WorldWideScience

Sample records for subducting lithospheric plates

  1. Subducting Plate Breakup by Plume-Lithosphere Interaction

    Science.gov (United States)

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

    2016-12-01

    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.

  2. Convective Removal of Continental Margin Lithosphere at the Edges of Subducting Oceanic Plates

    Science.gov (United States)

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

    2013-12-01

    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.

  3. 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.

    2015-01-01

    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

  4. Plate coupling across the northern Manila subduction zone deduced from mantle lithosphere buoyancy

    Science.gov (United States)

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

    2017-12-01

    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.

  5. Finding the last 200Ma of subducted lithosphere in tomography and incorporating it into plate reconstructions

    Science.gov (United States)

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

    2016-12-01

    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

  6. 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

    2012-01-01

    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...

  7. Subduction-driven recycling of continental margin lithosphere.

    Science.gov (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

    2014-11-13

    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.

  8. Formation and metasomatism of continental lithospheric mantle in intra-plate and subduction-related tectonic settings

    Science.gov (United States)

    Ionov, Dmitri

    2010-05-01

    , 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)

  9. Evidence for retrograde lithospheric subduction on Venus

    Science.gov (United States)

    Sandwell, David T.; Schubert, Gerald

    1992-01-01

    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.

  10. The subduction dichotomy of strong plates and weak slabs

    Science.gov (United States)

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

    2017-03-01

    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.

  11. The Geodynamics of Continental Lithosphere Entering a Subduction Zone

    Science.gov (United States)

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

    2006-12-01

    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.

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

    NARCIS (Netherlands)

    Hunen, Jeroen van

    2001-01-01

    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

  13. Reaction-induced rheological weakening enables oceanic plate subduction

    OpenAIRE

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

    2016-01-01

    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...

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

    NARCIS (Netherlands)

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

    1996-01-01

    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

  15. Plate tectonics on the Earth triggered by plume-induced subduction initiation.

    Science.gov (United States)

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

    2015-11-12

    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.

  16. Deformation Patterns and Subduction Behavior of Continental Lithosphere Entering a Trench

    Science.gov (United States)

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

    2007-05-01

    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

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

    NARCIS (Netherlands)

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

    2000-01-01

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

  18. Reaction-induced rheological weakening enables oceanic plate subduction.

    Science.gov (United States)

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

    2016-08-26

    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.

  19. Constraining the hydration of the subducting Nazca plate beneath Northern Chile using subduction zone guided waves

    Science.gov (United States)

    Garth, Tom; Rietbrock, Andreas

    2017-09-01

    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

  20. Isabella Anomaly: Lithospheric drip, delamination or fragment of the Farallon plate?

    Science.gov (United States)

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

    2009-12-01

    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?

  1. 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

    Science.gov (United States)

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

    2015-12-01

    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

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

    Science.gov (United States)

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

    2013-12-01

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

    Directory of Open Access Journals (Sweden)

    D. Arcay

    2012-12-01

    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

  4. Geodynamical Analysis of Plate Reconstructions based on Subduction History Models

    Science.gov (United States)

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

    2011-12-01

    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.

  5. Effect of a weak layer at the base of an oceanic plate on subduction dynamics

    Science.gov (United States)

    Carluccio, Roberta; Kaus, Boris

    2017-04-01

    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.

  6. The characteristics of mantle lithosphere buoyancy revealed from the northern Manila subduction zone to the active collision in Taiwan region

    Science.gov (United States)

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

    2017-04-01

    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.

  7. Lithospheric expression of cenozoic subduction, mesozoic rifting and the Precambrian Shield in Venezuela

    Science.gov (United States)

    Masy, Jeniffer; Niu, Fenglin; Levander, Alan; Schmitz, Michael

    2015-01-01

    We have combined surface wave tomography with Ps and Sp receiver-function images based on common-conversion-point (CCP) stacking to study the upper mantle velocity structure, particularly the lithosphere-asthenosphere boundary (LAB), beneath eastern and central Venezuela. Rayleigh phase velocities in the frequency range of 0.01-0.05 Hz (20-100 s in period) were measured using the two-plane-wave method and finite-frequency kernels, and then inverted on a 0.5° × 0.5° grid. The phase velocity dispersion data at grid points were inverted for 1D shear velocity profiles using initial crust-mantle velocity models constructed from previous studies. The 3D velocity model and receiver-function images were interpreted jointly to determine the depth of the LAB and other upper mantle features. The tomographic images revealed two high velocity anomalies extending to more than ∼200 km depth. One corresponds to the top of the subducting Atlantic plate beneath the Serrania del Interior. The other anomaly is a highly localized feature beneath the Maturin Basin. The LAB depth varies significantly in the study region: It is located at ∼110 km depth beneath the Guayana Shield, and reaches ∼130 km at the northern edge of the Maturin Basin, which might be related to the downward flexural bending due to thrust loading of the Caribbean plate and pull from the subducting Atlantic plate. Immediately to the west, the lithosphere is thin (∼50-60 km) along the NE-SW trending Espino Graben from the Cariaco basin to the Orinoco River at the northern edge of the craton. The LAB in this region is the top of a pronounced low velocity zone. Westward, the lithosphere deepens to ∼80 km depth beneath the Barinas Apure Basin, and to ∼90 km beneath the Neogene Merida Andes and Maracaibo block. Both upper mantle velocity structure and lithosphere thickness correlate well with surface geology and are consistent with northern South American tectonics.

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

    NARCIS (Netherlands)

    Schellart, W. P.

    2007-01-01

    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

  9. Using open sidewalls for modelling self-consistent lithosphere subduction dynamics

    NARCIS (Netherlands)

    Chertova, M.V.; Geenen, T.; van den Berg, A.; Spakman, W.

    2012-01-01

    Subduction modelling in regional model domains, in 2-D or 3-D, is commonly performed using closed (impermeable) vertical boundaries. Here we investigate the merits of using open boundaries for 2-D modelling of lithosphere subduction. Our experiments are focused on using open and closed (free

  10. Reevaluating plate driving forces from 3-D models of subduction

    Science.gov (United States)

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

    2004-12-01

    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

  11. Uplift of the Colorado Plateau due to lithosphere attenuation during Laramide low-angle subduction

    Science.gov (United States)

    Spencer, J.E.

    1996-01-01

    The Colorado Plateau is blanketed by Phanerozoic marine and nonmarine strata as young as Cretaceous that are now exposed at elevations of about 2 km. Crustal thickening due to magmatism and horizontal crustal shortening was far less than necessary to cause this uplift, which is commonly attributed to the consequences of mantle lithosphere thinning and heating. The Colorado Plateau and the midcontinent region around Iowa consist of Precambrian bedrock overlain by a similar amount of Paleozoic platformal strata, and thus both regions once had similar lithospheric buoyancy. Mesozoic sedimentation increased the crustal thickness and lithospheric buoyancy of the Colorado Plateau relative to the midcontinent region. Backstripping calculations yield elevation without these sediments and lead to a calculated elevation difference between the two areas of about 1200 m, which represents unexplained plateau uplift. Review of constraints on uplift timing finds little support for a late Cenozoic uplift age and allows early to middle Cenozoic uplift, which is consistent with uplift mechanisms related to low-angle subduction that ended in the middle Cenozoic. Finite element heat flow calculations of low-angle subduction and lithosphere attenuation, using a range of initial lithosphere thicknesses and degree of attenuation, indicate that required uplift can result from tectonic removal of about 120 km of mantle lithosphere from an initially 200-km-thick lithosphere. This allows for partial preservation of North American mantle lithosphere with its distinctive isotopic signature in some late Cenozoic volcanic rocks and is consistent with normal Pn velocities in the uppermost mantle beneath the plateau.

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

    Science.gov (United States)

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

    2016-07-07

    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.

  13. Phase change in subducted lithosphere, impulse, and quantizing Earth surface deformations

    Science.gov (United States)

    Bowin, C. O.; Yi, W.; Rosson, R. D.; Bolmer, S. T.

    2015-09-01

    The new paradigm of plate tectonics began in 1960 with Harry H. Hess's 1960 realization that new ocean floor was being created today and is not everywhere of Precambrian age as previously thought. In the following decades an unprecedented coming together of bathymetric, topographic, magnetic, gravity, seismicity, seismic profiling data occurred, all supporting and building upon the concept of plate tectonics. Most investigators accepted the premise that there was no net torque amongst the plates. Bowin (2010) demonstrated that plates accelerated and decelerated at rates 10-8 times smaller than plate velocities, and that globally angular momentum is conserved by plate tectonic motions, but few appeared to note its existence. Here we first summarize how we separate where different mass sources may lie within the Earth and how we can estimate their mass. The Earth's greatest mass anomalies arise from topography of the boundary between the metallic nickel-iron core and the silicate mantle that dominate the Earth's spherical harmonic degree 2 and 3 potential field coefficients, and overwhelm all other internal mass anomalies. The mass anomalies due to phase changes in olivine and pyroxene in subducted lithosphere are hidden within the spherical harmonic degree 4-10 packet, and are an order of magnitude smaller than those from the core-mantle boundary. Then we explore the geometry of the Emperor and Hawaiian seamount chains and the 60° bend between them that aids in documenting the slow acceleration during both the Pacific Plate's northward motion that formed the Emperor seamount chain and its westward motion that formed the Hawaiian seamount chain, but it decelerated at the time of the bend (46 Myr). Although the 60° change in direction of the Pacific Plate at of the bend, there appears to have been nary a pause in a passive spreading history for the North Atlantic Plate, for example. This, too, supports phase change being the single driver for plate tectonics and

  14. Teleseismic P wave tomography of South Island, New Zealand upper mantle: Evidence of subduction of Pacific lithosphere since 45 Ma

    Science.gov (United States)

    Zietlow, Daniel W.; Molnar, Peter H.; Sheehan, Anne F.

    2016-06-01

    A P wave speed tomogram produced from teleseismic travel time measurements made on and offshore the South Island of New Zealand shows a nearly vertical zone with wave speeds that are 4.5% higher than the background average reaching to depths of approximately 450 km under the northwestern region of the island. This structure is consistent with oblique west-southwest subduction of Pacific lithosphere since about 45 Ma, when subduction beneath the region began. The high-speed zone reaches about 200-300 km below the depths of the deepest intermediate-depth earthquakes (subcrustal to ~200 km) and therefore suggests that ~200-300 km of slab below them is required to produce sufficient weight to induce the intermediate-depth seismicity. In the southwestern South Island, high P wave speeds indicate subduction of the Australian plate at the Puysegur Trench to approximately 200 km depth. A band with speeds ~2-3.5% lower than the background average is found along the east coast of the South Island to depths of ~150-200 km and underlies Miocene or younger volcanism; these low speeds are consistent with thinned lithosphere. A core of high speeds under the Southern Alps associated with a convergent margin and mountain building imaged in previous investigations is not well resolved in this study. This could suggest that such high speeds are limited in both width and depth and not resolvable by our data.

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

    KAUST Repository

    Tan, Eh

    2012-10-01

    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.

  16. Late Miocene Pacific plate kinematic change explained with coupled global models of mantle and lithosphere dynamics

    Science.gov (United States)

    Stotz, I. L.; Iaffaldano, G.; Davies, D. R.

    2017-07-01

    The timing and magnitude of a Pacific plate motion change within the past 10 Ma remains enigmatic, due to the noise associated with finite-rotation data. Nonetheless, it has been hypothesized that this change was driven by the arrival of the Ontong Java Plateau (OJP) at the Melanesian arc and the consequent subduction polarity reversal. The uncertainties associated with the timing of this event, however, make it difficult to quantitatively demonstrate a dynamical association. Here, we first reconstruct the Pacific plate's absolute motion since the mid-Miocene (15 Ma), at high-temporal resolution, building on previous efforts to mitigate the impact of finite-rotation data noise. We find that the largest change in Pacific plate-motion direction occurred between 10 and 5 Ma, with the plate rotating clockwise. We subsequently develop and use coupled global numerical models of the mantle/lithosphere system to test hypotheses on the dynamics driving this change. These indicate that the arrival of the OJP at the Melanesian arc, between 10 and 5 Ma, followed by a subduction polarity reversal that marked the initiation of subduction of the Australian plate underneath the Pacific realm, were the key drivers of this kinematic change.

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

    NARCIS (Netherlands)

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

    1994-01-01

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

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

    NARCIS (Netherlands)

    Schellart, Wouter P.

    2005-01-01

    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

  19. Impact of Mantle Wind on Subducting Plate Geometry and Interplate Pressure: Insights From Physical Modelling.

    Science.gov (United States)

    Boutelier, D.; Cruden, A. R.

    2005-12-01

    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

  20. 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 ...

  1. Continuum-based 4D Plate Reconstructions: Linking Non-rigid Lithospheric Kinematics to Rigid Plate Motion

    Science.gov (United States)

    Kneller, E. A.; Johnson, C. A.; Queffelec, T. A.; Nachtegaele, L.

    2010-12-01

    Non-rigid deformation in regions of continental extension and compression can lead to large lateral strain and changes in the shape and surface area of continental plates. This large lateral strain in turn leads to vertical strain in the lithosphere, which is a fundamental control on mechanical and thermal subsidence. Traditional plate reconstruction approaches only describe 2D changes in the shape of tectonic plates and do not include lateral strain gradients and vertical strain. Incorporating lateral and vertical strain into kinematic plate tectonic models is necessary for quantifying the past configuration of tectonic plates, modeling paleogeography and for linking subsidence and heat flow to lateral plate motion. Furthermore, traditional approaches are limited to describing processes at the surface of the Earth and cannot be used to investigate 3D slab kinematics. We build on previous work and overcome the limitations of traditional methods by developing an inverse non-rigid continuum-based plate reconstruction approach that links lateral plate tectonic motion to large-scale 4D deformation of continental plates and subducting slabs. We also describe how this approach can be implemented in open source 3D animation software that can be used to create extendable and easily maintained interactive tools. These tools allow the modeler to rapidly reconstruct deformation and map data and constrain plate models with 3D information. The methods presented in this work can improve paleogeographic reconstructions, help visualize complicated 4D deformation processes in a reconstructed framework, and constrain subsidence and lithospheric stretching, all of which are important for understanding thermal history and estimating heat flow in sedimentary basins.

  2. 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

    2011-01-01

    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...

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

    NARCIS (Netherlands)

    Schellart, W. P.

    2004-01-01

    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

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

    NARCIS (Netherlands)

    Schellart, W. P.

    2011-01-01

    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

  5. 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.

    2013-01-01

    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

  6. Breaking the oceanic lithosphere of a subducting slab: the 2013 Khash, Iran earthquake

    Science.gov (United States)

    Barnhart, William D.; Hayes, Gavin P.; Samsonov, S.; Fielding, E.; Seidman, L.

    2014-01-01

    [1] Large intermediate depth, intraslab normal faulting earthquakes are a common, dangerous, but poorly understood phenomenon in subduction zones owing to a paucity of near field geophysical observations. Seismological and high quality geodetic observations of the 2013 Mw7.7 Khash, Iran earthquake reveal that at least half of the oceanic lithosphere, including the mantle and entire crust, ruptured in a single earthquake, confirming with unprecedented resolution that large earthquakes can nucleate in and rupture through the oceanic mantle. A rupture width of at least 55 km is required to explain both InSAR observations and teleseismic waveforms, with the majority of slip occurring in the oceanic mantle. Combining our well-constrained earthquake slip distributions with the causative fault orientation and geometry of the local subduction zone, we hypothesize that the Khash earthquake likely occurred as the combined result of slab bending forces and dehydration of hydrous minerals along a preexisting fault formed prior to subduction.

  7. Diapir versus along-channel ascent of crustal material during plate convergence: Constrained by the thermal structure of subduction zones

    Science.gov (United States)

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

    2017-09-01

    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

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

    Science.gov (United States)

    Davaille, Anne; Smrekar, Suzanne

    2017-04-01

    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. Seismic Structure of the Subducted Cocos Plate

    Science.gov (United States)

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

    2007-05-01

    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.

  10. Crustal and upper mantle structure of the Anatolian plate: Imaging the effects of subduction termination and continental collision with seismic techniques

    Science.gov (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

  11. Understanding lithospheric stresses: systematic analysis of controlling mechanisms with applications to the African Plate

    Science.gov (United States)

    Medvedev, Sergei

    2016-10-01

    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

  12. Extending Alaska's plate boundary: tectonic tremor generated by Yakutat subduction

    Science.gov (United States)

    Wech, Aaron G.

    2016-01-01

    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. A satellite magnetic perspective of subduction zones, large igneous provinces, rifts, and diffuse plate boundary zones

    Science.gov (United States)

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

    2008-12-01

    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.

  14. Subduction of oceanic plate irregularities and seismicity distribution along the Mexican Subduction Zone

    Science.gov (United States)

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

    2017-04-01

    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.

  15. Plume-induced subduction

    Science.gov (United States)

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

    2016-12-01

    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.

  16. Lithospheric Stress Tensor from Gravity and Lithospheric Structure Models

    Science.gov (United States)

    Eshagh, Mehdi; Tenzer, Robert

    2017-07-01

    In this study we investigate the lithospheric stresses computed from the gravity and lithospheric structure models. The functional relation between the lithospheric stress tensor and the gravity field parameters is formulated based on solving the boundary-value problem of elasticity in order to determine the propagation of stresses inside the lithosphere, while assuming the horizontal shear stress components (computed at the base of the lithosphere) as lower boundary values for solving this problem. We further suppress the signature of global mantle flow in the stress spectrum by subtracting the long-wavelength harmonics (below the degree of 13). This numerical scheme is applied to compute the normal and shear stress tensor components globally at the Moho interface. The results reveal that most of the lithospheric stresses are accumulated along active convergent tectonic margins of oceanic subductions and along continent-to-continent tectonic plate collisions. These results indicate that, aside from a frictional drag caused by mantle convection, the largest stresses within the lithosphere are induced by subduction slab pull forces on the side of subducted lithosphere, which are coupled by slightly less pronounced stresses (on the side of overriding lithospheric plate) possibly attributed to trench suction. Our results also show the presence of (intra-plate) lithospheric loading stresses along Hawaii islands. The signature of ridge push (along divergent tectonic margins) and basal shear traction resistive forces is not clearly manifested at the investigated stress spectrum (between the degrees from 13 to 180).

  17. On the initiation of subduction

    Science.gov (United States)

    Mueller, Steve; Phillips, Roger J.

    1991-01-01

    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.

  18. Dehydration of subducting slow-spread oceanic lithosphere in the Lesser Antilles

    Science.gov (United States)

    Paulatto, Michele; Laigle, Mireille; Galve, Audrey; Charvis, Philippe; Sapin, Martine; Bayrakci, Gaye; Evain, Mikael; Kopp, Heidrun

    2017-01-01

    Subducting slabs carry water into the mantle and are a major gateway in the global geochemical water cycle. Fluid transport and release can be constrained with seismological data. Here we use joint active-source/local-earthquake seismic tomography to derive unprecedented constraints on multi-stage fluid release from subducting slow-spread oceanic lithosphere. We image the low P-wave velocity crustal layer on the slab top and show that it disappears beneath 60–100 km depth, marking the depth of dehydration metamorphism and eclogitization. Clustering of seismicity at 120–160 km depth suggests that the slab’s mantle dehydrates beneath the volcanic arc, and may be the main source of fluids triggering arc magma generation. Lateral variations in seismic properties on the slab surface suggest that serpentinized peridotite exhumed in tectonized slow-spread crust near fracture zones may increase water transport to sub-arc depths. This results in heterogeneous water release and directly impacts earthquakes generation and mantle wedge dynamics. PMID:28691714

  19. Dehydration of subducting slow-spread oceanic lithosphere in the Lesser Antilles

    Science.gov (United States)

    Paulatto, Michele; Laigle, Mireille; Galve, Audrey; Charvis, Philippe; Sapin, Martine; Bayrakci, Gaye; Evain, Mikael; Kopp, Heidrun

    2017-07-01

    Subducting slabs carry water into the mantle and are a major gateway in the global geochemical water cycle. Fluid transport and release can be constrained with seismological data. Here we use joint active-source/local-earthquake seismic tomography to derive unprecedented constraints on multi-stage fluid release from subducting slow-spread oceanic lithosphere. We image the low P-wave velocity crustal layer on the slab top and show that it disappears beneath 60-100 km depth, marking the depth of dehydration metamorphism and eclogitization. Clustering of seismicity at 120-160 km depth suggests that the slab's mantle dehydrates beneath the volcanic arc, and may be the main source of fluids triggering arc magma generation. Lateral variations in seismic properties on the slab surface suggest that serpentinized peridotite exhumed in tectonized slow-spread crust near fracture zones may increase water transport to sub-arc depths. This results in heterogeneous water release and directly impacts earthquakes generation and mantle wedge dynamics.

  20. Dynamic Linkages Between the Transition Zone & Surface Plate Motions in 2D Models of Subduction

    Science.gov (United States)

    Arredondo, K.; Billen, M. I.

    2013-12-01

    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

  1. Lithosphere-mantle coupling and the dynamics of the Eurasian Plate

    NARCIS (Netherlands)

    Warners-Ruckstuhl, K.N.; Govers, R.; Wortel, R.

    2012-01-01

    Mechanical equilibrium of tectonic plates implies that lithospheric edge and body forces are balanced by forces arising from interaction with the underlying mantle. We use this quantitative physical relation to integrate existing modelling approaches of lithosphere dynamics and mantle flow into a

  2. Dynamics and stress field of the Eurasian plate: A combined lithosphere-mantle approach

    NARCIS (Netherlands)

    Ruckstuhl, K.N.|info:eu-repo/dai/nl/304848743

    2012-01-01

    This thesis presents a new combined lithosphere-mantle modeling approach to the dynamics of individual tectonic plates. This approach incorporates tractions from convective mantle flow modeling into a detailed analysis of the forces acting on a tectonic plate. Mechanical equilibrium of the plate is

  3. Philippine Sea and East Asian plate tectonics since 52 Ma constrained by new subducted slab reconstruction methods

    Science.gov (United States)

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

    2016-06-01

    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).

  4. Buoyant subduction on Venus: Implications for subduction around coronae

    Science.gov (United States)

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

    1993-01-01

    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.

  5. Breaking the shell: Initiating plate tectonic-like subduction on Europa

    Science.gov (United States)

    Bland, Michael T.; McKinnon, William B.

    2017-10-01

    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

  6. 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.

    2013-01-01

    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

  7. Seismicity and the subduction process

    Science.gov (United States)

    Ruff, L.; Kanamori, H.

