offshore strong motion instruments. We estimate the rupture dimension to be approximately 6 km by 3 km corresponding to a stress drop of ∼4 MPa for a crack model. Next we investigate the frictional state of the subduction interface by simulating the afterslip that would be expected there as a result of the stress changes from the 2015 earthquake and a 2010 Mw 6.5 intraplate earthquake within the subducted Gorda plate. We simulate afterslip scenarios for a range of depths of the downdip end of the locked zone defined as the transition to velocity strengthening friction and calculate the corresponding surface deformation expected at onshore GPS monuments. We can rule out a very shallow downdip limit owing to the lack of a detectable signal at onshore GPS stations following the 2010 earthquake. Our simulations indicate that the locking depth on the slab surface is at least 14 km, which suggests that the next M8 earthquake rupture will likely reach the coastline and strong shaking

  15. Testing Spatial Correlation of Subduction Interplate Coupling and Forearc Morpho-Tectonics (United States)

    Goldfinger, Chris; Meigs, Andrew; Meigs, Andrew; Kaye, Grant D.; VanLaningham, Sam


    Subduction zones that are capable of generating great (Mw greater than 8) earthquakes appear to have a common assemblage of forearc morphologic elements. Although details vary, each have (from the trench landward), an accretionary prism, outer arc high, outer forearc basin, an inner forean: basin, and volcanic arc. This pattern is common in spite of great variation in forearc architecture. Because interseismic strain is known to be associated with a locked seismogenic plate interface, we infer that this common forearc morphology is related, in an unknown way, to the process of interseismic Strain accumulation and release in great earthquakes. To date, however, no clear relationship between the subduction process and the common elements of upper plate form has emerged. Whereas certain elements of the system, i.e. the outer arc high, are reasonably well- understood in a structural context, there is little understanding of the structural or topographic evolution of the other key elements like the inner arc and inner forearc basin, particularly with respect to the coupled zone of earthquake generation. This project developed a model of the seismologic, topographic, and uplift/denudation linkages between forearc topography and the subduction system by: 1) comparing geophysical, geodetic, and topographic data from subduction margins that generate large earthquakes; 2) using existing GPS, seismicity, and other data to model the relationship between seismic cycles involving a locked interface and upper-plate topographic development; and 3) using new GPS data and a range-scale topographic, uplift, and denudation analysis of the presently aseismic Cascadia margin to constrain topographic/plate coupling relationships at this poorly understood margin.

  16. Seismotectonics in the Pamir: An oblique transpressional shear and south-directed deep-subduction model

    Directory of Open Access Journals (Sweden)

    Jiasheng Zhang


    Full Text Available The 3-D geometry of the seismicity in Hindu Kush–Pamir–western China region has been defined by seismic records for 1975–1999 from the National Earthquake Information Center, the U.S. Geological Survey, and over 16,000 relocated earthquakes since 1975 recorded by the Xinjiang seismic network of China. The results show that most Ms ≥ 5.0 hypocenters in the area are confined to a major intracontinental seismic shear zone (MSSZ. The MSSZ, which dips southwards in Pamir has a north-dipping counterpart in the Hindu Kush to the west; the two tectonic realms are separated by the sinistral Chaman transform fault of the India–Asia collisional zone. We demonstrate that the MSSZ constitutes the upper boundary of a south-dipping, actively subducting Pamir continental plate. Three seismic concentrations are recognized just above the Pamir MSSZ at depths between 45–65 km, 95–120 km, and 180–220 km, suggesting different structural relationships where each occurs. Results from focal mechanism solutions in all three seismological concentrations show orientations of the principal maximum stress to be nearly horizontal in an NNW–SSE direction. The south-dipping Pamir subduction slab is wedge-shaped with a wide upper top and a narrow deeper bottom; the slab has a gentle angle of dip in the upper part and steeper dips in the lower part below an elbow depth of ca. 80–120 km. Most of the deformation related to the earthquakes occurs within the hanging wall of the subducting Pamir slab. Published geologic data and repeated GPS measurements in the Pamir document a broad supra-subduction, upper crustal zone of evolving antithetic (i.e. north-dipping back-thrusts that contribute to north-south crustal shortening and are responsible for exhumation of some ultrahigh-pressure rocks formed during earlier Tethyan plate convergence. An alternating occurrence in activity of Pamir and Chaman seismic zones indicates that there is interaction between

  17. Quantitative Study of Seismogenic Potential Along Manila Trench: Effects of Scaborough Seamount Chain Subduction (United States)

    Yu, H.; Liu, Y.; Li, D.; Ning, J.; Matsuzawa, T.; Shibazaki, B.; Hsu, Y. J.


    Modern seismicity record along the Manila Trench shows only infrequent Mw7 earthquakes, the lack of great earthquakes may indicate the subduction fault is either aseismically slipping or is accumulating strain energy toward rapid release in a megathrust earthquake. We conduct numerical simulations of the plate coupling, earthquake nucleation and dynamic rupture propagation processes along the Manila subduction fault (15-19.5ºN), taking into consideration the effects of plate geometry (including subducted seamounts), fault strength, rate-state frictional properties and pore pressure variations. Specifically, we use the bathymetry to depict the outline of Manila trench along its strike, 2681 background seismicity (1970/02/13 to 2013/09/06) from Chinese Earthquake Network Center and 540 focal mechanism solutions (1976/01/01 to 2013/01/27) from Global CMT project to constrain the geometry of the subducting Sunda/Eurasian slab. The compilation of seismicity and focal mechanism indicates the plate dipping angle gradually changes from 28º (south of the Scaborough Seamount Chain) to 12º (north of it). This geometric anomaly may due to the subducted part of the seamount chain. Preliminary modeling results using gabbro gouge friction data show that the Scaborough Seamount Chain could be a barrier to earthquake rupture propagation. Only earthquakes larger than Mw7 can overcome the barrier to rupture the entire Manila trench. Smaller earthquakes would cease rupturing when it encounters the seamount chain. Moreover, we propose that Manila trench subduction zone has the potential of rupturing in a Mw8 megathrust earthquake, if the simulation period is long enough for an Mw8 earthquake cycle and dynamic rupture overcomes the subducted Scaborough Seamount Chain. Our model parameters will be further constrained by laboratory rock mechanics experiments conducted on IODP Expedition 349, South China Sea (SCS), drilling samples (work in progress at China Earthquake Administration

  18. 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.

  19. Tectonic history of subduction zones inferred from retrograde blueschist P-T paths

    Energy Technology Data Exchange (ETDEWEB)

    Ernst, W.G. (Univ. of California, Los Angeles (USA))


    Many Phanerozoic convergent plate junctions are marked by discontinuous blueschist belts, reflecting relatively high-pressure (P) prograde trajectories. Common blueschist paragneisses, such as those of the western Alps, exhibit widespread overprinting by greenschist and/or epidote-amphibolite facies assemblages. For this type of high-P belt, retrograde metamorphism involved fairly rapid, nearly isothermal decompression; some terranes underwent continued heating during early stages of pressure release. Uplift probably occurred as a consequence of the entrance of an island arc, oceanic plateau, or segment of continental crust into the subduction zone (collision), resulting in marked deceleration or cessation of underflow and buoyant, approximately adiabatic rise of the stranded, recrystallized subduction complex. Other high-P belts, such as the Franciscan of western California, preserve metamorphic aragonite and lack a low-P overprint; retrogression approximately retraced the prograde P-T (temperature) path, or for early formed high-grade blocks, occurred at even higher P/T ratios. Parts of this type of metamorphic belt evidently migrated slowly back up the subduction zone in response to isostatic forces during continued plate descent and refrigeration. Upward motion took place as tectonically imbricated slices, as laminar return flow in melange zones, and perhaps partly a lateral spreading/extension of the underplated accretionary prism. Retrograde P-T trajectories of high-P belts therefore provide important constraints on the tectonic evolution of convergent plate junctions.

  20. Insight into the subducted Indian slab and origin of the Tengchong volcano in SE Tibet from receiver function analysis (United States)

    Xu, Mijian; Huang, Hui; Huang, Zhouchuan; Wang, Pan; Wang, Liangshu; Xu, Mingjie; Mi, Ning; Li, Hua; Yu, Dayong; Yuan, Xiaohui


    The subduction of the Indian Plate beneath SE Tibet and its related volcanism in Tengchong are important geologic processes that accompany the evolution of the Tibetan Plateau. However, it is still not clear whether the subduction and volcanism are confined to the upper mantle or if they extend deep into the mantle transition zone (MTZ). Here, we imaged MTZ structures by using receiver function methods with the waveforms recorded by more than 300 temporary stations in SE Tibet. The results show significant depressions of both the 410-km and 660-km discontinuities and a thickened MTZ (260-280 km) beneath SE Tibet. The depression of the 660-km discontinuity (by 10-30 km) and the thickened MTZ correlate well with high P-wave velocity anomalies in the MTZ, indicating the presence of a subducted Indian slab within the MTZ. Significant depression of the 410-km discontinuity (by 10-20 km) beneath the Tengchong volcano indicates that the volcano originates from the MTZ and is closely related to the subducted Indian slab. Our results confirm the deep subduction of the Indian plate and the deep origin of the Tengchong volcano. However, it remains unknown whether a slab gap exists and contributes to the Tengchong volcano.

  1. A numerical reference model for themomechanical subduction

    DEFF Research Database (Denmark)

    Quinquis, Matthieu; Chemia, Zurab; Tosi, Nicola


    response to systematic variations in input parameters, numerical studies often start from a 'reference' subduction model. However, the reference model often varies between different numerical studies, making it difficult to compare results directly. We aim therefore to define a numerical reference model......, and initial temperature distribution. We will show results of the evolution and dynamics of the subduction reference model using different numerical codes: a finite element code, SULEC, and two finite difference codes, YACC and FDcon....

  2. Investigating the Role of Dehydration Reactions in Subduction Zone Pore Pressures Using Newly-Developed Permeability-Porosity Relationships (United States)

    Screaton, E.; Daigle, H.; James, S.; Meridth, L.; Jaeger, J. M.; Villaseñor, T. G.


    Dehydration reactions are linked to shallow subduction zone deformation through excess pore pressures and their effect on mechanical properties. Two reactions, the transformation of smectite to illite and of opal-A to opal-CT and then to quartz, can occur relatively early in the subduction process and may affect the propagation of the plate boundary fault, the updip limit of velocity-weakening frictional paper, and tsunamigenesis. Due to large variations between subduction zones in heat flow, sedimentation rates, and geometries, dehydration location may peak prior to subduction to as much as 100 km landward of the deformation front. The location of the dehydration reaction peak relative to when compaction occurs, causes significant differences in pore pressure generation. As a result, a key element to modeling excess pore pressures due to dehydration reactions is the assumed relationship between permeability and porosity. Data from Integrated Ocean Drilling Program (IODP) drilling of subduction zone reference sites were combined with previously collected results to develop relationships for porosity-permeability behavior for various sediment types. Comparison with measurements of deeper analog data show that porosity-permeability trends are maintained through burial and diagenesis to porosities <10%, suggesting that behavior observed in shallow samples is informative for predicting behavior at depth following subduction. We integrate these permeability-porosity relationships, compaction behavior, predictions of temperature distribution, kinetic expressions for smectite and opal-A dehydration, into fluid flow models to examine the role of dehydration reactions in pore pressure generation.

  3. Is plate tectonis withstanding the test of time?

    Directory of Open Access Journals (Sweden)

    O. Shields


    Full Text Available Since the theory of plate tectonics was first proposed thirty years ago, some problems have arisen in its practical application. These call into question its fundamental assumptions of horizontal plate motion, hotspot fixity, true polar wander, Panthalassa, and the Earth’s constant size while leaving seafloor spreading and subduction intact. A rapidity expanding earth solves these problems and privides an alternative viewpoint worth reconsidering.

  4. Seismicity and plate tectonics in south central Alaska (United States)

    Van Wormer, J. D.; Davies, J.; Gedney, L.


    Hypocenter distribution shows that the Benioff zone associated with the Aleutian arc terminates in interior Alaska some 75 km north of the Denali fault. There appears to be a break in the subducting Pacific plate in the Yentna River-Prince William Sound area which separates two seismically independent blocks, similar to the segmented structure reported for the central Aleutian arc.

  5. Record of mid-Archaean subduction from metamorphism in the Barberton terrain, South Africa. (United States)

    Moyen, Jean-François; Stevens, Gary; Kisters, Alexander


    Although plate tectonics is the central geological process of the modern Earth, its form and existence during the Archaean era (4.0-2.5 Gyr ago) are disputed. The existence of subduction during this time is particularly controversial because characteristic subduction-related mineral assemblages, typically documenting apparent geothermal gradients of 15 degrees C km(-1) or less, have not yet been recorded from in situ Archaean rocks (the lowest recorded apparent geothermal gradients are greater than 25 degrees C km(-1)). Despite this absence from the rock record, low Archaean geothermal gradients are suggested by eclogitic nodules in kimberlites and circumstantial evidence for subduction processes, including possible accretion-related structures, has been reported in Archaean terrains. The lack of spatially and temporally well-constrained high-pressure, low-temperature metamorphism continues, however, to cast doubt on the relevance of subduction-driven tectonics during the first 1.5 Gyr of the Earth's history. Here we report garnet-albite-bearing mineral assemblages that record pressures of 1.2-1.5 GPa at temperatures of 600-650 degrees C from supracrustal amphibolites from the mid-Archaean Barberton granitoid-greenstone terrain. These conditions point to apparent geothermal gradients of 12-15 degrees C-similar to those found in recent subduction zones-that coincided with the main phase of terrane accretion in the structurally overlying Barberton greenstone belt. These high-pressure, low-temperature conditions represent metamorphic evidence for cold and strong lithosphere, as well as subduction-driven tectonic processes, during the evolution of the early Earth.

  6. Tectonics of the IndoBurma Oblique Subduction Zone (United States)

    Steckler, M. S.; Seeber, L.; Akhter, S. H.; Betka, P. M.; Cai, Y.; Grall, C.; Mondal, D. R.; Gahalaut, V. K.; Gaherty, J. B.; Maung Maung, P.; Ni, J.; Persaud, P.; Sandvol, E. A.; Tun, S. T.


    The Ganges-Brahmaputra Delta (GBD) is obliquely colliding with the IndoBurma subduction zone. Most of the 42 mm/y of arc-parallel motion is absorbed in a set of dextral to dextral-convergent faults, the Sagaing, Kabaw and Churachandpur-Mao Faults. The 13-17 mm/y of convergence with the delta has built a 250-km wide active accretionary prism. The upper part of the 19-km sediment thickness consists of a shallowing-up stack of prograding strata that has shifted the shelf edge 3-400 km since the Himalayan orogeny at 50 Ma. The upper 3-5 km sandy shelf to fluvial strata are deformed into a broad fold and thrust belt above an overpressured décollement. It forms a flat shallow roof thrust in the frontal accretionary prism. The structure of the deeper part of the accretionary prism, which must transfer the incoming sediments to the upper plate, is unknown. GPS indicates the downdip end of the megathrust locked zone is 25 km at 92.5°E. The deformation front, marked by nascent detachment folds above the shallow décollement reaches the megacity of Dhaka in the middle of the GBD. The seismogenic potential of this portion of the prism is unknown. Arc volcanism in Myanmar, 500 km east of the deformation front, is sparse. Limited geochemical data on the arc volcanics are consistent with hot slab conditions. One possibility is that the deep GBD slab and basement are metamorphosed and dewatered early in the subduction process whereby most of the fluids are transferred to the growing prism by buoyancy driven migration or accretion of fluid-rich strata. Since it is entirely subaerial this little-studied region crossing Bangladesh, India and Myanmar provides an opportunity for a detailed multidisciplinary geophysical and geological investigation. It has the potential to highlight the role of fluids in subduction zones, the tectonics of extreme accretion and their seismic hazards, and the interplay between driving and resistance forces of a subduction zone during a soft collision.

  7. 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

  8. Coherent tilt signals observed in the Shumagin seismic gap Detection of time-dependent subduction at depth? (United States)

    Beavan, J.; Bilham, R.; Hurst, K.


    Repeated surveys of short level lines in the Shumagin Islands, Alaska, reveal coherent tilt signals associated with subduction of the Pacific plate beneath the North American plate in the Shumagin seismic gap. Ten years of steady tilt down toward the trench is interrupted during 1978-1980 by a rapid episode of reverse tilt. The 'normal' tilt represents surface deformation as subduction occurs, with the plate boundary locked to at least 60 km depth. Using all available tilt, sea level, and seismic data, the tilt reversal is interpreted as due to an episodic reverse slip of about 80 cm magnitude on the plate boundary between about 70 km and 20 km depth, downdip from the main seismogenic zone, which remains locked. This event causes an increase of stress on the locked main thrust zone. It is speculated that such events may be a regular process at subduction zones, that great plate boundary earthquakes may be more common during their occurrence, and that their onset may be detectable early enough to give warning of an increase in probability for the occurrence of a great earthquake.

  9. First results of high-resolution modeling of Cenozoic subduction orogeny in Andes (United States)

    Liu, S.; Sobolev, S. V.; Babeyko, A. Y.; Krueger, F.; Quinteros, J.; Popov, A.


    The Andean Orogeny is the result of the upper-plate crustal shortening during the Cenozoic Nazca plate subduction beneath South America plate. With up to 300 km shortening, the Earth's second highest Altiplano-Puna Plateau was formed with a pronounced N-S oriented deformation diversity. Furthermore, the tectonic shortening in the Southern Andes was much less intensive and started much later. The mechanism of the shortening and the nature of N-S variation of its magnitude remain controversial. The previous studies of the Central Andes suggested that they might be related to the N-S variation in the strength of the lithosphere, friction coupling at slab interface, and are probably influenced by the interaction of the climate and tectonic systems. However, the exact nature of the strength variation was not explored due to the lack of high numerical resolution and 3D numerical models at that time. Here we will employ large-scale subduction models with a high resolution to reveal and quantify the factors controlling the strength of lithospheric structures and their effect on the magnitude of tectonic shortening in the South America plate between 18°-35°S. These high-resolution models are performed by using the highly scalable parallel 3D code LaMEM (Lithosphere and Mantle Evolution Model). This code is based on finite difference staggered grid approach and employs massive linear and non-linear solvers within the PETSc library to complete high-performance MPI-based parallelization in geodynamic modeling. Currently, in addition to benchmark-models we are developing high-resolution (Paleozoic-Cenozoic sediments above the uppermost crust in the Subandean Ranges. Future work will be focused on the origin of different styles of deformation and topography evolution in Altiplano-Puna Plateau and Central-Southern Andes through 3D modeling of large-scale interaction of subducting and overriding plates.

  10. Extensional reactivation of the Chocolate Mountains subduction thrust in the Gavilan Hills of southeastern California (United States)

    Oyarzabal, F.R.; Jacobson, C.E.; Haxel, G.B.


    The NE vergent Chocolate Mountains fault of south-eastern California has been interpreted as either a subduction thrust responsible for burial and prograde metamorphism of the ensimatic Orocopia Schist or as a normal fault involved in the exhumation of the schist. Our detailed structural analysis in the Gavilan Hills area provides new evidence to confirm the latter view. A zone of deformation is present at the top of the Orocopia Schist in which lineations are parallel to those in the upper plate of the Chocolate Mountains fault but oblique to ones at relatively deep levels in the schist. Both the Orocopia Schist and upper plate contain several generations of shear zones that show a transition from crystalloblastic through mylonitic to cataclastic textures. These structures formed during retrograde metamorphism and are considered to record the exhumation of the Orocopia Schist during early Tertiary time as a result of subduction return flow. The Gatuna fault, which places low-grade, supracrustal metasediments of the Winterhaven Formation above the gneisses of the upper plate, also seems to have been active at this time. Final unroofing of the Orocopia Schist occurred during early to middle Miocene regional extension and may have involved a second phase of movement on the Gatuna fault. Formation of the Chocolate Mountains fault during exhumation indicates that its top-to-the-NE sense of movement provides no constraint on the polarity of the Orocopia Schist subduction zone. This weakens the case for a previous model involving SW dipping subduction, while providing support for the view that the Orocopia Schist is a correlative of the Franciscan Complex.

  11. Organic matter cracking: A source of fluid overpressure in subducting sediments (United States)

    Raimbourg, Hugues; Thiéry, Régis; Vacelet, Maxime; Famin, Vincent; Ramboz, Claire; Boussafir, Mohammed; Disnar, Jean-Robert; Yamaguchi, Asuka


    The pressure of deep fluids in subduction zones is a major control on plate boundary strength and earthquake genesis. The record, by methane-rich fluid inclusions, of large ( 50-100 MPa) and instantaneous pressure variations in the Shimanto Belt (Japan) points to the presence of large fluid overpressure at depth (300-500 MPa, 250 °C). To further analyze the connection between methane and fluid overpressure, we determined with Rock-Eval the potential for a worldwide selection of deep seafloor sediments to produce methane as a result of organic matter (OM) cracking due to temperature increase during subduction. The principal factor controlling the methanogenesis potential of sediments is OM proportion, while OM nature is only a subordinate factor. In turn, OM proportion is mainly controlled by the organic terrigenous input. Considering a typical sediment from ocean-continent subduction zones, containing 0.5 wt% of type III OM, cracking of OM has two major consequences: (1) Methane is produced in sufficient concentration as to oversaturate the pore-filling water. The deep fluid in accretionary prisms is therefore a mechanical mixture of water-rich and methane-rich phases; (2) CH4 production can generate large fluid overpressure, of the order of several tens of MPa, The conditions for these large overpressure are a low permeability of the upper plate (z > 10 km) where OM thermal cracking occurs. At these depths, OM thermal cracking appears as a source of overpressure larger than the last increments of smectite-to-illite reaction. Such large overpressures play potentially a role in facilitating slip along the plate interface. Conversely, the scarcity of earthquakes in ocean-ocean subduction zones such as Marianna or Barbados may be related to the low influx of detrital OM and the limited methane/overpressure generation at depth.

  12. Fluid accumulation along the Costa Rica subduction thrust and development of the seismogenic zone (United States)

    Bangs, Nathan L.; McIntosh, Kirk D.; Silver, Eli A.; Kluesner, Jared W.; Ranero, César R.


    In 2011 we acquired an 11 × 55 km, 3-D seismic reflection volume across the Costa Rica margin, NW of the Osa Peninsula, to accurately image the subduction thrust in 3-D, to examine fault zone properties, and to infer the hydrogeology that controls fluid accumulation along the thrust. Following processing to remove water column multiples, noise, and acquisition artifacts, we constructed a 3-D seismic velocity model for Kirchhoff prestack depth migration imaging. Images of the plate boundary thrust show high-reflection amplitudes underneath the middle to lower slope that we attribute to fluid-rich, poorly drained portions of the subduction thrust. At 5 km subseafloor, beneath the upper slope, the plate interface abruptly becomes weakly reflective, which we interpret as a transition to a well-drained subduction thrust. Mineral dehydration during diagenesis may also diminish at 5 km subseafloor to reduce fluid production and contribute to the downdip change from high to low amplitude. There is also a layered fabric and systems of both thrust and normal faults within the overriding plate that form a "plumbing system." Faults commonly have fault plane reflections and are presumably fluid charged. The faults and layered fabric form three compartmentalized hydrogeologic zones: (1) a shallow NE dipping zone beneath the slope, (2) a steeply SW dipping zone beneath the shelf slope break, and (3) a NE dipping zone beneath the shelf. The more direct pathway in the middle zone drains the subduction thrust more efficiently and contributes to reduced fluid pressure, elevates effective stress, and creates greater potential for unstable coseismic slip.

  13. Stress and Strength of Seismogenic and Creeping Subduction Faults (Invited) (United States)

    Wang, K.; Bilek, S. L.; Wada, I.; Gao, X.; Brown, L.