    1980-01-01

    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. Perovskite inclusions in deep mantle diamonds and the fate of subducted lithosphere

    Science.gov (United States)

    Walter, Michael; Armstrong, Lora

    2010-05-01

    Sublithospheric diamonds are typically Type II, frequently exhibit complex zoning, and sometimes contain mineral inclusions that can potentially reveal deep mantle lithologies and petrologic processes. A considerable number of these diamonds contain inclusions with elemental stoichiometries consistent with transition zone (e.g. majoritic garnet, Ca-perovskite) and lower mantle phases (e.g. Mg-perovskite, Ca-perovskite, (Mg,Fe)-periclase) [1]. Ca-rich perovskites, some containing considerable CaTiO3 component, almost invariably have very low Mg contents, unlike what would be expected in solid lower mantle peridotitic or basaltic lithologies, but have elevated incompatible elements abundances that almost certainly indicate crystallization from a low-degree Ca-rich partial melt [2,3]. High-Ca majoritic garnets also have both major and trace element characteristics indicating the role of low-degree, Ca-rich partial melts [3,4], and in some cases calculated melts likely formed in subducted oceanic crust or lithosphere [3]. Given that diamond crystallized syngenetically with the inclusions, crystallization from carbonated melts is implicated. The reducing conditions expected in the ambient transition zone and lower mantle [5] could promote reduction of the carbonate component in slab-derived, carbonated (oxidized), partial melts. Reduction can lead to diamond and perovskite crystallization from the melt, possibly with H2O as a by-product through a reaction such as: CaCO3 (melt) + SiO2(melt-solid) + CH4(fluid-melt)= CaSiO3(melt-solid)) + 2H2O(melt) + 2Cdiamond Mg-perovskite could crystallize via a similar reaction involving the MgCO3 component of the melt. We speculate that when subducted slabs stall at the base of the transition zone, they may heat up and release low-degree carbonated melts [6]. Such melts may migrate, crystallize and metasomatize the ambient mantle. Trace element abundances in some kimberlites are remarkably similar to liquids that could have coexisted

  9. Lithosphere-asthenosphere system in the Mediterranean region in the framework of polarized plate tectonics

    CERN Document Server

    Raykova, Reneta Blagoeva; Doglioni, Carlo

    2015-01-01

    Velocity structure of the lithosphere-asthenosphere system, to the depth of about 350 km, is obtained for almost 400 cells, sized 1 degree by 1 degree in the Mediterranean region. The models are obtained by the following sequence of methods and tools: surface-wave dispersion measurements and collection; 2D tomography of dispersion relations; non-linear inversion of cellular dispersion relations; smoothing optimization method to select a preferred model for each cell. The 3D velocity model, that satisfies Occam razor principle, is obtained as a juxtaposition of selected cellular models. The reconstructed picture of the lithosphere-asthenosphere system evidences the, globally well known, asymmetry between the W- and E-directed subduction zones, attributed to the westward drift of the lithosphere relative to the mantle. Different relationship between slabs and mantle dynamics cause strong compositional differences in the upper mantle, as shown by large variations of seismic waves velocity, consistent with Polari...

  10. Controls of mantle plumes and lithospheric folding on modes of intra-plate continental tectonics: differences and similarities

    NARCIS (Netherlands)

    Burov, E.; Cloetingh, S.A.P.L.

    2009-01-01

    Mantle plume activity and lithospheric folding by far-field stresses exerted from plate boundaries are two important end-members as mechanisms for continental intraplate deformation. The topographic expression of mantle plume impingement on continental lithosphere and lithospheric folding has some

  11. Inelastic models of lithospheric stress - I. Theory and application to outer-rise plate deformation

    Science.gov (United States)

    Mueller, S.; Choy, G.L.; Spence, W.

    1996-01-01

    Outer-rise stress distributions determined in the manner that mechanical engineers evaluate inelastic stress distributions within conventional materials are contrasted with those predicted using simple elastic-plate models that are frequently encountered in studies of outer-rise seismicity. This comparison indicates that the latter are inherently inappropriate for studies of intraplate earthquakes, which are a direct manifestation of lithospheric inelasticity. We demonstrate that the common practice of truncating elastically superimposed stress profiles so that they are not permitted to exceed laboratory-based estimates of lithospheric yield strength will result in an accurate characterization of lithospheric stress only under relatively restrictive circumstances. In contrast to elastic-plate models, which predict that lithospheric stress distributions depend exclusively upon the current load, inelastic plate models predict that stress distributions are also significantly influenced by the plate-loading history, and, in many cases, this influence is the dominant factor in determining the style of potential seismicity (e.g. thrust versus normal faulting). Numerous 'intuitive' interpretations of outer-rise earthquakes have been founded upon the implicit assumption that a unique relationship exists between a specified combination of plate curvature and in-plane force, and the resulting lithospheric stress distribution. We demonstrate that the profound influence of deformation history often invalidates such interpretations. Finally, we examine the reliability of 'yield envelope' representations of lithospheric strength that are constructed on the basis of empirically determined frictional sliding relationships and silicate plastic-flow laws. Although representations of this nature underestimate the strength of some major interplate faults, such as the San Andreas, they appear to represent a reliable characterization of the strength of intraplate oceanic lithosphere.

  12. On the relative significance of lithospheric weakening mechanisms for sustained plate tectonics

    Science.gov (United States)

    Araceli Sanchez-Maes, Sophia

    2018-01-01

    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.

  13. P-wave tomography of Northeast Asia: Constraints on the western Pacific plate subduction and mantle dynamics

    Science.gov (United States)

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

    2018-01-01

    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.

  14. Dynamics of intraoceanic subduction initiation: 2D thermomechanical modeling

    Science.gov (United States)

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

    2016-12-01

    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.

  15. Investigating the Subduction History of the Southwest Pacific using Coupled Plate Tectonic-Mantle Convection Models

    Science.gov (United States)

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

    2014-12-01

    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.

  16. Lithosphere continental rifting and necking in 3D analogue experiments: role of plate divergence rate.

    Science.gov (United States)

    Nestola, Y.; Storti, F.; Cavozzi, C.

    2014-12-01

    The evolution of lithosphere necking is a fundamental parameter controlling the structural architecture and thermal state of rifted margins. Despite a large number of analogue and numerical modelling studies on lithosphere extension are available in the literature, a quantitative experimental description of lithosphere necking evolution is still lacking. Extensional strain rate and thermal layering of the lithosphere exert a fundamental control on necking shape and evolution. We focused our experimental work on the former parameter and simulated the progression of lithosphere thinning and necking during asymmetric orthogonal rifting at different plate divergence rates. Our models involve a 4-layer mechanical continental lithosphere, which rests on a glucose syrup asthenosphere. Both the topography and the base of the lithosphere were monitored by time-lapse laser scanning. This technical approach allowed us to quantify the evolution in space and time of the thinning factors for the crust, mantle, and lithosphere as a whole. Laser-scanning monitoring provided also a detailed picture of the evolving neck shape, which shows a strong dependency on the strain-rate. At low strain-rates, necking is "boxed" with steep flanks and a flat-lying roof, and few deep basins develop at surface. At high strain-rates, more distributed thinning occurs and isolates portions of less deformed mantle. More distributed deformation affects the model topography. Despite large differences in shape, the aspect ratio (amplitude/wavelength) of the cross-sectional neck shapes converges towards very similar values at the end of the experiments.The significant differences and evolutionary pathways produced by the plate divergence rate on the lithosphere necking profile, suggest that this parameter exert a fundamental control on localization vs. distribution of deformation in the crust as in the whole mechanical lithosphere. Furthermore, it can exert a fundamental control on the time and space

  17. Global Models of Ridge-Push Force, Geoid, and Lithospheric Strength of Oceanic plates

    Science.gov (United States)

    Mahatsente, Rezene

    2017-12-01

    An understanding of the transmission of ridge-push related stresses in the interior of oceanic plates is important because ridge-push force is one of the principal forces driving plate motion. Here, I assess the transmission of ridge-push related stresses in oceanic plates by comparing the magnitude of the ridge-push force to the integrated strength of oceanic plates. The strength is determined based on plate cooling and rheological models. The strength analysis includes low-temperature plasticity (LTP) in the upper mantle and assumes a range of possible tectonic conditions and rheology in the plates. The ridge-push force has been derived from the thermal state of oceanic lithosphere, seafloor depth and crustal age data. The results of modeling show that the transmission of ridge-push related stresses in oceanic plates mainly depends on rheology and predominant tectonic conditions. If a lithosphere has dry rheology, the estimated strength is higher than the ridge-push force at all ages for compressional tectonics and at old ages (>75 Ma) for extension. Therefore, under such conditions, oceanic plates may not respond to ridge-push force by intraplate deformation. Instead, the plates may transmit the ridge-push related stress in their interior. For a wet rheology, however, the strength of young lithosphere (<75 Ma) is much less than the ridge-push force for both compressional and extensional tectonics. In this case, the ridge-push related stress may dissipate in the interior of oceanic plates and diffuses by intraplate deformation. The state of stress within a plate depends on the balance of far-field and intraplate forces.

  18. Regional variations in subsidence rate of lithospheric plates: implication for thermal cooling models

    Science.gov (United States)

    Lago, Bernard; Cazenave, Anny; Marty, Jean-Charles

    Although simple thermal models of lithospheric cooling predict to first order the general behaviour of observed seafloor depth with increasing age, important regional variations in seafloor subsidence, in the range 250-400 m Ma1/2, are reported for several lithospheric plates. Such variations cannot be accounted for by classical cooling models unless implausible variations in asthenospheric temperature of ˜550°C are assumed. Here we present an alternative cooling model, which assumes that at the ridge axis the temperature may deviate from the mean asthenospheric temperature. Such a model satisfactorily explains the data provided that the temperature deviation is ±100°C only.

  19. Crustal thickening in Gansu-Qinghai, lithospheric mantle subduction, and oblique, strike-slip controlled growth of the Tibet plateau

    Science.gov (United States)

    Meyer, B.; Tapponnier, P.; Bourjot, L.; Métivier, F.; Gaudemer, Y.; Peltzer, G.; Shunmin, Guo; Zhitai, Chen

    1998-10-01

    Late-Cenozoic crustal shortening on NE sections between the Kunlun fault and the Hexi corridor are estimated to range between 100 and 200 km. In keeping with the inference of a deep crustal décollement and with the existence of Mid-Miocene to Pliocene plutonism and volcanism south of the Kunlun range, such values suggest that the lithospheric mantle of the Qaidam plunged obliquely into the asthenosphere south of that range to minimum depths of the order of 200-300 km. A minimum of ~150 km of shortening in the last ~10 Ma, consistent with the average age of the earliest volcanic-plutonic rocks just south of the Kunlun (~10.8 Ma) would imply average Late-Cenozoic rates of shortening and regional uplift in NE Tibet of at least ~15 mm yr-1 and ~0.2 mm yr-1, respectively. Such numbers are consistent with a cumulative sinistral offset and slip rate of at least ~200 km and ~2 cm yr-1, respectively, on the Altyn Tagh fault east of 88°E. The fault may have propagated more than 1000 km, to 102°E, in the last 10 Ma. Our study of ongoing tectonics in northeast Tibet is consistent with a scenario in which, while the Himalayas-Gangdese essentially `stagnated' above India's subducting mantle, much of Tibet grew by thickening of the Asian crust, as propagation of large, lithospheric, strike-slip shear zones caused the opposite edge of the plateau to migrate far into Asia. The Asian lithospheric mantle, decoupled from the crust, appears to have subducted southwards along the two Mesozoic sutures that cut Tibet north of the Gangdese, rather than to have thickened. The Bangong-Nujiang suture was probably reactivated earlier than the Jinsha-Kunlun suture, located farther north. Overall, the large-scale deformation bears a resemblance to plate tectonics at obliquely convergent margins, including slip-partioning along large strike-slip faults such as the Altyn Tagh and Kunlun faults. Simple mechanisms at the level of the lithospheric mantle are merely hidden by the broader distribution

  20. Volcanic Markers of the Post-Subduction Evolution of Baja California and Sonora, Mexico: Slab Tearing Versus Lithospheric Rupture of the Gulf of California

    Science.gov (United States)

    Calmus, Thierry; Pallares, Carlos; Maury, René C.; Aguillón-Robles, Alfredo; Bellon, Hervé; Benoit, Mathieu; Michaud, François

    2011-08-01

    The study of the geochemical compositions and K-Ar or Ar-Ar ages of ca. 350 Neogene and Quaternary lavas from Baja California, the Gulf of California and Sonora allows us to discuss the nature of their mantle or crustal sources, the conditions of their melting and the tectonic regime prevailing during their genesis and emplacement. Nine petrographic/geochemical groups are distinguished: "regular" calc-alkaline lavas; adakites; magnesian andesites and related basalts and basaltic andesites; niobium-enriched basalts; alkali basalts and trachybasalts; oceanic (MORB-type) basalts; tholeiitic/transitional basalts and basaltic andesites; peralkaline rhyolites (comendites); and icelandites. We show that the spatial and temporal distribution of these lava types provides constraints on their sources and the geodynamic setting controlling their partial melting. Three successive stages are distinguished. Between 23 and 13 Ma, calc-alkaline lavas linked to the subduction of the Pacific-Farallon plate formed the Comondú and central coast of the Sonora volcanic arc. In the extensional domain of western Sonora, lithospheric mantle-derived tholeiitic to transitional basalts and basaltic andesites were emplaced within the southern extension of the Basin and Range province. The end of the Farallon subduction was marked by the emplacement of much more complex Middle to Late Miocene volcanic associations, between 13 and 7 Ma. Calc-alkaline activity became sporadic and was replaced by unusual post-subduction magma types including adakites, niobium-enriched basalts, magnesian andesites, comendites and icelandites. The spatial and temporal distribution of these lavas is consistent with the development of a slab tear, evolving into a 200-km-wide slab window sub-parallel to the trench, and extending from the Pacific coast of Baja California to coastal Sonora. Tholeiitic, transitional and alkali basalts of subslab origin ascended through this window, and adakites derived from the partial

  1. Crossing the Iberian Plate from the Bay of Biscay to the Alboran Sea: a lithospheric geotransect

    Science.gov (United States)

    Carballo, Alberto; Fernandez, Manel; Torne, Montserrat; Jiménez-Munt, Ivone; Vergés, Jaume; Pedreira, David; Díaz, Jordi; Villaseñor, Antonio

    2014-05-01

    A ~1000-km-long lithospheric transect running from the North-Iberian Margin to the Neogene Alboran Basin (W- Mediterranean) is investigated. The main goal is to image the lateral changes in the crustal and lithospheric structure occurring in: i) the North-Iberian margin, whose deformation in Alpine times gave rise to the uplift of the Cantabrian Mountains related to incipient subduction; ii) the Spanish Meseta, characterized by the presence of Cenozoic basins on top of a Variscan basement with weak Alpine deformation in the Spanish Central System and localized Neogene-Quaternary deep volcanism; and iii) the Betic-Alboran system related to the roll-back of the Ligurian-Tethyan domain. The modeling approach based on the LitMod package combines potential fields, elevation, thermal, seismic and petrological data under a self-consistent scheme. The crustal structure is mainly constrained by active and passive seismic experiments whereas the upper mantle is constrained by tomography models. The results highlight the lateral variations in the topography of the lithosphere-asthenosphere boundary (LAB), suggesting a strong lithospheric mantle strain below the Cantabrian and Betic mountain belts. The LAB depth ranges from 160 km beneath the Cantabrian Mountains to 110-90 km beneath Iberia Meseta deepenly again to values of 190 km beneath Betic Mountain. The Spanish Central System, with elevations higher than 1400 m, has no noticeable signature on the LAB depth. We have considered three lithospheric mantle compositions: a predominantly average Phanerozoic in the continental mainland, and two more fertile PUM (primitive upper mantle) compositions in the oceanic domains of Cantabrian and Mediterranean seas, and in the Calatrava volcanic field. These compositional differences allowed us to reproduce the main trends of the geophysical observables as well as the inferred P-, Pn- and S-wave seismic velocities from tomography models and seismic experiments available in the study

  2. Reconstructing Farallon plate subduction beneath North America back to the Late Cretaceous.

    Science.gov (United States)

    Liu, Lijun; Spasojevic, Sonja; Gurnis, Michael

    2008-11-07

    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.

  3. Stress rotation across the Cascadia megathrust requires a weak subduction plate boundary at seismogenic depths

    Science.gov (United States)

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

    2018-01-01

    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.

  4. Stress rotation across the Cascadia megathrust requires a weak subduction plate boundary at seismogenic depths

    Science.gov (United States)

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

    2018-03-01

    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.

  5. Late Miocene Pacific plate kinematic change explained with coupled global models of mantle and lithosphere dynamics

    DEFF Research Database (Denmark)

    Stotz, Ingo Leonardo; Iaffaldano, Giampiero; Davies, DR

    2017-01-01

    and the consequent subduction polarity reversal. The uncertainties associated with the timing of this event, however, make it difficult to quantitatively demonstrate a dynamical association. Here, we first reconstruct the Pacific plate's absolute motion since the mid-Miocene (15 Ma), at high-temporal resolution......, building on previous efforts to mitigate the impact of finite-rotation data noise. We find that the largest change in Pacific plate-motion direction occurred between 10 and 5 Ma, with the plate rotating clockwise. We subsequently develop and use coupled global numerical models of the mantle...

  6. Shear wave velocity structure in the lithosphere and asthenosphere across the Southern California continent and Pacific plate margin using inversion of Rayleigh wave data from the ALBACORE project.

    Science.gov (United States)

    Price, A. C.; Weeraratne, D. S.; Kohler, M. D.; Rathnayaka, S.; Escobar, L., Sr.

    2015-12-01

    The North American and Pacific plate boundary is a unique example of past subduction of an oceanic spreading center which has involved oceanic plate capture and inception of a continental transform boundary that juxtaposes continental and oceanic lithosphere on a single plate. The amphibious ALBACORE seismic project (Asthenospheric and Lithospheric Broadband Architecture from the California Offshore Region Experiment) deployed 34 ocean bottom seismometers (OBS) on 15-35 Ma seafloor and offers a unique opportunity to compare the LAB in continental and oceanic lithosphere in one seismic study. Rayleigh waves were recorded simultaneously by our offshore array and 82 CISN network land stations from 2010-2011. Here we predict phase velocities for a starting shear wave velocity model for each of 5 regions in our study area and compare to observed phase velocities from our array in a least-squares sense that produces the best fit 1-D shear wave velocity structure for each region. Preliminary results for the deep ocean (seafloor 25-32 Ma) indicates high velocities reaching 4.5 km/s at depths of 50 km associated with the lithosphere for seafloor 25-32 Ma. A negative velocity gradient is observed below this which reaches a minimum of 4.0 km/s at 160 km depth. The mid-ocean region (age 13-25 Ma) indicates a slightly lower magnitude and shallower LVZ. The Inner Borderland displays the highest lithospheric velocities offshore reaching 4.8 km/s at 40 km depth indicating underplating. The base of the LVZ in the Borderland increases sharply from 4.0 km/s to 4.5 km/s at 80-150 km depth indicating partial melt and compositional changes. The LVZ displays a very gradual positive velocity gradient in all other regions such as the deep seafloor and continent reaching 4.5 km/s at 300 km depth. The deep ocean, Borderlands, and continental region each have unique lithospheric velocities, LAB depths, and LVZ character that indicate stark differences in mantle structure that occur on a

  7. SubductionGenerator: A program to build three-dimensional plate configurations

    Science.gov (United States)

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

    2016-12-01

    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.

  8. Continental crust subducted deeply into lithospheric mantle: the driving force of Early Carboniferous magmatism in the Variscan collisional orogen (Bohemian Massif)

    Science.gov (United States)

    Janoušek, Vojtěch; Schulmann, Karel; Lexa, Ondrej; Holub, František; Franěk, Jan; Vrána, Stanislav

    2014-05-01

    relamination mechanisms. The presence of refractory light material rich in radioactive elements under the denser upper plate would eventually result in gravity-driven overturns in the thickened crust. The contaminated lithospheric mantle domains yielded, soon thereafter, ultrapotassic magmas whose major- and compatible-trace element signatures point to equilibration with the mantle peridotite, while their LILE contents and radiogenic isotope signatures are reminiscent of the subducted continental crust. This research was financially supported by the GAČR Project P210-11-2358 (to VJ) and Ministry of Education of the Czech Republic program LK11202 (to KS). Becker, H. 1996. Journal of Petrology 37, 785-810. Kotková, J. et al. 2011. Geology 39, 667-670. Massonne, H.-J. 2001. European Journal of Mineralogy 13, 565-570. Naemura, K. et al. 2009. Journal of Petrolology 50, 1795-1827. Schulmann, K., et al., 2014. Geology, in print. Vrána, S. 2013. Journal of Geosciences 58, 347-378. Zheng, Y. F. 2012. Chemical Geology 328, 5-48.

  9. Nitrogen recycling at the Costa Rican subduction zone: The role of incoming plate structure.

    Science.gov (United States)

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

    2017-10-24

    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.

  10. Numerical Modelling of Subduction Plate Interface, Technical Advances for Outstanding Questions

    Science.gov (United States)

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

    2015-12-01

    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

  11. Surface deformation resulting from subduction and slab detachment

    NARCIS (Netherlands)

    Buiter, S.J.H.

    2000-01-01

    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

  12. Subduction of the Caribbean Plate and Basement Uplifts in the Overriding South American Plate

    Science.gov (United States)

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

    1982-06-01

    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

  13. Geometry and seismic properties of the subducting Cocos plate in central Mexico

    Science.gov (United States)

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

    2010-06-01

    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.

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

    Science.gov (United States)

    Butler, Jared P.; Beaumont, Christopher

    2017-04-01

    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

  15. STRUCTURE OF THE LITHOSPHERE AND SEISMOTECTONIC DEFORMATIONS IN CONTACT ZONE OF LITHOSPHERIC PLATES IN THE SUMATRA ISLAND REGION

    Directory of Open Access Journals (Sweden)

    O. A. Kuchay

    2015-09-01

    Full Text Available The inversion seismic tomography algorithm (ITS was used to calculate 3D seismic anomalies models for velocities of P- and S-waves in the zone of the Sunda arc, Indonesia. In the area under study, strong earthquakes (M>4.8 are clustered in the zone of high P-wave velocities. Earthquake hypocenters are located in zones of both high and low velocity anomalies of S-waves. The giant Sumatra earthquake (December 26, 2004, Mw=9.0 ruptured the greatest fault length of any recorded earthquake, and the rupture started in the area wherein the sign of P-wave velo­city anomalies is abruptly changed. We calculated seismotectonic deformations (STD from data on mechanisms of 2227 earthquakes recorded from 1977 to 2013, and our calculations show that the STD component, that controls vertical extension of rocks, is most stable through all the depth levels. In the marginal regions at the western and eastern sides of the Sunda arc, the crustal areas (depths from 0 to 35 km are subject to deformations which sign is opposite to that of deformations in the central part. Besides, at depths from 70 to 150 km beneath the Sumatra earthquake epicentre area, the zone is subject to deformations which sign is opposite to that of deformations in the studied part of the Sunda arc. For earthquakes that may occur in the crust in the Sunda arc in the contact zone of the plates, maximum magnitudes depend on the direction of pressure imposed by the actively subducting plate, which is an additional criteria for determining the limit magnitude for the region under study. 

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

    NARCIS (Netherlands)

    De Franco, R.

    2008-01-01

    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.