    Force balance studies of subduction zone forearcs constrained by earthquake focal mechanisms, active faulting, and topography suggest very weak subduction megathrusts. If represented by an effective coefficient of friction μ', the ratio of shear to normal stress at failure, the average μ' value of most megathrusts is about 0.03, seldom exceeding 0.06, an order of magnitude lower than fault strengths predicted by the Byerlee's law with hydrostatic pore fluid pressure. The μ' value required to explain heat flow observations using megathrust frictional heating modeling is usually also about 0.03, regardless of whether the megathrust is seismogenic or creeping. The mechanism for the weakness is not fully understood, although it must be a combined consequence of fault zone material, fault zone fabric, and pore fluid pressure. Prior to March 11, 2011, the Japan Trench was a rare exception where pervasive margin-normal compression of the upper plate made it difficult to infer megathrust strength. But wholesale stress reversal in much of the forearc due to the M 9 Tohoku earthquake dramatically verified the low-strength (μ' = 0.03) prediction of Wang and Suyehiro (1999, GRL 26(35), 2307-2310). This value translates to depth-dependant shear strength of roughly 10 MPa at 10 km and 30 MPa at 30 km. With regard to how fault strength and stress affect earthquake processes, several issues deserve special attention. (1) There is little doubt that no megathrust is 'strongly' locked, but creeping megathrusts can be either weaker or stronger than locked faults. In fact, subduction of extremely rugged seafloor causes creeping, despite strong resistance caused by geometrical incompatibilities. Physical meanings of regarding locked and creeping faults as 'strongly coupled' and 'weakly coupled', respectively, are in serious question. (2) A μ' value of 0.03-0.05 is a spatial average. For a smooth fault, even small changes in pore fluid pressure alone can cause local deviations from

  14. Plate tectonics

    Digital Repository Service at National Institute of Oceanography (India)

    Chaubey, A.K.

    Content-Type text/plain; charset=UTF-8 209 Plate Tectonics A. K. Chaubey National Institute of Oceanography, Dona Paula, Goa-403 004. Introduction The theory of continental drift, which paved the way for discovery... of plate tectonics, was put forward by Alfred Lother Wegener - a meteorologist from Germany - in 1912. The theory states that continents are not fixed, but have been slowly wandering during the course of Earth’s geological history. Although Wegener...

  15. Subduction Zone Concepts and the 2010 Chile Earthqake (Arthur Holmes Medal Lecture) (United States)

    von Huene, Roland


    Knowledge of convergent margin systems evolved from hypothesis testing with marine geophysical technology that improved over decades. Wegener's drift hypothesis, Holmes mantle convection, and marine magnetic anomaly patterns were integrated into an ocean spreading concept that won wide acceptance after ocean drilling confirmed the crustal younging trend toward the Mid-Atlantic ridge. In contrast, the necessary disposal of oceanic and trench sediment at convergent margins remained largely hypothetical. Fresh interpretations of some coastal mountains as exposing ancient convergent margin rock assemblages and the seismologist's "Wadati-Benioff" zone were combined into a widely-accepted hypothesis. A convergent margin upper plate was pictured as an imbricate fan of ocean sediment thrust slices detached from the lower plate. During the 1980s ocean drilling to test the hypothesis revealed what then were counter-intuitive processes of sediment subduction and subduction erosion. Rather than the proposed seaward growth by accretion, many margins had lost material from erosion. In current concepts, individual margins are shaped by the net consequences of subduction accretion, sediment subduction, and subduction erosion. Similarly, recently acquired age data from ancient subduction complexes reveal periods dominated by accretion separated by periods dominated by tectonic erosion. Globally, the recycling of continental crustal material at subduction zones appears largely balanced by magmatic addition at volcanic arcs. The longevity of the original imbricate fan model in text books confirms its pictorial simplicity, because geophysical images and drill core evidence show that it commonly applies to only a relatively small frontal prism. A better understanding of convergent margin dynamics is of urgent societal importance as coastal populations increase rapidly and as recent disastrous earthquakes and tsunamis verify. The shift in convergent margin concepts has developed through

  16. Delamination, upper plate extension, and plate margin complexity (United States)

    Ueda, Kosuke; Gerya, Taras; Willett, Sean


    We investigate the syn- and post-subduction margin evolution with respect to extension, lithospheric removal, and magmatic and topographic consequences by employing 3D geodynamic models. In all experiments, regions of extended partial melting are overlain by up to 3 km high plateaus. There is complex geometric entanglement between upper mantle, partially molten rocks, and lithosphere, which is thermally eroded, over hundreds of kilometers across the plate contact. A complex lithosphere-asthenosphere-boundary features elongated anomalies at scales of few tens to hundred kilometers. First-order, synthetic seismic anomaly patterns, based on thermodynamic velocities which are tabulated for model p,T conditions, are accordingly complex. Passive margin geometry variations in the lower plate effect consistent and inherited differences in dynamic evolution. Promontories along the margin tend to trigger three stages of evolution: 1) a magmatic arc; 2) a lower plate, eduction-like exhumation of buried continental crust in domal patterns of few tens of km wavelength; and subsequently, 3) the formation of extended zones on the upper plate which lack a lithospheric mantle, undergo partial extension, and feature lower crustal melting. Slab break-off is consistently favoured in locations where the lower plate margin is relatively recessed. Concerning the classical removal mechanisms, transitions and co-evolution between delamination, convective thinning, and upper-plate extension are gradual and these modes are not mutually exclusive. Almost complete mixed-mode removal and extension can be compared to the Aegean. Slab window formation by margin geometry variation produces characteristic uplift patterns that are comparable to the Apennines, where higher uplift rates could be a consequence of incipient necking of the slab below central Calabria.

  17. The Role of Subducting Ridges in the Formation of Flat Slabs: Insights from the Peruvian Flat Slab (United States)

    Knezevic Antonijevic, Sanja; Wagner, Lara; Kumar, Abhash; Beck, Susan; Long, Maureen; Zandt, George; Eakin, Caroline M.


    Flattening of the subducting plate is often used to explain various geological features removed far from the subducting margins, including basement-cored uplifts, the cessation of arc volcanism, ignimbrite flare-ups, and the formation of high plateaus and ore deposits [Humphreys et al., 2003; Gutscher et al., 2000; Rosenbaum et al., 2005, Kay and Mpodozis, 2001]. Today, flat slab subduction is observed in central Chile and Peru, representing the modern analogues to the immense paleo-flat slab that subducted beneath the North American continent during the Laramide orogeny (80-55 Ma) [English et al., 2003]. However, how flat slabs form and what controls their inboard and along-strike extent is still poorly understood. To better understand modern and paleo-flat slabs, we focus on the Peruvian flat slab, where the Nazca plate starts to bend at ~90 km depth and travels horizontally for several hundred kilometers beneath the South American plate. Earlier studies propose a correlation between the flat slab and the subducting Nazca Ridge that has been migrating to the south over the past 11 ~Ma [Hampel et al., 2004, Gutscher et al., 2003]. Combining 3D shear wave velocity structure and Rayleigh wave phase anisotropy between ~10° and 18° S, we find that the flat slab has the greatest inboard extent along the track of the subducting Nazca Ridge. North of the ridge track, where the flat slab was initially formed, the flat slab starts to sag, tear and re-initiate steep slab subduction, allowing inflow of warm asthenosphere. Based on our new constraints on the geometry of the subducted plate, we find that the subduction of buoyant oceanic features with overthickened oceanic crust plays a vital role in the formation of flat slabs. We further develop a model of temporal evolution of the Peruvian flab slab that forms as a result of the combined effects of the subducting ridge, trench retreat, and suction forces. Once the buoyant ridge subducts to ~90 km depth, it will fail to

  18. Three-Dimensional Thermal Structure of the Middle-America Subduction Zone: Along-margin mantle flow and slab metamorphism (United States)

    Rosas, J. C.; Currie, C. A.; He, J.


    Temperature is the primary control parameter of several processes occurring at subduction zones, such as slab metamorphism and dehydration, arc volcanism and the rupture width of megathrust earthquakes. The thermal state depends on the temperature of the oceanic slab and the flow pattern of the overlying mantle wedge. In most previous studies, mantle flow was modeled as two-dimensional (2D) corner flow, driven by the subducting plate. However, recent studies have shown the limitations of the 2D corner flow scheme, as a three-dimensional (3D) oceanic plate structure can generate along-strike pressure gradients, producing a trench-parallel flow component. One region where 3D effects may be important is the Middle America Subduction Zone (MASZ). Here, the dip of the oceanic plate varies from 0 to 70 degrees along the margin, with abrupt changes in slab dip in Central Mexico and Costa Rica-Nicaragua. Seismic anisotropy and arc magma geochemistry variations suggest a significant along-margin component of flow in these areas. Further, offshore surface heat flow measurements show that there may be along-margin variations in the temperature of the subducting oceanic plate, due to variations in plate age and hydrothermal circulation. In this study, we quantify the changes in the thermal structure of a subduction zone that result from along-margin variations in oceanic plate structure. We use 3D numerical models that consist of kinematically-defined subducting and overriding plates, and a flowing mantle wedge driven by drag exerted by the subducting plate. The finite-element code PGCtherm-3D is used to solve the steady-state governing equations for mantle wedge flow and the 3D thermal structure of the subduction zone. The models employ an oceanic plate that smoothly dips into the mantle and has along-margin variations in the deep dip of 40 and 70 degrees over a distance of 50km to 300km, as observed in some regions of the MASZ. Using an isoviscous mantle wedge, our

  19. Numerical simulation of earthquake rupture sequences on the Manila thrust fault: Effects of seamount subduction (United States)

    Yu, H.; Liu, Y.; Ning, J.; He, C.; Zhang, L.


    The Manila subduction zone is located at the convergent boundary between the Philippine Sea Plate and the Sunda/Eurasian Plate from offshore Taiwan to northern Luzon of Philippines, where only infrequent M7 earthquakes were observed in modern seismological instrumentation history. The lack of great events (M8+) indicates the subduction fault is either aseismically slipping or is accumulating strain energy toward rapid release in a great earthquake. Here we conduct numerical simulations of earthquake rupture sequences in the framework of rate-state-friction along the 15-19.5ºN segment of the 3D plate boundary with subducted seamounts. Rate-state frictional properties are constrained by laboratory friction experiments conducted on IODP Expedition 349, South China Sea (SCS), drilling samples from the basaltic basement rock under 100ºC - 600ºC, effective normal stress of 50 MPa and pore pressure of 100 MPa. During the modeled 2000-year period, the maximum magnitude of earthquakes is Mw7. Each sequence repeats every ~200 years and is consisted of three sub-events, event 1 (Mw7) that can overcome the barrier, where dip angle changes most rapidly along the strike, to rupture the entire fault. Events 2 (Mw 6.4) and 3 (Mw 5.7) are of smaller magnitudes and result in north-south segmented rupture pattern. We further quantify the potential of earthquake nucleation by the S-ratio (lower S ratio means the initial stress is closer to peak strength, hence more likely to nucleate an earthquake). The subducted seamount shows higher S-ratios than its surroundings mostly, implying an unlikely nucleate area. Our results are qualitatively similar to 2D subduction earthquake modeling by Herrendörfer et al. (2015, 2-3 events per supercycle and median long-term S is 0.5-1). Finally, we plan to use our coseismic rupture model results as inputs for a tsunami propagation model in SCS. Compared to the kinematic seafloor deformation input, our physics-based earthquake source model and its

  20. Electromagnetic Precursors Leading to Triangulation of Future Earthquakes and Imaging of the Subduction Zone (United States)

    Heraud, J. A.; Centa, V. A.; Bleier, T.


    During several sessions in past AGU meetings, reports on the progress of analysis of magnetometer data have been given, as our research moved from a one dimensional geometry, to two and finally to a three dimensional image. In the first case, we learned how to extract one coordinate, azimuth information, on the occurrence of an earthquake based on the processing of mono-polar pulses received at a single station. A two dimensional geometry was implemented through triangulation and we showed the use of this technique to find out where a future epicenter would occur. Recently, we have obtained compelling evidence that the pressure points leading to the determination of future epicenters originate at a plane, inclined with the same angle as the subduction zone, a three-dimensional position of the future hypocenter. Hence, an image of the subduction zone or interface between the Nazca plate and the continental plate in the northern area of Lima, Peru, has been obtained, corresponding to the subduction zone obtained by traditional seismic methods. Our work with magnetometers deployed along part of the Peruvian coast since 2009, has shown that it is possible to measure, with significant precision, the azimuth of electromagnetic pulses propagating from stress points in the earth's crust due to the subduction of tectonic plates, as to be able to determine precisely the origin of the pulses. The occurrence of earthquakes approximately 11 to 18 days after the appearance of the first pulses and the recognition of grouping of such pulses, has allowed us to determine accurately the direction and the timing of future seismic events. Magnetometers, donated by Quakefinder and Telefonica del Peru were then strategically installed in different locations in Peru with the purpose of achieving triangulation. During two years since 2013, about a dozen earthquakes have been associated with future seismic activity in a pre or post occurrence way. Our presentation will be based on animated

  1. Fluid and deformation regime of an advancing subduction system at Marlborough, New Zealand. (United States)

    Wannamaker, Philip E; Caldwell, T Grant; Jiracek, George R; Maris, Virginie; Hill, Graham J; Ogawa, Yasuo; Bibby, Hugh M; Bennie, Stewart L; Heise, Wiebke


    Newly forming subduction zones on Earth can provide insights into the evolution of major fault zone geometries from shallow levels to deep in the lithosphere and into the role of fluids in element transport and in promoting rock failure by several modes. The transpressional subduction regime of New Zealand, which is advancing laterally to the southwest below the Marlborough strike-slip fault system of the northern South Island, is an ideal setting in which to investigate these processes. Here we acquired a dense, high-quality transect of magnetotelluric soundings across the system, yielding an electrical resistivity cross-section to depths beyond 100 km. Our data imply three distinct processes connecting fluid generation along the upper mantle plate interface to rock deformation in the crust as the subduction zone develops. Massive fluid release just inland of the trench induces fault-fracture meshes through the crust above that undoubtedly weaken it as regional shear initiates. Narrow strike-slip faults in the shallow brittle regime of interior Marlborough diffuse in width upon entering the deeper ductile domain aided by fluids and do not project as narrow deformation zones. Deep subduction-generated fluids rise from 100 km or more and invade upper crustal seismogenic zones that have exhibited historic great earthquakes on high-angle thrusts that are poorly oriented for failure under dry conditions. The fluid-deformation connections described in our work emphasize the need to include metamorphic and fluid transport processes in geodynamic models.

  2. Mantle wedge infiltrated with saline fluids from dehydration and decarbonation of subducting slab. (United States)

    Kawamoto, Tatsuhiko; Yoshikawa, Masako; Kumagai, Yoshitaka; Mirabueno, Ma Hannah T; Okuno, Mitsuru; Kobayashi, Tetsuo


    Slab-derived fluids play an important role in heat and material transfer in subduction zones. Dehydration and decarbonation reactions of minerals in the subducting slab have been investigated using phase equilibria and modeling of fluid flow. Nevertheless, direct observations of the fluid chemistry and pressure-temperature conditions of fluids are few. This report describes CO2-bearing saline fluid inclusions in spinel-harzburgite xenoliths collected from the 1991 Pinatubo pumice deposits. The fluid inclusions are filled with saline solutions with 5.1 ± 1.0% (wt) NaCl-equivalent magnesite crystals, CO2-bearing vapor bubbles, and a talc and/or chrysotile layer on the walls. The xenoliths contain tremolite amphibole, which is stable in temperatures lower than 830 °C at the uppermost mantle. The Pinatubo volcano is located at the volcanic front of the Luzon arc associated with subduction of warm oceanic plate. The present observation suggests hydration of forearc mantle and the uppermost mantle by slab-derived CO2-bearing saline fluids. Dehydration and decarbonation take place, and seawater-like saline fluids migrate from the subducting slab to the mantle wedge. The presence of saline fluids is important because they can dissolve more metals than pure H2O and affect the chemical evolution of the mantle wedge.

  3. The influence of a subduction component on magmatism in the Okinawa Trough: Evidence from thorium and related trace element ratios (United States)

    Guo, Kun; Zeng, Zhi-Gang; Chen, Shuai; Zhang, Yu-Xiang; Qi, Hai-Yan; Ma, Yao


    The Okinawa Trough (OT) is a back-arc, initial continental marginal sea basin located behind the Ryukyu Arc-Trench System. Formation and evolution of the OT have been intimately related to subduction of the Philippine Sea Plate (PSP) since the late Miocene; thus, the magma source of the trough has been affected by subduction components, as in the case of other active back-arc basins, including the Lau Basin (LB) and Mariana Trough (MT). We review all the available geochemical data relating to basaltic lavas from the OT and the middle Ryukyu Arc (RA) in this paper in order to determine the influence of the subduction components on the formation of arc and back-arc magmas within this subduction system. The results of this study reveal that the abundances of Th in OT basalts (OTBs) are higher than that in LB (LBBs) and MT basalts (MTBs) due to the mixing of subducted sediments and EMI-like enriched materials. The geochemical characteristics of Th and other trace element ratios indicate that the OTB originated from a more enriched mantle source (compared to N-mid-ocean ridge basalt, N-MORB) and was augmented by subducted sediments. Data show that the magma sources of the south OT (SOT) and middle Ryukyu Arc (MRA) basalts were principally influenced by subducted aqueous fluids and bulk sediments, which were potentially added into magma sources by accretion and underplating. At the same time, the magma sources of the middle OT (MOT) and Kobi-syo and Sekibi-Syo (KBS+SBS) basalts were impacted by subducted aqueous fluids from both altered oceanic crust (AOC) and sediment. The variable geochemical characteristics of these basalts are due to different Wadati-Benioff depths and tectonic environments of formation, while the addition of subducted bulk sediment to SOT and MRA basalts may be due to accretion and underplating, and subsequent to form mélange formation, which would occur partial melting after aqueous fluids are added. The addition of AOC and sediment aqueous fluid

  4. The Southern Tyrrhenian subduction system: recent evolution and neotectonic implications

    Directory of Open Access Journals (Sweden)

    A. Argnani


    Full Text Available Geological and geophysical data have been integrated with the aim of presenting a new evolutionary model for the Southern Tyrrhenian and adjacent regions. The Southern Tyrrhenian backarc basin opened within a plate convergence regime because of sinking and rollback of the oceanic Ionian lithosphere. On the basis of seismological observations, I infer that the sinking slab was torn apart on either side in the last 2 Ma and this process controlled the neotectonics of the Southern Apennines - Tyrrhenian region. On the north-eastern side the slab broke off from NW to SE and this process triggered volcanism and NW-SE extension along the Eastern Tyrrhenian margin, and strike-slip tectonics along NW-SE trending faults in Northern Calabria. On the south-western side the slab broke off from W to E along the Aeolian Island alignment, although the tear has currently been reoriented along the NNW-SSE Malta escarpment. During its sinking the subducted slab also detached from the overriding plate, favouring the wedging of the asthenosphere between the two plates and the regional uplift of the Calabrian arc and surroundings. This regional uplift promoted gravitational instability within the orogenic wedge, particularly towards low topography areas; the large-scale sliding of the Calabrian arc towards the Ionian basin can be the cause of CW rotation and graben formation in Calabria. Also the E-dipping extensional faults of the Southern Apennines can be related to accommodation of vertical motions within the fold-and-thrust belt. The pattern of recent seismicity reflects this neotectonics where crustal-scale gravity deformation within the orogenic wedge is responsible for extensional earthquakes in Calabria and the Southern Apennines, whereas Africa plate convergence can account for compressional earthquakes in Sicily.

  5. Li isotopic constraints from the Erro-Tobbio serpentinites on Alpine subduction processes (United States)

    Chu, M.-F.; Scambelluri, M.; Griffin, W. L.; O'Reilly, S. Y.; Pearson, N. J.


    Subduction zones represent a unique feature of the dynamic Earth and provide important constraints on how plate tectonics works. Subduction of serpentinized oceanic lithosphere, characterized by releasing water into the mantle wedge via dehydration, i.e. breakdown of hydrous minerals, plays a critical role in not only the generation of continental crust but also the Earth's water cycle. To track the recycling of water or fluid released by subduction, the stable isotope system of Li, a lithophile and mobile element, shows its high potential because 7Li, relative to 6Li, preferentially moves into the fluid phase when fractionation occurs. Here we present new Li abundance and isotopic compositions of the Erro-Tobbio serpentinized peridotite complex, a remnant mantle slice of the Alpine subduction. Our data indicate that most of the serpentinized ultramafic rocks have uniform Li concentrations, around 1 ppm. These rocks, however, show variable Li isotopic compositions. Among them, the high-pressure antigorite-bearing metaperidotites, formed under a low-strain condition, have a limited range in Li isotopic values, with δ7Li = +1.5 to +4.0, similar to those of serpentinized peridotites. In contrast, apparently heavier Li isotopes, up to +10.0, are observed in the high-pressure serpentinite mylonites that also contain antigorite but formed in high-strain domains. We note that O-H isotope ratios of the high-pressure ultramafic rocks reported in previous study (Früh-Green et al., 2001, Contrib. Mineral Petrol. 141: 145-159) show insignificant variations between the low- and high-strain domains. This demonstrates the superiority of Li isotope than conventional stable isotope systems in offering critical information about fluid-releasing processes in subduction zones. Moreover, our new data unsupport the general assumption that fluid released from subducted slabs is in favor of extracting 7Li than 6Li, thus capable of forming the much lighter δ7Li values observed in

  6. Deciphering the 3-D distribution of fluid along the shallow Hikurangi subduction zone using P- and S-wave attenuation (United States)

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


    We use local earthquake velocity spectra to solve for the 3-D distribution of P- and S-wave attenuation in the shallow Hikurangi subduction zone in the North Island of New Zealand to gain insight into how fluids control both the distribution of slip rate deficit and slow-slip events at the shallow plate interface. Qs/Qp gives us information on the 3-D distribution of fluid saturation, which we can compare with the previously determined 3-D distribution of Vp/Vs, which gives information on pore fluid pressure. The Hikurangi margin is unusual, in that a large igneous province (the Hikurangi Plateau) is being subducted. This plateau has had two episodes of subduction—first at 105-100 Ma during north-south convergence with Gondwana, and currently during east-west convergence between the Pacific and Australian plates. We find that in the southern part of the subduction zone, where there is a large deficit in slip rate at the plate interface, the plate interface region is only moderately fluid-rich because the underlying plateau had already had an episode of dehydration during Gondwana subduction. But fluid pressure is relatively high, due to an impermeable terrane in the upper plate trapping fluids below the plate interface. The central part of the margin, where the slip rate deficit is very low, is the most fluid-rich part of the shallow subduction zone. We attribute this to an excess of fluid from the subducted plateau. Our results suggest this part of the plateau has unusually high fracture permeability, on account of it having had two episodes of bending—first at the Gondwana trench and now at the Hikurangi Trough. Qs/Qp is consistent with fluids migrating across the plate interface in this region, leaving it drained and producing high fluid pressure in the overlying plate. The northern part of the margin is a region of heterogeneous deficit in slip rate. Here the Hikurangi Plateau is subducting for the first time, so there is less fluid available from its

  7. On the relative significance of lithospheric weakening mechanisms for sustained plate tectonics (United States)

    Araceli Sanchez-Maes, Sophia


    Plate tectonics requires the bending of strong plates at subduction zones, which is difficult to achieve without a secondary weakening mechanism. Two classes of weakening mechanisms have been proposed for the generation of ongoing plate tectonics, distinguished by whether or not they require water. Here we show that the energy budget of global subduction zones offers a simple yet decisive test on their relative significance. Theoretical studies of mantle convection suggest bending dissipation to occupy only 10-20 % of total dissipation in the mantle, and our results indicate that the hydrous mechanism in the shallow part of plates is essential to satisfy the requirement. Thus, surface oceans are required for the long-term operation of plate tectonics on terrestrial worlds. Establishing this necessary and observable condition for sustained plate tectonics carries important implications for planetary habitability at large.

  8. The Coupling of Back-arc Extension, Extrusion and Subduction Dynamics in the Eastern Mediterranean (United States)

    Capitanio, Fabio A.


    Extension in the Aegean Sea and lateral Anatolian extrusion are contrasting and seemingly unrelated examples of continental tectonics In the Eastern Mediterranean. It is acknowledged that these must reconcile with the dynamics of Tethys closure and following continental collision along the convergent margin, however the underlying mechanisms have been difficult to pinpoint, thus far. Three-dimensional numerical modelling of the dynamics of subduction and coupling with the mantle and upper plates allows probing the evolution of similar areas, supporting inferences on the ultimate causes for the continental tectonics. I will present models that reproduce the force balance of subducting slabs' buoyancy, mantle flow and upper plate interiors, and emphasise the role of perturbations in the force balance that may have followed slab breakoff, collision and trench land-locking reconstructed during the oceanic closure in the Eastern Mediterranean. These perturbations lead to a range of different margin motions and strain regimes in the upper plate, from rollback and back-arc spreading, to indentation and extrusion along the collisional margin. Different spatial and temporal fingerprints are illustrated for these processes, and while the trench rollback and back-arc spreading are rather stable features, extrusion is transient. When these regimes overlap, rapid and complex rearrangements of the tectonics in the upper plate are the result. The remarkable similarity between the models' and the Eastern Mediterranean tectonic regimes and geophysical observable allows proposing viable driving mechanisms and support inferences on the Miocene-to-Pliocene evolution of this puzzling area.