    2012-01-01

    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. Coupled Global Models of Mantle and Lithosphere Dynamics: Identifying the Forces Governing Pacific Plate Motions since the mid–Miocene

    DEFF Research Database (Denmark)

    Stotz Canales, Ingo Leonardo

    2017-01-01

    at the Melanesian arc. Furthermore, we demonstrate, for the first time, that the sub–Pacific asthenosphere features a significant component of pressure–driven flow (i.e., Poiseuille), and that this accounts for more than half of the Pacific plate motion over at least the past 15 Myr. Our results highlight the power......Almost all surface processes, including motions of the lithospheric plates, can be related to underlying mantle circulation. Geological expressions across Earth’s surface, such as the Andean mountain range in South America, the ancient cratons of Australia and the African continent’s unusual.......e. the direction and magnitude) of lithospheric plates. In this thesis, we have developed novel coupled global numerical models of mantle and lithosphere dynamics and, subsequently, used these to test hypotheses on the force–balance governing motion of the Pacific plate since the mid–Miocene. These coupled models...

  20. The relationship between plate velocity and trench viscosity in Newtonian and power-law subduction calculations

    Science.gov (United States)

    King, Scott D.; Hager, Bradford H.

    1990-01-01

    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.

  1. Topography of the Overriding Plate During Progressive Subduction: A Dynamic Model to Explain Forearc Subsidence

    Science.gov (United States)

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

    2017-10-01

    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.

  2. The temporal evolution of a subducting plate in the lower mantle

    Science.gov (United States)

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

    2009-04-01

    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

  3. Horizontal mantle flow controls subduction dynamics.

    Science.gov (United States)

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

    2017-08-08

    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. Dynamic Linkages Between the Transition Zone & Surface Plate Motion in 2D Models of Subduction

    Science.gov (United States)

    Arredondo, K.; Billen, M. I.

    2014-12-01

    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. The initiation of subduction: criticality by addition of water?

    Science.gov (United States)

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

    2001-10-19

    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.

  6. The kinematic evolution of the Macquarie Plate: A case study for the fragmentation of oceanic lithosphere

    Science.gov (United States)

    Choi, Hakkyum; Kim, Seung-Sep; Dyment, Jérôme; Granot, Roi; Park, Sung-Hyun; Hong, Jong Kuk

    2017-11-01

    The tectonic evolution of the Southeast Indian Ridge (SEIR), and in particular of its easternmost edge, has not been constrained by high-resolution shipboard data and therefore the kinematic details of its behavior are uncertain. Using new shipboard magnetic data obtained by R/VIB Araon and M/V L'Astrolabe along the easternmost SEIR and available archived magnetic data, we estimated the finite rotation parameters of the Macquarie-Antarctic and Australian-Antarctic motions for eight anomalies (1o, 2, 2Ay, 2Ao, 3y, 3o, 3Ay, and 3Ao). These new finite rotations indicate that the Macquarie Plate since its creation ∼6.24 million years ago behaved as an independent and rigid plate, confirming previous estimates. The change in the Australian-Antarctic spreading direction from N-S to NW-SE appears to coincide with the formation of the Macquarie Plate at ∼6.24 Ma. Analysis of the estimated plate motions indicates that the initiation and growth stages of the Macquarie Plate resemble the kinematic evolution of other microplates and continental breakup, whereby a rapid acceleration in angular velocity took place after its initial formation, followed by a slow decay, suggesting that a decrease in the resistive strength force might have played a significant role in the kinematic evolution of the microplate. The motions of the Macquarie Plate during its growth stages may have been further enhanced by the increased subducting rates along the Hjort Trench, while the Macquarie Plate has exhibited constant growth by seafloor spreading.

  7. Lithospheric flexure under the Hawaiian volcanic load: Internal stresses and a broken plate revealed by earthquakes

    Science.gov (United States)

    Klein, Fred W.

    2016-01-01

    Several lines of earthquake evidence indicate that the lithospheric plate is broken under the load of the island of Hawai`i, where the geometry of the lithosphere is circular with a central depression. The plate bends concave downward surrounding a stress-free hole, rather than bending concave upward as with past assumptions. Earthquake focal mechanisms show that the center of load stress and the weak hole is between the summits of Mauna Loa and Mauna Kea where the load is greatest. The earthquake gap at 21 km depth coincides with the predicted neutral plane of flexure where horizontal stress changes sign. Focal mechanism P axes below the neutral plane display a striking radial pattern pointing to the stress center. Earthquakes above the neutral plane in the north part of the island have opposite stress patterns; T axes tend to be radial. The M6.2 Honomu and M6.7 Kiholo main shocks (both at 39 km depth) are below the neutral plane and show radial compression, and the M6.0 Kiholo aftershock above the neutral plane has tangential compression. Earthquakes deeper than 20 km define a donut of seismicity around the stress center where flexural bending is a maximum. The hole is interpreted as the soft center where the lithospheric plate is broken. Kilauea's deep conduit is seismically active because it is in the ring of maximum bending. A simplified two-dimensional stress model for a bending slab with a load at one end yields stress orientations that agree with earthquake stress axes and radial P axes below the neutral plane. A previous inversion of deep Hawaiian focal mechanisms found a circular solution around the stress center that agrees with the model. For horizontal faults, the shear stress within the bending slab matches the slip in the deep Kilauea seismic zone and enhances outward slip of active flanks.

  8. Dynamic effects of plate-buoyancy subduction at Manila Trench, South China Sea

    Science.gov (United States)

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

    2015-12-01

    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

  9. Geothermal structure of the eastern Black Sea basin and the eastern Pontides orogenic belt: Implications for subduction polarity of Tethys oceanic lithosphere

    Directory of Open Access Journals (Sweden)

    Nafiz Maden

    2013-07-01

    Full Text Available The numerical results of thermal modeling studies indicate that the lithosphere is cold and strong beneath the Black Sea basin. The thermal lithospheric thickness increases southward from the eastern Pontides orogenic belt (49.4 km to Black Sea basin (152.2 km. The Moho temperature increases from 367 °C in the trench to 978 °C in the arc region. The heat flow values for the Moho surface change between 16.4 mW m−2 in the Black Sea basin and 56.9 mW m−2 in the eastern Pontides orogenic belt. Along the southern Black Sea coast, the trench region has a relatively low geothermal potential with respect to the arc and back-arc region. The numerical studies support the existence of southward subduction beneath the Pontides during the late Mesozoic–Cenozoic.

  10. Lasting mantle scars lead to perennial plate tectonics.

    Science.gov (United States)

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

    2016-06-10

    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.

  11. Lasting mantle scars lead to perennial plate tectonics

    Science.gov (United States)

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

    2016-01-01

    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

  12. Subduction trench migration since the Cretaceous

    Science.gov (United States)

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

    2015-12-01

    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

  13. Dynamics and Significance of Plume-Induced Subduction Initiation: Numerical Modeling

    Science.gov (United States)

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

    2014-12-01

    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).

  14. Ablative subduction - A two-sided alternative to the conventional subduction model

    Science.gov (United States)

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

    1992-01-01

    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.

  15. Where does subduction initiate and die? Insights from global convection models with continental drift

    Science.gov (United States)

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

    2017-04-01

    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.

  16. Structure of the subducted Cocos Plate from locations of intermediate-depth earthquakes

    Science.gov (United States)

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

    2013-05-01

    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.

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

    Science.gov (United States)

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

    2015-01-01

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

  18. Kinematic constraints on distributed lithospheric deformation in the equatorial Indian Ocean from present-day motion between the Australian and Indian plates

    Science.gov (United States)

    Gordon, Richard G.; Demets, Charles; Argus, Donald F.

    1990-06-01

    thickening. Instead, lithosphere is transported northeastward toward the Sumatra trench through strike-slip faulting and possible clockwise rotation. The failure of the convergent segment of the diffuse plate boundary to form a subducting trench provides some new observations that must be satisfied by models for the initiation of subduction. A model of separate, rigid Indian and Australian plates divided by a diffuse plate boundary appears to be valid and useful because the predictions of the model agree with independent data and because the predicted velocity of relative motion is statistically significant and comparable with that across other plate boundaries.

  19. Seismic coupling and uncoupling at subduction zones

    Science.gov (United States)

    Ruff, L.; Kanamori, H.

    1983-01-01

    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.

  20. Spreading continents kick-started plate tectonics.

    Science.gov (United States)

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

    2014-09-18

    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.

  1. Upper Plate Response to Varying Subduction Styles in the Forearc Cook Inlet Basin in South Central Alaska

    Science.gov (United States)

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

    2016-12-01

    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

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

    NARCIS (Netherlands)

    Cloetingh, Sierd

    1982-01-01

    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

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

    NARCIS (Netherlands)

    Cloetingh, S.A.P.L.

    1982-01-01

    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

  4. 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.

  5. Plate tectonics, damage and inheritance.

    Science.gov (United States)

    Bercovici, David; Ricard, Yanick

    2014-04-24

    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.

  6. Tomography of the subducting Cocos plate in central Mexico: Images of a truncated slab

    Science.gov (United States)

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

    2007-12-01

    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.

  7. Topographic form of the Coast Ranges of the Cascadia Margin in relation ot coastal uplift rates and plate subduction

    Science.gov (United States)

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

    1994-01-01

    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

  8. Crustal deformation evidences for viscous coupling and fragmented lithosphere at the Nubia-Iberia plate boundary (Western Mediterranean)

    Science.gov (United States)

    Palano, Mimmo; González, Pablo J.; Fernández, José

    2016-04-01

    A spatially dense crustal velocity field, based on up to 15 years of GNSS observations at more than 380 sites and extensively covering the Iberian Peninsula and Northern Africa, allow us to provide new insights into two main tectonic processes currently occurring in this area. We detected a slow large-scale clockwise rotation of the Iberian Peninsula with respect to a local pole located closely to the northwestern sector of the Pyrenean mountain range (Palano et al., 2015). Although this crustal deformation pattern could suggest a rigid rotating lithosphere block, this model would predict significant shortening along the Western (off-shore Lisbon) and North Iberian margin which cannot totally ruled out but currently is not clearly observed. Conversely, we favour the interpretation that this pattern reflects the quasi-continuous straining of the ductile lithosphere in some sectors of South and Western Iberia in response to viscous coupling of the NW Nubia and Iberian plate boundary in the Gulf of Cádiz. Furthermore, the western Mediterranean basin appears fragmented into independent crustal tectonic blocks, which delimited by inherited lithospheric shear structures and trapped within the Nubia-Eurasia collision, are currently accommodating most of the plate convergence rate. Among these blocks, an (oceanic-like western) Algerian one is currently transferring a significant fraction of the Nubia-Eurasia convergence rate into the Eastern Betics (SE Iberia) and likely causing the eastward motion of the Baleares Promontory. Most of the observed crustal ground deformation can be attributed to processes driven by spatially variable lithospheric plate forces imposed along the Nubia-Eurasia convergence boundary. Nevertheless, the observed deformation field infers a very low convergence rates as observed also at the eastern side of the western Mediterranean, along the Calabro Peloritan Arc, by space geodesy (e.g. Palano, 2015). References Palano M. (2015). On the present

  9. Reevaluating carbon fluxes in subduction zones, what goes down, mostly comes up.

    Science.gov (United States)

    Kelemen, Peter B; Manning, Craig E

    2015-07-28

    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.

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

    OpenAIRE

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

    2017-01-01

    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...

  11. Forced relative displacements of the core and mantle as the basic mechanism of secular changes of the Earth shape and lithosphere plates tectonics

    Science.gov (United States)

    Barkin, Yury

    2010-05-01

    displacements of plates, first of all continental plates, between hemispheres in a geological time scale is carried out. Thus oscillations and displacements of the core control and organize a plume tectonics activity, and also a spreading activity without which motions of plates to the north would be impossible. This mechanism allows to give a logic explanation to observable tectonic processes and polar changes of geodynamic states of supercontinents observable at formation during geoevolution [10]. According to table 3 of the work [9] the horizontal latitudinal components (in a direction the south-north) of linear velocities of conditional epicentres of lithosphere plates (they correspond to calculated modelling positions of their centers of mass) are equal: 3.47 mm/yr for the Euroasian plate; 2.54 mm/yr for the African plate; 50.3 mm/yr for the Pacific plate; 83.8 mm/yr for the Australian plate; 48.3 mm/yr for the Indian plate; 26.8 mm/yr for the Arabian plate; 35.3 mm/yr for Philippine plate; 54.6 mm/yr for a plate the Cocos; 11.1 mm/yr for Juan de Fuka. For all specified 9 plates mentioned velocities speeds are positive and significant on values. Negative latitudional components of velocities have the American continents: -12.0 mm/yr (the Northern-American plate) and -9.8 mm/yr (the Southern-American plate). Also negative latitudinal components have velocities of the centers of mass of the small plates: -0.64 mm/yr (the Antarctic plate) and -1.2 mm/yr (Nasca). In another words the clearly expressed tendency of displacement of epicentres of the centers of mass of plates to the north exists in reality [9]. The specified displacements are observed with respect to geocentric reference system of coordinates HS2-NUVEL1 connected with hotspots. The obtained conclusion has a modelling character and does not consider some changes in positions of the conditional centers of plates because of the phenomena of spreading and subduction (i.e. here the conditional centers fastened to

  12. Subduction, back-arc spreading and global mantle flow

    Science.gov (United States)

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

    1983-01-01

    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.

  13. Mantle Flow and Melting Beneath Young Oceanic Lithosphere: Seismic Studies of the Galapagos Archipelago and the Juan de Fuca Plate

    Science.gov (United States)

    Byrnes, Joseph Stephen

    In this dissertation, I use seismic imaging techniques to constrain the physical state of the upper mantle beneath regions of young oceanic lithosphere. Mantle convection is investigated beneath the Galapagos Archipelago and then beneath the Juan de Fuca (JdF) plate, with a focus on the JdF and Gorda Ridges before turning to the off-axis asthenosphere. In the Galapagos Archipelago, S-to-p receiver functions reveal a discontinuity in seismic velocity that is attributed to the dehydration of the upper mantle. The depth at which dehydration occurs is shown to be consistent with prior constraints on mantle temperature. A comparison between results from receiver functions, seismic tomography and petrology shows that mantle upwelling and melt generation occur shallower than the depth of the discontinuity, despite the expectation of high viscosities in the dehydrated layer. Beneath the JdF and Gorda Ridge, low Vs anomalies are too large to be explained by the cooling of the lithosphere and are attributed to partial melt. The asymmetry, large Vs gradients, and sinuosity of the anomalies beneath the JdF Ridge are consistent with models of buoyancy-driven upwelling. However, deformation zone processes appear to dominate mantle flow over seafloor spreading beneath the Explorer and Gorda diffuse plate boundaries. Finally, S-to-p receiver functions reveal a seismic discontinuity beneath the JdF plate that can only be attributed to seismic anisotropy. Synthesis of the receiver function results with prior SKS splitting results requires heterogeneous anisotropy between the crust and the discontinuity. Models of anisotropy feature increasing anisotropy before the decrease at the discontinuity, but well below the base of the lithosphere, and a clockwise rotation of the fast direction with increasing depth. In these results and even in the SKS splitting results, additional driving mechanisms for mantle flow such as density or pressure anomalies are required.

  14. The Impact of Surface Bending, A Complete Mineralogical Model and Movement of the Overriding Plate on Subduction Zones

    Science.gov (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

  15. Rapid conversion of an oceanic spreading center to a subduction zone inferred from high-precision geochronology.

    Science.gov (United States)

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

    2016-11-22

    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.

  16. From the North-Iberian Margin to the Alboran Basin: A lithosphere geo-transect across the Iberian Plate

    Science.gov (United States)

    Carballo, A.; Fernandez, M.; Jiménez-Munt, I.; Torne, M.; Vergés, J.; Melchiorre, M.; Pedreira, D.; Afonso, J. C.; Garcia-Castellanos, D.; Díaz, J.; Villaseñor, A.; Pulgar, J. A.; Quintana, L.

    2015-11-01

    A ~ 1000-km-long lithospheric transect running from the North-Iberian Margin to the Alboran Basin (W-Mediterranean) is investigated. The main goal is to image the changes in the crustal and upper mantle structure occurring in: i) the North-Iberian margin, whose deformation in Alpine times gave rise to the uplift of the Cantabrian Mountains related to Iberia-Eurasia incipient subduction; ii) the Spanish Meseta, characterized by the presence of Cenozoic basins on top of a Variscan basement with weak Alpine deformation in the Central System, and localized Neogene-Quaternary deep volcanism; and iii) the Betic-Alboran system related to Africa-Iberia collision and the roll-back of the Ligurian-Tethyan domain. The modeling approach, combines potential fields, elevation, thermal, seismic, and petrological data under a self-consistent scheme. The crustal structure is mainly constrained by seismic data whereas the upper mantle is constrained by tomographic models. The results highlight the lateral variations in the topography of the lithosphere-asthenosphere boundary (LAB), suggesting a strong lithospheric mantle strain below the Cantabrian and Betic mountain belts. The LAB depth ranges from 180 km beneath the Cantabrian Mountains to 135-110 km beneath Iberia Meseta deepening again to values of 160 km beneath the Betic Cordillera. The Central System, with a mean elevation of 1300 m, has a negligible signature on the LAB depth. We have considered four lithospheric mantle compositions: a predominantly average Phanerozoic in the continental mainland, two more fertile compositions in the Alboran Sea and in the Calatrava Volcanic Province, and a hydrated uppermost mantle in the North-Iberian Margin. These compositional differences allowed us to reproduce the main trends of the geophysical observables as well as the inferred P- and S-wave seismic velocities from tomography models and seismic experiments available in the study transect. The high mean topography of Iberia can be

  17. Modification of an ancient subcontinental lithospheric mantle by continental subduction: Insight from the Maowu garnet peridotites in the Dabie UHP belt, eastern China

    Science.gov (United States)

    Chen, Yi; Su, Bin; Chu, Zhuyin

    2017-05-01

    Orogenic mantle-derived peridotites commonly originate from the subcontinental lithospheric mantle (SCLM) and thus provide a key target to investigate the modification of the SCLM by a subducting slab. The Maowu ultramafic rocks from the Dabie ultrahigh-pressure (UHP) metamorphic belt have formerly been debated as representing cumulates or mantle-derived peridotites. Detailed petrological and geochemical data presented in this study provide new constraints on the origin and formation of the peridotites involving melt depletion in the ancient SCLM and deep crustal metasomatism. The Maowu garnet dunites have refractory bulk compositions characterized by high Mg# (91.9-92.0) and Ni (2537-2892 ppm) values and low Al2O3 (0.26-0.76 wt.%), CaO (0.05-0.32 wt.%), TiO2 (enrichment in incompatible elements. Mineral and whole-rock chemistry indicate that these veins represent metasomatic products between the wall dunites and silica-rich hydrous melts under UHP conditions. The veins show large variations in platinum-group element (PGE) signatures and Re-Os isotopes. The garnet-poor orthopyroxenite veins are characterized by low Al2O3 ( 6 wt.%) and S (99-306 ppm) contents and show melt-like PGE patterns and high 187Os/188Os ratios (up to 0.36910). These features, combined with the occurrence of interstitial sulfides in the garnet-rich orthopyroxenite veins, suggest that crust-derived sulfur-saturated silicate melts may have significantly modified the PGE signature and destroyed the Re-Os systematics of the SCLM. However, when the crust-derived silicate melts became sulfur-depleted, such melts would not significantly modify the PGE patterns, radiogenic Os-isotope compositions or the Re-depletion model ages of the SCLM. Consequently, deep crust-mantle interactions in continental subduction zones could induce high degrees of Os isotopic heterogeneity in the SCLM wedge.

  18. Lithospheric loading by the 1896 Riku-u earthquake, northern Japan: implications for plate flexure and asthenospheric rheology.

    Science.gov (United States)

    Thatcher, W.; Matsuda, T.; Kato, T.; Rundle, J.B.

    1980-01-01

    Under favorable circumstances the time-dependent aseismic deformation resulting from the loading of the lithosphere by the stress drop of large dip slip earthquakes can be used to determine both the effective elastic plate thickness and the asthenospheric viscosity. The deformation has several similarities with the deflection of the lithosphere by surface loads and with movements due to postglacial rebound. Level changes obtained in the 80 years since the M = 7.5, 1896 Riku-u earthquake, an intraplate thrust event in northern Honshu, provide convincing evidence that asthenospheric readjustments are responsible for the observed movements. Leveling surveys crossing the zone of surface faulting have been repeated five times since 1900 and delineate a localized depression that has subsided at a continually decreasing rate. The depression is centered close to the 1896 faulting, and its shape and width, about 75 km, are matched by our model using a plate thickness of 30 km. The decaying subsidence rate constrains the viscosity of the uppermost asthenosphere to be 1 x 1020 P. A linear viscous rheology matches the observed decay quite well, although measurements are sparse during the several decades following the earthquake. -Authors

  19. Segmentation of plate coupling, fate of subduction fluids, and modes of arc magmatism in Cascadia, inferred from magnetotelluric resistivity

    Science.gov (United States)

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

    2014-01-01

    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.

  20. Effect of the Earth's rotation on subduction processes

    Science.gov (United States)

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

    2017-09-01

    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.

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

    Science.gov (United States)

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

    2013-12-01

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

    Science.gov (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.

    2016-12-01

    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.

  3. Reconstructions of subducted ocean floor along the Andes: a framework for assessing Magmatic and Ore Deposit History

    Science.gov (United States)

    Sdrolias, M.; Müller, R.

    2006-05-01

    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.

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

    Science.gov (United States)

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

    2017-12-01

    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

    Science.gov (United States)

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

    2017-04-01

    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.

    Science.gov (United States)

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

    2017-05-16

    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

    Science.gov (United States)

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

    2006-12-01

    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. To what depth can continental crust be subducted: numerical predictions and critical observations

    Science.gov (United States)

    Gerya, T.; Faccenda, M.

    2006-12-01

    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

  9. Reconciling plate kinematic and seismic estimates of lithospheric convergence in the central Indian Ocean

    Digital Repository Service at National Institute of Oceanography (India)

    Bull, J.M.; DeMets, C.; Krishna, K.S.; Sanderson, D.J.; Merkouriev, S.

    The far-field signature of the India-Asia collision and history of uplift in Tibet are recorded by sediment input into the Indian Ocean and the strain accumulation history across the diffuse plate boundary between the Indian and Capricorn plates. We...

  10. Metallogeny of subduction zones

    Directory of Open Access Journals (Sweden)

    Sorokhtin N. O.

    2017-03-01

    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

  11. The lithosphere-asthenosphere boundary beneath the South Island of New Zealand

    Science.gov (United States)

    Hua, Junlin; Fischer, Karen M.; Savage, Martha K.

    2018-02-01

    Lithosphere-asthenosphere boundary (LAB) properties beneath the South Island of New Zealand have been imaged by Sp receiver function common-conversion point stacking. In this transpressional boundary between the Australian and Pacific plates, dextral offset on the Alpine fault and convergence have occurred for the past 20 My, with the Alpine fault now bounded by Australian plate subduction to the south and Pacific plate subduction to the north. Using data from onland seismometers, especially the 29 broadband stations of the New Zealand permanent seismic network (GeoNet), we obtained 24,971 individual receiver functions by extended-time multi-taper deconvolution, and mapped them to three-dimensional space using a Fresnel zone approximation. Pervasive strong positive Sp phases are observed in the LAB depth range indicated by surface wave tomography. These phases are interpreted as conversions from a velocity decrease across the LAB. In the central South Island, the LAB is observed to be deeper and broader to the northwest of the Alpine fault. The deeper LAB to the northwest of the Alpine fault is consistent with models in which oceanic lithosphere attached to the Australian plate was partially subducted, or models in which the Pacific lithosphere has been underthrust northwest past the Alpine fault. Further north, a zone of thin lithosphere with a strong and vertically localized LAB velocity gradient occurs to the northwest of the fault, juxtaposed against a region of anomalously weak LAB conversions to the southeast of the fault. This structure could be explained by lithospheric blocks with contrasting LAB properties that meet beneath the Alpine fault, or by the effects of Pacific plate subduction. The observed variations in LAB properties indicate strong modification of the LAB by the interplay of convergence and strike-slip deformation along and across this transpressional plate boundary.

  12. Experimental and observational evidence for plume-induced subduction on Venus

    Science.gov (United States)

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

    2017-04-01

    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.

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

    Science.gov (United States)

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

    2017-10-01

    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.

  14. Structural context and variation of ocean plate stratigraphy, Franciscan Complex, California: insight into mélange origins and subduction-accretion processes

    Science.gov (United States)

    Wakabayashi, John

    2017-12-01

    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

  15. Insights into a fossil plate interface of an erosional subduction zone: a tectono-metamorphic study of the Tianshan metamorphic belt.

    Science.gov (United States)

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

    2016-04-01

    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

  16. Geometry and Evolution of the Cangdong Sag in the Bohai Bay Basin, China: Implications for Subduction of the Pacific Plate.

    Science.gov (United States)

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

    2017-11-13

    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.

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

    NARCIS (Netherlands)

    Hafkenscheid, Edith

    2004-01-01

    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

  18. 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

    Science.gov (United States)

    Osmaston, M. F.

    2012-04-01

    of the upper mantle? Nature 319, 309-310. [7] Hirth G. & Kohlstedt D. L. (1996) Water in the oceanic upper mantle: implication for rheology, melt extraction, and the evolution of the lithosphere. EPSL 144, 93-108. [8] Osmaston M. F. (2010) On the actual variety of plate dynamical mechanisms and how mantle evolution affected them through time, from core formation to the Indian collision. Geophys. Res. Abstr. 12, EGU2010-6101. [9] Osmaston M. F. (1995) A straightness mechanism for MORs: a new view of ocean plate genesis and evolution XXI IUGG, Abstracts p. A472. [10] Osmaston M. (2005) The ridge push mechanism of MORs as the agent of seismic coupling, tsunami, convergence partitioning and landward thrusting at subduction zones; insights on an interactive family of mostly-jerky mechanisms. IASPEI 2005 Gen. Assy, Santiago, Chile, Abstr. No 303. [11] Osmaston M. F. (2008) Basal subduction tectonic erosion (STE), butter mélanges and the construction and exhumation of HP-UHP belts: the Alps example and some comparisons. Internat. Geol. Rev. 50(8), 685-754 DOI: 10.2747/00206814.50.8.685. [12] Osmaston M. F. (2012) Did clockwise rotation of Antarctica cause the break-up of Gondwanaland? An investigation in the 'deep-keeled cratons' frame for global dynamics. GD6.1. Geophys. Res. Abstr. 14, EGU2012-2170.

  19. 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?

    Science.gov (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.

    2013-08-01

    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.

  20. Subduction of a buoyant plateau at the Manila Trench: Tomographic evidence and geodynamic implications

    Science.gov (United States)

    Fan, Jianke; Zhao, Dapeng; Dong, Dongdong

    2016-02-01

    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.

  1. Are diamond-bearing Cretaceous kimberlites related to shallow-angle subduction beneath western North America?

    Science.gov (United States)

    Currie, C. A.; Beaumont, C.

    2009-05-01

    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.

  2. Fast intraslab fluid-flow events linked to pulses of high pore fluid pressure at the subducted plate interface

    Science.gov (United States)

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

    2018-01-01

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

  3. 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.

    2017-01-01

    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

  4. Plate tectonics in the late Paleozoic

    OpenAIRE

    Domeier, Mathew; Torsvik, Trond H.

    2014-01-01

    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...

  5. The lithosphere structure beneath the central Mediterranean from S receiver functions

    Science.gov (United States)

    Bianchi, Irene; Miller, Meghan; Piana Agostinetti, Nicola; O'Driscoll, Leland

    2017-04-01

    The last piece of Mesozoic oceanic lithosphere from the Neo-Tethys Ocean is being consumed beneath Eurasia in the Central Mediterranean area, squeezed by the continuing convergence of Africa with the Eurasian plate. Convergence between Africa and Eurasia has been ongoing since the Cenozoic, forming a series of arcuate shaped subduction zones, and producing the current complex plate boundary that strikes across the Mediterranean area. Moreover, geophysical imaging depicts a variable lithospheric structure related to remnants of both oceanic and continental lithosphere within this convergent margin, which contributes to its complexity. In fact, the subduction/collision of blocks with different rheologies and thicknesses (e.g. continental or oceanic) has resulted in complex setting that includes accretionary wedges, orogenesis, and formation of an intricate back-arc/fore-arc/trench system. In order to shed light on these tectonic structures, we provide observations and interpretations of the lithospheric structure of the central Mediterranean via S receiver functions analysis. Teleseismic observations recorded at permanent and temporary seismic stations have been employed to produce images of the lithospheric discontinuities with tens of kilometers lateral resolution. We illustrate the feasibility of the lithosphere-asthenosphere boundary detection on a regional scale, and detect the occurrence of deeper seismic discontinuities due both to positive and negative seismic velocity jumps.

  6. Reducing risk where tectonic plates collide—U.S. Geological Survey subduction zone science plan

    Science.gov (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

    2017-06-19

    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

  7. Subduction Mode Selection During Slab and Mantle Transition Zone Interaction: Numerical Modeling

    Science.gov (United States)

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

    2017-12-01

    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.

  8. Reconciling the Isabella Anomaly with Lithosphere Delamination and Basin & Range Extension

    Science.gov (United States)

    Straub, J.; Hu, J.; Zhou, Q.; Liu, L.

    2016-12-01

    The Isabella anomaly is a high-seismic velocity region located below the Sierra Nevada, and its presence has been explained through lithosphere delamination occurring within the past 10-15 Ma and an accreted oceanic micro-plate. Both the lack of consensus on the origin of this high velocity structure and its relation to putative lithospheric delamination and surface uplift requires more careful geodynamic studies. While earlier models of lithosphere delamination neglected the nearby subduction, we attempt to explain this anomaly in the context of delamination related to the subducted slab of the Farallon plate. We design a two-dimensional high-resolution model that extends from the west coast of the United States to the Colorado Plateau, including both the Sierra Nevada and Basin and Range regions. The Basin and Range experienced accelerated extension towards the northwest since 15 Ma, resulting in a topographical pattern with alternating subsidence and uplift; the mechanisms for both the deformation and topography of the region are presently debated. Preliminary results from our 2-D slab-lithosphere interaction model indicate that the foundering of an earlier accreted Farallon slab causes the surface to uplift and the overriding plate to extend. The model can potentially reproduce the main tectonic characteristics of the region, offering new insights on the evolution of the lithosphere-mantle system.

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

    Science.gov (United States)

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

    2017-04-01

    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

    Science.gov (United States)

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

    2017-12-01

    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. 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.

    2013-01-01

    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

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

    Science.gov (United States)

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

    2009-11-20

    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).

  13. Laboratory models of the thermal evolution of the mantle during rollback subduction.

    Science.gov (United States)

    Kincaid, C; Griffiths, R W

    2003-09-04

    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.

  14. The Diffuse Plate boundary of Nubia and Iberia in the Western Mediterranean: Crustal deformation evidence for viscous coupling and fragmented lithosphere

    Science.gov (United States)

    Palano, Mimmo; González, Pablo J.; Fernández, José

    2015-11-01

    A spatially dense GNSS-based crustal velocity field for the Iberian Peninsula and Northern Africa allows us to provide new insights into two main tectonic processes currently occurring in this area. In particular, we provide, for the first time, clear evidence for a large-scale clockwise rotation of the Iberian Peninsula with respect to stable Eurasia (Euler pole component: N42.612°, W1.833°, clockwise rotation rate of 0.07 deg/Myr). We favor the interpretation that this pattern reflects the quasi-continuous straining of the ductile lithosphere in some sectors of South and Western Iberia in response to viscous coupling of the NW Nubia and Iberian plate boundary in the Gulf of Cádiz. We furnish evidence for a fragmentation of the western Mediterranean basin into independent crustal tectonic blocks, which are delimited by inherited lithospheric shear structures. Among these blocks, an (oceanic-like western) Algerian one is currently transferring a significant fraction of the Nubia-Eurasia convergence rate into the Eastern Betics (SE Iberia) and likely causing the eastward motion of the Baleares Promontory. These processes can be mainly explained by spatially variable lithospheric plate forces imposed along the Nubia-Eurasia convergence boundary.

  15. Deep vs. shallow expressions of continental cratons: Can cratonic roots be destroyed by subduction?

    Science.gov (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.

    2013-12-01

    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.

  16. Subduction and Slab Advance at Orogen Syntaxes: Predicting Exhumation Rates and Thermochronometric Ages with Numerical Modeling

    Science.gov (United States)

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

    2017-04-01

    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

  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

    OpenAIRE

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

    2006-01-01

    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. The Gutenberg Discontinuity: Melt at the Lithosphere-Asthenosphere Boundary

    Science.gov (United States)

    Schmerr, Nicholas

    2012-03-01

    The lithosphere-asthenosphere boundary (LAB) beneath ocean basins separates the upper thermal boundary layer of rigid, conductively cooling plates from the underlying ductile, convecting mantle. The origin of a seismic discontinuity associated with this interface, known as the Gutenberg discontinuity (G), remains enigmatic. High-frequency SS precursors sampling below the Pacific plate intermittently detect the G as a sharp, negative velocity contrast at 40- to 75-kilometer depth. These observations lie near the depth of the LAB in regions associated with recent surface volcanism and mantle melt production and are consistent with an intermittent layer of asthenospheric partial melt residing at the lithospheric base. I propose that the G reflectivity is regionally enhanced by dynamical processes that produce melt, including hot mantle upwellings, small-scale convection, and fluid release during subduction.

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

    Science.gov (United States)

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

    2017-05-01

    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.

  20. Impact-driven subduction on the Hadean Earth

    Science.gov (United States)

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

    2017-10-01

    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.

  1. Multiple subduction imprints in the mantle below Italy detected in a single lava flow

    Science.gov (United States)

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

    2016-09-01

    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.

  2. Reconciling the Misfit Between the Yellowstone Plume Trace and Global Plate Motion Models: Channelized and Pancake Plume Flow on Basal Lithospheric Topography

    Science.gov (United States)

    Jordan, B. T.

    2001-12-01

    Age-progrssive rhyolitic volcanism from the Owyhee Plateau along the Snake River Plain to the Yellowstone Plateau is widely interpreted as reflecting the motion of the North American plate over a mantle plume. The strongest line of evidence against this interpretation is the misfit between the length of the interpreted plume trace and the length predicted by global plate motion models. As generally represented, the plume trace extends 700 km from the 16.1 Ma McDermitt Caldera to the caldera of the 0.6 Ma Lava Creek Tuff at Yellowstone. Global plate motion models predict a plume trace of 190-340 km in 16 m.y. Extension immediately south of the Snake River Plain has been estimated at 20%, well short of the >100% required to reconcile the misfit. Also complicating the plume interpretation is the position of the feeder dikes of the Columbia River basalts (CRB), widely interpreted as the result of emplacement of the head of the Yellowstone plume, >300 km north of the interpreted plume trace at 16 Ma. Both of these problems can be reconciled by considering the complex results of interaction of a mantle plume with basal lithospheric topography. The predicted position of the plume at 16 Ma, based on plate motion models plus extension, was near the southern end of the Snake River Plain, under thick Precambrian lithosphere. Thinner lithosphere occurred 150 to 200 km west of this point at the boundary with Paleozoic and Mesozoic accreted terranes. The CRB, Steens Basalts (SB), and Northern Nevada Rift (NNR) basalts were erupted through the accreted terranes west of this boundary beginning about 16.5 Ma. Two processes could link this basaltic volcanism to the plume: (1) assuming the plume head was >600 km in diameter, some plume head material would have risen to shallow depths and undergone decompression melting under CRB and SB dikes and the NNR; and (2) flow of plume head and conduit-fed material up a basal lithospheric gradient from under the cratonic lithosphere toward the

  3. Modeled temperatures and fluid source distributions for the Mexican subduction zone: Effects of hydrothermal circulation and implications for plate boundary seismic processes

    Science.gov (United States)

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

    2016-02-01

    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.

  4. Processes and consequences of deep subduction

    NARCIS (Netherlands)

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

    2001-01-01

    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

  5. Geodynamics and The Evolution of Continental Lithosphere

    Science.gov (United States)

    Hamilton, W. B.

    R.L. ArmstrongSs (1991) posthumous paper demonstrated that, contrary to conven- tional (and still dominant) geochemical assumption, isotopic data require most con- tinental material to have been fractionated into crust early in Earth history and to have been variably recycled since through the mantle. Recent information confirms predictions implicit in his recycling model. Archean cratonic crust mostly lacks a thick, mafic basal layer and is in bulk more felsic than Proterozoic and younger crust, whereas Archean lithospheric mantle is much more refractory than younger litho- sphere, which becomes markedly more enriched in fusible components with decreas- ing age. The oldest rocks in all Archean cratons are felsic migmatites, plus abundant but subordinate ultramafic, mafic, and anorthositic rocks. Ion-microprobe ages of zir- cons in these gneisses typically scatter from a maximum (currently 4.4 Ga in Yilgarn, and 4.1-3.6 Ga in other cratons) to minima near ages of overlying supracrustal rocks or of remobilization into late domiform batholiths. The gneisses were near wet-solidus temperature for long periods, the felsic protolith may have been mostly fractionated into crust by 4.4 Ga, and these ancient gneisses may dominate middle and lower Archean crust. Setting of formation is unknown, although steep REE patterns sug- gest derivation, by hydrous magmatic fractionation or partial melting, complementary to garnet-rich rocks that comprise geophysical mantle. Waterlaid supracrustal rocksU-° first quartzite, then mostly mafic and ultramafic lavaUwere deposited on the basement ° rocks after 3.5 Ga, and were deformed by gravitational rise of domiform batholiths and sinking of dense synclines. Indicators of plate-tectonic rifting and convergence are widespread in terrains younger than 2 Ga but are wholly lacking in the Archean. Plate tectonics is driven by subduction, which is enabled by top-down cooling of light asthenosphere to form dense oceanic lithosphere. Hinges

  6. Dry Juan de Fuca slab revealed by quantification of water entering Cascadia subduction zone

    Science.gov (United States)

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

    2017-11-01

    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.

  7. SEISMOTECTONIC DEFORMATION IN THE CONTACT AREA OF THE NAZCA AND SOUTH AMERICAN LITHOSPHERIC PLATES IN RELATION TO THE FEBRUARY 27, 2010 MW 8.8 MAULE EARTHQUAKE

    Directory of Open Access Journals (Sweden)

    P. G. Dyadkov

    2017-01-01

    Full Text Available Based on the data on earthquake focal mechanisms, we estimated seismotectonic deformation related to the 2010 Мw 8.8 Maule earthquake and analyzed the deformation at different depths. In the main seismic dislocation of the Maule earthquake and the northern area, the deformation field to a depth of 70 km is typical of subduction zones as evidenced by shortening in the direction of the oceanic plate subduction. Below a depth of 70 km, the deformation pattern changes sharply to horizontal stretching. After the main seismic event, as well as before it, nearlatitudinal shortening was dominant in the focal zone, while the region of the main seismic dislocations was surrounded by separate areas of near-latitudinal stretching, which is an opposite type of deformation. We conducted a detailed analysis of the seismotectonic deformations in the oceanic uplift area to the west of the deep-water trough and identified local zones of near-latitudinal stretching near the southern and northern boundaries of the future Maule earthquake zone. Detecting such zones can provide important data for early forecasting of regions wherein strong subduction-related earthquakes are being prepared.

  8. The continental lithosphere

    DEFF Research Database (Denmark)

    Artemieva, Irina

    2009-01-01

    of the Royal Society of London. Series A, 360, 2475–2491.; Shapiro N.M., Ritzwoller M.H. 2002. Monte-Carlo inversion for a global shear velocity model of the crust and upper mantle. Geophysical Journal International 151, 1–18.] and lithospheric temperatures [Artemieva I.M., Mooney W.D., 2001. Thermal structure......The goal of the present study is to extract non-thermal signal from seismic tomography models in order to distinguish compositional variations in the continental lithosphere and to examine if geochemical and petrologic constraints on global-scale compositional variations in the mantle...... are consistent with modern geophysical data. In the lithospheric mantle of the continents, seismic velocity variations of a non-thermal origin (calculated from global Vs seismic tomography data [Grand S.P., 2002. Mantle shear-wave tomography and the fate of subducted slabs. Philosophical Transactions...

  9. The magma ocean as an impediment to lunar plate tectonics

    Science.gov (United States)

    Warren, Paul H.

    1993-01-01

    The primary impediment to plate tectonics on the moon was probably the great thickness of its crust and particularly its high crust/lithosphere thickness ratio. This in turn can be attributed to the preponderance of low-density feldspar over all other Al-compatible phases in the lunar interior. During the magma ocean epoch, the moon's crust/lithosphere thickness ratio was at the maximum theoretical value, approximately 1, and it remained high for a long time afterwards. A few large regions of thin crust were produced by basin-scale cratering approximately contemporaneous with the demise of the magma ocean. However, these regions probably also tend to have uncommonly thin lithosphere, since they were directly heated and indirectly enriched in K, Th, and U by the same cratering process. Thus, plate tectonics on the moon in the form of systematic lithosphere subduction was impeded by the magma ocean.

  10. Trench dynamics: Effects of dynamically migrating trench on subducting slab morphology and characteristics of subduction zones systems

    Science.gov (United States)

    Yoshida, Masaki

    2017-07-01

    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

  11. Lithospheric thermal evolution and dynamic mechanism of destruction of the North China Craton

    Science.gov (United States)

    Li, Zian; Zhang, Lu; Lin, Ge; Zhao, Chongbin; Liang, Yingjie

    2017-09-01

    The dynamic mechanism for destruction of the North China Craton (NCC) has been extensively discussed. Numerical simulation is used in this paper to discuss the effect of mantle upward throughflow (MUT) on the lithospheric heat flux of the NCC. Our results yield a three-stage destruction of the NCC lithosphere as a consequence of MUT variation. (1) In Late Paleozoic, the elevation of MUT, which was probably caused by southward and northward subduction of the paleo-Asian and paleo-Tethyan oceans, respectively, became a prelude to the NCC destruction. The geological consequences include a limited decrease of the lithospheric thickness, an increase of heat flux, and a gradual enhancement of the crustal activity. But the tectonic attribute of the NCC maintained a stable craton. (2) During Late Jurassic-Early Cretaceous, the initial velocity of the MUT became much faster probably in response to subduction of the Pacific Ocean; the conductive heat flux at the base of the NCC lithosphere gradually increased from west to east; and the lithospheric thickness was significantly decreased. During this stage, the heat flux distribution was characterized by zonation and partition, with nearly horizontal layering in the lithosphere and vertical layering in the underlying asthenosphere. Continuous destruction of the NCC lithosphere was associated with the intense tectono-magmatic activity. (3) From Late Cretaceous to Paleogene, the velocity of MUT became slower due to the retreat of the subducting Pacific slab; the conductive heat flux at the base of lithosphere was increased from west to east; the distribution of heat flux was no longer layered. The crust of the western NCC is relatively hotter than the mantle, so-called as a `hot crust but cold mantle' structure. At the eastern NCC, the crust and the mantle characterized by a `cold crust but hot mantle.' The western NCC (e.g., the Ordos Basin) had a tectonically stable crust with low thermal gradients in the lithosphere; whereas

  12. 3D Numerical modelling of topography development associated with curved subduction zones

    Science.gov (United States)

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

    2017-04-01

    Curved subduction zones, also called oroclines, are geological features found in various places on Earth. They occur in diverse geodynamic settings: 1) single slab subduction in oceanic domain (e.g. Sandwich trench in the Southern Atlantic); 2) single slab subduction in continental domain, (e.g. Gibraltar-Alboran orocline in the Western Mediterranean) 3); multi-slab subduction (e.g. Caribbean orocline in the South-East of the Gulf of Mexico). These systems present various curvatures, lengths (few hundreds to thousands of km) and ages (less than 35 Ma for Gibraltar Alboran orocline, up to 100 Ma for the Caribbean). Recent studies suggested that the formation of curved subduction systems depends on slab properties (age, length, etc) and may be linked with processes such as retreating subduction and delamination. Plume induced subduction initiation has been proposed for the Caribbean. All of these processes involve deep mechanisms such as mantle and slab dynamics. However, subduction zones always generate topography (trenches, uplifts, etc), which is likely to be influenced by surface processes. Hence, surface processes may also influence the evolution of subduction zones. We focus on different kinds of subduction systems initiated by plume-lithosphere interactions (single slab subduction/multi-slab subduction) and scrutinize their surface expression. We use numerical modeling to examine large-scale subduction initiation and three-dimensional slab retreat. We perform two kinds of simulations: 1) large scale subduction initiation with the 3D-thermomechanical code I3ELVIS (Gerya and Yuen, 2007) in an oceanic domain and 2) large scale subduction initiation in oceanic domain using I3ELVIS coupled with a robust new surface processes model (SPM). One to several retreating slabs form in the absence of surface processes, when the conditions for subduction initiation are reached (c.f. Gerya et al., 2015), and ridges occur in the middle of the extensional domain opened by slab

  13. 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

    Science.gov (United States)

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

    2006-08-01

    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

  14. Age of the subducting Pacific slab beneath East Asia and its geodynamic implications

    Science.gov (United States)

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

    2017-04-01

    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.

  15. 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

    Science.gov (United States)

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

    2012-01-01

    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.