  9. 3D receiver function Kirchhoff depth migration image of Cascadia subduction slab weak zone (United States)

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


    We have developed a highly computational efficient algorithm of applying 3D Kirchhoff depth migration to telesismic receiver function data. Combine primary PS arrival with later multiple arrivals we are able to reveal a better knowledge about the earth discontinuity structure (transmission and reflection). This method is highly useful compare with traditional CCP method when dipping structure is met during the imaging process, such as subduction slab. We apply our method to the reginal Cascadia subduction zone receiver function data and get a high resolution 3D migration image, for both primary and multiples. The image showed us a clear slab weak zone (slab hole) in the upper plate boundary under Northern California and the whole Oregon. Compare with previous 2D receiver function image from 2D array(CAFE and CASC93), the position of the weak zone shows interesting conherency. This weak zone is also conherent with local seismicity missing and heat rising, which lead us to think about and compare with the ocean plate stucture and the hydralic fluid process during the formation and migration of the subduction slab.

  10. The spatial distribution of earthquake stress rotations following large subduction zone earthquakes (United States)

    Hardebeck, Jeanne L.


    Rotations of the principal stress axes due to great subduction zone earthquakes have been used to infer low differential stress and near-complete stress drop. The spatial distribution of coseismic and postseismic stress rotation as a function of depth and along-strike distance is explored for three recent M ≥ 8.8 subduction megathrust earthquakes. In the down-dip direction, the largest coseismic stress rotations are found just above the Moho depth of the overriding plate. This zone has been identified as hosting large patches of large slip in great earthquakes, based on the lack of high-frequency radiated energy. The large continuous slip patches may facilitate near-complete stress drop. There is seismological evidence for high fluid pressures in the subducted slab around the Moho depth of the overriding plate, suggesting low differential stress levels in this zone due to high fluid pressure, also facilitating stress rotations. The coseismic stress rotations have similar along-strike extent as the mainshock rupture. Postseismic stress rotations tend to occur in the same locations as the coseismic stress rotations, probably due to the very low remaining differential stress following the near-complete coseismic stress drop. The spatial complexity of the observed stress changes suggests that an analytical solution for finding the differential stress from the coseismic stress rotation may be overly simplistic, and that modeling of the full spatial distribution of the mainshock static stress changes is necessary.

  11. OBS seismic data preliminary results: Manila subduction zone (21°N) (United States)

    Zhao, M.; Liu, S.; Sun, L.; Sibuet, J. C.; Zhang, J.; Chen, C.; Qiu, X.


    A two-dimensional ocean bottom seismometer (OBS) survey was performed in 2015, along an E-W trending line (OBS2015-2) located in front of the Manila subduction zone. The preliminary results show that OBS data are of high quality for the whole experiment. Seismic phases (such as Pg and PmP) are very clear in the OBSs' record sections. They are further identified by forward modeling using the Rayinvr software. The reflective seismic phases from the Moho interface (PmP) are observed in all OBS sections. The identification of these PmP phases used simultaneously with Fast and Tomo2D tomography results shows that the nature of the crust is essentially continental, not oceanic, except perhaps close to the trench. The obvious PmP phases in the incoming plate along the Manila Trench subduction zone, will further provide good constraints concerning the nature and evolution of the incoming plate in the Manila subduction zone. This research was granted by the Natural Science Foundation of China (91428204, 41176053) and the scientific cruise (NORC2015-8) by the R/V Shiyan 2.

  12. The spatial distribution of earthquake stress rotations following large subduction zone earthquakes (United States)

    Hardebeck, Jeanne L.


    Rotations of the principal stress axes due to great subduction zone earthquakes have been used to infer low differential stress and near-complete stress drop. The spatial distribution of coseismic and postseismic stress rotation as a function of depth and along-strike distance is explored for three recent M ≥ 8.8 subduction megathrust earthquakes. In the down-dip direction, the largest coseismic stress rotations are found just above the Moho depth of the overriding plate. This zone has been identified as hosting large patches of large slip in great earthquakes, based on the lack of high-frequency radiated energy. The large continuous slip patches may facilitate near-complete stress drop. There is seismological evidence for high fluid pressures in the subducted slab around the Moho depth of the overriding plate, suggesting low differential stress levels in this zone due to high fluid pressure, also facilitating stress rotations. The coseismic stress rotations have similar along-strike extent as the mainshock rupture. Postseismic stress rotations tend to occur in the same locations as the coseismic stress rotations, probably due to the very low remaining differential stress following the near-complete coseismic stress drop. The spatial complexity of the observed stress changes suggests that an analytical solution for finding the differential stress from the coseismic stress rotation may be overly simplistic, and that modeling of the full spatial distribution of the mainshock static stress changes is necessary.[Figure not available: see fulltext.

  13. Is the Vincent fault in southern California the Laramide subduction zone megathrust? (United States)

    Xia, H.; Platt, J. P.


    The Vincent fault (VF) in the San Gabriel Mountains, southern California separates a Meso-Proterozoic gneiss complex and Mesozoic granitoid rocks in the upper plate from the ocean-affiliated Late Cretaceous Pelona schist in the lower plate, and it has been widely interpreted as the original Laramide subduction megathrust. A 500 to 1000 m thick mylonite zone, consisting of a low-stress (LS) section at the bottom, a high-stress (HS) section at the top, and a weakly deformed section in between, is developed above the VF. Our kinematic, thermobarometric and geochronological analysis of the mylonite zone indicates that the VF is a normal fault. Shear sense indicators including asymmetric porphyroblasts, quartz new grain fabric, mineral fish, and quartz CPO from the HS and the LS sections exhibit a top-to-SE sense of shear on the SW-dipping mylonitic foliation, which is contrary to what one would expect for the Laramide subduction megathrust. A few samples from the LS section were overprinted by HS microstructure, implying that the LS mylonites predate the HS mylonites. TitaniQ thermometer and Si-in-muscovite barometer show that the P-T conditions are 389 ± 6 °C, 5 kbar for the LS mylonites and 329 ± 6 °C, 2.4 kbar for HS mylonites. Considering the temporal sequence of HS and LS mylonites, they are likely to be formed during exhumation. A comparison with the lower plate leads to the same conclusion. The top 80-100 m of the Pelona schist underneath the VF is folded and also mylonitized, forming the Narrows synform and S3 simultaneously. Our previous study found that S3 of the Pelona schist has a top-to-SE sense of shear and similar P-T conditions as the LS mylonite in the upper plate, so S3 of the Pelona schist is likely to be formed together with the LS mylonites in the upper plate. While mylonitization of Pelona schist (S3) overprinted both the subduction-related S1 fabric and the return-flow-related S2 fabric, it is reasonable to argue that the mylonite zone above

  14. Neoarchean Subduction Recorded in the Northern Margin of the Yangtze Craton, South China (United States)

    Zhang, S. B.; Zheng, Y. F.


    The Neoarchean is an important era during which plate tectonics began to operate widely on the earth and the continental crust compositions changed dramatically. However, reliable record of plate subduction has never been reported yet in the Yangtze Craton. Here we report geochemical studies on gneissic tonalite, trondhjemite and amphibolite in the Yudongzi Complex in the northern margin of the Yangtze Craton, which suggests that there is a plate subduction recorded in this area at about 2.7 Ga.The rocks in the Yudongzi Complex are gneissic granite, gneissic tonalite, amphibolite gneiss and magnetite quartzite. Most rocks are enriched in sodic. The gneissic granites show positive Eu anomalies, high (La/Yb)cn and Sr/Y ratios, low Ybcn and Y, resembling typical TTG. The amphibolite and tonalite gneiss show less fractionated REE patterns. SHRIMP zircon U-Pb dating on one gneissic trondhjemite, one amphibolite and one tonalite gave crystallization ages of 2667±21 Ma, 2701±10 Ma and 2697±9 Ma, respectively. They all recorded a metamorphic event at about 2.48 Ga. The SHRIMP zircon oxygen isotope analysis for a trondhjemite and an amphibolite gave δ18O values of 6.2±0.3‰ and 6.3±0.4‰, respectively. The oxygen isotope ratios higher than normal mantle values suggest a source experienced low temperature alteration. The laser fluoration analysis of bulk minerals gave δ18O values of 6.4-8.8‰ for zircon and 12.5-15.2‰ for quartz. The zircon Lu-Hf isotope analysis on the trondhjemite and amphibolite gave similar ɛHf(t) values of 0.08±0.48 and 0.07±0.63, respectively. Whole-rock ɛNd(t) values range from -1.5 to +1.0. These trondhjemite and tonalite can be interpreted as derivation from partial melting of subducted oceanic slab with a garnet-amphibolite residue.Considering the 2.67 Ga A-type granitic rocks at Huji in the interior of the craton, plate subduction took place in the northern edge of the Yangtze Craton. The Yudongzi trondhjemite and tonalite were

  15. Evidence for retrograde lithospheric subduction on Venus (United States)

    Sandwell, David T.; Schubert, Gerald


    Annular moats and outer rises around large Venus coronas such as Artemis, Latona, and Eithinoha are similar in arcuate planform and topography to the trenches and outer rises of terrestrial subduction zones. On earth, trenches and outer rises are modeled as the flexural response of a thin elastic lithosphere to the bending moment of the subducted slab; this lithospheric flexure model also accounts for the trenches and outer rises outboard of the major coronas on Venus. Accordingly, it is proposed that retrograde lithospheric subduction may be occurring on the margins of the large Venus coronas while compensating back-arc extension is occurring in the expanding coronas interiors. Similar processes may be taking place at other deep arcuate trenches or chasmata on Venus such as those in the Dali-Diana chasmata area of aestern Aphrodite Terra.

  16. Subduction zones seen by GOCE gravity gradients

    DEFF Research Database (Denmark)

    Švarc, Mario; Herceg, Matija; Cammarano, Fabio

    In this study, the GOCE (Gravity field and steady state Ocean Circulation Explorer) gradiometry data were used to study geologic structures and mass variations within the lithosphere in areas of known subduction zones. The advantage of gravity gradiometry over other gravity methods...... is that gradients are extremely sensitive to localized density contrasts within regional geological settings, which makes it ideally suited for detecting subduction zones. Second order gravity gradients of disturbing potential were extracted from global geopotential model, the fifth release GOCE model ‘EGM_TIM_RL05......’. In order to remove the signal which mainly corresponds to the gravity signal of the lower mantle, long wavelength part of the gravity signal was removed up to degree and order 60. Because the areas with notable topography differences coincide with subduction zones, topography correction was also performed...

  17. Thermal impact of magmatism in subduction zones (United States)

    Rees Jones, David W.; Katz, Richard F.; Tian, Meng; Rudge, John F.


    Magmatism in subduction zones builds continental crust and causes most of Earth's subaerial volcanism. The production rate and composition of magmas are controlled by the thermal structure of subduction zones. A range of geochemical and heat flow evidence has recently converged to indicate that subduction zones are hotter at lithospheric depths beneath the arc than predicted by canonical thermomechanical models, which neglect magmatism. We show that this discrepancy can be resolved by consideration of the heat transported by magma. In our one- and two-dimensional numerical models and scaling analysis, magmatic transport of sensible and latent heat locally alters the thermal structure of canonical models by ∼300 K, increasing predicted surface heat flow and mid-lithospheric temperatures to observed values. We find the advection of sensible heat to be larger than the deposition of latent heat. Based on these results we conclude that thermal transport by magma migration affects the chemistry and the location of arc volcanoes.

  18. Metamorphic zirconology of continental subduction zones (United States)

    Chen, Ren-Xu; Zheng, Yong-Fei


    Zircon is widely used to date geological events and trace geochemical sources in high-pressure (HP) to ultrahigh-pressure (UHP) metamorphic rocks of continental subduction zones. However, protolith zircons may be modified by three different types of metamorphic recrystallization via mechanisms of solid-state transformation, metasomatic alteration and dissolution reprecipitation; new zircon growth may be induced by dehydration reactions below the wet solidus of crustal rocks (metamorphic zircon) or peritectic reactions above the wet solidus (peritectic zircon). As a consequence, there are different origins of zircon domains in high-grade metamorphic rocks from collisional orogens. Thus, determining the nature of individual zircon domains is substantial to correct interpretation of their origin in studies of isotopic geochronology and geochemical tracing. We advocate an integrated study of zircon mineragraphy (internal structure and external morphology), U-Pb ages, mineral inclusions, trace elements, and Lu-Hf and O isotope compositions. Only in this way we are in a position to advance the simple zircon applications to metamorphic zirconology, enabling discrimination between the different origins of zircon and providing constraints on the property of fluid activity at subduction-zone conditions. The metamorphic recrystallization of protolith zircons and the new growth of metamorphic and peritectic zircons are prominent in HP to UHP metamorphic rocks of collisional orogens. These different types of recrystallized and grown zircons can be distinguished by their differences in element and isotope compositions. While the protolith nature of metamorphosed rocks dictates water availability, the P-T conditions of subduction zones dictate the property of subduction-zone fluids. The fluids of different properties may be produced at different positions of subducting and exhuming crustal slices, and they may physically and chemically mix with each other in continental

  19. 3-D imaging of two episodes of Hikurangi Plateau subduction in the southern South Island of New Zealand (United States)

    Eberhart-Phillips, D. M.; Reyners, M.; Upton, P.; Gubbins, D.


    The Hikurangi Plateau (originally part of the Ontong Java large igneous province) has been subducted beneath New Zealand twice - firstly at ca. 108-105 Ma during north-south convergence with Gondwana, and currently during east-west convergence between the Pacific and Australian plates. We have investigated the southern limit of this subducted plateau by supplementing the sparse GeoNet permanent seismograph network in the southeastern South Island with a forty-station broadband portable seismograph network. We have then used local earthquake tomography to determine detailed 3-D Vp and Vp/Vs structure in the southern South Island. We track a region of Vp 8.5 km/s (which has previously been associated with an eclogite layer at the base of the Hikurangi Plateau from studies in the North Island) across most of the southwestern South Island. Its southeastern edge runs diagonally from near Christchurch to northern Fiordland. It dips both to the northwest and the southwest, and impacts the subducted Australian plate in northern Fiordland, where it currently bends the subducted Australian slab to vertical. The plateau and its leading oceanic crust are distinguished by low Vp/Vs, consistent with extensive dehydration of the thick (ca. 35 km), buoyant plateau during ca. 500 km of flat subduction at the Gondwana margin. The plateau is also revealed by dipping zones of relocated earthquakes. The backstop of Gondwana subduction appears to be the ophiolitic Maitai terrane, which extends through the crust and forms the trenchward boundary of the ca. 60-65 km-thick Median Batholith. We image the low Vp crustal root associated with orogeny at the Gondwana margin in the southeastern South Island, as well as the crustal root resulting from the current convergent episode in the western South Island. The shapes of both crustal roots are controlled by the Hikurangi Plateau.

  20. Geophysics. Migrating tremor off southern Kyushu as evidence for slow slip of a shallow subduction interface. (United States)

    Yamashita, Y; Yakiwara, H; Asano, Y; Shimizu, H; Uchida, K; Hirano, S; Umakoshi, K; Miyamachi, H; Nakamoto, M; Fukui, M; Kamizono, M; Kanehara, H; Yamada, T; Shinohara, M; Obara, K


    Detection of shallow slow earthquakes offers insight into the near-trench part of the subduction interface, an important region in the development of great earthquake ruptures and tsunami generation. Ocean-bottom monitoring of offshore seismicity off southern Kyushu, Japan, recorded a complete episode of low-frequency tremor, lasting for 1 month, that was associated with very-low-frequency earthquake (VLFE) activity in the shallow plate interface. The shallow tremor episode exhibited two migration modes reminiscent of deep tremor down-dip of the seismogenic zone in some other subduction zones: a large-scale slower propagation mode and a rapid reversal mode. These similarities in migration properties and the association with VLFEs strongly suggest that both the shallow and deep tremor and VLFE may be triggered by the migration of episodic slow slip events. Copyright © 2015, American Association for the Advancement of Science.

  1. On the Enigmatic Birth of the Pacific Plate within the Panthalassa Ocean (United States)

    Boschman, L.; Van Hinsbergen, D. J. J.


    The oceanic Pacific Plate started forming in Early Jurassic time within the vast Panthalassa Ocean that surrounded the supercontinent Pangea and contains the oldest lithosphere that can directly constrain the geodynamic history of the circum-Pangean Earth. Here, we show that the geometry of the oldest marine magnetic anomalies of the Pacific Plate attests of a unique plate kinematic event that sparked the plate's birth in virtually a point location, surrounded by the Izanagi, Farallon and Phoenix Plates. We reconstruct the unstable triple junction that caused the plate reorganization leading to the birth of the Pacific Plate and present a model of the plate tectonic configuration that preconditioned this event. We show that a stable, but migrating triple junction involving the gradual cessation of intra-oceanic Panthalassa subduction culminated in the formation of an unstable transform-transform-transform triple junction. The consequent plate boundary reorganization resulted in the formation of a stable triangular three-ridge system from which the nascent Pacific Plate expanded. We link the birth of the Pacific Plate to the regional termination of intra-Panthalassa subduction. Remnants thereof have been identified in the deep lower mantle of which the locations may provide paleolongitudinal control on the absolute location of the early Pacific Plate. Our results constitute an essential step in unraveling the plate tectonic evolution of `Thalassa Incognita' comprising the comprehensive Panthalassa Ocean surrounding Pangea.

  2. 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.

  3. The zone of influence of the subducting slab in the asthenospheric mantle (United States)

    MacDougall, Julia G.; Jadamec, Margarete A.; Fischer, Karen M.


    Due to the multidisciplinary nature of combined geodynamics and shear wave splitting studies, there is still much to be understood in terms of isolating the contributions from mantle dynamics to the shear wave splitting signal, even in a two-dimensional (2-D) mantle flow framework. This paper investigates the viscous flow, lattice preferred orientation (LPO) development, and predicted shear wave splitting for a suite of buoyancy-driven subduction models using a non-linear rheology to shed light on the nature of the slab-driven asthenospheric flow and plate-mantle coupling. The slab-driven zone of influence in the mantle, LPO fabric, and resulting synthetic splitting are sensitive to slab strength and slab initial slab dip. The non-linear viscosity formulations leads to dynamic reductions in asthenospheric viscosity extending over 600 km into the mantle wedge and over 300 km behind the trench, with peak flow velocities occurring in models with a weaker slab and moderate slab dip. The olivine LPO fabric in the asthenosphere generally increases in alignment strength with increased proximity to the slab but can be transient and spatially variable on small length scales. The results suggest that LPO formed during initial subduction may persist into the steady state subduction regime. Vertical flow fields in the asthenosphere can produce shear wave splitting variations with back azimuth that deviate from the predictions of uniform trench-normal anisotropy, a result that bears on the interpretation of complexity in shear wave splitting observed in real subduction zones. Furthermore, the models demonstrate the corner flow paradigm should not be equated with a 2-D subduction framework.

  4. From rifting to subduction: the role of inheritance in the Wilson Cycle (United States)

    Beaussier, Stéphane; Gerya, Taras; Burg, Jean-Pierre


    The Wilson Cycle entails that oceans close and reopen. This cycle is a fundamental principle in plate tectonics, inferring continuity from divergence to convergence and that continental rifting takes place along former suture zones. This view questions the role of inherited structures at each stage of the Wilson Cycle. Using the 3D thermo-mechanical code, I3ELVIS (Gerya and Yuen 2007) we present a high-resolution continuous model of the Wilson cycle from continental rifting, breakup and oceanic spreading to convergence and spontaneous subduction initiation. Therefore, all lateral and longitudinal structures of the lithospheres are generated self-consistently and are consequences of the initial continental structure, tectono-magmatic inheritance and material rheology. In the models, subduction systematically initiates off-ridge and is controlled by the convergence-induced swelling of the ridge. Geometry and dynamics of the developing off-ridge subduction is controlled by four main factors: (1) the obliquity of the ridge with respect to the convergence direction; (2) fluid-induced weakening of the oceanic crust; (3) irregularity of ridge and margins inherited from rifting and spreading; (4) strain localization at transform faults formed during ocean floor spreading. Further convergence can lead to obduction of the oceanic crust and segments of ridge after the oceanic lithosphere is entrained into subduction. We show that the main parameters controlling the occurrence and geometry of obducted ophiolite are the convergence rate and the inherited structure of the passive margins and ridge. Our numerical experiments results show the essential role played by inheritance during the Wilson Cycle and are consistent with nature observations such as the tectonic history of the Oman subduction-obduction system. REFERENCES Gerya, T. V., and D. A. Yuen. 2007: "Robust Characteristics Method for Modelling Multiphase Visco-Elasto-Plastic Thermo-Mechanical Problems, Physics of the

  5. 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.

  6. Episodic plate tectonics on Venus (United States)

    Turcotte, Donald


    Studies of impact craters on Venus from the Magellan images have placed important constraints on surface volcanism. Some 840 impact craters have been identified with diameters ranging from 2 to 280 km. Correlations of this impact flux with craters on the Moon, Earth, and Mars indicate a mean surface age of 0.5 +/- 0.3 Ga. Another important observation is that 52 percent of the craters are slightly fractured and only 4.5 percent are embayed by lava flows. These observations led researchers to hypothesize that a pervasive resurfacing event occurred about 500 m.y. ago and that relatively little surface volcanism has occurred since. Other researchers have pointed out that a global resurfacing event that ceased about 500 MYBP is consistent with the results given by a recent study. These authors carried out a series of numerical calculations of mantle convection in Venus yielding thermal evolution results. Their model considered crustal recycling and gave rapid planetary cooling. They, in fact, suggested that prior to 500 MYBP plate tectonics was active in Venus and since 500 MYBP the lithosphere has stabilized and only hot-spot volcanism has reached the surface. We propose an alternative hypothesis for the inferred cessation of surface volcanism on Venus. We hypothesize that plate tectonics on Venus is episodic. Periods of rapid plate tectonics result in high rates of subduction that cool the interior resulting in more sluggish mantle convection.

  7. Detection of Very Low Frequency Earthquakes in the Mexican Subduction Zone (United States)

    Maury, J.; Ide, S.; Cruz-Atienza, V. M.; Kostoglodov, V.; Perez-Campos, X.


    Tremors have already been detected in three different areas (Jalisco, Guerrero and Oaxaca) of the Mexican subduction zone but their moment tensor is difficult to estimate. However, Very Low Frequency (VLF) earthquakes have been shown to occur at the subduction interface in Guerrero, Mexico at the same time as tremors and their focal mechanisms have been calculated. We try to detect VLF events using the same method in Jalisco and in Oaxaca. With this aim we detect tremors using an envelope correlation method in Oaxaca and use a previously determined tremor catalog in Jalisco [Idehara et al., 2014]. Using the method of Ide and Yabe [2014], we stack waveforms, in the VLF band, at the time of occurrence of tremors. Finally, the stacked waveforms are inverted to better estimate the depth of these events and their moment tensor. This analysis is carried out for different time periods between 2005 and 2015, depending on the deployment of temporary network along the Mexican coast. In addition, permanent broadband stations of the Servicio Sismológico Nacional (Mexico) are used. The tremors detected in Oaxaca area are located farther west than previously known probably because of the more eastern location of stations. Our results show the spatial distribution of moment tensor along the Mexican subduction zone. The VLF sources are located at or close to the plate interface in Oaxaca and Jalisco as is observed in Guerrero. These events have magnitudes of about 3 and very low-angle to low-angle thrust mechanisms in agreement with the varying geometry of the subduction interface. The slip directions of VLF earthquakes are also consistent with the plates convergence vectors. In addition, some clear VLF signals are detected without any stacking using correlation methods. These individual detections confirm the results of our statistical analysis.