  16. Geochronology of diamond-bearing zircons from garnet peridotite in the North Qaidam UHPM belt, Northern Tibetan Plateau: A record of complex histories from oceanic lithosphere subduction to continental collision [rapid communication

    Science.gov (United States)

    Song, Shuguang; Zhang, Lifei; Niu, Yaoling; Su, Li; Jian, Ping; Liu, Dunyi

    2005-05-01

    We report the results of a comprehensive study of zircons separated from the Lüliangshan peridotite massif within the 400-km-long North Qaidam UHPM belt, northern Tibetan Plateau, NW China. The peridotite massif is dominated by garnet lherzolite with minor amounts of interlayered garnet-bearing dunite and cross-cutting garnet pyroxenite dikes. Most zircons from the garnet lherzolite show rather complex zoning. One diamond and a few graphite inclusions are identified in some zircons by Raman spectroscopy. SHRIMP dating on these zircons show four major age groups: (a) 484-444 Ma (weighted mean age, 457 ± 22 Ma) for cores of most crystals, whose morphology and rare earth element (REE) systematics (i.e., very high [Lu / Sm] CN = 88-230) suggest a magmatic origin, consistent with the protolith being magmatic cumulate; (b) 435-414 Ma with a mean of 423 ± 5 Ma, which, given by mantle portions of zircon crystals, is interpreted to record the event of ultrahigh-pressure metamorphism (UHPM) at depths greater than 200 km in an Andean-type subduction zone; (c) 402-384 Ma (mean age 397 ± 6 Ma) for near-rim portions of zircon crystals; and (d) 368-349 Ma for outermost rims, which is interpreted as representing some post-orogenic thermal events. Inherited cores in two zircon crystals were identified using CL and found to be Proterozoic. Morphology and CL images show that zircons from dunite and garnet pyroxenite are of metamorphic origin. The mean age of dunite zircons is 420 ± 5 Ma, which overlaps the mantle age of the garnet lherzolite zircon (see (b) above). The mean age of garnet pyroxenite zircons is 399 ± 8 Ma, which overlaps ages of near-rim domains in garnet lherzolite zircons (see (c) above). Some garnet pyroxenite zircons also recorded a retrograde event at 358 ± 7 Ma. All these data suggest that the Lüliangshan garnet peridotite massif is not a fragment of ancient lithospheric mantle, but a peridotite body with long and complex histories from Early Ordovician

  17. Crustal structure and configuration of the subducting Philippine Sea plate beneath the Pacific coast industrial zone in Japan inferred from receiver function analysis

    Science.gov (United States)

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

    2012-12-01

    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

  18. Geodynamic inversion to constrain the rheology of the lithosphere: What is the effect of elasticity?

    Science.gov (United States)

    Baumann, Tobias; Kaus, Boris; Thielmann, Marcel

    2016-04-01

    the rheological parameters of these models with viscoplastic geodynamic inversions. We focus on a typical intra-oceanic subduction system as well as a typical scenario of subduction of an oceanic plate underneath a continental arc. Baumann, T. S. & Kaus, B. J. P., 2015. Geodynamic inversion to constrain thenon-linear rheology of the lithosphere, Geophys. J. Int., 202(2), 1289-1316. Burov, E. B. & Diament, M., 1995. The effective elastic thickness (Te) of continental lithosphere: What does it really mean?, J. Geophys. Res., 100, 3905-3927. Burov, E. B. & Watts, A. B., 2006. The long-term strength of continental lithosphere : jelly sandwich or crème brûlée?, GSA today, 16(1), 4-10. Burov, E. B., 2007. Crust and Lithosphere Dynamics: Plate Rheology and Mechanics, in Treatise Geophys., vol. 6, chap. 3, pp. 99-151, ed. Watts, A. B., Elsevier. Goetze, C. & Evans, B., 1979. Stress and temperature in the bending lithosphere as constrained by experimental rock mechanics, Geophys. J. Int., 59(3), 463-478. Jackson, J., 2002. Strength of the continental lithosphere: Time to abandon the jelly sandwich?, GSA today, 12(9), 4-9. Maggi, A., Jackson, J. A., McKenzie, D., & Priestley, K., 2000a. Earthquake focal depths, effective elastic thickness, and the strength of the continental lithosphere, Geology, 28, 495-498. Watts, A. B., 2001. Isostasy and Flexure of the Lithosphere, Cambridge University Press.

  19. The Role of Proto-Thrusts in Frontal Accretion and Accommodation of Plate Convergence, Hikurangi Subduction Margin, New Zealand

    Science.gov (United States)

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

    2016-12-01

    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

  20. Subduction processes related to the Sea of Okhotsk

    Science.gov (United States)

    Zabarinskaya, Ludmila P.; Sergeyeva, Nataliya

    2017-04-01

    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.

  1. 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.

    Science.gov (United States)

    Zuo, Xuran; Chan, Lung Sang; Gao, Jian-Feng

    2017-01-01

    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.

  2. The lithospheric stress field from joint modeling of lithosphere and mantle circulation using constraints from the latest global tomography models

    Science.gov (United States)

    Wang, X.; Holt, W. E.; Ghosh, A.

    2013-12-01

    An understanding of the lithospheric stress field is important because these stresses are one indication of processes within the Earth's interior. In order to calculate the lithosphere stress field it is necessary to take into account the effects of lithosphere structure and topography along with coupling with 3-D mantle flow. We separate these effects into two parts: (1) contributions from topography and lithosphere structure are calculated by computing the stresses associated with gravitational potential energy (GPE) differences, and (2) stresses associated with mantle tractions are computed using the latest tomography models. The contributions from GPE and tractions are then combined to obtain model estimates of the lithospheric stress field, strain rate field, and surface velocity field. We simultaneously use the World Stress Map, the Global Strain Rate Model, and the No-Net-Rotation (NNR) surface velocity vectors to constrain models. We systematically test the latest global tomography models (SEMum [Lekic and Romanowicz, 2011], S40RTS [Ritsema et al., 2011], and S362ANI_PREM [Kustowski et al., 2008]) and the composite tomography model (SMEAN [Becker and Boschi, 2002]), along with the influence of different mantle radial viscosity models. We find that a coupled model with a weak viscosity channel, sandwiched between a strong lithosphere and strong lower mantle is best able to match the observational constraints, although there is a slight difference in stress field among the different tomography models. There is considerable evidence that the contributions from shallow versus deeper sources vary dramatically over the surface of the globe. We quantify these relative contributions as a function of position on the globe and systematically compare the results of different tomography models. Subduction zones are dominated by the effects of GPE differences, whereas within many of the plate interiors the contributions from mantle flow dominate.

  3. Collapse of passive margins by lithospheric damage and plunging grain size

    Science.gov (United States)

    Mulyukova, Elvira; Bercovici, David

    2018-02-01

    The collapse of passive margins has been proposed as a possible mechanism for the spontaneous initiation of subduction. In order for a new trench to form at the junction between oceanic and continental plates, the cold and stiff oceanic lithosphere must be weakened sufficiently to deform at tectonic rates. Such rates are especially hard to attain in the cold ductile portion of the lithosphere, at which the mantle lithosphere reaches peak strength. The amount of weakening required for the lithosphere to deform in this tectonic setting is dictated by the available stress. Stress in a cooling passive margin increases with time (e.g., due to ridge push), and is augmented by stresses present in the lithosphere at the onset of rifting (e.g., due to drag from underlying mantle flow). Increasing stress has the potential to weaken the ductile portion of the lithosphere by dislocation creep, or by decreasing grain size in conjunction with a grain-size sensitive rheology like diffusion creep. While the increasing stress acts to weaken the lithosphere, the decreasing temperature acts to stiffen it, and the dominance of one effect or the other determines whether the margin might weaken and collapse. Here, we present a model of the thermal and mechanical evolution of a passive margin, wherein we predict formation of a weak shear zone that spans a significant depth-range of the ductile portion of the lithosphere. Stiffening due to cooling is offset by weakening due to grain size reduction, driven by the combination of imposed stresses and grain damage. Weakening via grain damage is modest when ridge push is the only source of stress in the lithosphere, making the collapse of a passive margin unlikely in this scenario. However, adding even a small stress-contribution from mantle drag results in damage and weakening of a significantly larger portion of the lithosphere. We posit that rapid grain size reduction in the ductile portion of the lithosphere can enable, or at least

  4. Magmatism in Lithosphere Delamination process inferred from numerical models

    Science.gov (United States)

    Göǧüş, Oǧuz H.; Ueda, Kosuke; Gerya, Taras

    2017-04-01

    The peel away of the oceanic/continental slab from the overlying orogenic crust has been suggested as a ubiquitous process in the Alpine-Mediterranean orogenic region (e.g. Carpathians, Apennines, Betics and Anatolia). The process is defined as lithospheric delamination where a slab removal/peel back may allow for the gradual uprising of sub-lithospheric mantle, resulting in high heat flow, transient surface uplift/subsidence and varying types of magma production. Geodynamical modeling studies have adressed the surface response to the delamination in the context of regional tectonic processes and explored wide range of controlling parameters in pre-syn and post collisional stages. However, the amount and styles of melt production in the mantle (e.g. decompression melting, wet melting in the wedge) and the resulting magmatism due to the lithosphere delamination remains uncertain. In this work, by using thermomechanical numerical experiments, designed in the configuration of subduction to collision, we investigated how melting in the mantle develops in the course of delamination. Furthermore, model results are used to decipher the distribution of volumetric melt production, melt extraction and the source of melt and the style of magmatism (e.g. igneous vs. volcanic). The model results suggest that a broad region of decompression melting occurs under the crust, mixing with the melting of the hydrated mantle derived by the delaminating/subducting slab. Depending on the age of the ocean slab, plate convergence velocity and the mantle temperature, the melt production and crust magmatism may concentrate under the mantle wedge or in the far side of the delamination front (where the subduction begins). The slab break-off usually occurs in the terminal stages of the delamination process and it may effectively control the location of the magmatism in the crust. The model results are reconciled with the temporal and spatial distribution of orogenic vs. anorogenic magmatism in

  5. 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

    Science.gov (United States)

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

    2016-12-01

    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.

  6. Delamination, upper plate extension, and plate margin complexity

    Science.gov (United States)

    Ueda, Kosuke; Gerya, Taras; Willett, Sean

    2017-04-01

    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.

  7. Offshore Southern California lithospheric velocity structure from noise cross-correlation functions

    Science.gov (United States)

    Bowden, D. C.; Kohler, M. D.; Tsai, V. C.; Weeraratne, D. S.

    2016-05-01

    A new shear wave velocity model offshore Southern California is presented that images plate boundary deformation including both thickening and thinning of the crustal and mantle lithosphere at the westernmost edge of the North American continent. The Asthenospheric and Lithospheric Broadband Architecture from the California Offshore Region Experiment (ALBACORE) ocean bottom seismometer array, together with 65 stations of the onshore Southern California Seismic Network, is used to measure ambient noise correlation functions and Rayleigh wave dispersion curves which are inverted for 3-D shear wave velocities. The resulting velocity model defines the transition from continental lithosphere to oceanic, illuminating the complex history and deformation in the region. A transition to the present-day strike-slip regime between the Pacific and North American Plates resulted in broad deformation and capture of the now >200 km wide continental shelf. Our velocity model suggests the persistence of the uppermost mantle volcanic processes associated with East Pacific Rise spreading adjacent to the Patton Escarpment, which marks the former subduction of Farallon Plate underneath North America. The most prominent of these seismic structures is a low-velocity anomaly underlying the San Juan Seamount, suggesting ponding of magma at the base of the crust, resulting in thickening and ongoing adjustment of the lithosphere due to the localized loading. The velocity model also provides a robust framework for future earthquake location determinations and ground-shaking simulations for risk estimates.

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

    Science.gov (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

    2018-02-01

    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.

  9. First results of high-resolution modeling of Cenozoic subduction orogeny in Andes

    Science.gov (United States)

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

    2016-12-01

    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. 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. Constraints on the mantle and lithosphere dynamics from the observed geoid with the effect of visco-elasto-plastic rheology in the upper 300 km

    Science.gov (United States)

    Osei Tutu, Anthony; Steinberger, Bernhard; Rogozhina, Irina; Sobolev, Stephan

    2015-04-01

    Over the past decades rheological properties of the Earth's mantle and lithosphere have been extensively studied using numerical models calibrated versus a range of surface observations (e.g., free-air-gravity anomaly/geoid, dynamic topography, plate velocity, etc.).The quality of model predictions however strongly depends on the simplifying assumptions, spatial resolution and parameterizations adopted by numerical models. The geoid is largely (Hager & Richards, 1989) determined by both the density anomalies driving the mantle flow and the dynamic topography at the Earth surface and the core-mantle boundary. This is the effect of the convective processes within the Earth's mantle. The remainder is mostly due to strong heterogeneities in the lithospheric mantle and the crust, which also need to be taken into account. The surface topography caused by density anomalies both in the sub-lithospheric mantle and within the lithosphere also depends on the lithosphere rheology. Here we investigate the effects of complex lithosphere rheology on the modelled dynamic topography, geoid and plate motion using a spectral mantle flow code (Hager & O'Connell, 1981) considering radial viscosity distribution and a fully coupled code of the lithosphere and mantle accounting for strong heterogeneities in the upper mantle rheology in the 300 km depths (Popov & Sobolev, 2008). This study is the first step towards linking global mantle dynamics with lithosphere dynamics using the observed geoid as a major constraint. Here we present the results from both codes and compare them with the observed geoid, dynamic topography and plate velocities from GPS measurements. This method allows us to evaluate the effects of plate rheology (e.g., strong plate interiors and weak plate margins) and stiff subducted lithosphere on these observables (i.e. geoid, topography, plate boundary stresses) as well as on plate motion. This effort will also serve as a benchmark of the two existing numerical methods

  12. Early Jurassic calc-alkaline magmatism in northeast China: Magmatic response to subduction of the Paleo-Pacific Plate beneath the Eurasian continent

    Science.gov (United States)

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

    2017-08-01

    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.

  13. 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)

    2012-10-24

    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

  14. Modeling mantle circulation and density distributions in subduction zones: Implications for seismic studies

    Science.gov (United States)

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

    2009-12-01

    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

  15. The dominant surface-topography contributions of individual subduction parameters

    Science.gov (United States)

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

    2017-04-01

    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 (www.fabiocrameri.ch/software), 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.

  16. Impact of the overriding plate rheology on convergence zone dynamics.

    Science.gov (United States)

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

    2017-04-01

    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

  17. Seismic anisotropy and mantle flow below subducting slabs

    Science.gov (United States)

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

    2017-05-01

    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.

  18. Geologic signature of early Tertiary ridge subduction in Alaska

    Science.gov (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.

    2003-01-01

    ridge subduction, and changes in the strength of the prism as it was heated and then cooled. In this model, events in the Alaskan interior would have taken place above more distal, deeper parts of the slab window. Extensional (or transtensional) basin subsidence was driven by the two subducting plates that each exerted different tractions on the upper plate. The magmatic lull along the arc presumably marks a time when hydrated lithosphere was not being subducted beneath the arc axis. The absence of a subducting slab also may explain uplift of the Brooks Range and North Slope: Geodynamic models predict that longwavelength uplift of this magnitude will take place far inboard from Andean-type margins when a subducting slab is absent. Precise correlations between events in the accretionary prism and the Alaskan interior are hampered, however, by palinspastic problems. During and since the early Tertiary, margin-parallel strike-slip faulting has offset the near-trench plutonic belt - i.e., the very basis for locating the triple junction and slab window - from its backstop, by an amount that remains controversial.Near-trench magmatism began at 61 Ma at Sanak Island in the west but not until 51 Ma at Baranof Island, 2200 km to the east. A west-to-east age progression suggests migration of a trench-ridge-trench triple junction, which we term the Sanak-Baranof triple junction. Most workers have held that the subducted ridge separated the Kula and Farallon plates. As a possible alternative, we suggest that the ridge may have separated the Kula plate from another oceanic plate to the east, which we have termed the Resurrection plate.

  19. Back-arc Extension: Critical Analisys of Subduction-related and Non Subduction-related Driving Mechanisms

    Science.gov (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

  20. The Terminal Stage of Subduction: the Hindu Kush Slab Break-off

    Science.gov (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.

    2016-12-01

    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.

  1. Lithospheric Stress and Geodynamics: History, Accomplishments and Challenges

    Science.gov (United States)

    Richardson, R. M.

    2016-12-01

    The kinematics of plate tectonics was established in the 1960s, and shortly thereafter the Earth's stress field was recognized as an important constraint on the dynamics of plate tectonics. Forty years ago the 1976 Chapman Conference on the Stress in the Lithosphere, which I was fortunate to attend as a graduate student, and the ensuing 1977 PAGEOPH Stress in the Earth publication's 28 articles highlighted a range of datasets and approaches that established fertile ground for geodynamic research ever since. What are the most useful indicators of stress? Do they measure residual or tectonic stresses? Local or far field sources? What role does rheology play in concentrating deformation? Great progress was made with the first World Stress Map in 1991 by Zoback and Zoback, and the current version (2016 release with 42,348 indicators) remains a tremendous resource for geodynamic research. Modeling sophistication has seen significant progress over the past 40 years. Early applications of stress to dynamics involved simple lithospheric flexure, particularly at subduction zones, Hawaii, and continental foreland basin systems. We have progressed to full 3-D finite element models for calculating the flexure and stress associated with loads on a crust and mantle with realistic non-linear viscoelastic rheology, including frictional sliding, low-temperature plasticity, and high-temperature creep. Initial efforts to use lithospheric stresses to constrain plate driving forces focused on a "top-down" view of the lithosphere. Such efforts have evolved to better include asthenosphere-lithosphere interactions, have gone from simple to complicated rheologies, from 2-D to 3-D, and seek to obtain a fully thermo-mechanical model that avoids relying on artificial boundary conditions to model plate dynamics. Still, there are a number of important issues in geodynamics, from philosophy (when are more complicated models necessary? can one hope to identify "the" answer with modeling, or only

  2. Implications for metal and volatile cycles from the pH of subduction zone fluids.

    Science.gov (United States)

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

    2016-11-17

    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).

  3. The lithosphere-asthenosphere Italy and surroundings

    CERN Document Server

    Panza, G F; Chimera, G; Pontevivo, A; Raykova, R

    2003-01-01

    The velocity-depth distribution of the lithosphere-asthenosphere in the Italian region and surroundings is imaged, with a lateral resolution of about 100 km, by surface wave velocity tomography and non-linear inversion. Maps of the Moho depth, of the thickness of the lithosphere and of the shear-wave velocities, down to depths of 200 km and more, are constructed. A mantle wedge, identified in the uppermost mantle along the Apennines and the Calabrian Arc, underlies the principal recent volcanoes, and partial melting can be relevant in this part of the uppermost mantle. In Calabria a lithospheric doubling is seen, in connection with the subduction of the Ionian lithosphere. The asthenosphere is shallow in the Southern Tyrrhenian Sea. High velocity bodies, cutting the asthenosphere, outline the Adria-lonian subduction in the Tyrrhenian Sea and the deep-reaching lithospheric root in the Western Alps. Less deep lithospheric roots are seen in the Central Apennines. The lithosphere-asthenosphere properties delineat...

  4. Plate tectonics in the late Paleozoic

    Directory of Open Access Journals (Sweden)

    Mathew Domeier

    2014-05-01

    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.

  5. A discussion of numerical subduction initiation

    Science.gov (United States)

    Buiter, Susanne; Ellis, Susan

    2016-04-01

    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

  6. A kinematic model for Afar Depression lithospheric thinning and its implications for hominid evolution: an exercise in plate-tectonic paleoanthropology

    Science.gov (United States)

    Redfield, T.; Often, M.; Wheeler, W. H.

    2002-12-01

    We present a detailed Nubia-Arabia-Somalia (NU-AR-SOM) kinematic reconstruction based on magnetic sea floor isochrons in the Gulf of Aden and Red Sea and piercing points along the Red Sea margins. The reconstruction is combined with digital topographic and depth-to-Moho data to constrain in 4D the Late Oligocene to present-day evolution of the Afar supra-Moho crust. Opposite end-member models for crustal evolution are described. We conclude that less than 20% of the present-day Afar supra-Moho crust was constructed by magmatic processes such as diking and underplating. The reconstructions indicate that the greater percentage of crustal thinning (extension) occurred before 6.2 Ma. We model the thinning of the effective elastic lithosphere that accompanied extension, and show that the regional-scale topographic development of the Afar depression was virtually complete by Mid Pliocene time. The plate-tectonic model has paleoanthropological implications. Prior to 6.2 Ma the proximal positions of NU-SOM, AR, and the Danakil block suggest subaerial conditions prevailed between Yemen and Ethiopia. Uninhibited Africa-Eurasia faunal exchange through Afar and Arabia (corroborated by isotopic and paleontologic data) was tectonically permissible until the time of the earliest hominids. Continued stretching caused the Afar land bridge(s) to disappear during Early to Mid Pliocene time. Primitive hominid populations living within the Afar Depression became isolated from AR sometime before ~3.2 Ma. With the plateau becoming less habitable due to long-term Late Neogene cooling, hominids that remained in the Afar Depression were required to adapt to a smaller range that was effectively bounded by the already well-developed NU-SOM escarpments and the newly opened Straits of Bab el Mandeb. The combination of high quality habitat,topographic confinement, and a gradual (tectonic) reduction in range, exacerbated by potentially severe fluctuations in local climate (well documented by land

  7. Investigating and Imaging the Lithospheric Structure of the Westernmost Mediterranean Using S Receiver Functions

    Science.gov (United States)

    Miller, Meghan S.; Butcher, Amber

    2013-04-01

    The Alboran System was created during the Neogene at the western edge of the Alpine-Himalayan orogenic belt, as the result of convergence between the European and African plates. This system includes the Gibraltar Arc, Rif-Betic chain, Atlas Mountains, and Alboran Sea. The evolution from ocean subduction to continental collision, particularly in complex three-dimensional settings such as this, is poorly understood. Advances in this subject are likely to come from multidisciplinary projects, such as PICASSO (Program to Investigate Convective Alboran Sea System Overturn): a study of the Alboran Sea, Atlas Mountains, and Gibraltar arc. Several models have been suggested to explain the tectonics of this system including: continental lithospheric delamination and drips, slab breakoff, and subducting slab rollback. Advances in defining the lithosphere - asthenosphere boundary (LAB) are crucial to understanding the geochemical and geodynamic evolution of the region. Seismic data from ~85 broadband instruments deployed in Morocco and Spain as part of the PICASSO project are being utilized to constrain lithospheric structure beneath this part of the Western Mediterranean via identification of S-to-p conversions from S receiver functions. A previous study indicates that the lithospheric thinning beneath the Atlas High may be the result of mantle upwelling induced thermal erosion, while a more recent imaging study suggests that the LAB could be at depths >200 km, tens of kilometers thicker than previous models. Our preliminary results indicate LAB depths down to ~100 - 110 km near the Straight of Gibraltar and as shallow as ~65 - 80 km under the Atlas High. The primary purpose of this project is to advance our understanding of the structure and evolution of the lithosphere - asthenosphere boundary (LAB) of the Atlas Mountains and surrounding areas.

  8. Plume-induced roll back subduction around Venus large coronae

    Science.gov (United States)

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

    2016-12-01

    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

  9. Mantle hydration and Cl-rich fluids in the subduction forearc

    Science.gov (United States)

    Reynard, Bruno

    2016-12-01

    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

  10. Current plate motions

    Science.gov (United States)

    Demets, C.; Gordon, R. G.; Argus, D. F.; Stein, S.

    1990-05-01

    A global plate motion model, named NUVEL-1, which describes current plate motions between 12 rigid plates is described, with special attention given to the method, data, and assumptions used. Tectonic implications of the patterns that emerged from the results are discussed. It is shown that wide plate boundary zones can form not only within the continental lithosphere but also within the oceanic lithosphere; e.g., between the Indian and Australian plates and between the North American and South American plates. Results of the model also suggest small but significant diffuse deformation of the oceanic lithosphere, which may be confined to small awkwardly shaped salients of major plates.

  11. Thermobarometric and fluid expulsion history of subduction zones

    Science.gov (United States)

    Ernst, W. G.

    1990-06-01

    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

  12. 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

    Science.gov (United States)

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

    2017-04-01

    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

  13. Early impact basins and the onset of plate tectonics. Ph.D. Thesis - Maryland Univ.

    Science.gov (United States)

    Frey, H.

    1977-01-01

    The fundamental crustal dichotomy of the Earth (high and low density crust) was established nearly 4 billion years ago. Therefore, subductable crust was concentrated at the surface of the Earth very early in its history, making possible an early onset for plate tectonics. Simple thermal history calculations spanning 1 billion years show that the basin forming impact thins the lithosphere by at least 25%, and increases the sublithosphere thermal gradients by roughly 20%. The corresponding increase in convective heat transport, combined with the highly fractured nature of the thinned basin lithosphere, suggest that lithospheric breakup or rifting occurred shortly after the formation of the basins. Conditions appropriate for early rifting persisted from some 100,000,000 years following impact. We suggest a very early stage of high temperature, fast spreading "microplate" tectonics, originating before 3.5 billion years ago, and gradually stabilizing over the Archaean into more modern large plate or Wilson Cycle tectonics.

  14. Finite-frequency P-wave tomography of the Western Canada Sedimentary Basin: Implications for the lithospheric evolution in Western Laurentia

    Science.gov (United States)

    Chen, Yunfeng; Gu, Yu Jeffrey; Hung, Shu-Huei

    2017-02-01

    The lithosphere beneath the Western Canada Sedimentary Basin has potentially undergone Precambrian subduction and collisional orogenesis, resulting in a complex network of crustal domains. To improve the understanding of its evolutionary history, we combine data from the USArray and three regional networks to invert for P-wave velocities of the upper mantle using finite-frequency tomography. Our model reveals distinct, vertically continuous high (> 1%) velocity perturbations at depths above 200 km beneath the Precambrian Buffalo Head Terrane, Hearne craton and Medicine Hat Block, which sharply contrasts with those beneath the Canadian Rockies (lithosphere is substantially thinner beneath the adjacent Buffalo Head Terrane (160 km) and Medicine Hat Block (200 km). These findings are consistent with earlier theories of tectonic assembly in this region, which featured distinct Archean and Proterozoic plate convergences between the Hearne craton and its neighboring domains. The highly variable, bimodally distributed craton thicknesses may also reflect different lithospheric destruction processes beneath the western margin of Laurentia.

  15. Does subduction polarity changes below the Alps? Inferences from analogue modelling

    NARCIS (Netherlands)

    Luth, S.; Willingshofer, E.; Sokoutis, D.; Cloetingh, S.

    2013-01-01

    The surface expression of a lateral polarity change of continental mantle lithosphere subduction has been studied by using lithosphere-scale physical models. Key parameters investigated were: the degree of lateral coupling between adjacent domains of opposing subduction polarity, the width of the

  16. 3-D thermo-mechanical laboratory modeling of plate-tectonics: modeling scheme, technique and first experiments

    Directory of Open Access Journals (Sweden)

    D. Boutelier

    2011-05-01

    Full Text Available We present an experimental apparatus for 3-D thermo-mechanical analogue modeling of plate tectonic processes such as oceanic and continental subductions, arc-continent or continental collisions. The model lithosphere, made of temperature-sensitive elasto-plastic analogue materials with strain softening, is submitted to a constant temperature gradient causing a strength reduction with depth in each layer. The surface temperature is imposed using infrared emitters, which allows maintaining an unobstructed view of the model surface and the use of a high resolution optical strain monitoring technique (Particle Imaging Velocimetry. Subduction experiments illustrate how the stress conditions on the interplate zone can be estimated using a force sensor attached to the back of the upper plate and adjusted via the density and strength of the subducting lithosphere or the lubrication of the plate boundary. The first experimental results reveal the potential of the experimental set-up to investigate the three-dimensional solid-mechanics interactions of lithospheric plates in multiple natural situations.

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

    Science.gov (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.

    2016-12-01

    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. Lithospheric processes

    Energy Technology Data Exchange (ETDEWEB)

    Baldridge, W. [and others

    2000-12-01

    The authors used geophysical, geochemical, and numerical modeling to study selected problems related to Earth's lithosphere. We interpreted seismic waves to better characterize the thickness and properties of the crust and lithosphere. In the southwestern US and Tien Shari, crust of high elevation is dynamically supported above buoyant mantle. In California, mineral fabric in the mantle correlate with regional strain history. Although plumes of buoyant mantle may explain surface deformation and magmatism, our geochemical work does not support this mechanism for Iberia. Generation and ascent of magmas remains puzzling. Our work in Hawaii constrains the residence of magma beneath Hualalai to be a few hundred to about 1000 years. In the crust, heat drives fluid and mass transport. Numerical modeling yielded robust and accurate predictions of these processes. This work is important fundamental science, and applies to mitigation of volcanic and earthquake hazards, Test Ban Treaties, nuclear waste storage, environmental remediation, and hydrothermal energy.

  19. Postcollisional mafic igneous rocks record crust-mantle interaction during continental deep subduction.

    Science.gov (United States)

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

    2013-12-04

    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.

  20. On the Enigmatic Birth of the Pacific Plate within the Panthalassa Ocean

    Science.gov (United States)

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

    2016-12-01

    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.

  1. Imaging the Ionian Sea subducting slab panels and faults to control present day motion in the Hellenic-Aegean region

    Science.gov (United States)

    Sachpazi, Maria

    2017-04-01

    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

  2. Average slip rate at the transition zone on the plate interface in the Nankai subduction zone, Japan, estimated from short-term SSE catalog

    Science.gov (United States)

    Itaba, S.; Kimura, T.

    2013-12-01

    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

  3. 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

    2009-01-01

    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.

  4. Holocene faulting in the Bellingham forearc basin: upper-plate deformation at the northern end of the Cascadia subduction zone

    Science.gov (United States)

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

    2013-01-01

    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.

  5. Defining Incipient Subduction by Detecting Serpentenised Mantle in the Regional Magnetic Field

    Science.gov (United States)

    Pires, Rui; Clark, Stuart; Reis, Rui

    2017-04-01

    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 et.al. (2005), this region exhibits both higher magnetic susceptibility and lower densities than the surrounding medium. We analysed five active margin boundaries located

  6. From rifting to subduction: the role of inheritance in the Wilson Cycle

    Science.gov (United States)

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

    2017-04-01

    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

  7. Evidence for multiphase folding of the central Indian Ocean lithosphere

    Digital Repository Service at National Institute of Oceanography (India)

    Krishna, K.S.; Bull, J.M.; Scrutton, R.A.

    Long-wavelength (100-300 km) folding in the central Indian Ocean associated with the diffuse plate boundary separating the Indian, Australian, and Capricorn plates is Earth's most convincing example of organized large-scale lithospheric deformation...

  8. MACMA: a Virtual Lab for Plate Tectonics

    Science.gov (United States)

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

    2013-12-01

    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

  9. Stagnant lids and mantle overturns: Implications for Archaean tectonics, magmagenesis, crustal growth, mantle evolution, and the start of plate tectonics

    Directory of Open Access Journals (Sweden)

    Jean H. Bédard

    2018-01-01

    Full Text Available The lower plate is the dominant agent in modern convergent margins characterized by active subduction, as negatively buoyant oceanic lithosphere sinks into the asthenosphere under its own weight. This is a strong plate-driving force because the slab-pull force is transmitted through the stiff sub-oceanic lithospheric mantle. As geological and geochemical data seem inconsistent with the existence of modern-style ridges and arcs in the Archaean, a periodically-destabilized stagnant-lid crust system is proposed instead. Stagnant-lid intervals may correspond to periods of layered mantle convection where efficient cooling was restricted to the upper mantle, perturbing Earth's heat generation/loss balance, eventually triggering mantle overturns. Archaean basalts were derived from fertile mantle in overturn upwelling zones (OUZOs, which were larger and longer-lived than post-Archaean plumes. Early cratons/continents probably formed above OUZOs as large volumes of basalt and komatiite were delivered for protracted periods, allowing basal crustal cannibalism, garnetiferous crustal restite delamination, and coupled development of continental crust and sub-continental lithospheric mantle. Periodic mixing and rehomogenization during overturns retarded development of isotopically depleted MORB (mid-ocean ridge basalt mantle. Only after the start of true subduction did sequestration of subducted slabs at the core-mantle boundary lead to the development of the depleted MORB mantle source. During Archaean mantle overturns, pre-existing continents located above OUZOs would be strongly reworked; whereas OUZO-distal continents would drift in response to mantle currents. The leading edge of drifting Archaean continents would be convergent margins characterized by terrane accretion, imbrication, subcretion and anatexis of unsubductable oceanic lithosphere. As Earth cooled and the background oceanic lithosphere became denser and stiffer, there would be an increasing

  10. Origin and consequences of western Mediterranean subduction, rollback, and slab segmentation

    Science.gov (United States)

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

    2014-04-01

    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.

  11. Flexural modeling of the elastic lithosphere at an ocean trench: A parameter sensitivity analysis using analytical solutions

    Science.gov (United States)

    Contreras-Reyes, Eduardo; Garay, Jeremías

    2018-01-01

    The outer rise is a topographic bulge seaward of the trench at a subduction zone that is caused by bending and flexure of the oceanic lithosphere as subduction commences. The classic model of the flexure of oceanic lithosphere w (x) is a hydrostatic restoring force acting upon an elastic plate at the trench axis. The governing parameters are elastic thickness Te, shear force V0, and bending moment M0. V0 and M0 are unknown variables that are typically replaced by other quantities such as the height of the fore-bulge, wb, and the half-width of the fore-bulge, (xb - xo). However, this method is difficult to implement with the presence of excessive topographic noise around the bulge of the outer rise. Here, we present an alternative method to the classic model, in which lithospheric flexure w (x) is a function of the flexure at the trench axis w0, the initial dip angle of subduction β0, and the elastic thickness Te. In this investigation, we apply a sensitivity analysis to both methods in order to determine the impact of the differing parameters on the solution, w (x). The parametric sensitivity analysis suggests that stable solutions for the alternative approach requires relatively low β0 values (<15°), which are consistent with the initial dip angles observed in seismic velocity-depth models across convergent margins worldwide. The predicted flexure for both methods are compared with observed bathymetric profiles across the Izu-Mariana trench, where the old and cold Pacific plate is characterized by a pronounced outer rise bulge. The alternative method is a more suitable approach, assuming that accurate geometric information at the trench axis (i.e., w0 and β0) is available.

  12. Structure of the Lithosphere-Asthenosphere Boundary Onshore and Offshore the California Continental Margin from Three-Dimensional Seismic Anisotropy

    Science.gov (United States)

    Gomez, C. D.; Escobar, L., Sr.; Rathnayaka, S.; Weeraratne, D. S.; Kohler, M. D.

    2016-12-01

    The California continental margin, a major transform plate boundary in continental North America, is the locus of complex tectonic stress fields that are important in interpreting both remnant and ongoing deformational strain. Ancient subduction of the East Pacific Rise spreading center, the rotation and translation of tectonic blocks and inception of the San Andreas fault all contribute to the dynamic stress fields located both onshore and offshore southern California. Data obtained by the ALBACORE (Asthenospheric and Lithospheric Broadband Architecture from the California Offshore Region Experiment) and the CISN (California Integrated Seismic Network) seismic array are analyzed for azimuthal anisotropy of Rayleigh waves from 80 teleseismic events at periods 16 - 78 s. Here we invert Rayleigh wave data for shear wave velocity structure and three-dimensional seismic anisotropy in the thee regions designated within the continental margin including the continent, seafloor and California Borderlands. Preliminary results show that seismic anisotropy is resolved in multiple layers and can be used to determine the lithosphere-asthenosphere boundary (LAB) in offshore and continental regions. The oldest seafloor in our study at age 25-35 Ma indicates that the anisotropic transition across the LAB occurs at 73 km +/- 25 km with the lithospheric fast direction oriented WNW-ESE, consistent with current Pacific plate motion direction. The continent region west of the San Andreas indicates similar WNW-ESE anisotropy and LAB depth. Regions east of the San Andreas fault indicate NW-SE anisotropy transitioning to a N-S alignment at 80 km depth north of the Garlock fault. The youngest seafloor (15 - 25 Ma) and outer Borderlands indicate a more complex three layer fabric where shallow lithospheric NE-SW fast directions are perpendicular with ancient Farallon subduction arc, a mid-layer with E-W fast directions are perpendicular to remnant fossil fabric, and the deepest layer

  13. The story of a craton from heart to margins: illuminating cratonic lithosphere with Rayleigh wave phase velocities in Eastern Canada

    Science.gov (United States)

    Petrescu, L.; Darbyshire, F. A.; Gilligan, A.; Bastow, I. D.; Totten, E. J.

    2015-12-01

    Cratons are Precambrian continental nuclei that are geologically distinct from modern continental regions and are typically underlain by seismically fast lithospheric roots (keels) to at least 200 km depth. Both plate and non-plate tectonic origin theories such as stacking of subducted slabs or multiple mantle plume underplating have been proposed to explain keel growth.Eastern Canada is an ideal continental region to investigate cratonization processes and the onset of plate tectonics. It comprises part of the largest Archean craton in the world, the Superior Province, flanked by a ~1.1 Ga Himalayan-scale orogenic belt, the Grenville Province, and the 500-300 Ma old Appalachian orogenic province, following the same general SW-NE axial trend. The region is also cross-cut by the Great Meteor Hotspot track, providing an excellent opportunity to study the interaction of hotspot tectonism with progressively younger lithospheric domains.We investigate the lithospheric structure of Precambrian Eastern Canada using teleseismic earthquake data recorded at permanent and temporary networks. We measure interstation dispersion curves of Rayleigh wave phase velocities between ~15 and 220 s, and compare the results to standard continental and cratonic reference models. We combine the dispersion curves via a tomographic inversion which solves for isotropic phase velocity heterogeneity and azimuthal anisotropy across the region at a range of periods. The phase velocity maps indicate variations in lithospheric properties from the heart of the Superior craton to the SE Canadian coast.The new regional-scale models will help to understand the processes that generated, stabilized and reworked the cratonic roots through their billion-year tectonic history. We investigate how surface tectonic boundaries relate to deeper lithospheric structural changes, and consider the effects of the multiple Wilson cycles that affected Laurentia.

  14. 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

    2015-01-01

    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

  15. Accelerated plate tectonics.

    Science.gov (United States)

    Anderson, D L

    1975-03-21

    The concept of a stressed elastic lithospheric plate riding on a viscous asthenosphere is used to calculate the recurrence interval of great earthquakes at convergent plate boundaries, the separation of decoupling and lithospheric earthquakes, and the migration pattern of large earthquakes along an arc. It is proposed that plate motions accelerate after great decoupling earthquakes and that most of the observed plate motions occur during short periods of time, separated by periods of relative quiescence.

  16. Strike-slip earthquakes in the oceanic lithosphere: Observations of exceptionally high apparent stress

    Science.gov (United States)

    Choy, George; McGarr, A.

    2002-01-01

    of τa for the two types. Secondly, many of the intraplate events have focal mechanisms with the T-axes that are normal to the nearest ridge crest or subduction zone and P-axes that are normal to the proximate transform fault. These observations suggest that forces associated with the reorganization of plate boundaries play an important role in causing high-τa earthquakes inside oceanic plates. Extant transform boundaries may be misaligned with current plate motion. To accommodate current plate motion, the pre-existing plate boundaries would have to be subjected to large horizontal transform push forces. A notable example of this is the triple junction near which the second large aftershock of the 1992 April Cape Mendocino, California, sequence occurred. Alternatively, subduction zone resistance may be enhanced by the collision of a buoyant lithosphere, a process that also markedly increases the horizontal stress. A notable example of this is the Aleutian Trench near which large events occurred in the Gulf of Alaska in late 1987 and the 1998 March Balleny Sea M= 8.2 earthquake within the Antarctic Plate.

  17. Lithospheric Response of the Anatolian Plateau in the Realm of the Black Sea and the Eastern Mediterranean

    Science.gov (United States)

    Ergun, Mustafa

    2016-04-01

    The Eastern Mediterranean and the Middle East make up the southern boundary of the Tethys Ocean for the last 200 Ma by the disintegration of the Pangaea and closure of the Tethys Ocean. It covers the structures: Hellenic and Cyprus arcs; Eastern Anatolian Fault Zone; Bitlis Suture Zone and Zagros Mountains. The northern boundary of the Tethys Ocean is made up the Black Sea and the Caspian Sea, and it extends up to Po valley towards the west (Pontides, Caucasus). Between these two zones the Alp-Himalayan orogenic belt is situated where the Balkan, Anatolia and the Iran plateaus are placed as the remnants of the lost Ocean of the Tethys. The active tectonics of the eastern Mediterranean is the consequences of the convergence between the Africa, Arabian plates in the south and the Eurasian plate in the north. These plates act as converging jaws of vise forming a crustal mosaic in between. The active crustal deformation pattern reveals two N-S trending maximum compression or crustal shortening syntaxes': (i) the eastern Black Sea and the Arabian plate, (ii) the western Black Sea and the Isparta Angle. The transition in young mountain belts, from ocean crust through the agglomeration of arc systems with long histories of oceanic closures, to a continental hinterland is well exemplified by the plate margin in the eastern Mediterranean. The boundary between the African plate and the Aegean/Anatolian microplate is in the process of transition from subduction to collision along the Cyprus Arc. Since the Black Sea has oceanic lithosphere, it is actually a separate plate. However it can be considered as a block, because the Black Sea is a trapped oceanic basin that cannot move freely within the Eurasian Plate. Lying towards the northern margin of orogenic belts related to the closure of the Tethys Ocean, it is generally considered to be a result of back-arc extension associated with the northward subduction of the Tethyan plate to the south. Interface oceanic lithosphere at

  18. Thermal impact of magmatism in subduction zones

    Science.gov (United States)

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

    2018-01-01

    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.

  19. Progressive migration of slab break-off along the southern Tyrrhenian plate boundary: Constraints for the present day kinematics

    Science.gov (United States)

    Chiarabba, Claudio; Palano, Mimmo

    2017-04-01

    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.

  20. Fluid and deformation regime of an advancing subduction system at Marlborough, New Zealand.

    Science.gov (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

    2009-08-06

    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.

  1. Controls on continental strain partitioning above an oblique subduction zone, Northern Andes

    Science.gov (United States)

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

    2016-04-01

    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

  2. Imaging the Lithospheric - Asthenosphere Boundary Structure of the Westernmost Mediterranean Using S Receiver Functions

    Science.gov (United States)

    Butcher, A.; Miller, M. S.; Diaz Cusi, J.

    2013-12-01

    The Iberian microcontinent, in the westernmost portion of the Mediterranean is comprised of the Betic Cordillera Zone, the South Portuguese Zone, the Ossa-Morena Zone, the Central Iberian Zone, the Galicia-Tras Os Montes Zone, the West Asturian-Leonese Zone, and the Cantabrian Zone. These zones were created as a result of three primary stages of Iberian evolution, with the last being the collision of Iberia with in the Late Cretaceous. In northeastern Africa, Neogene convergence between the European and African plates created the Alboran System: comprised of the Gibraltar Arc, Rif-Betics, Atlas Mountains, and Alboran Sea. The primary purpose of this study is to advance our understanding of the structure and evolution of the lithosphere, as well as the lithosphere - asthenosphere boundary (LAB) of the Iberian microcontinent and surrounding areas. Of particular interest is improving our understanding of the evolution from ocean subduction to continental collision that has been taking place in the late stage convergence of this part of the Mediterranean., The region is a particularly complex three-dimensional settings and, several models have been suggested to explain the tectonics of this system including: continental lithospheric delamination and drips, slab breakoff, and subducting slab rollback. Here we use broadband seismic data from 272 broadband instruments deployed in Morocco and Spain as part of the PICASSO and IBERArray (Díaz, J., et al., 2009) projects to constrain lithospheric structure via identification of S-to-p conversions from S receiver functions (SRF). We use SRFs to image the characteristics and structure in terms of seismic velocity discontinuities, including the crust-mantle boundary (Moho) and the lithosphere-asthenosphere boundary (LAB) beneath the region. Our SRFs agree with previous work that suggests that the lithospheric thickness is shallow (~65 km) beneath the Atlas and thickest (~120 km) beneath the Rif. Additionally, LAB structures

  3. Hydration of marginal basins and compositional variations within the continental lithospheric mantle inferred from a new global model of shear and compressional velocity

    DEFF Research Database (Denmark)

    Tesoniero, Andrea; Auer, Ludwig; Boschi, Lapo

    2015-01-01

    VP/VS and not extremely low VS at ∼150 km depth, consistently with presence of water. Most pronounced anomalies are located in the Sea of Japan, in the back-arc region of the Philippine Sea, and in the South China Sea. Our results indicate the effectiveness of slab-related processes to hydrate...... the mantle and suggest an important role of Pacific plate subduction also for the evolution of the South China Sea. We detect lateral variations in composition within the continental lithospheric mantle. Regions that have been subjected to rifting, collisions, and flood basalt events are underlain...

  4. Surface and tectonic consequences of plume-lithosphere interactions in continents: insights from modelling approach based on realistic representation of lithosphere.

    Science.gov (United States)

    Burov, E.; Guillou-Frottier, L.

    2008-12-01

    Plume-Lithosphere Interactions (PLI) are conditioned by plume dynamics but also by complex (visco-elasto- plastic) lithosphere rheology, structure and regional intraplate stress field. In continents, PLI are often identified within extensional or compression geodynamic contexts, near boundaries between younger plates (e.g., orogenic) and older stable plates (e.g., cratons), which represent important geometrical and thermo- rheological barriers that affect plume head emplacement (e.g., Archean West Africa, East Africa, Pannonian - Carpathian system). We address these problems by considering a free-surface thermo-dynamically coupled (continuous phase transforms) thermo-mechanical numerical model of PLI that treats stratified elasto-viscous-plastic (EVP) continental blocks of contrasting properties submitted to regional compression and extension. The results show that: (1) topographic response to PLI is highly different from the predictions of classical convection models, in particular, the commonly expected long-wavelength uplift is short-lived and is replaced by mainly bi-harmonic deformation of 'tectonic- style' (poly-phase basins and uplifts) characterized by two short wavelengths (50-100 and 200-400 km). (2) tectonic deformation due to far-field forces, such as folding, may interact with lithospheric response to PLI, sometimes in a very complex way; (3) in presence of intra-plate boundaries or blocks, plume head flattening is highly asymmetric and can be blocked from one side by older (and colder) lithospheric block, which leads to mechanical decoupling of crust from the mantle lithosphere and cab be accompanied by localized faulting at the margin; (4) the return flow from the plume head results in sub- vertical down-thrusting (delamination) of the lithosphere below the margin, producing vertical cold 'subduction like' boundary that can be traced down to the 400 km depth; (5) plume head flattening and migration towards the younger plate results in concurrent

  5. 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

  6. Influence of plate geometry, slabs, and viscosity structure on local and global surface motions

    Science.gov (United States)

    Gérault, M.; Becker, T. W.; Kaus, B. J.; Faccenna, C.