  8. The seismic cycle at subduction thrusts: 1. Insights from laboratory models

    KAUST Repository

    Corbi, F.


    Subduction megathrust earthquakes occur at the interface between the subducting and overriding plates. These hazardous phenomena are only partially understood because of the absence of direct observations, the restriction of the instrumental seismic record to the past century, and the limited resolution/completeness of historical to geological archives. To overcome these restrictions, modeling has become a key-tool to study megathrust earthquakes. We present a novel model to investigate the seismic cycle at subduction thrusts using complementary analog (paper 1) and numerical (paper 2) approaches. Here we introduce a simple scaled gelatin-on-sandpaper setup including realistic tectonic loading, spontaneous rupture nucleation, and viscoelastic response of the lithosphere. Particle image velocimetry allows to derive model deformation and earthquake source parameters. Analog earthquakes are characterized by “quasi-periodic” recurrence. Consistent with elastic theory, the interseismic stage shows rearward motion, subsidence in the outer wedge and uplift of the “coastal area” as a response of locked plate interface at shallow depth. The coseismic stage exhibits order of magnitude higher velocities and reversal of the interseismic deformation pattern in the seaward direction, subsidence of the coastal area, and uplift in the outer wedge. Like natural earthquakes, analog earthquakes generally nucleate in the deeper portion of the rupture area and preferentially propagate upward in a crack-like fashion. Scaled rupture width-slip proportionality and seismic moment-duration scaling verifies dynamic similarities with earthquakes. Experimental repeatability is statistically verified. Comparing analog results with natural observations, we conclude that this technique is suitable for investigating the parameter space influencing the subduction interplate seismic cycle.

  9. Why Do We Need 3-d Numerical Models of Subduction? (United States)

    Morra, G.; Faccenna, C.; Funiciello, F.; Giardini, D.; Regenauer-Lieb, K.

    We use a set of 2-D and 3-D numerical fluid dynamic experiments, modeled with different strain rate dependent rheologies (viscous, visco-plastic, power law) to ana- lyze the long-term dynamics of the subduction of an oceanic slab into an iso-viscous or stratified mantle. For the lithosphere a fluid dynamic approach has been bench- marked with our previous solid mechanical approach with the aim of overcoming the coherency problem of fluid dynamic calculations. The solid mechanical dichotomy Sstrong before failure and weak where it failsT has been cast into a specialized non- & cedil;linear fluid rheology. Analog 2-D and 3-D experiments are finally compared with the numerical experiments. 2-D numerical experiments are considered with and without free surface to investigate the limitations induced by a closed top boundary. The effect of asymmetric boundary conditions (with and without overriding plate) is analyzed with respect to the possibility of trench retreat. We clearly state the importance for the free surface analysis. 2-D experiments have inherent weaknesses: first they provide an unrealistic simulation of mantle flow (suppression of toroidal flow), second they give rise to the Sclosed boxT problem (interaction of the slab with a boundary, i.e. & cedil;660 km and the left and right box boundaries). 3-D numerical experiments permit to overcome these problems. A natural analysis of the behavior of the mantle flow during subduction and the three-dimensional behavior of the slab is thus possible. Physical observables like trench retreat and toroidal and poloidal flow are compared with the results of our companion analog 3-D experiments.

  10. Earth's first stable continents did not form by subduction. (United States)

    Johnson, Tim E; Brown, Michael; Gardiner, Nicholas J; Kirkland, Christopher L; Smithies, R Hugh


    The geodynamic environment in which Earth's first continents formed and were stabilized remains controversial. Most exposed continental crust that can be dated back to the Archaean eon (4 billion to 2.5 billion years ago) comprises tonalite-trondhjemite-granodiorite rocks (TTGs) that were formed through partial melting of hydrated low-magnesium basaltic rocks; notably, these TTGs have 'arc-like' signatures of trace elements and thus resemble the continental crust produced in modern subduction settings. In the East Pilbara Terrane, Western Australia, low-magnesium basalts of the Coucal Formation at the base of the Pilbara Supergroup have trace-element compositions that are consistent with these being source rocks for TTGs. These basalts may be the remnants of a thick (more than 35 kilometres thick), ancient (more than 3.5 billion years old) basaltic crust that is predicted to have existed if Archaean mantle temperatures were much hotter than today's. Here, using phase equilibria modelling of the Coucal basalts, we confirm their suitability as TTG 'parents', and suggest that TTGs were produced by around 20 per cent to 30 per cent melting of the Coucal basalts along high geothermal gradients (of more than 700 degrees Celsius per gigapascal). We also analyse the trace-element composition of the Coucal basalts, and propose that these rocks were themselves derived from an earlier generation of high-magnesium basaltic rocks, suggesting that the arc-like signature in Archaean TTGs was inherited from an ancestral source lineage. This protracted, multistage process for the production and stabilization of the first continents-coupled with the high geothermal gradients-is incompatible with modern-style plate tectonics, and favours instead the formation of TTGs near the base of thick, plateau-like basaltic crust. Thus subduction was not required to produce TTGs in the early Archaean eon.

  11. Migration of teleseismically triggered tremor in southwestern Japan subduction zone (United States)

    Kurihara, R.; Obara, K.; Maeda, T.; Takeo, A.


    Deep low frequency tremor in subduction zone is sometimes triggered by surface waves from teleseismic earthquakes. In southwestern Japan, a sequence of triggered tremor was reported for the 2004 Sumatra-Andaman earthquake (Miyazawa and Mori, 2006). Such triggered tremor was observed in the ambient tremor zone where the short-term slow slip events episodically occur. However, the triggered tremor is not distributed in the entire source area of ambient tremor, but is concentrated in several fixed spots. In this study, we tried to reveal accurate location of triggered tremor and investigate the spatiotemporal characteristics for understandings of condition and occurrence mechanism of triggered tremor. We detected low frequency earthquakes in tremor sequence triggered by teleseismic wave by using matched filter technique. The data were obtained at 10 NIED Hi-net stations. We used low frequency earthquakes occurred in 2014 detected by JMA as template events. Time duration of the templates is five seconds. We analyzed continuous waveform data for one hour from the origin times of 2004 Sumatra, 2008 Wenchuan, 2012 Sumatra and 2015 Nepal earthquakes. In western Shikoku, detected triggered tremor is concentrated at distant fixed two spots with an average separation of 20 km for analyzed four teleseismic events. Particularly, southwestern spot has a streak-like distribution along the dip direction of the subducting plate. In this spot, we detected along-dip migration of triggered tremor. The migration speed is about 300 km/h for 2008 Wenchuan earthquake and about 20 km/h for 2015 Nepal earthquake. Shelly et al. (2007) reported similar along-dip migration of ambient tremor at velocity from 25 to 150 km/h. Therefore, migrations of triggered tremor detected in this study suggest that the triggered tremor is also associated by slow slip event like as ambient tremor.

  12. Stress orientations in subduction zones and the strength of subduction megathrust faults. (United States)

    Hardebeck, Jeanne L


    Subduction zone megathrust faults produce most of the world's largest earthquakes. Although the physical properties of these faults are difficult to observe directly, their frictional strength can be estimated indirectly by constraining the orientations of the stresses that act on them. A global investigation of stress orientations in subduction zones finds that the maximum compressive stress axis plunges systematically trenchward, consistently making an angle of 45° to 60° with respect to the subduction megathrust fault. These angles indicate that the megathrust fault is not substantially weaker than its surroundings. Together with several other lines of evidence, this implies that subduction zone megathrusts are weak faults in a low-stress environment. The deforming outer accretionary wedge may decouple the stress state along the megathrust from the constraints of the free surface. Copyright © 2015, American Association for the Advancement of Science.

  13. Stress orientations in subduction zones and the strength of subduction megathrust faults (United States)

    Hardebeck, Jeanne L.


    Subduction zone megathrust faults produce most of the world’s largest earthquakes. Although the physical properties of these faults are difficult to observe directly, their frictional strength can be estimated indirectly by constraining the orientations of the stresses that act on them. A global investigation of stress orientations in subduction zones finds that the maximum compressive stress axis plunges systematically trenchward, consistently making a 45°-60° angle to the subduction megathrust fault. These angles indicate that the megathrust fault is not substantially weaker than its surroundings. Together with several other lines of evidence, this implies that subduction zone megathrusts are weak faults in a low-stress environment. The deforming outer accretionary wedge may decouple the stress state along the megathrust from the constraints of the free surface.

  14. 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.


    subduction-related mechanisms for the destabilization of a continental craton located on the overriding plate. We use the finite-element code CitcomCU to model thermo-mechanical subduction in the presence of a craton. Subduction is dynamically-driven, and the two lithospheric plates are decoupled by a thin weak crust, along which shear is localized. For NCC-type craton geometries, we examine how, and under what rheological parameterizations, the following mechanisms can destabilize a cratonic root: (i) thermal erosion due to the corner flow-driven upwelling of hot asthenosphere; (ii) viscosity reduction due to the hydrolytic weakening of olivine; (iii) collision-induced stress triggered weakening (for non-Newtonian rheologies). Additionally, we examine how various craton geometries and rheological formulations influence the development of a flat slab.

  15. Plume-induced roll back subduction around Venus large coronae (United States)

    Davaille, A.; Smrekar, S. E.; Tomlinson, S. M.


    On Venus, possible subduction trenches are mainly associated with large coronae, eventhough the latter are thought to be produced by hot mantle plumes. The mechanism of assocation between subduction and plume has long remained elusive. However, we recently observe the same association in laboratory experiments on thermal convection in colloidal aqueous dispersions of silica nanoparticles, which deform in the Newtonian regime at low solid particle fraction φp, and transition to strain-rate weakening, plasticity, elasticity, and brittle properties as φp increases. Hence, a dense skin akin to a planetary lithosphere grows on the surface when the system is dried from above. When a hot plume rises under the skin, the latter undergoes a flexural deformation which puts it under tension. Cracks then develop, sometimes using pre-existing weaknesses. Plume material (being more buoyant that the laboratory lithosphere) upwells through the cracks and spreads as a axisymmetric gravity current above the broken denser skin. The latter bends and sinks under the conjugate action of its own weight and the plume gravity current. The brittle character of the top experimental lithosphere forbids it to deform viscously to accomodate the sinking motions. Instead, the plate continues to tear as a sheet of paper would do upon intrusion. Several slabs are therefore produced, associated with trenches localized along partial circles on the plume, and strong roll-back is always observed. Depending on the lithospheric strength, roll-back can continue and triggers a complete resurfacing, or it stops when the plume stops spreading. Scalings derived from the experiments suggest that a weaker lithosphere than that present on Earth today is required for such a convective regime. We identified two candidates on Venus. At Artemis and Quetzelpetlatl Coronae, the radar image observations and subsurface density variations inferred from modeling the gravity and topography agree with the predictions from

  16. Subduction and volatile recycling in Earth's mantle (United States)

    King, S. D.; Ita, J. J.; Staudigel, H.


    The subduction of water and other volatiles into the mantle from oceanic sediments and altered oceanic crust is the major source of volatile recycling in the mantle. Until now, the geotherms that have been used to estimate the amount of volatiles that are recycled at subduction zones have been produced using the hypothesis that the slab is rigid and undergoes no internal deformation. On the other hand, most fluid dynamical mantle flow calculations assume that the slab has no greater strength than the surrounding mantle. Both of these views are inconsistent with laboratory work on the deformation of mantle minerals at high pressures. We consider the effects of the strength of the slab using two-dimensional calculations of a slab-like thermal downwelling with an endothermic phase change. Because the rheology and composition of subducting slabs are uncertain, we consider a range of Clapeyron slopes which bound current laboratory estimates of the spinel to perovskite plus magnesiowustite phase transition and simple temperature-dependent rheologies based on an Arrhenius law diffusion mechanism. In uniform viscosity convection models, subducted material piles up above the phase change until the pile becomes gravitationally unstable and sinks into the lower mantle (the avalanche). Strong slabs moderate the 'catastrophic' effects of the instabilities seen in many constant-viscosity convection calculations; however, even in the strongest slabs we consider, there is some retardation of the slab descent due to the presence of the phase change.

  17. Earth's oldest mantle fabrics indicate Eoarchaean subduction. (United States)

    Kaczmarek, Mary-Alix; Reddy, Steven M; Nutman, Allen P; Friend, Clark R L; Bennett, Vickie C


    The extension of subduction processes into the Eoarchaean era (4.0-3.6 Ga) is controversial. The oldest reported terrestrial olivine, from two dunite lenses within the ∼3,720 Ma Isua supracrustal belt in Greenland, record a shape-preferred orientation of olivine crystals defining a weak foliation and a well-defined lattice-preferred orientation (LPO). [001] parallel to the maximum finite elongation direction and (010) perpendicular to the foliation plane define a B-type LPO. In the modern Earth such fabrics are associated with deformation of mantle rocks in the hanging wall of subduction systems; an interpretation supported by experiments. Here we show that the presence of B-type fabrics in the studied Isua dunites is consistent with a mantle origin and a supra-subduction mantle wedge setting, the latter supported by compositional data from nearby mafic rocks. Our results provide independent microstructural data consistent with the operation of Eoarchaean subduction and indicate that microstructural analyses of ancient ultramafic rocks provide a valuable record of Archaean geodynamics.

  18. Mantle Wedge formation during Subduction Initiation: evidence from the refertilized base of the Oman ophiolitic mantle (United States)

    Prigent, C.; Guillot, S.; Agard, P.; Godard, M.; Lemarchand, D.; Ulrich, M.


    Although the Oman ophiolite is classically regarded as being the direct analog of oceanic lithosphere created at fast spreading ridges, the geodynamic context of its formation is still highly debated. The other alternative end-member model suggests that this ophiolite entirely formed in a supra-subduction zone setting. The latter one is supported by studies on volcanic sequences whereas studies dealing on the mantle section do not involve a significant influence of subduction processes on its structure and composition. We herein focus on basal peridotites from all along the ophiolite strike in order to decipher and characterize potential fluid/melt transfers relate to subduction processes. Samples were taken across the basal banded unit directly overlying the amphibolitic/granulitic metamorphic sole which represents an accreted part of the lower plate. We carried out a petrological, structural and geochemical study on these rocks and their constitutive minerals. Our results show that basal peridotites range from lherzolites to highly depleted harzburgites in composition. Clinopyroxenes (cpx) display melt impregnation textures and co-crystallized with HT/HP amphiboles (amph), spinels and sulfurs. Major and trace elements of the constitutive minerals indicate that these minerals represent trapped incremental partial melt after hydrous melting. Different cpx-bearing lithologies then result from varying degrees of partial melting and melt extraction. Combined with Boron isotopic data, we demonstrate that fluids responsible for hydrous melting of these ophiolitic basal peridotites are subduction-related, most likely derived from dehydration of the metamorphic sole during its formation in subduction initiation. From these observations and thermal constraints, we interpret the occurrence of these basal lherzolites as representing a freezing front developed by thermal re-equilibration (cooling) during subduction processes: subduction-related hydrous partial melts were

  19. Zagros blueschists: Episodic underplating and long-lived cooling of a subduction zone (United States)

    Angiboust, Samuel; Agard, Philippe; Glodny, Johannes; Omrani, Jafar; Oncken, Onno


    Pressure-temperature-time (P- T- t) trajectories of high-pressure rocks provide important constraints to understand the tectonic evolution of convergent margins. New field observations and P- T- t constraints for the evolution of the only known blueschist-facies exposure along the Zagros suture zone in Southern Iran are reported here. These blueschists, now exposed in tectonic windows under the Sanandaj-Sirjan zone (upper plate), constitute accreted fragments of the Tethyan domain during N-directed Cretaceous subduction. Three units were identified in the field: from top to bottom, the Ashin unit (mafic and felsic gneisses), the Seghin complex (mafic tuffs and ultramafics) and the Siah Kuh massif (coherent volcanic edifice). Microstructural observations, P- T estimates and Rb-Sr deformation ages indicate that the Ashin unit possibly underwent burial down to 30-35 km and 550 °C along a relatively warm P- T gradient (c. 17°/km) and was ultimately deformed between 85 and 100 Ma. The Seghin complex exhibits remarkably well-preserved HP-LT assemblages comprising lawsonite, glaucophane, aragonite, omphacite and garnet. P- T- t reconstruction indicates that this slice was subducted down to c. 50 km at temperatures of c. 500 °C along a very cold subduction gradient (c. 7°/km). Deformation in the Seghin complex stopped at around 65 Ma, close to peak metamorphic conditions. Field relationships and estimates of the P- T trajectory followed by the Siah Kuh volcanic edifice indicate that this massif was lately subducted down to 15 km depth along the same very cold gradient. This slice-stack represents a well-preserved field example (i) highlighting the existence of transient underplating processes juxtaposing pluri-kilometric tectonic slices along the subduction channel and (ii) imaging the discontinuous down-stepping of the active main subduction thrust with ongoing accretion. The Zagros blueschists also record an apparent cooling of the Zagros subduction zone between 90

  20. Rheological and geodynamic controls on the mechanisms of subduction and HP/UHP exhumation of crustal rocks during continental collision : Insights from numerical models

    NARCIS (Netherlands)

    Burov, Evgene; Francois, Thomas; Agard, Philippe; Le Pourhiet, Laetitia; Meyer, Bertrand; Tirel, C.|info:eu-repo/dai/nl/304838209; Lebedev, Sergei; Yamato, Philippe; Brun, Jean Pierre


    While subduction of crustal rocks is increasingly accepted as a common scenario inherent to convergent processes involving continental plates and micro-continents, its occurrence in each particular context, as well as its specific mechanisms and conditions is still debated. The presence of

  1. Isabella Anomaly: Lithospheric drip, delamination or fragment of the Farallon plate? (United States)

    Forsyth, D. W.; Rau, C. J.


    The Isabella Anomaly or Central Valley Anomaly in California is perhaps the best known example of a high seismic velocity anomaly that has been interpreted as a lithospheric instability. High P and S velocities extend to a depth of at least 150 km and perhaps to several hundred km in a nearly cylindrical region 100-150 km across. The amplitude of the anomaly in the upper 200 km is similar to that of the subducted Gorda plate. This anomaly has been variously interpreted as a convective drip or as a remnant of the lithosphere delaminated from beneath the eastern Sierra Nevada. We suggest instead that the Isabella anomaly may represent a fragment of the subducted Farallon plate that is still attached to the Pacific lithosphere. Directly seaward of the anomaly is the fossil Monterrey microplate, which is a remnant of the Farallon plate that was left when subduction ceased before the spreading center itself subducted. The microplate was then incorporated into the Pacific plate, but it is not clear how much of the subducting slab remained attached to the surface microplate. New Rayleigh wave tomographic images of Baja California show that there are still fragments of the Farallon plate remaining attached to the unsubducted Guadelupe and Magdelena microplate remnants, with anomalies extending down to at least 150 km. The geometry of these anomalies in relationship to the microplates is very similar to that of the Isabella anomaly. A major question with this interpretation is whether a bit of oceanic lithosphere extending down into the asthenosphere could be dragged along with the surface microplate/Pacific plate for 20 Ma since subduction ceased. Another anomaly similar to the Isabella anomaly begins in the shallow mantle beneath the northern end of San Francisco bay and dips to the west - another candidate for a lithospheric drip or convective instability?

  2. Electrical conductivity imaging in the western Pacific subduction zone (United States)

    Utada, Hisashi; Baba, Kiyoshi; Shimizu, Hisayoshi


    Oceanic plate subduction is an important process for the dynamics and evolution of the Earth's interior, as it is regarded as a typical downward flow of the mantle convection that transports materials from the near surface to the deep mantle. Recent seismological study showed evidence suggesting the transportation of a certain amount of water by subduction of old oceanic plate such as the Pacific plate down to 150-200 km depth into the back arc mantle. However it is not well clarified how deep into the mantle the water can be transported. The electromagnetic induction method to image electrical conductivity distribution is a possible tool to answer this question as it is known to be sensitive to the presence of water. Here we show recent result of observational study from the western Pacific subduction zone to examine the electrical conductivity distribution in the upper mantle and in the mantle transition zone (MTZ), which will provide implications how water distributes in the mantle. We take two kinds of approach for imaging the mantle conductivity, (a) semi-global and (b) regional induction approaches. Result may be summarized as follows: (a) Long (5-30 years) time series records from 8 submarine cables and 13 geomagnetic observatories in the north Pacific region were analyzed and long period magnetotelluric (MT) and geomagnetic deep sounding (GDS) responses were estimated in the period range from 1.7 to 35 days. These frequency dependent response functions were inverted to 3-dimensional conductivity distribution in the depth range between 350 and 850 km. Three major features are suggested in the MTZ depth such as, (1) a high conductivity anomaly beneath the Philippine Sea, (2) a high conductivity anomaly beneath the Hawaiian Islands, and (3) a low conductivity anomaly beneath and in the vicinity of northern Japan. (b) A three-year long deployment of ocean bottom electro-magnetometers (OBEM's) was conducted in the Philippine Sea and west Pacific Ocean from 2005

  3. A Plate Tectonic Model for the Neoproterozoic with Evolving Plate Boundaries (United States)

    Merdith, Andrew; Collins, Alan; Williams, Simon; Pisarevsky, Sergei; Müller, Dietmar


    The Neoproterozoic was dominated by the formation of the supercontinent Rodinia, its break-up and the subsequent amalgamation of Gondwana, during which, the planet experienced large climatic variations and the emergence of complex life. Here we present a topological plate model of the Neoproterozoic based on a synthesis of available geological and palaeomagnetic data. Subduction zones, which are well preserved in the geological record, are used as a proxy for convergent margins; evidence for mid-ocean ridges and transform motion is less clearly preserved, though passive margins are used as a proxy for spreading centres, and evidence for strike-slip motions are used to model transform boundaries. We find that the model presented here only predicts 70% of the total length of subduction active today, though it models similar lengths of both transform and divergent boundaries, suggesting that we have produced a conservative model and are probably underestimating the amount of subduction. Where evidence for convergent, divergent or transform motion is not preserved, we interpret the locations of plate boundaries based on the relative motions of cratonic crust as suggested through either palaeomagnetic data or the geological record. Using GPlates, we tie these boundaries together to generate a plate model that depicts the motion of tectonic plates through the Neoproterozoic. We omit India and South China from Rodinia completely, due to long-lived subduction preserved on margins of India and conflicting palaeomagnetic data for the Cryogenian, but tie them together due to similar Tonian aged accretionary patterns along their respective (present-day) north-western and northern margins, such that these two cratons act as a "lonely wanderer" for much of the Neoproterozoic, and form their own tectonic plate. We also introduce a Tonian-Cryogenian aged rotation of the Congo-São Francisco Craton relative to Rodinia to better fit palaeomagnetic data and account for thick passive

  4. Space geodetic constraints on plate rigidity and global plate motions (United States)

    Sella, Giovanni Federico

    differences reflect gradual slowing associated with convergent plate boundaries, and may reflect increased resistance to subduction or convergence associated with decreased slab pull and/or crustal thickening.

  5. Seismic‐wave attenuation determined from tectonic tremor in multiple subduction zones (United States)

    Yabe, Suguru; Baltay, Annemarie S.; Ide, Satoshi; Beroza, Gregory C.


    Tectonic tremor provides a new source of observations that can be used to constrain the seismic attenuation parameter for ground‐motion prediction and hazard mapping. Traditionally, recorded earthquakes of magnitude ∼3–8 are used to develop ground‐motion prediction equations; however, typical earthquake records may be sparse in areas of high hazard. In this study, we constrain the distance decay of seismic waves using measurements of the amplitude decay of tectonic tremor, which is plentiful in some regions. Tectonic tremor occurs in the frequency band of interest for ground‐motion prediction (i.e., ∼2–8  Hz) and is located on the subducting plate interface, at the lower boundary of where future large earthquakes are expected. We empirically fit the distance decay of peak ground velocity from tremor to determine the attenuation parameter in four subduction zones: Nankai, Japan; Cascadia, United States–Canada; Jalisco, Mexico; and southern Chile. With the large amount of data available from tremor, we show that in the upper plate, the lower crust is less attenuating than the upper crust. We apply the same analysis to intraslab events in Nankai and show the possibility that waves traveling from deeper intraslab events experience more attenuation than those from the shallower tremor due to ray paths that pass through the subducting and highly attenuating oceanic crust. This suggests that high pore‐fluid pressure is present in the tremor source region. These differences imply that the attenuation parameter determined from intraslab earthquakes may underestimate ground motion for future large earthquakes on the plate interface.