    2009-12-01

    Unraveling the dynamics of the Pacific domain is essential in order to understand the net rotation of the lithosphere and relative trench motions. The major processes responsible for plate motions in the Pacific region are still debated although they have been attributed recently to keels, mountains, and/or plate dimensions. In this study, we perform numerical experiments to test several combinations of ocean basin geometries and viscosity structures. Changes in global plate motions and trench behavior occur as a response to differential spreading rates, basin width, slab morphology, and plate asymmetry. The influence of strength of the plate boundaries on mantle flow is evaluated as well. The pressure, velocity, and stress fields in the lithosphere and the upper mantle are computed using the two-dimensional (2-D) finite element code MILAMIN. A comparison between Cartesian and cylindrical models provides a quantitative analysis of the interactions of flow related to each of these different configurations. Our results suggest that the dynamics of an oceanic domain surrounded by subducting slabs are significantly affected by the width and geometry of the basin. The asymmetry of plates in terms of length, thickness, and slab geometry leads to a net motion that is up to 15% of the maximum surface motion. We find that for each particular combination of asymmetry and viscosity structure, there exists a critical basin size that maximizes the net rotation of the lithosphere.

  7. Record of mid-Archaean subduction from metamorphism in the Barberton terrain, South Africa.

    Science.gov (United States)

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

    2006-08-03

    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.

  8. Comparing the effects of rheology on the dynamics and topography of 3D subduction-collision models

    Science.gov (United States)

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

    2015-04-01

    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

  9. 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

    Science.gov (United States)

    Jean-Frederic, L.; DeMin, L.; Garrigou, J.; Münch, P.; Léticée, J. L.; Cornée, J. J.

    2015-12-01

    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.

  10. Seismic imaging of a mid-lithospheric discontinuity beneath Ontong Java Plateau

    Science.gov (United States)

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

    2016-09-01

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

  11. The earthquake cycle in subduction zones

    Science.gov (United States)

    Melosh, H. J.; Fleitout, L.

    1982-01-01

    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.

  12. Vertically Integrated Rheology of Deforming Oceanic Lithosphere

    Science.gov (United States)

    Mishra, J. K.; Gordon, R. G.

    2011-12-01

    The tectonics of the oceans have traditionally been modeled in terms of rigid plates interacting at narrow boundaries. The now well-documented existence of diffuse oceanic plate boundaries, across which relative motion is distributed over hundreds to thousands of kilometers, demonstrates the need for a different approach to understanding the tectonics and geodynamics of a substantial fraction of oceanic lithosphere. A model that has usefully been applied to diffuse zones of continental deformation is that of a thin viscous sheet of fluid obeying a power-law rheology. The model has few adjustable parameters, typically a power-law exponent, n, and the Argand number [England & McKenzie, 1982], which is a measure of the size of buoyancy forces caused by the deformation, and which can be neglected for deformation of oceanic lithosphere. In prior investigations of a thin sheet of power-law fluid for continental regions, most studies have found that the most appropriate power-law exponent is ≈3 [e.g., England & Molnar 1991, 1997], but a value as large as ≈10 has been recently suggested by Dayem et al. [2009]. Because the rheology of oceanic lithosphere differs significantly from that of continental lithosphere, the most appropriate exponent may be larger than 3, and should in some sense be an appropriately weighted average between the properties of the upper lithosphere, which deforms brittlely and semi-brittlely, and for which the power-law exponent is n → ∞, and the lower lithosphere, which deforms by dislocation glide [Goetze 1978; Evans & Goetze 1979; Ratteron et al. 2003; Dayem et al. 2009; Mei et al. 2010], which obeys an exponential law, and by dislocation creep for which n≈3 [Sonder & England, 1986]. To estimate the appropriate power-law exponent consistent with laboratory experiments we determine strain rate as a function of applied end load on the lithosphere for various ages of lithosphere. We find that a power-law fluid well approximates the

  13. Incorporating Cutting Edge Scientific Results from the Margins-Geoprisms Program into the Undergraduate Curriculum, Rupturing Continental Lithosphere Part II: Introducing Euler Poles Using Baja-North America Relative Plate Motion Across the Gulf of California

    Science.gov (United States)

    Loveless, J. P.; Bennett, S. E. K.; Cashman, S. M.; Dorsey, R. J.; Goodliffe, A. M.; Lamb, M. A.

    2014-12-01

    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 the significant findings from the MARGINS program into open-source college-level curriculum. The Gulf of California (GOC) served as the focus site for the Rupturing Continental Lithosphere (RCL) initiative, which addressed several scientific questions: What forces drive rift initiation, localization, propagation and evolution? How does deformation vary in time and space, and why? How does crust evolve, physically and chemically, as rifting proceeds to sea-floor spreading? What is the role of sedimentation and magmatism in continental extension? We developed two weeks of curriculum, including lectures, labs, and in-class activities that can be used as a whole or individually. This component of the curriculum introduces students to the Euler pole description of relative plate motion (RPM) by examining the tectonic interactions of the Baja California microplate and North American plate. The plate boundary varies in rift obliquity along strike, from highly oblique and strike-slip dominated in the south to slightly less oblique and with a larger extensional component in the north. This Google Earth-based exercise provides students with a visualization of RPM using small circle contours of the local direction and magnitude of Baja-North America movement on a spherical Earth. Students use RPM to calculate the fault slip rates on transform, normal, and oblique-slip faults and examine how the varying faulting styles combine to accommodate RPM. MARGINS results are integrated via comparison of rift obliquity with the structural style of rift-related faults around the GOC. We find this exercise to fit naturally into courses about plate tectonics, geophysics, and especially structural geology, given the similarity between Euler pole rotations and stereonet-based rotations of structural data.

  14. POLARIS: Portable Observatories for Lithospheric Analysis and Research Investigating Seismicity - New Opportunities in Canada

    Science.gov (United States)

    Cassidy, J. F.; Adams, J.; Asudeh, I.; Atkinson, G.; Bostock, M. G.; Eaton, D. W.; Ferguson, I. J.; Snyder, D.; Unsworth, M.

    2003-04-01

    POLARIS is a multi-institutional 10M project recently funded by the Canadian Foundation for Innovation, Provincial Governments and Universities, and private industry across Canada. This project is providing new, state-of-the-art portable geophysical observatories for research into lithospheric structure, continental dynamics, and earthquake hazards in Canada. When completed, POLARIS infrastructure will comprise 90 three-component broadband seismographs and 30 magnetotelluric (MT) mobile field systems and complementary satellite telemetry data acquistion. Over the initial four year installation of this project, the seismograph network will be deployed as three subarrays of 30 instruments each. The MT instruments will be used in shorter-term deployments at each of the three seismic subarrays for lithospheric imaging, and continuous recording at selected elements for deep-mantle imaging. The initial scientific objectives include: 1) three-dimensional detailed mapping of the asthenosphere and upper mantle of the Slave Province in Canada's north to assist the emerging diamond industry; 2) mapping lithospheric structure and earthquake hazards in the heavily populated area of southern Ontario (identifying zones of crustal weakness, obtaining accurate earthquake parameters, and ground motion attenuation studies). 3) mapping the structure and earthquake hazards over the Cascadia subduction zone in southwest British Columbia (subducting oceanic plate, site-response in urban areas, identifying active crustal faults, and seismic attenuation studies). The latter array will provide new opportunities into research involving slab seismicity, including focal mechanisms, attenuation studies, and detailed structural studies. Further research initiatives that will be possible include: testing Rapid Warning Systems for ground shaking in the urban areas of Canada; developing new fine-scale imaging techniques using the scattered wavefield; and investigating geomagnetically induced

  15. Crustal magmatism and lithospheric geothermal state of western North America and their implications for a magnetic mantle

    Science.gov (United States)

    Wang, Jian; Li, Chun-Feng

    2015-01-01

    The western North American lithosphere experienced extensive magmatism and large-scale crustal deformation due to the interactions between the Farallon and North American plates. To further understand such subduction-related dynamic processes, we characterize crustal structure, magmatism and lithospheric thermal state of western North America based on various data processing and interpretation of gravimetric, magnetic and surface heat flow data. A fractal exponent of 2.5 for the 3D magnetization model is used in the Curie-point depth inversion. Curie depths are mostly small to the north of the Yellowstone-Snake River Plain hotspot track, including the Steens Mountain and McDermitt caldera that are the incipient eruption locations of the Columbia River Basalts and Yellowstone hotspot track. To the south of the Yellowstone hotspot track, larger Curie depths are found in the Great Basin. The distinct Curie depths across the Yellowstone-Snake River Plain hotspot track can be attributed to subduction-related magmatism induced by edge flow around fractured slabs. Curie depths confirm that the Great Valley ophiolite is underlain by the Sierra Nevada batholith, which can extend further west to the California Coast Range. The Curie depths, thermal lithospheric thickness and surface heat flow together define the western edge of the North American craton near the Roberts Mountains Thrust (RMT). To the east of the RMT, large Curie depths, large thermal lithospheric thickness, and low thermal gradient are found. From the differences between Curie-point and Moho depth, we argue that the uppermost mantle in the oceanic region is serpentinized. The low temperature gradients beneath the eastern Great Basin, Montana and Wyoming permit magnetic uppermost mantle, either by serpentinization/metasomatism or in-situ magnetization, which can contribute to long-wavelength and low-amplitude magnetic anomalies and thereby large Curie-point depths.

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

    Science.gov (United States)

    Arcay, Diane

    2017-08-01

    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

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

    NARCIS (Netherlands)

    Schellart, W. P.; Rawlinson, N.

    2013-01-01

    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.

  18. 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

  19. Motion between the Indian, Capricorn and Somalian plates since 20 Ma: implications for the timing and magnitude of distributed lithospheric deformation in the equatorial Indian ocean

    Science.gov (United States)

    DeMets, Charles; Gordon, Richard G.; Royer, Jean-Yves

    2005-05-01

    Approximately 2200 magnetic anomaly crossings and 800 fracture zone crossings flanking the Carlsberg ridge and Central Indian ridge are used to estimate the rotations of the Indian and Capricorn plates relative to the Somalian Plate for 20 distinct points in time since 20 Ma. The data are further used to place limits on the locations of the northern edge of the rigid Capricorn Plate and of the southern edge of the rigid Indian Plate along the Central Indian ridge. Data south of and including fracture zone N (the fracture zone immediately south of the Vema fracture zone), which intersects the Central Indian ridge near 10°S, are well fit assuming rigid Capricorn and Somalian plates, while data north of fracture zone N are not, in agreement with prior results. Data north of fracture zone H, which intersects the Central Indian ridge near 3.2°S, are well fit assuming rigid Indian and Somalian plates, while data south of and including fracture zone H are not, resulting in a smaller rigid Indian Plate and a wider diffuse oceanic plate boundary than found before. The data are consistent with Capricorn-Somalia motion about a fixed pole since ~8 Ma, but require rotation about a pole 15° farther away from the Central Indian ridge from 20 to ~8 Ma. The post-8-Ma pole also indicates Capricorn-Somalia displacement directions that are 7° clockwise of those indicated by the pre-8-Ma stage pole. In contrast, India-Somalia anomaly and fracture crossings are well fit by a single fixed pole of rotation for the past 20 Ma. India-Somalia motion has changed little during the past 20 Myr. Nonetheless, astronomically calibrated ages for reversals younger than 12.9 Ma allow resolution of the following small but significant changes in spreading rate: India-Somalia spreading slowed from 31 to 28 mm yr-1 near 7.9 Ma and later sped up to 31 mm yr-1 near 3.6 Ma; Capricorn-Somalia spreading slowed from 40 to 36 mm yr-1 near 11.0 Ma, later sped up to 38 mm yr-1 near 5.1 Ma and further sped up

  20. The lithosphere-asthenosphere system of the Periadriatic region: a geophysical perspective

    Science.gov (United States)

    Romanelli, Fabio; Brandmayr, Enrico; Panza, Giuliano

    2016-04-01

    We present a multiscale 3D model of the crust and upper mantle of the Periadriatic region showing how the Adriatic plate, the Northern indent of the African promontory, is involved in the Apennines, Alpine, and Dinarides subduction zones, respectively surrounding its western, northern, and eastern margins. The model is obtained through the ensemble of cellular models expressed in terms of shear waves velocity (Vs), thickness and density of the layers, to a depth of 350 km. These physical properties are obtained by means of advanced non-linear inversion techniques, such as the "hedgehog" inversion method of group and phase velocity dispersion curves for the determination of Vs and the non-linear inversion of gravity data by means of the method GRAV3D. The model obtained at the scale of 1°x1° is analysed along selected sections perpendicular to the orogenic complexes of the study area (Apennines, Alps, Dinarides) and it confirms the existence of deep structural asymmetries between E- and W-directed subduction zones. The asymmetry found between the almost vertical Apenninic subduction and the Alpine-Dinaric subduction, which is in turn characterized by a low dip angle, can be ascribed to an eastward mantle flow taking place in the low velocity zone (LVZ) that characterizes the top of the very shallow asthenosphere beneath the Tyrrhenian basin. The high-resolution model obtained for the Alpine region at a scale of 0.5°x0.5° enlightens the extreme variability of the crustal thickness as well the small scale heterogeneities in the upper mantle beneath the study area. The density model clearly shows that the subducting lithosphere turns out to be less dense than the surrounding mantle. A temperature model of the mantle layers is obtained by means of an advanced conversion technique of Vs to temperature that takes in account variable chemical composition and bulk water content. The superposition of different geodynamic mechanisms in the mentioned areas is coherent with

  1. Plate tectonic controls on atmospheric CO2 levels since the Triassic

    Science.gov (United States)

    Van Der Meer, Douwe G.; Zeebe, Richard E.; van Hinsbergen, Douwe J. J.; Sluijs, Appy; Spakman, Wim; Torsvik, Trond H.

    2014-01-01

    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

  2. Subduction zone and crustal dynamics of western Washington; a tectonic model for earthquake hazards evaluation

    Science.gov (United States)

    Stanley, Dal; Villaseñor, Antonio; Benz, Harley

    1999-01-01

    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

  3. PLATE

    DEFF Research Database (Denmark)

    Kling, Joyce; Hjulmand, Lise-Lotte

    2008-01-01

    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...

  4. Deep structure and historical earthquakes in the Calabrian subduction zone (Southern Italy): preliminary results from multi-channel seismic reflection profiles

    Science.gov (United States)

    Gallais, F.; Gutscher, M.; Torelli, L.; Polonia, A.; Riminucci, F.

    2009-12-01

    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.

  5. Transient thermal regimes in the Sierra Nevada and Baja California extinct outer arcs following the cessation of Farallon subduction

    Science.gov (United States)

    Erkan, Kamil; Blackwell, David

    2009-02-01

    We examine the thermal relaxation of the Sierra Nevada and Baja California extinct outer arc blocks following the progressive cessation of Farallon subduction under western North America beginning at ˜30 Ma. Being parts of the same outer arc until the inland jump of the San Andreas transform fault at ˜5 Ma, these two regions show many similarities in their geology, geomorphology, rigid body behavior, and their relatively low seismicity. In the thermal model, we combine results of different geophysical and geophysical studies to constrain the thermal state and geometry of the outer arcs before the cessation of subduction and then model the postsubduction temperature responses in these regions using the results of the tectonic reconstructions. A well-constrained regional thermal model of these blocks using the results of many earlier studies in these regions confirms that the present low heat flow values in these regions are the remnants of the very cold outer arc thermal regime of the subduction zone even as long as 30 Ma after cessation of subduction. Thus the entire Pacific boundary of the North American plate is still in a transient thermal state. The calculated low lithospheric temperatures in the Sierra Nevada and Peninsular blocks correlate very well with their rigid body behavior obtained from geodetic studies, and seismogenic layer thicknesses obtained from seismological studies. This is in contrast with the fact that both regions are surrounded by intense deformation associated with the western North America intraplate and extraplate motions. These low-temperature islands play important roles in the present interaction of the North American and Pacific plates and contribute to the broad deformation of the transform boundary. The thermal relaxation of the extinct outer arcs includes both vertical heating from the underlying asthenosphere and the lateral heating from the extinct back arc (Basin and Range), which has remained as a high heat flow region after

  6. The lithospheric structure beneath southeast Tibet revealed by P and S receiver functions

    Science.gov (United States)

    Yang, Haiyan; Peng, Hengchu; Hu, Jiafu

    2017-05-01

    Yunnan is located at the margin of southeast Tibet, where dramatic tectonic activities occur. In this study, we calculated the P and S receiver functions by the deconvolution of three-component seismic data from 48 permanent broad-band stations deployed in Yunnan region. In order to improve signal-noise ratios of the receiver functions, we move-out corrected receiver functions to a reference epicentral distance of 67°, and then stacked them to one trace for each station. Finally, the stacked traces were converted to the depth domain to obtain the crustal and lithospheric thicknesses beneath each station. In southwestern Yunnan (at the west side of the Jinshajiang-Red River Fault), the crustal thicknesses from the P-wave receiver functions (PRFs) and from the S-wave receiver functions (SRFs) are in the ranges of 30-36 km, and of 33-39 km, respectively. But in northwestern Yunnan, the crustal thicknesses from PRFs and SRFs are from 66 to 69 km and from 63 to 66 km, respectively. Our results show that the crustal thicknesses in Yunnan from PRFs and SRFs are consistent, with a maximum deviation of 3 km; and increase gradually from ∼30 km in the south to ∼68 km in the northwest. Besides, the lithospheric thickness from PRFs is also similar to that from SRFs, with the largest difference of 15-20 km in southeastern Yunnan. At the west side of the Jinshajiang-Red River Fault in western Yunnan, it is only about 80-100 km, and increases to 140-150 km regionally in northern and southeastern Yunnan. The thinned lithosphere extends eastward from western Yunnan to eastern Yunnan. We attribute the thinned lithosphere to the upwelling of hot upper mantle materials associated with the eastward subduction of the Indian plate.

  7. Numerical modeling of the deformations associated with large subduction earthquakes through the seismic cycle

    Science.gov (United States)

    Fleitout, L.; Trubienko, O.; Garaud, J.; Vigny, C.; Cailletaud, G.; Simons, W. J.; Satirapod, C.; Shestakov, N.

    2012-12-01

    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

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

    KAUST Repository

    Corbi, F.

    2013-04-01

    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. Lithospheric structure of the Western Alps as seen by full-waveform inversion of CIFALPS teleseismic data

    Science.gov (United States)

    Beller, Stephen; Monteiller, Vadim; Operto, Stéphane; Nolet, Guust; Paul, Anne; Zhao, Liang

    2017-04-01

    Full-waveform inversion (FWI) is a powerful but constitutionally intensive technique that aims to recover 3D multiparameter images of the subsurface by minimising the waveform difference between the full recorded and modelled seismograms. This method has recently been adapted and successfully applied in lithospheric settings by tackling teleseismic waveform modelling with hybrid methods. For each event, a global scale simulation is performed once and for all to store the wavefield solutions on the edges of the lithospheric target. Then, for each modelling involved in the FWI process, these global scale solutions are injected within the lithospheric medium from the boundaries. We present the results of the application of teleseismic FWI to the data acquired by the CIFALPS experiment that was conducted in the Western Alps to gain new insights its lithospheric structure and geodynamic evolution of the alpine range. Nine teleseismic events were inverted to infer 3D models of density, P-wave velocity and S-wave velocity of the crust and the upper-mantle down to 200 km depth. Our models show clear evidences of continental subduction during the alpine orogeny. They outline a dipping European Moho down to 75 km depth and finely delineate the geometry of the Ivrea body at the suture between European and Adriatic plates. Deeper, in the mantle a slow S-wave velocity anomaly might indicate the location of the European slab detachment. Overall, FWI models give access to new seismic images that fill the resolution gap between smooth tomographic model and sharp receiver function images of the lithosphere and enable integrated interpretations of crustal and upper-mantle structures.

  10. A lithospheric velocity model for the flat slab region of Argentina from joint inversion of Rayleigh wave phase velocity dispersion and teleseismic receiver functions

    Science.gov (United States)

    Ammirati, Jean-Baptiste; Alvarado, Patricia; Beck, Susan

    2015-07-01

    In the central Andes, the Nazca plate displays large along strike variations in dip with a near horizontal subduction angle between 28 and 32°S referred to the Pampean flat slab segment. The upper plate above the Pampean flat slab has high rates of crustal seismicity and active basement cored uplifts. The SIEMBRA experiment, a 43-broad-band-seismic-station array was deployed to better characterize the Pampean flat slab region around 31°S. In this study, we explore the lithospheric structure above the flat slab as a whole and its relation to seismicity. We use the SIEMBRA data to perform a joint inversion of teleseismic receiver functions and Rayleigh wave phase velocity dispersion to constrain the shear wave velocity variations in the lithosphere. Our joint inversion results show: (1) the presence of several upper-plate mid-crustal discontinuities and their lateral extent that are probably related to the terrane accretion history; (2) zones of high shear wave velocity in the upper-plate lower crust associated with a weak Moho signal consistent with the hypothesis of partial eclogitization in the lower crust; (3) the presence of low shear-wave velocities at ˜100 km depth interpreted as the subducting oceanic crust. Finally, in order to investigate the relation of the lithospheric structure to seismicity, we determine an optimal velocity-depth model based on the joint inversion results and use it to perform regional moment tensor inversions (SMTI) of crustal and slab earthquakes. The SMTI for 18 earthquakes that occurred between 2007 and 2009 in the flat slab region below Argentina, indicates systematically shallower focal depths for slab earthquakes (compared with inversions using previous velocity models). This suggests that the slab seismicity is concentrated mostly between 90 and 110 km depths within the subducting Nazca plate's oceanic crust and likely related to dehydration. In addition, the slab earthquakes exhibit extensional focal mechanisms suggesting

  11. Subduction induced mantle flow: Length-scales and orientation of the toroidal cell

    Science.gov (United States)

    Király, Ágnes; Capitanio, Fabio A.; Funiciello, Francesca; Faccenna, Claudio

    2017-12-01

    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.

  12. Episodic plate tectonics on Venus

    Science.gov (United States)

    Turcotte, Donald

    1992-01-01

    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.