  6. Seamount subduction at the North-Ecuadorian convergent margin: Effects on structures, inter-seismic coupling and seismogenesis (United States)

    Marcaillou, Boris; Collot, Jean-Yves; Ribodetti, Alessandra; d'Acremont, Elia; Mahamat, Ammy-Adoum; Alvarado, Alexandra


    At the North-Ecuadorian convergent margin (1°S-1.5°N), the subduction of the rough Nazca oceanic plate leads to tectonic erosion of the upper plate and complex seismogenic behavior of the megathrust. We used three selected pre-stack depth migrated, multi-channel seismic reflection lines collected during the SISTEUR cruise to investigate the margin structure and decipher the impact of the subducted Atacames seamounts on tectonic erosion, interseismic coupling, and seismogenesis in the region of the 1942 Mw7.8 earthquake. This dataset highlights a subducted ∼ 30 × 40 km, double-peak seamount that belongs to the Atacames seamount chain and that is associated with a deep morphologic re-entrant containing mass transport deposits. The seamount subduction uplifted the margin basement by ∼1.6 km and pervasively broke the margin by deep and intense reverse faulting ahead of the seamount, a process that is likely to weaken considerably the margin. In the seamount wake, the basement reverse fault system rotated counter-clockwise. This faulted basement is overlain with slope sediment sliding along listric normal faults that sole out onto the BSR. This superposition of deep tectonic contraction within the basement and shallow gravitational extension deformation within the sediment highlights the key role of gas hydrate on outer slope erosion. In addition to long-term regional basal erosion, the margin basement has thinned locally by an extra 0.8-1 km in response to the subduction of the Atacames seamount chain and hydrofracturing by overpressured fluids at the margin toe. This pervasively and deeply fractured margin segment is associated with a seismically quiet and GPS-modeled low interseismic coupling corridor that terminates downdip near the 1942 epicenter and locked zone. We suggest that the deeply buried double-peak Atacames seamount triggered the 1942 earthquake ahead of its leading flank. This result supports previous studies proposing that subducted seamounts

  7. The Development and Evaluation of a Portion Plate for Youth: A Pilot Study (United States)

    Bohnert, Amy M.; Randall, Edin T.; Tharp, Stephanie; Germann, Julie


    Objective: To develop and evaluate a portion plate for adolescents (Nutri-plate). Methods: Sixteen African American adolescents (mean age = 12.94 years; 66% male) were randomized to participate in either plate design or nutrition education sessions. Adolescents' input was used to create the Nutri-plate, and participants' food selection and intake…

  8. Impact of the overriding plate rheology on convergence zone dynamics. (United States)

    Hertgen, Solenn; Yamato, Philippe; Guillaume, Benjamin; van Hunen, Jeroen


    Most of deformation at the Earth's surface is localized at plate boundaries. This deformation can be accommodated in very different ways depending on the tectonic setting. In the case of convergence zones, the deformation is typically simplified and classified as follows: - intra-oceanic convergence, when convergence involves two oceanic lithospheres, which generally leads to the subduction/obduction initiation and to the formation of an island arc; - convergence between an oceanic and a continental lithosphere, which is mainly accommodated by subduction and can lead to the formation of a mountain range at the plate boundary; - convergence involving two continental lithospheres, which is accommodated by collision and leads to the formation of a mountain range produced by the stacking of crustal slices. Different materials are thus involved (i.e., oceanic crust, continental crust, sediments). Depending on the context (oceanic or continental subduction), they can form contrasted structures in terms of units size, morphology and metamorphism (e.g., Alps vs. Andes/Altiplano-Puna). Moreover, some convergent zones with apparently similar tectonic settings (e.g., continent/continent convergence) show very different patterns of deformation with either very localized deformation (e.g., the Alps) or, at the opposite, deformation distributed over thousands of kilometers (e.g, Himalayas/Tibet). Finally, other convergent zones from different tectonic settings seem to show similar structures (e.g., Tibet plateau and Altiplano-Puna plateaus). Although the mechanism of plate convergence appears to be the same in each case, the structures obtained at the surface seem to be unique. Rheology of both the subducting plate and of the plate interface is known to influence the convergence zones dynamics. However, very few studies have addressed the role of the overriding plate rheology in details, while it may also exert a large control on the deformation style at plate boundaries. In

  9. 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

  10. Large trench-parallel gravity variations predict seismogenic behavior in subduction zones. (United States)

    Song, Teh-Ru Alex; Simons, Mark


    We demonstrate that great earthquakes occur predominantly in regions with a strongly negative trench-parallel gravity anomaly (TPGA), whereas regions with strongly positive TPGA are relatively aseismic. These observations suggest that, over time scales up to at least 1 million years, spatial variations of seismogenic behavior within a given subduction zone are stationary and linked to the geological structure of the fore-arc. The correlations we observe are consistent with a model in which spatial variations in frictional properties on the plate interface control trench-parellel variations in fore-arc topography, gravity, and seismogenic behavior.

  11. Tidal modulation of slow slip events in the Nankai trough subduction zone detected by borehole strainmeters (United States)

    Kikuchi, J.; Ide, S.; Matsumoto, N.


    Slow slip events (SSEs) often occur in the Nankai subduction zone, Japan, within a band-like zone extended from the center of Honshu to western Shikoku. SSEs are believed as shear slip on the plate interface, where the frictional property changes from velocity weakening to strengthening in the dip direction. Therefore the dynamics of SSEs may give some hints on the depth dependent friction and plate subduction. The tidal modulation of SSEs has been identified by statistical analysis using strain data of Plate Boundary Observatory, in the Cascadia subduction zone [Hawthorne & Rubin, 2010]. Here, we perform similar statistical analyses using strain data recorded at borehole stations maintained by National Institute of Advanced Industrial Science and Technology, in western Japan. The correlation between the oscillation in SSEs and tidal stress was confirmed statistically. In Nankai subduction zone, it is known that SSEs are accompanied with high activity of deep tectonic tremors [Hirose & Obara, 2006]. These tremors have been known to be sensitive to tidal stress [Nakata et al., 2008]. Therefore, the tidal modulation of SSEs is another representation of tidal modulation of tremors. To clarify the relation between SSEs and tremors, we investigate whether strain changes corresponding to SSEs can be explained only by tremors activity. For an SSE occurred in Aug. 2010 in Bungo channel, we assume that the seismic moment of the SSE is 1.6 × 1018 Nm (Mw 6.1) based on the inversion of GNSS data [Nishimura et al., 2013], and that this moment is released by 715 tremors that occur during this SSE [Idehara et al., 2014]. In this case, each tremor is assigned with seismic moment of 2.2 × 1015 Nm (Mw 4.2). Then the strain change at the observation station by these tremors is calculated using the Okada [1992] method, assuming a half space and focal mechanism consistent with the regional plate motion. The calculated strain is qualitatively similar with the observed strain

  12. Active and long-lived permanent forearc deformation driven by the subduction seismic cycle (United States)

    Aron Melo, Felipe Alejandro

    I have used geological, geophysical and engineering methods to explore mechanisms of upper plate, brittle deformation at active forearc regions. My dissertation particularly addresses the permanent deformation style experienced by the forearc following great subduction ruptures, such as the 2010 M w8.8 Maule, Chile and 2011 Mw9.0 Tohoku, Japan earthquakes. These events triggered large, shallow seismicity on upper plate normal faults above the rupture reaching Mw7.0. First I present new structural data from the Chilean Coastal Cordillera over the rupture zone of the Maule earthquake. The study area contains the Pichilemu normal fault, which produced the large crustal aftershocks of the megathrust event. Normal faults are the major neotectonic structural elements but reverse faults also exist. Crustal seismicity and GPS surface displacements show that the forearc experiences pulses of rapid coseismic extension, parallel to the heave of the megathrust, and slow interseismic, convergence-parallel shortening. These cycles, over geologic time, build the forearc structural grain, reactivating structures properly-oriented respect to the deformation field of each stage of the interplate cycle. Great subduction events may play a fundamental role in constructing the crustal architecture of extensional forearc regions. Static mechanical models of coseismic and interseismic upper plate deformation are used to explore for distinct features that could result from brittle fracturing over the two stages of the interplate cycle. I show that the semi-elliptical outline of the first-order normal faults along the Coastal Cordillera may define the location of a characteristic, long-lived megathrust segment. Finally, using data from the Global CMT catalog I analyzed the seismic behavior through time of forearc regions that have experienced great subduction ruptures >Mw7.7 worldwide. Between 61% and 83% of the cases where upper plate earthquakes exhibited periods of increased seismicity

  13. Modelling the interplate domain in thermo-mechanical simulations of subduction: Critical effects of resolution and rheology, and consequences on wet mantle melting (United States)

    Arcay, Diane


    The present study aims at better deciphering the different mechanisms involved in the functioning of the subduction interplate. A 2D thermo-mechanical model is used to simulate a subduction channel, made of oceanic crust, free to evolve. Convergence at constant rate is imposed under a 100 km thick upper plate. Pseudo-brittle and non-Newtonian behaviours are modelled. The influence of the subduction channel strength, parameterized by the difference in activation energy between crust and mantle (ΔEa) is investigated to examine in detail the variations in depth of the subduction plane down-dip extent, zcoup . First, simulations show that numerical resolution may be responsible for an artificial and significant shallowing of zcoup if the weak crustal layer is not correctly resolved. Second, if the age of the subducting plate is 100 Myr, subduction occurs for any ΔEa . The stiffer the crust is, that is, the lower ΔEa is, the shallower zcoup is (60 km depth if ΔEa = 20 kJ/mol) and the hotter the fore-arc base is. Conversely, imposing a very weak subduction channel (ΔEa > 135 J/mol) leads there to an extreme mantle wedge cooling and inhibits mantle melting in wet conditions. Partial kinematic coupling at the fore-arc base occurs if ΔEa = 145 kJ/mol. If the incoming plate is 20 Myr old, subduction can occur under the conditions that the crust is either stiff and denser than the mantle, or weak and buoyant. In the latter condition, cold crust plumes rise from the subduction channel and ascend through the upper lithosphere, triggering (1) partial kinematic coupling under the fore-arc, (2) fore-arc lithosphere cooling, and (3) partial or complete hindrance of wet mantle melting. zcoup then ranges from 50 to more than 250 km depth and is time-dependent if crust plumes form. Finally, subduction plane dynamics is intimately linked to the regime of subduction-induced corner flow. Two different intervals of ΔEa are underlined: 80-120 kJ/mol to reproduce the range of slab

  14. Create Your Plate

    Medline Plus

    Full Text Available ... A A A Listen En Español Create Your Plate Create Your Plate is a simple and effective ... and that your options are endless. Create Your Plate! Click on the plate sections below to add ...

  15. Plate tectonics and planetary habitability: current status and future challenges. (United States)

    Korenaga, Jun


    Plate tectonics is one of the major factors affecting the potential habitability of a terrestrial planet. The physics of plate tectonics is, however, still far from being complete, leading to considerable uncertainty when discussing planetary habitability. Here, I summarize recent developments on the evolution of plate tectonics on Earth, which suggest a radically new view on Earth dynamics: convection in the mantle has been speeding up despite its secular cooling, and the operation of plate tectonics has been facilitated throughout Earth's history by the gradual subduction of water into an initially dry mantle. The role of plate tectonics in planetary habitability through its influence on atmospheric evolution is still difficult to quantify, and, to this end, it will be vital to better understand a coupled core-mantle-atmosphere system in the context of solar system evolution. © 2012 New York Academy of Sciences.

  16. Comparing the effects of rheology on the dynamics and topography of 3D subduction-collision models (United States)

    Pusok, Adina E.; Kaus, Boris; Popov, Anton


    Most of the major mountain belts and orogenic plateaus are found within the overlying plate of active or fossil subduction and/or collision zones. It is well known that they evolve differently from one another as the result of specific combinations of surface and mantle processes. The differences among the structures and evolutions of mountain belts arise for several reasons, such as different strengths of materials, different amounts of regional isostatic compensation, and different mechanisms by which forces are applied to the convergence plates. All these possible controlling factors can change with space and time. Of all the mountain belts and orogenic plateaus, the most striking example is the India-Asia collision zone, which gave rise to the Himalayas and the Tibetan Plateau, the largest region of elevated topography and anomalously thick crust on Earth. Understanding the formation and evolution of such a highly elevated region has been the focus of many tectonic and numerical models. While some of these models (i.e. thin sheet model) have successfully illustrated some of the basic physics of continental collision, none can simultaneously represent active processes such as subduction, underthrusting, channel flow or extrusion, for which fully 3D models are required. Here, we employed the 3D code LaMEM to investigate the role that subduction, continental collision and indentation play on lithosphere dynamics at convergent margins, and the implications they have for the Asian tectonics. Our model setup resembles a simplified tectonic map of the India-Asia collision zone and we performed long-term 3D simulations to analyse the dynamics and the conditions under which large topographic plateaus, such as the Tibetan Plateau can form in an integrated lithospheric and upper-mantle scale model. Results of models with linear viscous rheologies show different modes between the oceanic subduction side (continuous subduction, trench retreat and slab roll-back) and the

  17. Examining the links between Slow Slip Events, crustal faults and subduction interface in Central Mexico (United States)

    Bigot, A.; Manighetti, I.; Vergnolle, M.; Campillo, M.


    We have analyzed the tectonic structures, active and more ancient, that dissect the upper plate, the subducting plate and the trench in Central Mexico, and examined the links between these structures, the historical and instrumental seismicity, and the SSEs and tremors (as described in Radiguet et al., 2012). We show that the tectonic architecture of the upper plate controls the location of the SSEs and of a large part of the instrumental seismicity. The large historical subduction ruptures do not extend further below than ≈ 30 km depth. The broken areas are underlined by a zone of dense instrumental seismicity that extends confined between the broken patches and a vertical WSW-trending fault that cuts across the upper plate down to the interface, with its trace halfway between Acapulco and Chilpancingo (AC fault). This fault shows no morphological evidence of recent activity. Another similar, parallel WNW-trending fault exists north of Chilpancingo (NC fault). Though it shows no morphological evidence of recent activity, it is underlined by a dense instrumental seismicity confined in the range 40-70 km of depth, whose focal mechanisms are all extensional. No instrumental seismicity is recorded between the two faults. By contrast, the slip zones of the 2002, 2006 and 2010 major SSEs appear confined exactly in between the two vertical fault planes, while the major zone of reported tremors extend immediately north of the NC fault plane. The occurrence of each SSE induces a slight increase in the density of instrumental seismicity related to the NC fault, and a marked increase in the density of instrumental seismicity recorded south of the AC fault. In details, the seismicity increases at the northern tips of the NE-trending faults that dissect the trench and hence also likely the down-going oceanic plate below. Simple static Coulomb stress transfer models confirm that each SSE likely increased the static stresses by ≈ 0.1 bars on both the shallower portion of the

  18. Subduction zone earthquakes and stress in slabs (United States)

    Vassiliou, M. S.; Hager, B. H.


    Simple viscous fluid models of subducting slabs are used to explain observations of the distribution of earthquakes as a function of depth and the orientation of stress axes of deep (greater than 300 km) and intermediate (70-300 km) earthquakes. Results suggest the following features in the distribution of earthquakes with depth: (1) an exponential decrease from shallow depths down to 250 to 300 km, (2) a minimum near 250 to 300 km, and (3) a deep peak below 300 km. Many shallow subducting slabs show only the first characteristic, while deeper extending regions tend to show all three features, with the deep peak varying in position and intensity. These data, combined with the results on the stress orientations of various-depth earthquakes, are consistent with the existence of a barrier of some sort at 670-km depth and a uniform viscosity mantle above this barrier.

  19. The hidden simplicity of subduction megathrust earthquakes (United States)

    Meier, M.-A.; Ampuero, J. P.; Heaton, T. H.


    The largest observed earthquakes occur on subduction interfaces and frequently cause widespread damage and loss of life. Understanding the rupture behavior of megathrust events is crucial for earthquake rupture physics, as well as for earthquake early-warning systems. However, the large variability in behavior between individual events seemingly defies a description with a simple unifying model. Here we use three source time function (STF) data sets for subduction zone earthquakes, with moment magnitude Mw ≥ 7, and show that such large ruptures share a typical universal behavior. The median STF is scalable between events with different sizes, grows linearly, and is nearly triangular. The deviations from the median behavior are multiplicative and Gaussian—that is, they are proportionally larger for larger events. Our observations suggest that earthquake magnitudes cannot be predicted from the characteristics of rupture onsets.

  20. Subduction related fluids fractionate Nb/Ta (United States)

    Salters, V. J.; Bizimis, M.; Sachi-Kocher, A.; Taylor, R.; Savov, I. P.; Stern, C. R.


    Key differences between the chemical composition of terrestrial materials and those of meteorites have led to the suggestion that a `hidden’ high Nb/Ta reservoir exists in the Earth’s mantle. In order to test this hypothesis we must identify the processes that can create such a reservoir. It has been suggested that during subduction Nb is more refractory then Ta resulting in low Nb/Ta in the subducted slab, which then serves as a reservoir for the high Nb/Ta. Here we report high precision HFSE data on products of the subduction processes thought to fractionate Nb from Ta: boninites (hydrous melting), adakites (slab melting), oceanic island arc basalts and supra subduction zone peridotites. We developed a new method for the high precision determination of Nb, Ta, Zr, Hf concentrations based on a modified version of standard addition. All analyses were performed on a single collector ICPMS (ELEMENT 1), using Y and Yb as internal standards to correct for instrumental drift during the unspiked -spiked sample sequence. Concentrations are calculated using a York- type regression that accounts for all measured and propagated errors. Long-term reproducibility (multiple dissolutions and multiple spike solutions) for the standards BHVO-1, BIR-1 AGV-1 and BCR-1 are better than 0.8% (1s) for Nb/Ta and Zr/Hf ratios. The advantages of this method compared to previous methods are fast throughput, no column chemistry and low blanks. While the Zr/Hf ratios in subduction-related volcanics and ocean island basalts vary by less than a factor of two, the Nb/Ta ratio varies by a factor of four. Most of the Nb/Ta variation is observed in subduction related rocks. Samples with the highest Nb/Ta ratio (up to 19.5) are adakites from the Austral Volcanic Zone (Andes) which are thought to represent eclogitic melts from subducted oceanic crust which was most likely dehydrated. The lowest Nb/Ta (5) was found in boninites from Chichi-Jima, Bonin Island. Samples from Chichi-Jima and from the

  1. Diverse melanges of an ancient subduction complex

    Energy Technology Data Exchange (ETDEWEB)

    Lash, G.G.


    Three lithologically and structurally diverse melanges occur within an early Paleozoic (Early-Middle Ordovician) subduction complex in the central Appalachian orogen. Type I melange, characterized by horizons of variably deformed sandstone and scaly mudstone that alternate with coherent sandstone-rich sequences, is interpreted to reflect accretion-related deformation of water-saturated trench deposits. Type II melange, composed of exotic radiolaria-bearing mudstone clasts in a scaly mudstone matrix, can be explained by remobilization and mixing of inner-trench slope sediments. Type III melange is a poorly sorted polymict assemblage of native lithology clasts in a scaly mudstone matrix. Evidence of forceful injection of matrix mud into clasts and inferred discordant contacts between melange and surrounding bedded deposits suggest that the type III melange formed from mud diapirism. The close association of these melanges points out the diversity of tectonic and sedimentary processes previously documented from modern convergent margins that may be reflected in older subduction complexes.

  2. The Mesozoic accretionary complex in Northeast China: Evidence for the accretion history of Paleo-Pacific subduction (United States)

    Zhou, Jian-Bo; Li, Long


    The Mesozoic accretionary complex in Northeast China, which mainly consists of the Jilin-Heilongjiang high-pressure (HP) metamorphic belt and the Nadanhada accretionary complex, are the key area to understand the Paleo-Pacific subduction-accretion. The Jilin-Heilongjiang HP belt is a HP metamorphic zone between the Jiamusi and Songliao blocks and consists of the Heilongjiang blueschist belt and the Zhangguangcai Complex. Previously published and our new geochronological data indicate that the collision between the Jiamusi and Songliao blocks along the Jilin-Heilongjiang HP belt occurred between 210 and 180 Ma, suggesting that the Jilin-Heilongjiang HP belt is an important unit for characterizing the geodynamic switch from the north-south closure of the Central Asian Orogenic Belt to the onset of westward accretion related to subduction of Paleo-Pacific plate in the Latest Triassic to Early Jurassic. Early Permian igneous rocks with arc affinity in the eastern margin of the Jiamusi Block are more likely related to the Mongol-Okhotsk subduction rather than the Paleo-Pacific subduction or the collision between the Jiamusi and Khanka blocks as previously considered. The Nadanhada accretionary complex lies to the east of the Jiamusi Block, and is composed of the Yuejinshan and Raohe complexes. Compilation of published geochronological data indicate that the Yuejinshan Complex was probably formed between 210 Ma and 180 Ma, similar to ages for the Jilin-Heilongjiang HP belt along the western margin of the Jiamusi-Khanka Block. The Raohe Complex was formed later in the Late Jurassic to Early Cretaceous (170-137 Ma), likely more related to the subduction-accretion of Paleo-Pacific plate. The final accretion in the target area took place in the Early Cretaceous (137-130 Ma).

  3. Monitoring transient changes within overpressured regions of subduction zones using ambient seismic noise. (United States)

    Chaves, Esteban J; Schwartz, Susan Y


    In subduction zones, elevated pore fluid pressure, generally linked to metamorphic dehydration reactions, has a profound influence on the mechanical behavior of the plate interface and forearc crust through its control on effective stress. We use seismic noise-based monitoring to characterize seismic velocity variations following the 2012 Nicoya Peninsula, Costa Rica earthquake [M w (moment magnitude) 7.6] that we attribute to the presence of pressurized pore fluids. Our study reveals a strong velocity reduction (~0.6%) in a region where previous work identified high forearc pore fluid pressure. The depth of this velocity reduction is constrained to be below 5 km and therefore not the result of near-surface damage due to strong ground motions; rather, we posit that it is caused by fracturing of the fluid-pressurized weakened crust due to dynamic stresses. Although pressurized fluids have been implicated in causing coseismic velocity reductions beneath the Japanese volcanic arc, this is the first report of a similar phenomenon in a subduction zone setting. It demonstrates the potential to identify pressurized fluids in subduction zones using temporal variations of seismic velocity inferred from ambient seismic noise correlations.

  4. P-wave tomography of subduction zones around the central Philippines and its geodynamic implications (United States)

    Fan, Jianke; Zhao, Dapeng; Dong, Dongdong; Zhang, Guangxu


    High-resolution tomographic images are obtained by inverting a large number of arrival-time data of local earthquakes and teleseismic events to depict the 3-D crustal and upper mantle structure beneath the central Philippines. Our tomographic results show that the subducted South China Sea slab beneath the southern segment of the Manila Trench steepens and tears, resulting in migration of the locus of active volcanism in the Macolod Corridor, due to the collision between the Palawan microcontinental block and the Philippine Mobile Belt. The subduction of the Philippine Sea Plate along the Philippine Trench started at 10-12°N or south of 12°N, the central part of the trench, from at least ∼10 Ma estimated from our tomographic images. Our results reveal clearly a high-velocity anomaly in and around the mantle transition zone, which is interpreted as the subducted Proto South China Sea slab that sinks deeper southeastward, being well consistent with geological results that the age of collision between the Palawan microcontinental block and the Philippine Mobile Belt becomes younger from the south to the north. This collision zone can be divided into northern and southern segments, demarcated by the salient point of the collision zone, which is probably the boundary between the South China Sea slab and the Proto South China Sea slab, and may be ascribed to the complete consumption of the two slabs.

  5. Subduction induced mantle flow: Length-scales and orientation of the toroidal cell (United States)

    Király, Ágnes; Capitanio, Fabio A.; Funiciello, Francesca; Faccenna, Claudio


    Subduction-induced mantle circulation plays an important role in the dynamics of convergent margins. Different components of the flow, i.e. toroidal and poloidal, provide relevant driving forces for back-arc basin formation, overriding plate deformation, curvature of subduction zones and volcanic activity. Here, we investigate on the emergence and controls on the toroidal component of the subduction-induced mantle flow by means of numerical modeling. To characterize the toroidal cell's three-dimensional flow, size and length-scales and its disposing factors, we test separately a series of lithospheric and mantle parameters, such as the density difference and viscosity ratio between the slab and the mantle, the width of the slab, as opposed to the size, the stratification and the rheology of the mantle. Out of the tested parameters, the numerical results show that the strength of the flow depends on the mantle viscosity and the magnitude of the slab pull force, that is slab-mantle density difference and the mantle thickness, however the characteristic length, axis and the shape of the toroidal cell are almost independent of the slab's properties and mainly depend on the thickness of the convecting mantle.

  6. Volcanism and Subduction: The Kamchatka Region (United States)

    Eichelberger, John; Gordeev, Evgenii; Izbekov, Pavel; Kasahara, Minoru; Lees, Jonathan

    The Kamchatka Peninsula and contiguous North Pacific Rim is among the most active regions in the world. Kamchatka itself contains 29 active volcanoes, 4 now in a state of semi-continuous eruption, and I has experienced 14 magnitude 7 or greater earthquakes since accurate recording began in 1962. At its heart is the uniquely acute subduction cusp where the Kamchatka and Aleutian Arcs and Emperor Seamount Chain meet. Volcanism and Subduction covers coupled magmatism and tectonics in this spectacular region, where the torn North Pacific slab dives into hot mantle. Senior Russian and American authors grapple with the dynamics of the cusp with perspectives from the west and east of it, respectively, while careful tephrostratigraphy yields a remarkably precise record of behavior of storied volcanoes such as Kliuchevskoi and Shiveluch. Towards the south, Japanese researchers elucidate subduction earthquake processes with unprecedented geodetic resolution. Looking eastward, new insights on caldera formation, monitoring, and magma ascent are presented for the Aleutians. This is one of the first books of its kind printed in the English language. Students and scientists beginning research in the region will find in this book a useful context and introduction to the region's scientific leaders. Others who wish to apply lessons learned in the North Pacific to their areas of interest will find the volume a valuable reference.

  7. Regional differences in subduction ground motions

    CERN Document Server

    Beauval, Céline; Abrahamson, N; Theodulidis, N; Delavaud, E; Rodriguez, L; Scherbaum, F; Haendel, A


    A few ground-motion prediction models have been published in the last years, for predicting ground motions produced by interface and intraslab earthquakes. When one must carry out a probabilistic seismic hazard analysis in a region including a subduction zone, GMPEs must be selected to feed a logic tree. In the present study, the aim is to identify which models provide the best fit to the dataset M6+, global or local models. The subduction regions considered are Japan, Taiwan, Central and South America, and Greece. Most of the data comes from the database built to develop the new BCHydro subduction global GMPE (Abrahamson et al., submitted). We show that this model is among best-fitting models in all cases, followed closely by Zhao et al. (2006), whereas the local Lin and Lee (2008) is well predicting the data in Taiwan and also in Greece. The Scherbaum et al. (2009) LLH method prove to be efficient in providing one number quantifying the overall fit, but additional analysis on the between-event and within-ev...

  8. Slab-Forearc Density Structure and Rigidity Controlling the Seismogenic Behaviour Along the Peru-Chile Subduction Zone (United States)

    Tassara, A.; Hackney, R.; Legrand, D.


    The rupture area and recurrence time of historical earthquakes along the Peru-Chile subduction zone and seismicity recorded by modern networks show a distinctive spatiotemporal distribution defining a characteristic segmentation of the seismogenic zone. It is unclear what factors control this segmentation. Knowledge about this topic is urgent to understand the processes generating devastating subduction earthquakes and to improve its hazard assessment. We are studying this problem for the Peru-Chile subduction zone from two perspectives. First, we applied a wavelet-based spectral isostatic analysis of topography and gravity to compute a high resolution map of the flexural rigidity along the subduction zone. This parameter is a function of the thermo- mechanical structure of both converging plates and the frictional properties of the subduction channel between them. Spatial variations on this map show correlation with the seismogenic segmentation, suggesting that rigidity and the associated physical factors play a fundamental role for the seismogenic behaviour along the margin. Second, we used an existing 3D density model to derive a map of vertical stress acting on the subducting slab below the forearc. This stress is a function of the thickness and density structure of the forearc resulting from long-term geological processes, and is the main component of the normal stress that regulates the magnitude of shear stresses to be released during earthquakes. The spatial variations of vertical stresses show significant correlations with the seismogenic segmentation, implying that the geologically-inherited density structure of the forearc is an important parameter for sustaining a time-persistent seismic segmentation. Of particular interest is the analysis of the giant (Mw 9.5) 1960 Valdivia earthquake, which nucleated in a region of high rigidity and high vertical stress and propagated southward into a region of very low rigidity and vertical stress. This could have

  9. Imaging the Middle America subduction zone with body waves extracted from ambient noise by seismic interferometry (United States)

    Vargas, W.; Brown, L. D.; Cabolova, A.; Quiros, D. A.; Chen, C.


    Subduction zones have long been a prime target for seismic imaging with a variety of active and passive methodologies. Here we report an attempt to use seismic interferometry to extract body waves (P and S) from ambient noise recorded during a broadband experiment in southwestern Mexico for reflection imaging of the crust and subducting Cocos plate. The Middle America Subduction Experiment (MASE; Kim et al., 2010) included a quasi linear array of 100 broadband seismic instruments deployed at a nominal spacing of 6 km which continuously recorded for up to 30 months. Our focus was on using cross-correlation and autocorrelation of ambient noise along this array to 1) determine if useful body waves could be extracted, 2) assess which conditions were most favorable for such extraction, and 3) evaluate whether these waves could be used to image deep lithospheric structure, with particular interest in the seismogenic zone. While surface wave tomography using cross-correlation techniques have found widespread success in mapping crustal structure, examples of body wave imaging of crustal targets using this approach are still very few. In our analysis, we have found it necessary to suppress the surface wave energy to enhance body waves from virtual sources. Our pre-processing sequence includes bias removal, bandpass filtering, deconvolution (spectral whitening), and sign- bit conversion. The resulting data windows are cross-correlated and stacked until useful signals are apparent. The virtual shot gathers thus far produced show clear Rayleigh and Pg waves, with weaker but distinct Sg phases. We have also found arrivals with hyperbolic travel times that match those expected for deep reflections. Crustal imaging is limited by the large station spacing, which results in relatively few stations at sub-critical offsets. However several apparent reflections from sub-Moho depths suggest that key elements of the subduction process can be imaged using reflections derived from ambient

  10. 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.

  11. Deep structure and historical earthquakes in the Calabrian subduction zone (Southern Italy): preliminary results from multi-channel seismic reflection profiles (United States)

    Gallais, F.; Gutscher, M.; Torelli, L.; Polonia, A.; Riminucci, F.


    The Calabrian subduction zone is located in the complex Central Mediterranean area. This subduction is characterized by the presence of deep earthquakes under the Tyrrhenian Sea down to 500 km depth. The Tethyan remnant Ionian slab descends towards the NW at a dip of about 70° and is associated with an active volcanic arc (the Aeolian Islands). Recently reported GPS and seismicity studies suggest that the subduction of the Ionian lithosphere beneath the Calabrian Arc may be locally still active, though at very slow rates (thrust earthquakes, characteristic of active subduction zone, suggests that if subduction is active, the fault plane may be locked since the instrumental period. To seek evidence of continuous tectonic activity of the Calabrian system, we present preliminary results from reprocessed 96-channels seismic reflection profiles (French Archimede cruise, 1997) offshore Sicily. This analysis permits to recognize a well-defined stratigraphy in the Ionian Abyssal Plain, this stratigraphy becomes difficult to follow under the deformed Calabrian Prism. But the joint interpretation with the reprocessed PM01 profile (French PRISMED cruise, 1994) helps constrain this interpretation and to image some characteristic structures of an accretionary wedge (fore/back-thrusts, basal decollement...). This study also include interpretation of a more recent Italian seismic cruise (Calamare, 2008) and CROP profiles. This work will help to prepare a future cruise proposal (CIRCEE, to be submitted in January 2010) to study the Calabrian subduction with OBS, MCS seismic, heat-flow measurements and sediment coring. The goals are : 1/ to image the deep structure of this subduction zone, 2/ to characterize its thermal state to deduce a geometry of the seismogenic part of the plate interface and add new constraints on seismic risk linked with the Calabrian subduction.

  12. 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

  13. What's happening inside the subduction factory? (United States)

    Penniston-Dorland, S. C.; Bebout, G. E.; Gorman, J. K.; Piccoli, P. M.; Walker, R. J.


    Much research has focused on the inputs and outputs of the 'subduction factory,' however a variety of metamorphic processes occur within the subducting slab and at its interface with the mantle wedge that contribute to creating the mixed signals observed in arc magmas. Subduction-related metamorphic rocks from the Catalina Schist represent a range of metamorphic grades and provide a natural laboratory to investigate these processes. Hybrid rock types such as reaction zones or 'rinds' between mafic (crustal) and ultramafic (mantle) rocks have attracted recent interest since they have a different bulk chemistry and mineralogy compared to the original inputs to the subduction factory. Here we explore the mineralogical and geochemical differences between the metamorphic rocks, their reaction zones, and endmember subduction input lithologies over a range of metamorphic grades including lawsonite albite, lawsonite blueschist, and amphibolite facies (with peak T ranging from ~ 275 to ~ 750°C and peak P ranging up to ~1.1 GPa). The results shed light on chemical changes occurring within the subduction zone and the processes happening inside the 'subduction factory', including mass transfer of elements by both fluid infiltration and mechanical mixing. Elements commonly enriched in arc magmatic rocks, such as the LILE (e.g. Ba, K), are enriched in metamafic rocks at all metamorphic grades relative to likely MORB protoliths. These enrichments are interpreted as the product of metamorphic fluid infiltration. Many major- and trace-element concentrations in reaction rinds fall between those of metamafic blocks and surrounding ultramafic-rich mélange matrix (including TiO2, MgO, FeO, Al2O3, Zr, Ni and Cr). Spatial distributions of these elements within the rinds suggest that the intermediate concentrations may be due to mechanical mixing of crustal and mantle materials. Rind concentrations of the highly siderophile elements (HSE: including Os, Ir, Ru, Pt, Pd, Re) as well as

  14. Velocities of Subducted Sediments and Continents (United States)

    Hacker, B. R.; van Keken, P. E.; Abers, G. A.; Seward, G.


    The growing capability to measure seismic velocities in subduction zones has led to unusual observations. For example, although most minerals have VP/ VS ratios around 1.77, ratios 1.8 have been observed. Here we explore the velocities of subducted sediments and continental crust from trench to sub-arc depths using two methods. (1) Mineralogy was calculated as a function of P & T for a range of subducted sediment compositions using Perple_X, and rock velocities were calculated using the methodology of Hacker & Abers [2004]. Calculated slab-top temperatures have 3 distinct depth intervals with different dP/dT gradients that are determined by how coupling between the slab and mantle wedge is modeled. These three depth intervals show concomitant changes in VP and VS: velocities initially increase with depth, then decrease beyond the modeled decoupling depth where induced flow in the wedge causes rapid heating, and increase again at depth. Subducted limestones, composed chiefly of aragonite, show monotonic increases in VP/ VS from 1.63 to 1.72. Cherts show large jumps in VP/ VS from 1.55-1.65 to 1.75 associated with the quartz-coesite transition. Terrigenous sediments dominated by quartz and mica show similar, but more-subdued, transitions from ~1.67 to 1.78. Pelagic sediments dominated by mica and clinopyroxene show near-monotonic increases in VP/ VS from 1.74 to 1.80. Subducted continental crust that is too dry to transform to high-pressure minerals has a VP/ VS ratio of 1.68-1.70. (2) Velocity anisotropy calculations were made for the same P-T dependent mineralogies using the Christoffel equation and crystal preferred orientations measured via electron-backscatter diffraction for typical constituent phases. The calculated velocity anisotropies range from 5-30%. For quartz-rich rocks, the calculated velocities show a distinct depth dependence because crystal slip systems and CPOs change with temperature. In such rocks, the fast VP direction varies from slab-normal at

  15. Extensive decarbonation of continuously hydrated subducting slabs (United States)

    Arzilli, Fabio; Burton, Mike; La Spina, Giuseppe; Macpherson, Colin G.


    CO2 release from subducting slabs is a key element of Earth's carbon cycle, consigning slab carbon either to mantle burial or recycling to the surface through arc volcanism, however, what controls subducted carbon's fate is poorly understood. Fluids mobilized by devolatilization of subducting slabs play a fundamental role in the melting of mantle wedges and in global geochemical cycles [1]. The effect of such fluids on decarbonation in subducting lithologies has been investigated recently [2-5], but several thermodynamic models [2-3], and experimental studies [6] suggest that carbon-bearing phases are stable at sub-arc depths (80-140 km; 2.6-4.5 GPa), implying that this carbon can be carried to mantle depths of >140 km. This is inconsistent with observations of voluminous CO2 release from arc volcanoes [7-10], located above slabs that are at 2.6-4.5 GPa pressure. The aim of this study is to re-evaluate the role of metamorphic decarbonation, showing if decarbonation reactions could be feasible at sub-arc depths combined with a continuous hydration scenario. We used the PerpleX software combined with a custom-designed algorithm to simulate a pervasive fluid infiltration characterized by "continuous hydration" combined with a distillation model, in which is possible to remove CO2 when decarbonation occurs, to obtain an open-system scenario. This is performed by repeatedly flushing the sediment with pure H2O at 0.5, 1.0 or 5 wt.% until no further decarbonation occurs. Here we show that continuous hydrated of sediment veneers on subducting slabs by H2O released from oceanic crust and serpentinised mantle lithosphere [11-13], produces extensive slab decarbonation over a narrow, sub-arc pressure range, even for low temperature subduction pathways. This explains the location of CO2-rich volcanism, quantitatively links the sedimentary composition of slab material to the degree of decarbonation and greatly increases estimates for the magnitude of carbon flux through the arc

  16. An updated digital model of plate boundaries (United States)

    Bird, Peter


    A global set of present plate boundaries on the Earth is presented in digital form. Most come from sources in the literature. A few boundaries are newly interpreted from topography, volcanism, and/or seismicity, taking into account relative plate velocities from magnetic anomalies, moment tensor solutions, and/or geodesy. In addition to the 14 large plates whose motion was described by the NUVEL-1A poles (Africa, Antarctica, Arabia, Australia, Caribbean, Cocos, Eurasia, India, Juan de Fuca, Nazca, North America, Pacific, Philippine Sea, South America), model PB2002 includes 38 small plates (Okhotsk, Amur, Yangtze, Okinawa, Sunda, Burma, Molucca Sea, Banda Sea, Timor, Birds Head, Maoke, Caroline, Mariana, North Bismarck, Manus, South Bismarck, Solomon Sea, Woodlark, New Hebrides, Conway Reef, Balmoral Reef, Futuna, Niuafo'ou, Tonga, Kermadec, Rivera, Galapagos, Easter, Juan Fernandez, Panama, North Andes, Altiplano, Shetland, Scotia, Sandwich, Aegean Sea, Anatolia, Somalia), for a total of 52 plates. No attempt is made to divide the Alps-Persia-Tibet mountain belt, the Philippine Islands, the Peruvian Andes, the Sierras Pampeanas, or the California-Nevada zone of dextral transtension into plates; instead, they are designated as "orogens" in which this plate model is not expected to be accurate. The cumulative-number/area distribution for this model follows a power law for plates with areas between 0.002 and 1 steradian. Departure from this scaling at the small-plate end suggests that future work is very likely to define more very small plates within the orogens. The model is presented in four digital files: a set of plate boundary segments; a set of plate outlines; a set of outlines of the orogens; and a table of characteristics of each digitization step along plate boundaries, including estimated relative velocity vector and classification into one of 7 types (continental convergence zone, continental transform fault, continental rift, oceanic spreading ridge

  17. Megathrust splay faults, forearc basins, and segment boundaries related to the Kodiak Islands segment of the Alaska subduction zone (United States)

    Ramos, M. D.; Liberty, L. M.


    We have compiled and interpreted a comprehensive upper-crustal seismic reflection dataset revealing spatiotemporal Cenozoic deformation across the Kodiak forearc and accretionary prism. Pervasive splay faults and forearc basin growth and positioning with respect to the prism record both accreting and eroding margin episodes through time. Seafloor bathymetry, in conjunction with seismic reflection data, show that post-glacial splay fault motion can exceed 40 meters offshore Kodiak Island. We observe considerable differences in splay fault uplift rates and activation spanning the near-shore region to the continental shelf, with significant tsunamigenic fault motion from the 1964 Great Alaska Earthquake concentrated along the Kodiak Island shelf fault zone system. We utilize potential fields data to highlight the continuity of megathrust splay faults that span the southern Gulf of Alaska and to identify geophysical signatures of segment boundaries that represent subducting Pacific plate morphology which may define megathrust rupture limits. Constraints on interseismic deformation from compiled geodetic GPS, focal mechanism, and earthquake datasets reveal the seismotectonic character of the Kodiak segment and are consistent with the structural heterogeneity at both the plate interface and upper plate. Upper plate geometry of the Kodiak segment shows Holocene fault motion has been accommodated along distinct fault zone segments. This knowledge informs tsunami risk modelers to allow for different alternatives of coseismic splay fault uplift during megathrust rupture. Our results suggest growth of forearc structures is contemporaneous with the subduction of major Pacific plate morphologies and provide clear geophysical evidence that can explain the persistence of the Kodiak segment, which is a major step towards a composite Alaska subduction zone deformation model.

  18. Imaging the Seismic Cycle in the Central Andean Subduction Zone from Geodetic Observations (United States)

    Ortega-Culaciati, F.; Becerra-Carreño, V. C.; Socquet, A.; Jara, J.; Carrizo, D.; Norabuena, E. O.; Simons, M.; Vigny, C.; Bataille, K. D.; Moreno, M.; Baez, J. C.; Comte, D.; Contreras-Reyes, E.; Delorme, A.; Genrich, J. F.; Klein, E.; Ortega, I.; Valderas, M. C.


    We aim to quantify spatial and temporal evolution of fault slip behavior during all stages of the seismic cycle in subduction megathrusts, with the eventual goal of improving our understanding of the mechanical behavior of the subduction system and its implications for earthquake and tsunami hazards. In this work, we analyze the portion of the Nazca-SouthAmerican plates subduction zone affected by the 1868 southern Peru and 1877 northern Chile mega-earthquakes. The 1868 and 1878 events defined a seismic gap that did not experience a large earthquake for over 124 years. Only recently, the 1995 Mw 8.1 Antofagasta, 2001 Mw 8.4 Arequipa, 2007 Mw 7.7 Tocopilla, and 2014 Mw 8.2 Pisagua earthquakes released only a small fraction of the potential slip budget, thereby raising concerns about continued seismic and tsunami hazard. We use over a decade of observations from continuous and campaign GPS networks to analyze inter-seismic strain accumulation, as well as co-seimic deformation associated to the more recent earthquakes in the in the Central Andean region. We obtain inferences of slip (and back-slip) behavior using a consistent and robust inversion framework that accounts for the spatial variability of the constraint provided by the observations on slip across the subduction megathrust. We present an updated inter-seismic coupling model and estimates of pre-, co- and post- seismic slip behavior associated with the most recent 2014 Mw 8.2 Pisagua earthquake. We analyze our results, along with published information on the recent and historical large earthquakes, to characterize the regions of the megathrust that tend to behave aseismically, and those that are capable to accumulate a slip budget (ultimately leading to the generation of large earthquakes), to what extent such regions may overlap, and discuss the potential for large earthquakes in the region.

  19. Volatile (Li, B, F and Cl) mobility during amphibole breakdown in subduction zones (United States)

    Debret, Baptiste; Koga, Kenneth T.; Cattani, Fanny; Nicollet, Christian; Van den Bleeken, Greg; Schwartz, Stephane


    Amphiboles are ubiquitous minerals in the altered oceanic crust. During subduction, their breakdown is governed by continuous reactions up to eclogitic facies conditions. Amphiboles thus contribute to slab-derived fluid throughout prograde metamorphism and continuously record information about volatile exchanges occurring between the slab and the mantle wedge. However, the fate of volatile elements and especially halogens, such as F and Cl, in amphibole during subduction is poorly constrained. We studied metagabbros from three different localities in the Western Alps: the Chenaillet ophiolite, the Queyras Schistes Lustrés and the Monviso meta-ophiolitic complexes. These samples record different metamorphic conditions, from greenschist to eclogite facies, and have interacted with different lithologies (e.g. sedimentary rocks, serpentinites) from their formation at mid-oceanic ridge, up to their devolatilization during subduction. In the oceanic crust, the initial halogen budget is mostly stored in magmatic amphibole (F = 300-7000 ppm; Cl = 20-1200 ppm) or in amphibole corona (F = 100-7000 ppm; Cl = 80-2000 ppm) and titanite (F = 200-1500 ppm; Cl glaucophane at the expense of magmatic and amphibole coronas. This episode is accompanied with a decrease of halogen concentrations in amphiboles (glaucophane (up to 600 ppm) whereas halogen concentrations are unaffected. At eclogite facies conditions, metagabbros display low halogens concentrations (< 20 ppm of F and < 100 ppm of Cl) relative to altered oceanic crust (F = 40-650 ppm; Cl = 40-1400 ppm) suggesting that these elements are continuously released by fluids during the first 30-80 km of subduction whatever the tectonic environment (e.g. slab, plate interface) and the considered fluid/rock interactions.

  20. Extending the global coverage of Slab1.0 3D subduction zone models (United States)

    Seidman, L.; Hayes, G. P.


    Slab1.0 is a three-dimensional model of subduction zone geometries that covers approximately 85% of global slabs by area. It is built from an automated interpolation of a combined dataset made up from subduction-related earthquakes, moment tensors, interpretations of active source seismic data, and models of bathymetry and sediment thickness. Those subduction zones that are missing from the model are difficult to characterize with this automated approach because of sparse teleseismically located, interplate seismicity (e.g., Cascadia, Hikurangi), complex geometry (e.g., Halmahera, southern Philippine Sea), or some combination of these issues (e.g., Caribbean). Here we attempt to solve this problem with a straightforward modification of the Slab1.0 approach. Instead of constructing a series of automated spline fits to our geophysical data in two-dimensional cross sections, we produce hand-contoured two-dimensional fits; under the assumption that where seismicity is sparse or geometry complex, a human guided by tectonic knowledge can produce a better fit to geometry than can a computer algorithm. These manual 2D sections are then interpolated into a 3D surface in the same way automated 2D fits are processed for Slab1.0. Following this approach, we produce models for slabs in the Caribbean, the Makran, the Manila Trench, the Halmahera Plate, and the Hellenic Arc. We also address regions of current models (e.g., Peru) that were poorly characterized by the original automated approach. These new models thus provide valuable information on subduction zone structure from the trench and into the mantle in regions previously missing from Slab1.0, and help to make existing models more accurate, and thus more useful, than was previously possible. In turn, the models can be used to better characterize associated seismic hazards.

  1. Thermal State, Slab Metamorphism, and Interface Seismicity in the Cascadia Subduction Zone Based On 3-D Modeling (United States)

    Ji, Yingfeng; Yoshioka, Shoichi; Banay, Yuval A.


    Giant earthquakes have repeatedly ruptured the Cascadia subduction zone, and similar earthquakes will likely also occur there in the near future. We employ a 3-D time-dependent thermomechanical model that incorporates an up-to-date description of the slab geometry to study the Cascadia subduction thrust. Results show a distinct band of 3-D slab dehydration that extends from Vancouver Island to the Seattle Basin and farther southward to the Klamath Mountains in northern California, where episodic tremors cluster. This distribution appears to include a region of increased dehydration in northern Cascadia. The phenomenon of heterogeneous megathrust seismicity associated with oblique subduction suggests that the presence of fluid-rich interfaces generated by slab dehydration favors megathrust seismogenesis in the northern part of this zone. The thin, relatively weakly metamorphosed Explorer, Juan de Fuca, and Gorda Plates are associated with an anomalous lack of thrust earthquakes, and metamorphism that occurs at temperatures of 500-700°C near the Moho discontinuity may represent a key factor in explaining the presence of the associated episodic tremor and slip (ETS), which requires a young oceanic plate to subduct at a small dip angle, as is the case in Cascadia and southwestern Japan. The 3-D intraslab dehydration distribution suggests that the metamorphosed plate environment is more complex than had previously been believed, despite the existence of channeling vein networks. Slab amphibolization and eclogitization near the continental Moho depth is thus inferred to account for the resultant overpressurization at the interface, facilitating the generation of ETS and the occurrence of small to medium thrust earthquakes beneath Cascadia.

  2. Plate Coupling and Strain Partitioning in the Northeastern Caribbean (United States)

    Manaker, D.; Calais, E.; Jansma, P.; Mattioli, G.


    Major strike-slip faults commonly found on the margin of overriding plates in oblique subduction zone settings facilitate the partitioning of strain into trench-parallel and trench-normal tectonics. Their development has been proposed to be controlled by factors such as convergence obliquity, basal tractions, magnitude of slab-pull force, or strength of interplate coupling. In the northeastern Caribbean, the direction of GPS velocities and earthquake slip vectors suggests low coupling along the Puerto Rico and Lesser Antilles trenches, but strong coupling to the west along the Hispaniola margin, while the convergence obliquity remains constant. Coincidentally, large strike-slip faults in the overriding plate only develop in Hispaniola, which is also the locus of the largest historical subduction earthquakes in the Caribbean (M8.0, 1946-53 sequence). We investigate interplate coupling at the Caribbean-North American plate boundary using a model that allows for block rotations and elastic strain accumulation on partially coupled faults. Model parameters (block rotations and coupling on interplate faults) are derived from an inversion of earthquake slip vectors and new GPS data covering Haiti, the Dominican Republic, Puerto Rico and the Virgin Islands, and the Lesser Antilles. We find that intraplate coupling is high in the western half of the domain, coincident with the development of large and fast-slipping strike-slip faults in the upper plate that partition the Carribean/North America plate motion, but low in its eastern half, along the Puerto Rico and Lesser Antilles subductions, that show little to no strain partitioning. This suggests that strain partitioning occur only if interplate coupling is large enough to effectively transfer shear stresses to the overriding plate.

  3. Rheological property of mafic schist and geological interpretation to the subduction dynamics (United States)

    Okazaki, K.; Hirth, G.


    To understand the spatial and temporal distribution of deformation (e.g., underplating and exhumation of metamorphic rocks) and earthquakes in subduction zones, it is important to constrain the rheological properties of metamorphic rocks (i.e., altered oceanic crust and sediments), and how they evolve during metamorphic reactions following hydration, carbonation and dehydration of the down-going slab. Metamorphism of oceanic crust has stimulated hypotheses on the relationship between intra-slab earthquakes and slab-wedge coupling along plate boundaries in subduction zone. While it is well known that metamorphisms have important effects on material circulation and arc volcanisms at subduction system, it remains unclear how the formation of metamorphic minerals followed by fluid release on the subduction dynamics influences rheology. Past experimental studies on mafic metamorphic rocks were mostly concentrated on phase equilibrium of mineral, thus there are very few reports on the mechanical data for these metamorphic rocks. We conducted triaxial deformation experiments on a mafic greenschist using Griggs-type solid pressure-medium apparatus installed in Brown University. Mafic schist (chlorite - amphibole - epidote - albite schist) containing calcite and quartz veins from Sambagawa metamorphic belt (Japan), which is metamorphosed at the condition of nearly the corner of mantle wedge in hot subduction (1 GPa of pressure and 520C of temperature), was used as experimental samples for typical metamorphic rocks composing oceanic crust in warm subduction zones. Constant strain rete experiments and strain rate step experiment were conducted at 1.0 GPa of confining pressure, 400 ~ 500C of temperature and 10-5 ~ 5×10-7 1/s of strain rate. At stable conditions of samples (1 GPa of confining pressure and 400 and 500C of temperature), differential stresses were higher than 1 GPa. Microstructure of recovered samples showed backing and several localized shear zones. Although

  4. Control of high oceanic features and subduction channel on earthquake ruptures along the Chile-Peru subduction zone (United States)

    Contreras-Reyes, Eduardo; Carrizo, Daniel


    We discuss the earthquake rupture behavior along the Chile-Peru subduction zone in terms of the buoyancy of the subducting high oceanic features (HOF's), and the effect of the interplay between HOF and subduction channel thickness on the degree of interplate coupling. We show a strong relation between subduction of HOF's and earthquake rupture segments along the Chile-Peru margin, elucidating how these subducting features play a key role in seismic segmentation. Within this context, the extra increase of normal stress at the subduction interface is strongly controlled by the buoyancy of HOF's which is likely caused by crustal thickening and mantle serpentinization beneath hotspot ridges and fracture zones, respectively. Buoyancy of HOF's provide an increase in normal stress estimated to be as high as 10-50 MPa. This significant increase of normal stress will enhance seismic coupling across the subduction interface and hence will affect the seismicity. In particular, several large earthquakes (Mw ≥ 7.5) have occurred in regions characterized by subduction of HOF's including fracture zones (e.g., Nazca, Challenger and Mocha), hotspot ridges (e.g., Nazca, Iquique, and Juan Fernández) and the active Nazca-Antarctic spreading center. For instance, the giant 1960 earthquake (Mw = 9.5) is coincident with the linear projections of the Mocha Fracture Zone and the buoyant Chile Rise, while the active seismic gap of north Chile spatially correlates with the subduction of the Iquique Ridge. Further comparison of rupture characteristics of large underthrusting earthquakes and the locations of subducting features provide evidence that HOF's control earthquake rupture acting as both asperities and barriers. This dual behavior can be partially controlled by the subduction channel thickness. A thick subduction channel smooths the degree of coupling caused by the subducted HOF which allows lateral earthquake rupture propagation. This may explain why the 1960 rupture propagates

  5. Numerical modeling of the deformations associated with large subduction earthquakes through the seismic cycle (United States)

    Fleitout, L.; Trubienko, O.; Garaud, J.; Vigny, C.; Cailletaud, G.; Simons, W. J.; Satirapod, C.; Shestakov, N.


    A 3D finite element code (Zebulon-Zset) is used to model deformations through the seismic cycle in the areas surrounding the last three large subduction earthquakes: Sumatra, Japan and Chile. The mesh featuring a broad spherical shell portion with a viscoelastic asthenosphere is refined close to the subduction zones. The model is constrained by 6 years of postseismic data in Sumatra area and over a year of data for Japan and Chile plus preseismic data in the three areas. The coseismic displacements on the subduction plane are inverted from the coseismic displacements using the finite element program and provide the initial stresses. The predicted horizontal postseismic displacements depend upon the thicknesses of the elastic plate and of the low viscosity asthenosphere. Non-dimensionalized by the coseismic displacements, they present an almost uniform value between 500km and 1500km from the trench for elastic plates 80km thick. The time evolution of the velocities is function of the creep law (Maxwell, Burger or power-law creep). Moreover, the forward models predict a sizable far-field subsidence, also with a spatial distribution which varies with the geometry of the asthenosphere and lithosphere. Slip on the subduction interface does not induce such a subsidence. The observed horizontal velocities, divided by the coseismic displacement, present a similar pattern as function of time and distance from trench for the three areas, indicative of similar lithospheric and asthenospheric thicknesses and asthenospheric viscosity. This pattern cannot be fitted with power-law creep in the asthenosphere but indicates a lithosphere 60 to 90km thick and an asthenosphere of thickness of the order of 100km with a burger rheology represented by a Kelvin-Voigt element with a viscosity of 3.1018Pas and μKelvin=μelastic/3. A second Kelvin-Voigt element with very limited amplitude may explain some characteristics of the short time-scale signal. The postseismic subsidence is

  6. Plate tectonic controls on atmospheric CO2 levels since the Triassic (United States)

    Van Der Meer, Douwe G.; Zeebe, Richard E.; van Hinsbergen, Douwe J. J.; Sluijs, Appy; Spakman, Wim; Torsvik, Trond H.


    Climate trends on timescales of 10s to 100s of millions of years are controlled by changes in solar luminosity, continent distribution, and atmosphere composition. Plate tectonics affect geography, but also atmosphere composition through volcanic degassing of CO2 at subduction zones and midocean ridges. So far, such degassing estimates were based on reconstructions of ocean floor production for the last 150 My and indirectly, through sea level inversion before 150 My. Here we quantitatively estimate CO2 degassing by reconstructing lithosphere subduction evolution, using recent advances in combining global plate reconstructions and present-day structure of the mantle. First, we estimate that since the Triassic (250–200 My) until the present, the total paleosubduction-zone length reached up to ∼200% of the present-day value. Comparing our subduction-zone lengths with previously reconstructed ocean-crust production rates over the past 140 My suggests average global subduction rates have been constant, ∼6 cm/y: Higher ocean-crust production is associated with longer total subduction length. We compute a strontium isotope record based on subduction-zone length, which agrees well with geological records supporting the validity of our approach: The total subduction-zone length is proportional to the summed arc and ridge volcanic CO2 production and thereby to global volcanic degassing at plate boundaries. We therefore use our degassing curve as input for the GEOCARBSULF model to estimate atmospheric CO2 levels since the Triassic. Our calculated CO2 levels for the mid Mesozoic differ from previous modeling results and are more consistent with available proxy data. PMID:24616495

  7. Three-dimensional magnetotelluric imaging of Cascadia subduction zone from an amphibious array (United States)

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


    We present results from three-dimensional inversion of an amphibious magnetotelluric (MT) array consisting of 71 offshore and 75 onshore sites in the central part of Cascadia, to image down-dip and along strike variations of electrical conductivity, and constrain the 3D distribution of fluids and melt in the subduction zone. A larger scale array consisting of EarthScope transportable-array data and several 2D legacy profiles (e.g. EMSLAB, CAFE-MT, SWORMT) which covers WA, OR, northern CA and northern NV has been inverted separately, to provide a broader view of the subduction zone. Inverting these datasets including seafloor data, and involving strong coast effects presents many challenges, especially for the nominal TE mode impedances which have very anomalous phases in both land and seafloor sites. We find that including realistic bathymetry and conductive seafloor sediments significantly stabilizes the inversion, and that a two stage inversion strategy, first emphasizing fit to the more challenging TE data, improved overall data fits. We have also constrained the geometry of the (assumed resistive) subducting plates by extracting morphological parameters (e.g. upper boundary and thickness) from seismological models (McCrory et al 2012, Schmandt and Humphreys 2010). These constraints improve recovery and resolution of subduction related conductivity features. With the strategies mentioned above, we improved overall data fits, resulting in a model which reveals (for the first time) a conductive oceanic asthenosphere, extending under the North America plate. The most striking model features are conductive zones along the plate interface, including a continuous stripe of high conductivity just inboard of the coast, extending from the northern limits of our model in Washington state, to north-central Oregon. High conductivities also occur in patches near the tip of the mantle wedge, at depths appropriate for eclogitization, and at greater depth beneath the arc, in

  8. Diapiric flow at subduction zones: a recipe for rapid transport. (United States)

    Hall, P S; Kincaid, C


    Recent geochemical studies of uranium-thorium series disequilibrium in rocks from subduction zones require magmas to be transported through the mantle from just above the subducting slab to the surface in as little as approximately 30,000 years. We present a series of laboratory experiments that investigate the characteristic time scales and flow patterns of the diapiric upwelling model of subduction zone magmatism. Results indicate that the interaction between buoyantly upwelling diapirs and subduction-induced flow in the mantle creates a network of low-density, low-viscosity conduits through which buoyant flow is rapid, yielding transport times commensurate with those indicated by uranium-thorium studies.

  9. Forearc structure from legacy multichannel seismic data linked to mechanical variability and rupture segmentation on the central Alaska-Aleutian subduction zone (United States)

    Roland, E. C.; von Huene, R.; Miller, J.; Haeussler, P. J.; Scholl, D. W.; Ryan, H. F.; Kirby, S. H.


    The historical earthquake record, geodetic observations, and modern interseismic seismicity patterns indicate along-strike variability in the mechanical behavior of the subduction zone extending from the central Alaska peninsula west to the eastern Aleutian Islands. This region spans the rupture areas of several historical megathrust earthquakes, including the 1938 M8.3 Semidi Islands event, the 1946 M8.5 earthquake near Unimak Pass, and the 1957 M8.6 Andreanof Islands earthquake. Each of these events produced tsunamis that affected Alaska and/or far-field coastal regions in Hawaii and the mainland U.S. The '38 and '46 rupture areas are separated by a segment of the subduction zone in the vicinity of the Shumagin Islands where, based on plate velocities from GPS, plate coupling decreases from nearly fully locked in the east, to very low coupling in the western Shumagins, indicating an important change in seismic style along-strike. Changes in the degree of interseismic coupling are often attributed to variability in the mechanical strength of the thrust interface, influenced by heterogeneity in the material properties and subducted topographic relief. Furthermore, the expression of forearc structural features along the margin may indicate the width and up-dip limit of the locked zone. We explore structural characteristics of the shallow portion of the subduction system related to variations in the mechanical properties of the megathrust and interseismic coupling using legacy multichannel seismic (MCS) data from several segments along the Alaska-Aleutian subduction zone. Critical images were reprocessed with modern seismic processing systems. We characterize structural features of the downgoing plate and forearc, including the variation in thickness and character of subducted sediment, the geometry of the upper plate wedge, the distribution of imbricate thrust faults, the transition from outer prism to margin rock framework and extensional faulting. These

  10. Boron desorption and fractionation in Subduction Zone Fore Arcs: Implications for the sources and transport of deep fluids (United States)

    Saffer, Demian M.; Kopf, Achim J.


    At many subduction zones, pore water geochemical anomalies at seafloor seeps and in shallow boreholes indicate fluid flow and chemical transport from depths of several kilometers. Identifying the source regions for these fluids is essential toward quantifying flow pathways and volatile fluxes through fore arcs, and in understanding their connection to the loci of excess pore pressure at depth. Here we develop a model to track the coupled effects of boron desorption, smectite dehydration, and progressive consolidation within sediment at the top of the subducting slab, where such deep fluid signals likely originate. Our analysis demonstrates that the relative timing of heating and consolidation is a dominant control on pore water composition. For cold slabs, pore water freshening is maximized because dehydration releases bound water into low porosity sediment, whereas boron concentrations and isotopic signatures are modest because desorption is strongly sensitive to temperature and is only partially complete. For warmer slabs, freshening is smaller, because dehydration occurs earlier and into larger porosities, but the boron signatures are larger. The former scenario is typical of nonaccretionary margins where insulating sediment on the subducting plate is commonly thin. This result provides a quantitative explanation for the global observation that signatures of deeply sourced fluids are generally strongest at nonaccretionary margins. Application of our multitracer approach to the Costa Rica, N. Japan, N. Barbados, and Mediterranean Ridge subduction zones illustrates that desorption and dehydration are viable explanations for observed geochemical signals, and suggest updip fluid migration from these source regions over tens of km.

  11. Intraplate volcanism influenced by distal subduction tectonics at Jeju Island, Republic of Korea (United States)

    Brenna, Marco; Cronin, Shane J.; Kereszturi, Gábor; Sohn, Young Kwan; Smith, Ian E. M.; Wijbrans, Jan


    The drivers behind the inception of, and the variable, pulsatory eruption rates at distributed intraplate volcanic fields are not well understood. Such broad areas of monogenetic volcanism cover vast areas of the world and are often heavily populated. Reliable models to unravel their behaviour require robust spatio-temporal frameworks within the fields, but an analysis of the potential proximal and distal regional volcano-tectonic processes is also needed. Jeju Island (Republic of Korea) is a volcanic field that has been extensively drilled and dated. It is also located near one of the world's best-studied tectonic plate boundaries: the subduction zone in southwestern Japan, which generates the Ryukyu and SW Japan arcs. A new set of 40Ar/39Ar ages collected from cores penetrating the entire Jeju eruptive pile, along with geochemical information, is used to construct a temporal and volumetric model for the volcano's growth. The overall pattern indicates inception of volcanism at ~1.7 Ma, with an initial 1.2 Myr of low-rate activity, followed by over an order of magnitude rise over the last 0.5 Myr. The magma flux at Jeju correlates well with increased extension rates in the arc/backarc region. In particular, we infer that the increased trenchward mantle flow, caused by the greater rollback of the Philippine Sea Plate, activated pre-existing shear weaknesses in the mantle beneath Jeju, resulting in mantle upwelling and decompression melting that caused a change in compositions and an increase in eruption rates at Jeju. Thus, the volcanic activity of an intraplate field system can be modulated by regional subduction processes occurring more than 650 km away. This model may explain the frequent observation of pulsatory behaviour seen in many monogenetic volcanic fields worldwide that lie within 1,000 km of subduction zones.

  12. Reflection signature of seismic and aseismic slip on the northern Cascadia subduction interface. (United States)

    Nedimović, Mladen R; Hyndman, Roy D; Ramachandran, Kumar; Spence, George D


    At the northern Cascadia margin, the Juan de Fuca plate is underthrusting North America at about 45 mm x yr(-1) (ref. 1), resulting in the potential for destructive great earthquakes. The downdip extent of coupling between the two plates is difficult to determine because the most recent such earthquake (thought to have been in 1700) occurred before instrumental recording. Thermal and deformation studies indicate that, off southern Vancouver Island, the interplate interface is presently fully locked for a distance of approximately 60 km downdip from the deformation front. Great thrust earthquakes on this section of the interface (with magnitudes of up to 9) have been estimated to occur at an average interval of about 590 yr (ref. 3). Further downdip there is a transition from fully locked behaviour to aseismic sliding (where high temperatures allow ductile deformation), with the deep aseismic zone exhibiting slow-slip thrust events. Here we show that there is a change in the reflection character on seismic images from a thin sharp reflection where the subduction thrust is inferred to be locked, to a broad reflection band at greater depth where aseismic slip is thought to be occurring. This change in reflection character may provide a new technique to map the landward extent of rupture in great earthquakes and improve the characterization of seismic hazards in subduction zones.

  13. Tsunami Hazard Assessment of Coastal South Africa Based on Mega-Earthquakes of Remote Subduction Zones (United States)

    Kijko, Andrzej; Smit, Ansie; Papadopoulos, Gerassimos A.; Novikova, Tatyana


    After the mega-earthquakes and concomitant devastating tsunamis in Sumatra (2004) and Japan (2011), we launched an investigation into the potential risk of tsunami hazard to the coastal cities of South Africa. This paper presents the analysis of the seismic hazard of seismogenic sources that could potentially generate tsunamis, as well as the analysis of the tsunami hazard to coastal areas of South Africa. The subduction zones of Makran, South Sandwich Island, Sumatra, and the Andaman Islands were identified as possible sources of mega-earthquakes and tsunamis that could affect the African coast. Numerical tsunami simulations were used to investigate the realistic and worst-case scenarios that could be generated by these subduction zones. The simulated tsunami amplitudes and run-up heights calculated for the coastal cities of Cape Town, Durban, and Port Elizabeth are relatively small and therefore pose no real risk to the South African coast. However, only distant tsunamigenic sources were considered and the results should therefore be viewed as preliminary.

  14. Episodic tremor and slip in Northern Sumatra subduction zone (United States)

    Sianipar, Dimas; Subakti, Hendri


    The first reported observation of non-volcanic tremor in Sunda Arc in Sumbawa, Indonesia open a possibility of discovery of episodic tremor and slip (ETS) from out of Pacific Rim. Non-volcanic tremor gives some important information about dynamic of plate boundaries. The characteristics of these tremors are visually as non-impulsive, high frequency, long-duration and low-amplitude signals. Tectonic tremor occurred in a transition part of brittle-ductile of a fault and frequently associated with the shearing mechanism of slow slip. Tectonic tremor is a seismic case that also very interested, because it shows strong sensitivity to stress changes. Deep non-volcanic tremor is usually associated with episodic slow-slip events. Tectonic tremor is found in close association with geodetically observed slow-slip events (SSE) in subduction zones. One research found that there is possibility of SSE occurrence on Banyak Islands, North Sumatra revealed from coral observation. The SSE occurred on the Banyak Islands portion of the megathrust at 30-55 km depth, within the downdip transition zone. We do a systematic search of episodic tremor and its possible relationship with slow-slip phenomena in Northern Sumatra subduction zone. The spectrogram analysis is done to analyze the potential tremor signals. We use three component broadband seismic stations with 20, 25, and 50 sampling per second (BH* and SH* channels). We apply a butterworth 5 Hz highpass filter to separate the signal as local tremor and teleseismic/regional earthquakes. Before computing spectrogram to avoid high-frequency artifacts to remote triggering, we apply a 0.5 Hz filter. We also convert the binary seismic data into sound waves to make sure that these events meet the tectonic tremor criterion. We successfully examine 3 seismic stations with good recording i.e. GSI, SNSI and KCSI. We find there are many evidences of high frequency episodic tremor like signals. This include an analysis of potential triggered

  15. The melting of subducted banded iron formations (United States)

    Kang, Nathan; Schmidt, Max W.


    Banded iron formations (BIF) were common shelf and ocean basin sediments 3.5-1.8 Ga ago. To understand the fate of these dense rocks upon subduction, the melting relations of carbonated BIF were determined in Fe-Ca-(Mg)-Si-C-O2 at 950-1400 °C, 6 and 10 GPa, oxidizing (fO2 = hematite-magnetite, HM) and moderately reducing (fO2 ∼CO2-graphite/diamond, CCO) conditions. Solidus temperatures under oxidizing conditions are 950-1025 °C with H2O, and 1050-1150 °C anhydrous, but 250-175 °C higher at graphite saturation (values at 6-10 GPa). The combination of Fe3+ and carbonate leads to a strong melting depression. Solidus curves are steep with 17-20 °C/GPa. Near-solidus melts are ferro-carbonatites with ∼22 wt.% FeOtot, ∼48 wt% CO2 and 1-5 wt.% SiO2 at fO2 ∼ HM and ∼49 wt.% FeOtot, ∼20 wt% CO2 and 19-25 wt.% SiO2 at fO2 ∼ CCO . At elevated subduction geotherms, as likely for the Archean, C-bearing BIF could melt out all carbonate around 6 GPa. Fe-rich carbonatites would rise but stagnate gravitationally near the slab/mantle interface until they react with the mantle through Fe-Mg exchange and partial reduction. The latter would precipitate diamond and yield Fe- and C-rich mantle domains, yet, Fe-Mg is expected to diffusively re-equilibrate over Ga time scales. We propose that the oldest subduction derived diamonds stem from BIF derived melts.

  16. Quantifying the net slab pull force as a driving mechanism for plate tectonics

    NARCIS (Netherlands)

    Schellart, W. P.


    It has remained unclear how much of the negative buoyancy force of the slab (FB) is used to pull the trailing plate at the surface into the mantle. Here I present three-dimensional laboratory experiments to quantify the net slab pull force (FNSP) with respect to FB during subduction. Results show

  17. Plate tectonics in the late Paleozoic

    Directory of Open Access Journals (Sweden)

    Mathew Domeier


    Full Text Available As the chronicle of plate motions through time, paleogeography is fundamental to our understanding of plate tectonics and its role in shaping the geology of the present-day. To properly appreciate the history of tectonics—and its influence on the deep Earth and climate—it is imperative to seek an accurate and global model of paleogeography. However, owing to the incessant loss of oceanic lithosphere through subduction, the paleogeographic reconstruction of ‘full-plates’ (including oceanic lithosphere becomes increasingly challenging with age. Prior to 150 Ma ∼60% of the lithosphere is missing and reconstructions are developed without explicit regard for oceanic lithosphere or plate tectonic principles; in effect, reflecting the earlier mobilistic paradigm of continental drift. Although these ‘continental’ reconstructions have been immensely useful, the next-generation of mantle models requires global plate kinematic descriptions with full-plate reconstructions. Moreover, in disregarding (or only loosely applying plate tectonic rules, continental reconstructions fail to take advantage of a wealth of additional information in the form of practical constraints. Following a series of new developments, both in geodynamic theory and analytical tools, it is now feasible to construct full-plate models that lend themselves to testing by the wider Earth-science community. Such a model is presented here for the late Paleozoic (410–250 Ma together with a review of the underlying data. Although we expect this model to be particularly useful for numerical mantle modeling, we hope that it will also serve as a general framework for understanding late Paleozoic tectonics, one on which future improvements can be built and further tested.

  18. Create Your Plate

    Medline Plus

    Full Text Available ... Pacific Islanders American Indian/Alaska Native Programs Older Adults Family Link Diabetes EXPO Upcoming Diabetes EXPOs EXPO ... Plate! Click on the plate sections below to add your food choices. Reset Plate Share Create Your ...

  19. Growth Plate Fractures (United States)

    .org Growth Plate Fractures Page ( 1 ) The bones of children and adults share many of the same risks for ... also subject to a unique injury called a growth plate fracture. Growth plates are areas of cartilage ...

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    Full Text Available ... Plate! Click on the plate sections below to add your food choices. Reset Plate Share Create Your ... your protein. See this list of protein foods . Add a serving of fruit , a serving of dairy ...

  1. Create Your Plate

    Medline Plus

    Full Text Available ... Plate Create Your Plate is a simple and effective way to manage your blood glucose levels and ... Steps to Create Your Plate It's simple and effective for both managing diabetes and losing weight. Creating ...

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    Medline Plus

    Full Text Available ... that your options are endless. Create Your Plate! Click on the plate sections below to add your ... down the middle of the plate. Then on one side, cut it again so you will have ...

  3. Global Dynamic Numerical Simulations of Plate Tectonic Reorganizations (United States)

    Morra, G.; Quevedo, L.; Butterworth, N.; Matthews, K. J.; Müller, D.


    We use a new numerical approach for global geodynamics to investigate the origin of present global plate motion and to identify the causes of the last two global tectonic reorganizations occurred about 50 and 100 million years ago (Ma) [1]. While the 50 Ma event is the most well-known global plate-mantle event, expressed by the bend in the Hawaiian-Emperor volcanic chain, a prominent plate reorganization at about 100 Ma, although presently little studied, is clearly indicated by a major bend in the fracture zones in the Indian Ocean and by a change in Pacific plate motion [2]. Our workflow involves turning plate reconstructions into surface meshes that are subsequently employed as initial conditions for global Boundary Element numerical models. The tectonic setting that anticipates the reorganizations is processed with the software GPlates, combining the 3D mesh of the paleo-plate morphology and the reconstruction of paleo-subducted slabs, elaborated from tectonic history [3]. All our models involve the entire planetary system, are fully dynamic, have free surface, are characterized by a spectacular computational speed due to the simultaneous use of the multi-pole algorithm and the Boundary Element formulation and are limited only by the use of sharp material property variations [4]. We employ this new tool to unravel the causes of plate tectonic reorganizations, producing and comparing global plate motion with the reconstructed ones. References: [1] Torsvik, T., Müller, R.D., Van der Voo, R., Steinberger, B., and Gaina, C., 2008, Global Plate Motion Frames: Toward a unified model: Reviews in Geophysics, VOL. 46, RG3004, 44 PP., 2008 [2] Wessel, P. and Kroenke, L.W. Pacific absolute plate motion since 145 Ma: An assessment of the fixed hot spot hypothesis. Journal of Geophysical Research, Vol 113, B06101, 2008 [3] L. Quevedo, G. Morra, R. D. Mueller. Parallel Fast Multipole Boundary Element Method for Crustal Dynamics, Proceeding 9th World Congress and 4th Asian

  4. Creep of phyllosilicates at the onset of plate tectonics

    Energy Technology Data Exchange (ETDEWEB)

    Amiguet, Elodie; Reynard, Bruno; Caracas, Razvan; Van de Moortele, Bertrand; Hilairet, Nadege; Wang, Yanbin (ENSL); (UC)


    Plate tectonics is the unifying paradigm of geodynamics yet the mechanisms and causes of its initiation remain controversial. Some models suggest that plate tectonics initiates when the strength of lithosphere is lower than 20-200 MPa, below the frictional strength of lithospheric rocks (>700 MPa). At present-day, major plate boundaries such as the subduction interface, transform faults, and extensional faults at mid-oceanic ridge core complexes indicate a transition from brittle behaviour to stable sliding at depths between 10 and 40 km, in association with water-rock interactions forming phyllosilicates. We explored the rheological behaviour of lizardite, an archetypal phyllosilicate of the serpentine group formed in oceanic and subduction contexts, and its potential influence on weakening of the lithospheric faults and shear zones. High-pressure deformation experiments were carried out on polycrystalline lizardite - the low temperature serpentine variety - using a D-DIA apparatus at a variety of pressure and temperature conditions from 1 to 8 GPa and 150 to 400 C and for strain rates between 10{sup -4} and 10{sup -6} s{sup -1}. Recovered samples show plastic deformation features and no evidence of brittle failure. Lizardite has a large rheological anisotropy, comparable to that observed in the micas. Mechanical results and first-principles calculations confirmed easy gliding on lizardite basal plane and show that the flow stress of phyllosilicate is in the range of the critical value of 20-200 MPa down to depths of about 200 km. Thus, foliated serpentine or chlorite-bearing rocks are sufficiently weak to account for plate tectonics initiation, aseismic sliding on the subduction interface below the seismogenic zone, and weakening of the oceanic lithosphere along hydrothermally altered fault zones. Serpentinisation easing the deformation of the early crust and shallow mantle reinforces the idea of a close link between the occurrence of plate tectonics and water at

  5. Noble gases recycled into the mantle through cold subduction zones (United States)

    Smye, Andrew J.; Jackson, Colin R. M.; Konrad-Schmolke, Matthias; Hesse, Marc A.; Parman, Steve W.; Shuster, David L.; Ballentine, Chris J.


    Subduction of hydrous and carbonated oceanic lithosphere replenishes the mantle volatile inventory. Substantial uncertainties exist on the magnitudes of the recycled volatile fluxes and it is unclear whether Earth surface reservoirs are undergoing net-loss or net-gain of H2O and CO2. Here, we use noble gases as tracers for deep volatile cycling. Specifically, we construct and apply a kinetic model to estimate the effect of subduction zone metamorphism on the elemental composition of noble gases in amphibole - a common constituent of altered oceanic crust. We show that progressive dehydration of the slab leads to the extraction of noble gases, linking noble gas recycling to H2O. Noble gases are strongly fractionated within hot subduction zones, whereas minimal fractionation occurs along colder subduction geotherms. In the context of our modelling, this implies that the mantle heavy noble gas inventory is dominated by the injection of noble gases through cold subduction zones. For cold subduction zones, we estimate a present-day bulk recycling efficiency, past the depth of amphibole breakdown, of 5-35% and 60-80% for 36Ar and H2O bound within oceanic crust, respectively. Given that hotter subduction dominates over geologic history, this result highlights the importance of cooler subduction zones in regassing the mantle and in affecting the modern volatile budget of Earth's interior.

  6. The Run-Up of Subduction Zones (United States)

    Riquelme, S.; Bravo, F. J.; Fuentes, M.; Matias, M.; Medina, M.


    Large earthquakes in subduction zones are liable to produce tsunamis that can cause destruction and fatalities. The Run-up is a geophysical parameter that quantifies damage and if critical facilities or population are exposed to. Here we use the coupling for certain subduction regions measured by different techniques (Potency and GPS observations) to define areas where large earthquakes can occur. Taking the slab 1.0 from the United States Geological Survey (USGS), we can define the geometry of the area including its tsunamigenic potential. By using stochastic earthquakes sources for each area with its maximum tsunamigenic potential, we calculate the numerical and analytical run-up for each case. Then, we perform a statistical analysis and calculate the envelope for both methods. Furthermore, we build an index of risk using: the closest slope to the shore in a piecewise linear approach (last slopecriteria) and the outputsfrom tsunami modeling. Results show that there are areas prone to produce higher run-up than others based on the size of the earthquake, geometrical constraints of the source, tectonic setting and the coast last slope. Based on these results, there are zones that have low risk index which can define escape routes or secure coastal areas for tsunami early warning, urban and planning purposes when detailed data is available.

  7. Viscous Dissipation and Criticality of Subducting Slabs (United States)

    Riedel, Mike; Karato, Shun; Yuen, Dave


    Rheology of subducting lithosphere appears to be complicated. In the shallow part, deformation is largely accomodated by brittle failure, whereas at greater depth, at higher confining pressures, ductile creep is expected to control slab strength. The amount of viscous dissipation ΔQ during subduction at greater depth, as constrained by experimental rock mechanics, can be estimated on the basis of a simple bending moment equation [1,2] 2ɛ˙0(z) ∫ +h/2 2 M (z) = h ṡ -h/2 4μ(y,z)y dy , (1) for a complex multi-phase rheology in the mantle transition zone, including the effects of a metastable phase transition as well as the pressure, temperature, grain-size and stress dependency of the relevant creep mechanisms; μ is here the effective viscosity and ɛ˙0(z) is a (reference) strain rate. Numerical analysis shows that the maximum bending moment, Mcrit, that can be sustained by a slab is of the order of 1019 Nm per m according to Mcrit˜=σp ∗h2/4, where σp is the Peierl's stress limit of slab materials and h is the slab thickness. Near Mcrit, the amount of viscous dissipation grows strongly as a consequence of a lattice instability of mantle minerals (dislocation glide in olivine), suggesting that thermo-mechanical instabilities become prone to occur at places where a critical shear-heating rate is exceeded, see figure. This implies that the lithosphere behaves in such cases like a perfectly plastic solid [3]. Recently available detailed data related to deep seismicity [4,5] seems to provide support to our conclusion. It shows, e.g., that thermal shear instabilities, and not transformational faulting, is likely the dominating mechanism for deep-focus earthquakes at the bottom of the transition zone, in accordance with this suggested "deep criticality" model. These new findings are therefore briefly outlined and possible implications are discussed. References [1] Riedel, M. R., Karato, S., Yuen, D. A. Criticality of Subducting Slabs. University of Minnesota

  8. Imaging the Ionian Sea subducting slab panels and faults to control present day motion in the Hellenic-Aegean region (United States)

    Sachpazi, Maria


    The Hellenic-Mediterranean subduction system characterized by its fast overriding upper plate, fast trench retreat and its most rapidly extending Corinth Rift has been the target of several conceptual models on slab dynamics and lithosphere extension. Using teleseismic waves conversions on a dense 2-D seismic array -installed in the frame of Thales Was Right project- from Crete to the North Aegean coast through central Greece, a high-resolution imaging of the Hellenic slab and the overlying Aegean plate lithospheric mantle has been acquired. The subducting slab top appears segmented into panels 30- 50km wide by SW-NE along dip faults to at least 100km depth. Intermediate-depth Mw>6 earthquakes are located on those faults which implies that they are seismically active at 70 km depth. Smaller magnitude earthquakes of the upper Benioff zone commonly related to dehydration processes of the descending slab, are also resolved to be clustered along these faults. These faults are likely inherited structures of the oceanic lithosphere and sites of preferred hydration. Their revealed relation with this specific seismicity provides high-resolution insight validating dehydration embrittlement. RF imaging on 4 OBS sites has allowed to resolve the depth and geometry of the updip offshore part of the slab, the thrust interplate boundary. The observations support a trenchward continuation of the slab faults and correlation with the similarly segmented thrusting contact of the Mediterranean Ridge accretionary wedge over the upper plate. The slab faults may control the location and size of major historical megathrust earthquakes a hypothesis that has been strengthened by the study of the Mw 6.8 14.02.2008 earthquake, the first large instrumental interplate earthquake offshore SW Peloponnesus. New high-resolution imaging resolves the Aegean plate lithospheric mantle and shows the presence of a significant heterogeneity on top of the presently subducting slab, never imaged before. It

  9. Mapping subduction interface coupling using magnetotellurics: Hikurangi margin, New Zealand (United States)

    Heise, W.; Caldwell, T. G.; Bannister, S.; Bertrand, E. A.; Ogawa, Y.; Bennie, S. L.; Ichihara, H.


    The observation of slow-slip, seismic tremor, and low-frequency earthquakes at subduction margins has provided new insight into the mechanisms by which stress accumulates between large subduction (megathrust) earthquakes. However, the relationship between the physical properties of the subduction interface and the nature of the controls on interplate seismic coupling is not fully understood. Using magnetotelluric data, we show in situ that an electrically resistive patch on the Hikurangi subduction interface corresponds with an area of increased coupling inferred from geodetic data. This resistive patch must reflect a decrease in the fluid or sediment content of the interface shear zone. Together, the magnetotelluric and geodetic data suggest that the frictional coupling of this part on the Hikurangi margin may be controlled by the interface fluid and sediment content: the resistive patch marking a fluid- and sediment-starved area with an increased density of small, seismogenic-asperities, and therefore a greater likelihood of subduction earthquake nucleation.

  10. Genesis of ultra-high-Ni olivine in high-Mg andesite lava triggered by seamount subduction. (United States)

    Nishizawa, Tatsuji; Nakamura, Hitomi; Churikova, Tatiana; Gordeychik, Boris; Ishizuka, Osamu; Haraguchi, Satoru; Miyazaki, Takashi; Vaglarov, Bogdan Stefanov; Chang, Qing; Hamada, Morihisa; Kimura, Jun-Ichi; Ueki, Kenta; Toyama, Chiaki; Nakao, Atsushi; Iwamori, Hikaru


    The Kamchatka Peninsula is a prominent and wide volcanic arc located near the northern edge of the Pacific Plate. It has highly active volcanic chains and groups, and characteristic lavas that include adakitic rocks. In the north of the peninsula adjacent to the triple junction, some additional processes such as hot asthenospheric injection around the slab edge and seamount subduction operate, which might enhance local magmatism. In the forearc area of the northeastern part of the peninsula, monogenetic volcanic cones dated at subducted seamount triggered the ascent of Si-rich fluids to vein the wedge peridotite and formed a peridotite-pyroxenite source, causing the temporal evolution of local magmatism with wide compositional range.

  11. Hidden Earthquake Potential in Plate Boundary Transition Zones (United States)

    Furlong, Kevin P.; Herman, Matthew; Govers, Rob


    Plate boundaries can exhibit spatially abrupt changes in their long-term tectonic deformation (and associated kinematics) at triple junctions and other sites of changes in plate boundary structure. How earthquake behavior responds to these abrupt tectonic changes is unclear. The situation may be additionally obscured by the effects of superimposed deformational signals - juxtaposed short-term (earthquake cycle) kinematics may combine to produce a net deformational signal that does not reflect intuition about the actual strain accumulation in the region. Two examples of this effect are in the vicinity of the Mendocino triple junction (MTJ) along the west coast of North America, and at the southern end of the Hikurangi subduction zone, New Zealand. In the region immediately north of the MTJ, GPS-based observed crustal displacements (relative to North America (NAm)) are intermediate between Pacific and Juan de Fuca (JdF) motions. With distance north, these displacements rotate to become more aligned with JdF - NAm displacements, i.e. to motions expected along a coupled subduction interface. The deviation of GPS motions from the coupled subduction interface signal near the MTJ has been previously interpreted to reflect clock-wise rotation of a coastal, crustal block and/or reduced coupling at the southern Cascadia margin. The geologic record of crustal deformation near the MTJ reflects the combined effects of northward crustal shortening (on geologic time scales) associated with the MTJ Crustal Conveyor (Furlong and Govers, 1999) overprinted onto the subduction earthquake cycle signal. With this interpretation, the Cascadia subduction margin appears to be well-coupled along its entire length, consistent with paleo-seismic records of large earthquake ruptures extending to its southern limit. At the Hikurangi to Alpine Fault transition in New Zealand, plate interactions switch from subduction to oblique translation as a consequence of changes in lithospheric structure of

  12. Earth's plate motion evolution and its link to global mantle dynamics (United States)

    Rolf, Tobias; Capitanio, Fabio; Tackley, Paul


    Present-day plate motions provide a global dataset that allows us to infer the present convective structure of the Earth's mantle. Moreover, present geological observations combined with the kinematic principles of plate tectonics enables us to reconstruct Earth's tectonic history back until Pangaean times, which improves our understanding of how Earth has evolved to its present state. However, several aspects are not yet sufficiently well understood, for instance, how surface motions are linked to deep mantle processes or how plate motion changes over time, including those timescales of several 100 Myr that are associated with supercontinent formation and dispersal. Here, we use global spherical models of mantle convection to investigate plate motion evolution in a general and dynamically fully consistent manner. These models include tectonic plates self-consistently evolving from mantle flow as well as Earth-like continental drift. We analyze the evolution of plate velocities over long timescales and observe fluctuations of globally averaged plate motions of a factor of 2-3, in agreement with kinematic reconstructions. The fluctuations are mainly driven by the onset of new subduction, highlighting the strong role of slab-related driving forces in the rates of plate motion. Average plate motions are increased with a stronger viscosity contrast between upper and lower mantle, partly due to an increased subduction flux into the lower mantle, which increases the driving forces of plate motion. The motion of individual plates shows much stronger fluctuation. Continental plate motions are modulated by continental assembly and dispersal. Continents usually move slower when strongly clustered and faster during dispersal and before collision. In a further step, we analyze changes in the direction of motion of these individual plates by calculating their Euler pole and its change with time. This allows us to characterize the variety of modeled plate reorganizations and to

  13. 2D numerical modelling of fluid percolation in the subduction zone (United States)

    Dymkova, D.; Gerya, T.; Podladchikov, Y.


    ; Crameri & Kaus, 2010). This fact proves the opinion of many researches that subduction is getting lubricated by a porous flow. Currently we are performing the parameter space investigation and elaboration on how fluid pressure affects decoupling between the slab and overriding plate. Further work will include implementation of processes of melting (pressure, temperature and water content dependant (Katz, 2003)) and serpentinization. Ultimate goal is to create a next generation of subduction models which would be self-initiated and lubricated by a presence of the porous fluid, with a self-consistent melt generation and transport above the slabs including fluid/melt focussing phenomena.

  14. Sr, Nd, water and carbon dioxide input of altered Pacific MORB into the Tonga subduction zone (United States)

    Rosner, M.; Bach, W.; Erzinger, J.


    The hydrothermally altered and weathered uppermost section of subducting oceanic plates influences the budget of many fluid-mobile elements in supra-subduction zones. The characterisation of subducted upper basement is therefore an important parameter for the understanding of arc-magmatism. We present preliminary Sr and Nd isotope as well as H_2O^+ and CO_2 concentration data for altered basalts from ˜80 Ma Pacific crust drilled during DSDP Leg 91 (Site 595; 23^o49.3'S and 165^o31.6'W) 1000 km East of the Tonga trench. The sample set consists of 10 partially altered, aphyric microcrystalline basalts and subordinate breccia from the uppermost 55 m of basement. Smectite, celadonite, calcite, and Fe-oxides are the most abundant secondary phases, replacing igneous groundmass and filling fissures and void space. 87Sr/86Sr and 143Nd/144Nd isotope ratios vary between 0.70330 and 0.70445 and between 0.513059 and 0.513095, respectively. The H_2O^+ and CO_2 concentrations range from 2.2 to 4.3 wt.% and 0.21 to 3.13 wt.%, respectively. 87Sr/86Sr is positively correlated with H_2O^+ concentrations and alteration intensity (chiefly smectite abundance). Significant macroscopic authigenic carbonate is developed in only two samples, all others show slightly elevated concentrations between 0.21 and 0.82 wt.% related to trace calcite in veinlets. Interestingly, 143Nd/144Nd is negatively correlated with CO_2 abundance suggesting that the 143Nd/144Nd may by ascribed to seawater alteration rather than mantle source heterogeneity. Our preliminary data indicate that the intensity of alteration and the magnitude of chemical change may be greater at Site 595 than in the 6 Ma old eastern Pacific crust at Sites 504 and 896 (Alt et al., 1996) but somewhat smaller than at Sites 417/418 in 118 Ma Atlantic crust (Staudigel et al., 1995). In addition to Sites 801 and 1149 in old Pacific crust, Site 595 may provide insights into western Pacific subduction zone inputs with particular relevance for

  15. Crustal structure of the Carpathian orogen from receiver function analysis: how craton subduction and active delamination affect the crust (United States)

    Petrescu, Laura; Tataru, Dragos; Grecu, Bogdan


    The Carpathian arc is an uncommon curved collisional system, involving the subduction of the Eastern European craton and the Proterozoic Moesian platform beneath younger European microplates. The Cenozoic collision led to the closure of the Tethys Oceanic basin, portions of which are actively breaking off or delaminating beneath the orogen, generating deep mantle earthquakes. Neogene volcanism, possibly related to subduction slab roll-back, also formed a band of presently extinct volcanoes in the back-arc region. The Carpathian embayment is thus an ideal laboratory to investigate crustal processes related to subduction of cratonic material, multiple plate junctions and active delamination. To better understand how the crustal structure changes from the Eastern European cratonic foreland, across the curved subduction zone, to the younger European microplates, we analyse teleseismic earthquakes recorded at broadband seismic stations located across eastern and southern Carpathians, in Romania and Moldova. We processed data from permanent seismic networks (The Romanian National Seismic Network) as well as data from temporary deployments such as CALIXTO (Carpathian Arc Lithosphere X-Tomography) and SCP (South Carpathian Project). Using extended multi-taper spectral division, we compute and analyse radial and transverse receiver functions. Energy on the transverse component may be an indicator of crustal anisotropy or the existence of intracrustal dipping interfaces. Using phase-weighted H-k stacking of receiver functions, we estimate the crustal thickness and the bulk crustal Poisson's ratio as well as the seismic sharpness of the Moho discontinuity. Furthermore, we invert receiver functions to obtain the S-wave velocity structure of the crust and upper mantle beneath individual stations, which provide concurrent information on the Moho nature. Our results provide a better understanding of crustal structure across complex collisional systems involving the subduction of

  16. Tectonics and Current Plate Motions of Northern Vancouver Island and the Adjacent Mainland (United States)

    Jiang, Y.; Leonard, L. J.; Henton, J.; Hyndman, R. D.


    Northern Vancouver Island comprises a complex transition zone along the western margin of the North America plate, between the subducting Juan de Fuca plate to the south and the transcurrent Queen Charlotte Fault to the north off Haida Gwaii. The tectonic history and seismic potential for this region are unclear. Here we present current plate motions for northern Vancouver Island and the adjacent mainland, determined from continuous and campaign GPS measurements processed in a consistent manner. Immediately to the north of the mid-Vancouver Island Nootka Fault Zone, the northern limit of Juan de Fuca plate subduction, GPS velocity vectors show slower Explorer plate subduction than the Juan de Fuca Plate. Off northernmost Vancouver Island, the Winona Block is possibly converging at a slow rate that decreases northward to zero. We find a constant northward margin-parallel translation of up to 5 mm/year from northern Vancouver Island extending to Alaska. The southern limit of this translation coincides with areas of high heat flow that may reflect extension and the northern limit of episodic tremor and slip (ETS) on the Cascadia megathrust. The origin of the northward translation is poorly understood. We find a mainland coastal shear zone extends as far south as northern Vancouver Island where the offshore plate boundary is likely subduction. The pattern of the observed coastal shear cannot reflect interseismic locking on a major offshore transcurrent fault. The geodetically determined mainland coastal zone velocities decrease landward from 5 to 0 mm/yr across a region where no active faults have been identified and there is very little current seismicity. In Haida Gwaii, oblique convergence is apparent in the GPS data, consistent with partitioning between margin-parallel and margin-perpendicular strain. After removing the margin parallel translation from the data, we determine an average maximum locking depth of 15 km for the Queen Charlotte transcurrent fault

  17. 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

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    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.

  18. How the gas hydrate system gives insight into subduction wedge dewatering processes in a zone of highly-oblique convergence on the southern Hikurangi margin of New Zealand (United States)

    Crutchley, Gareth; Klaeschen, Dirk; Pecher, Ingo; Henrys, Stuart


    The southern end of New Zealand's Hikurangi subduction margin is characterised by highly-oblique convergence as it makes a southward transition into a right-lateral transform plate boundary at the Alpine Fault. Long-offset seismic data that cross part of the offshore portion of this transition zone give new insight into the nature of the plate boundary. We have carried out 2D pre-stack depth migrations, with an iterative reflection tomography to update the velocity field, on two seismic lines in this area to investigate fluid flow processes that have implications for the mechanical stability of the subduction interface. The results show distinct and focused fluid expulsion pathways from the subduction interface to the shallow sub-surface. For example, on one of the seismic lines there is a clear disruption of the gas hydrate system at its intersection with a splay fault - a clear indication of focused fluid release from the subduction interface. The seismic velocities derived from tomography also highlight a broad, pronounced low velocity zone beneath the deforming wedge that we interpret as a thick zone of gas-charged fluids that may have important implications for the long-term frictional stability of the