  13. Li isotopic constraints from the Erro-Tobbio serpentinites on Alpine subduction processes

    Science.gov (United States)

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

    2012-04-01

    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

  14. Lithospheric structure of Iberia and Morocco using finite-frequency Rayleigh wave tomography from earthquakes and seismic ambient noise

    Science.gov (United States)

    Palomeras, I.; Villaseñor, A.; Thurner, S.; Levander, A.; Gallart, J.; Harnafi, M.

    2017-05-01

    We present a new 3-D shear velocity model of the western Mediterranean from the Pyrenees, Spain, to the Atlas Mountains, Morocco, and the estimated crustal and lithospheric thickness. The velocity model shows different crustal and lithospheric velocities for the Variscan provinces, those which have been affected by Alpine deformation, and those which are actively deforming. The Iberian Massif has detectable differences in crustal thickness that can be related to the evolution of the Variscan orogen in Iberia. Areas affected by Alpine deformation have generally lower velocities in the upper and lower crust than the Iberian Massif. Beneath the Gibraltar Strait and surrounding areas, the crustal thickness is greater than 50 km, below which a high-velocity anomaly (>4.5 km/s) is mapped to depths greater than 200 km. We identify this as a subducted remnant of the NeoTethys plate referred to as the Alboran and western Mediterranean slab. Beneath the adjacent Betic and Rif Mountains, the Alboran slab is still attached to the base of the crust, depressing it, and ultimately delaminating the lower crust and mantle lithosphere as the slab sinks. Under the adjacent continents, the Alboran slab is surrounded by low upper mantle shear wave velocities (Vs lateral flow induced by the Alboran slab.

  15. Mantle rheology and the scaling of bending dissipation in plate tectonics

    Science.gov (United States)

    Rose, I. R.; Korenaga, J.

    2011-06-01

    Plate tectonics on Earth involves the bending deformation of plates at subduction zones, and because plates are generally considered to be stiff owning to the rheology of mantle minerals, the role of energy dissipation by plate bending in the global energy balance has been frequently debated in the recent literature. Here we consider how bending dissipation should scale with slab parameters such as dip angle, plate age, the radius of curvature, and plate velocity by systematically exploring the parameter space with instantaneous Stokes flow calculations. We derive the scaling of bending dissipation for a range of mantle viscosity functions, including pseudoplastic rheology with olivine flow laws. Our results indicate that, as we move away from the isoviscous case, the scaling gradually deviates from what has commonly been assumed in previous studies, most notably for the radius exponent, which exhibits more than threefold reduction and even a sign reversal in some cases. These modifications in scaling exponents originate in the complication of the deformation field caused by viscosity variations within the bending plate. Approximating the lithospheric rheology by a single effective viscosity in the dynamical models of subduction has been a common practice, but we suggest that such approximation may limit the geological relevance of modeling studies, in particular when estimating the significance of bending dissipation.

  16. 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

  17. Intermittent plate tectonics?

    Science.gov (United States)

    Silver, Paul G; Behn, Mark D

    2008-01-04

    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.

  18. 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)

    Science.gov (United States)

    Hernandez-Moreno, Catalina; Speranza, Fabio; Di Chiara, Anita

    2017-04-01

    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

  19. Geodynamic evolution of the lithosphere beneath the Eastern Anatolia region: Constraints from geodynamic modeling

    Science.gov (United States)

    Memis, Caner; Hakan Gogus, Oguz; Pysklywec, Russell; Keskin, Mehmet; Celal Sengor, A. M.; Topuz, Gultekin

    2016-04-01

    The east Anatolian orogenic plateau is characterized by an average elevation of 2 km, and is delimited by the Bitlis-Zagros collision zone to the south and the Pontide arc to the north. Stratigraphic evidence suggests that the high plateau attained its current elevation since the Serravallian (about 12 million years ago), but probably did not reach its present height until at least the latest Pliocene. While the crustal shortening following the Arabia-Eurasia collision in the south enabled its relatively rapid rise and regional tectonic evolution, the presumed removal of the downgoing slab beneath east Anatolia has potentially played a significant role in this geodynamic configuration. According to the proposed scenario, the northward subducting slab of Neo-Tethys peels away from the overlying crust similar to the lithospheric delamination model. In this work, we performed a series of lithospheric removal models by varying rheological, physical and mechanical properties by using 2D numerical geodynamic experiments, (e.g. plate convergence rate, crustal thickness, mantle lithosphere yield-stress). Our model results show that the average amount of delamination hinge motion is maximum (18 km/my) when the lower crustal rheology is felsic granulite. The slab break-off only occurs at lower convergence rates (≤ 2 cm/yr), and is imposed on the margin of delaminating mantle lithosphere. The surface uplift takes place above the asthenospheric column (or plateau gap) through isostatic and thermal support of asthenospheric upwelling, and varies dependent on the width of the asthenospheric column. However; with higher plate convergence rates (≥3 cm/yr), the asthenospheric column does not widen enough and the continental collision occurs rather than delamination/peeling away. In this case, the average uplift appears in the central section of the crust, and this exceeds a surface elevation of 3 km. All model results are consistent with the observations from the Eastern

  20. Mantle convection, tectonics and the evolution of the Tethyan subduction zone

    Science.gov (United States)

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

    2014-05-01

    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.

  1. 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...

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

    Directory of Open Access Journals (Sweden)

    A. Argnani

    2000-06-01

    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.

  3. Variability of lithospheric structure in the Baltic Shield

    Science.gov (United States)

    Pedersen, Helle; Debayle, Eric; Maupin, Valérie

    2013-04-01

    We present the shear velocity structure down to 250km depth beneath the dense LAPNET array in northern Finland, located at the northern end of the Baltic Shield. We analysed phase velocity dispersion of fundamental mode Rayleigh waves, using data from 46 seismic broadband stations and almost 200 magnitude >6 events. The inversion of the dispersion curve shows a well resolved low velocity zone starting at approximately 150km depth, while the shear velocities above are typical for cratonic lithosphere. The comparison to other parts of the Baltic Shield show strong variability of the lithospheric structure. Immediately south of LAPNET, in an area dominated by paleaproterozoic rocks at surface, the lithosphere is fast to a depth of 225-250km, while cratonic lithosphere seems to be absent beneath southern Norway, in spite of Proterozoic age tectonic ages. The low velocity zone beneath northern Finland indicates that the lithosphere in this area is either modified at depth, for example through metasomatism, or that it is thinner than the more internal part of the Baltic shield. We suggest that the modification of the cratonic lithosphere beneath northern Finland is not related to continental breakup at the opening of the Atlantic Ocean, as the continental shelf continues north, beneath the Barents Sea. We rather favour the hypothesis that subduction and/or collision could potentially modify (by fluid injection) or remove (by erosion/dripping) otherwise stable cratonic lithosphere.

  4. Tectonics and volcanism of Eastern Aphrodite Terra: No subduction, no spreading

    Science.gov (United States)

    Hansen, Vicki L.; Keep, Myra; Herrick, Robert R.; Phillips, Roger J.

    1992-01-01

    Eastern Aphrodite Terra is approximately equal in size to the western North American Cordillera, from Mexico to Alaska. Its size and unique landforms make it an important area for understanding the tectonics of Venus, yet models for its formation are diametrically opposed. This region is part of the Equatorial Highlands, which was proposed as a region of lithospheric thinning, isostatic uplift, and attendant volcanism. Eastern Aphrodite Terra is dominated by circular structures within which deformation and volcanism are intimately related. These structures are marked by radial and concentric fractures, and volcanic flows that emanate from a central vent, as well as from concentric fracture sets. Cross-cutting relations between flows and concentric fracture sets indicate that outer concentric fracture sets are younger than inner fracture sets. The circular structures are joined by regional northeast- to east-trending fractures that dominantly postdate formation of the circular structures. We propose that the circular structures 'grow' outward with time. Although these structures probably represent addition of crust to the lithosphere, they do not represent significant lithospheric spreading or convergence, and the region does not mark the boundary between two distinct tectonic plates. This region is not easily explained by analogy with either terrestrial midocean rifts or subduction zones. It is perhaps best explained by upwelling of magma diapirs that blister the surface, but do not cause significant lithospheric spreading. Further study of the structural and volcanic evolution of this region using Magellan altimetry and SAR data should lead to better understanding of the tectonic evolution of this region.

  5. Origin and dynamics of depositionary subduction margins

    Science.gov (United States)

    Vannucchi, Paola; Morgan, Jason P.; Silver, Eli; Kluesner, Jared W.

    2016-01-01

    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.

  6. Origin and dynamics of depositionary subduction margins

    Science.gov (United States)

    Vannucchi, Paola; Morgan, Jason P.; Silver, Eli A.; Kluesner, Jared W.

    2016-06-01

    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.

  7. 3D geometry of a plate boundary fault related to the 2016 Off-Mie earthquake in the Nankai subduction zone, Japan

    Science.gov (United States)

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

    2017-11-01

    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.

  8. Alps, Carpathians and Dinarides-Hellenides: about plates, micro-plates and delaminated crustal blocks

    Science.gov (United States)

    Schmid, Stefan

    2014-05-01

    Before the onset of Europe-Africa continental collision in the Dinarides-Hellenides (around 60Ma) and in the Alps and Western Carpathians (around 35 Ma), and at a large scale, the dynamics of orogenic processes in the Mediterranean Alpine chains were governed by Europe-Africa plate convergence leading to the disappearance of large parts of intervening oceanic lithosphere, i.e. the northern branch of Neotethys along the Sava-Izmir-Ankara suture and Alpine Tethys along the Valais-Magura suture (Schmid et al. 2008). In spite of this, two major problems concerning the pre-collisional stage are still poorly understood: (1) by now we only start to understand geometry, kinematics and dynamics of the along-strike changes in the polarity of subduction between Alps-Carpathians and Dinarides-Hellenides, and (2) it is not clear yet during exactly which episodes and to what extent intervening rifted continental fragments such as, for example, Iberia-Briançonnais, Tisza, Dacia, Adria-Taurides moved independently as micro-plates, and during which episodes they remained firmly attached to Europa or Africa from which they broke away. As Europe-Africa plate convergence slowed down well below 1 cm/yr at around 30 Ma ago these pre-collisional processes driven by plate convergence on a global scale gave way to more local processes of combined roll-back and crustal delamination in the Pannonian basin of the Carpathian embayment and in the Aegean (as well as in the Western Mediterranean, not discussed in this contribution). In the case of the Carpathian embayment E-directed roll back totally unrelated to Europe-Africa N-S-directed convergence, started at around 20 Ma ago, due to the presence relict oceanic lithosphere in the future Pannonian basin that remained un-subducted during collision. Due to total delamination of the crust from the eastward rolling back European mantle lithosphere the anticlockwise rotating ALCAPA crustal block, consisting of Eastern Alps and Western Carpathian

  9. Mantle Wedge formation during Subduction Initiation: evidence from the refertilized base of the Oman ophiolitic mantle

    Science.gov (United States)

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

    2015-12-01

    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

  10. On the Yield Strength of Oceanic Lithosphere

    Science.gov (United States)

    Jain, Chhavi; Korenaga, Jun; Karato, Shun-ichiro

    2017-10-01

    The yield strength of oceanic lithosphere determines the mode of mantle convection in a terrestrial planet, and low-temperature plasticity in olivine aggregates is generally believed to govern the plastic rheology of the stiffest part of lithosphere. Because, so far, proposed flow laws for this mechanism exhibit nontrivial discrepancies, we revisit the recent high-pressure deformation data of Mei et al. (2010) with a comprehensive inversion approach based on Markov chain Monte Carlo sampling. Our inversion results indicate that the uncertainty of the relevant flow law parameters is considerably greater than previously thought. Depending on the choice of flow law parameters, the strength of oceanic lithosphere would vary substantially, carrying different implications for the origin of plate tectonics on Earth. To reduce the flow law ambiguity, we suggest that it is important to establish a theoretical basis for estimating macroscopic stress in high-pressure experiments and also to better utilize marine geophysical observations.

  11. 3D instantaneous dynamics modeling of present-day Aegean subduction

    Science.gov (United States)

    Glerum, Anne; Spakman, Wim; van Hinsbergen, Douwe; Pranger, Casper

    2017-04-01

    To study the sensitivity of surface observables to subduction and mantle flow, i.e. the coupling of crustal tectonics and the underlying mantle dynamics, we have developed 3D numerical models of the instantaneous crust-mantle dynamics of the eastern Mediterranean. These models comprise both a realistic crust-lithosphere system and the underlying mantle. The focus for this presentation lies on the regional crustal flow response to the present-day Aegean subduction system. Our curved model domain measures 40°x40°x2900km with the Aegean subduction system taken as the geographic center. Model set-ups are based on geological and geophysical data of the eastern Mediterranean. We first create a 3D synthetic geometry of the crust-lithosphere system in a stand-alone program, including the present-day configuration of the plates in the region and crust and lithosphere thickness variations abstracted from Moho and LAB maps (Faccenna et al., 2014, Carafa et al., 2015). In addition we construct the geometry of the Aegean slab from a seismic tomography model (UU-P07; Amaru, 2007) and earthquake hypocenters (NCEDC, 2014). Geometries are then imported into the finite element code ASPECT (Kronbichler et al., 2012) using specially designed plugins. The mantle initial temperature conditions can include deviations from an adiabatic profile obtained from conversion of the UU-P07 seismic velocity anomalies to temperature anomalies using a depth-dependent scaling (Karato, 2008). We model compressible mantle flow for which material properties are obtained from thermodynamics P-T lookup-tables (Perple_X, Connolly, 2009) in combination with nonlinear viscoplastic rheology laws. Sublithospheric flow through the lateral model boundaries is left free via open boundary conditions (Chertova et al., 2012), while plate motion is prescribed at the model sides in terms of relative as well as absolute plate motion velocities (e.g. Doubrovine et al., 2012). So far, we used a free-slip surface, but

  12. Pacific plate slab pull and intraplate deformation in the early Cenozoic

    Directory of Open Access Journals (Sweden)

    N. P. Butterworth

    2014-08-01

    Full Text Available Large tectonic plates are known to be susceptible to internal deformation, leading to a~range of phenomena including intraplate volcanism. However, the space and time dependence of intraplate deformation and its relationship with changing plate boundary configurations, subducting slab geometries, and absolute plate motion is poorly understood. We utilise a buoyancy-driven Stokes flow solver, BEM-Earth, to investigate the contribution of subducting slabs through time on Pacific plate motion and plate-scale deformation, and how this is linked to intraplate volcanism. We produce a series of geodynamic models from 62 to 42 Ma in which the plates are driven by the attached subducting slabs and mantle drag/suction forces. We compare our modelled intraplate deformation history with those types of intraplate volcanism that lack a clear age progression. Our models suggest that changes in Cenozoic subduction zone topology caused intraplate deformation to trigger volcanism along several linear seafloor structures, mostly by reactivation of existing seamount chains, but occasionally creating new volcanic chains on crust weakened by fracture zones and extinct ridges. Around 55 Ma, subduction of the Pacific-Izanagi ridge reconfigured the major tectonic forces acting on the plate by replacing ridge push with slab pull along its northwestern perimeter, causing lithospheric extension along pre-existing weaknesses. Large-scale deformation observed in the models coincides with the seamount chains of Hawaii, Louisville, Tokelau and Gilbert during our modelled time period of 62 to 42 Ma. We suggest that extensional stresses between 72 and 52 Ma are the likely cause of large parts of the formation of the Gilbert chain and that localised extension between 62 and 42 Ma could cause late-stage volcanism along the Musicians volcanic ridges. Our models demonstrate that early Cenozoic changes in Pacific plate driving forces only cause relatively minor changes in Pacific

  13. Mantle transition zone beneath the central Tien Shan: Lithospheric delamination and mantle plumes

    Science.gov (United States)

    Kosarev, Grigoriy; Oreshin, Sergey; Vinnik, Lev; Makeyeva, Larissa

    2018-01-01

    We investigate structure of the mantle transition zone (MTZ) under the central Tien Shan in central Asia by using recordings of seismograph stations in Kyrgyzstan, Kazakhstan and adjacent northern China. We apply P-wave receiver functions techniques and evaluate the differential time between the arrivals of seismic phases that are formed by P to SV mode conversion at the 410-km and 660-km seismic boundaries. The differential time is sensitive to the thickness of the MTZ and insensitive to volumetric velocity anomalies above the 410-km boundary. Under part of the southern central Tien Shan with the lowest S wave velocity in the uppermost mantle and the largest thickness of the crust, the thickness of the MTZ increases by 15-20 km relative to the ambient mantle and the reference model IASP91. The increased thickness is a likely effect of low (about - 150 K) temperature. This anomaly is indicative of delamination and sinking of the mantle lithosphere. The low temperature in the MTZ might also be a relic of subduction of the oceanic lithosphere in the Paleozoic, but this scenario requires strong coupling and coherence between structures in the MTZ and in the lithosphere during plate motions in the last 300 Myr. Our data reveal a reduction of thickness of the MTZ of 10-15 km under the Fergana basin, in the neighborhood of the region of small-scale basaltic volcanism at the time near the Cretaceous-Paleogene boundary. The reduced thickness of the MTZ is the effect of a depressed 410-km discontinuity, similar to that found in many hotspots. This depression suggests a positive temperature anomaly of about 100-150 K, consistent with the presence of a thermal mantle plume. A similar depression on the 410-km discontinuity is found underneath the Tarim basin.

  14. Geodynamical evolution of the Southern Carpathians: inferences from computational models of lithospheric gravitational instability

    Science.gov (United States)

    Lorinczi, Piroska; Houseman, Gregory

    2010-05-01

    The Carpathians are a geologically young mountain chain which, together with the Alps and the Dinarides, surround the extensional Pannonian and Transylvanian basins of Central Europe. The tectonic evolution of the Alpine-Carpathian-Pannonian system was controlled by convergence between the Adriatic and European plates, by the extensional collapse of thickened Alpine crust and by the retreat of the Eastern Carpathians driven by either a brief episode of subduction or by gravitational instability of the continental lithospheric mantle. The Southeast corner of the Carpathians has been widely studied due to its strong seismic activity. The distribution and rate of moment release of this seismic activity provides convincing evidence of a mantle drip produced by gravitational instability of the lithospheric mantle developing beneath the Vrancea region now. The question of why gravitational instability is strongly evident beneath Vrancea and not elsewhere beneath the Southern Carpathians is unresolved. Geological and geophysical interpretations of the Southern Carpathians emphasise the transcurrent deformation that has dominated recent tectonic evolution of this mountain belt. We use computational models of gravitational instability in order to address the question of why the instability appears to have developed strongly only at the eastern end of this mountain chain. We use a parallelised 3D Lagrangean-frame finite deformation algorithm, which solves the equations of momentum and mass conservation in an incompressible viscous fluid, assuming a non-linear power-law that relates deviatoric stress and strain-rate. We consider a gravitationally unstable system, with a dense mantle lithosphere overlying a less dense asthenosphere, subject to boundary conditions which simulate the combination of shear and convergence that are thought to have governed the evolution of the South Carpathians. This program (OREGANO) allows 3D viscous flow fields to be computed for spatially

  15. Crustal structure of the Carpathian orogen from receiver function analysis: how craton subduction and active delamination affect the crust

    Science.gov (United States)

    Petrescu, Laura; Tataru, Dragos; Grecu, Bogdan

    2017-04-01

    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. Flat-slab subduction, whole crustal faulting, and geohazards in Alaska: Targets for Earthscope

    Science.gov (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.

    2010-12-01

    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

  17. Why Do We Need 3-d Numerical Models of Subduction?

    Science.gov (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.

  18. Plate Tectonics: A Paradigm under Threat.

    Science.gov (United States)

    Pratt, David

    2000-01-01

    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)

  19. Reorganization of convergent plate boundaries. Geologica Ultraiectina (340)

    NARCIS (Netherlands)

    Baes, M.|info:eu-repo/dai/nl/304824739

    2011-01-01

    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

  20. GPS Monitoring of Subduction Zone Deformation in Costa Rica

    Science.gov (United States)

    Lundgren, Paul

    1997-01-01

    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.

  1. A lithospheric perspective on structure and evolution of Precambrian cratons

    DEFF Research Database (Denmark)

    Artemieva, Irina

    2012-01-01

    The purpose of this chapter is to provide a summary of geophysical data on the structure of the stable continental lithosphere and its evolution since the Archean. Here, the term lithosphere is used to define the outer layer of the Earth which includes the crust and uppermost mantle, forms...... the roots of the continents, and moves together with continental plates. Depending on geophysical techniques (and physical properties measured), the lithosphere has different practical definitions. Most of them (i.e., seismic, electrical) are on the basis of a sharp change in temperature-dependent physical...

  2. Lithospheric buoyancy and continental intraplate stresses

    Science.gov (United States)

    Zoback, M.L.; Mooney, W.D.

    2003-01-01

    gravitational potential energy by taking a vertical integral over the computed lithosphere density. Our computed values suggest that the thick roots beneath cratons lead to strong negative potential energy differences relative to surrounding regions, and hence exert compressive stresses superimposed on the intraplate stresses derived from plate boundary forces. Forces related to this lithosphere structure thus may explain the dominance of reverse-faulting earthquakes in cratons. Areas of high elevation and a thin mantle lid (e.g., western U.S. Basin and Range, East African rift, and Baikal rift) are predicted to be in extension, consistent with the observed stress regime in these areas.

  3. Noble gases recycled into the mantle through cold subduction zones

    Science.gov (United States)

    Smye, Andrew J.; Jackson, Colin R. M.; Konrad-Schmolke, Matthias; Hesse, Marc A.; Parman, Steve W.; Shuster, David L.; Ballentine, Chris J.

    2017-08-01

    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.

  4. Imaging the Middle America subduction zone with body waves extracted from ambient noise by seismic interferometry

    Science.gov (United States)

    Vargas, W.; Brown, L. D.; Cabolova, A.; Quiros, D. A.; Chen, C.

    2011-12-01

    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

  5. Plate tectonics on Venus

    Science.gov (United States)

    Anderson, D. L.

    1981-01-01

    The high surface temperature of Venus implies a permanently buoyant lithosphere and a thick basaltic crust. Terrestrial-style tectonics with deep subduction and crustal recycling is not possible. Overthickened basaltic crust partially melts instead of converting to eclogite. Because mantle magmas do not have convenient access to the surface the Ar-40 abundance in the atmosphere should be low. Venus may provide an analog to Archean tectonics on the earth.

  6. Low heat flow from young oceanic lithosphere at the Middle America Trench off Mexico [rapid communication

    Science.gov (United States)

    Minshull, Timothy A.; Bartolomé, Rafael; Byrne, Siobhán; Dañobeitia, Juanjo

    2005-10-01

    Seismic reflection profiles across the Middle America Trench at 20°N show a high amplitude bottom simulating reflector interpreted as marking a phase transition between methane hydrate and free gas in the pore space of both accreted and trench sediments. We determine the depth of the hydrate-gas phase boundary in order to estimate the geothermal gradient and hence the heat flow beneath the trench and the frontal part of the accretionary wedge which overlies the downgoing plate. After correction for sedimentation, heat flow values in the trench and through the accretionary wedge are only about half of the values predicted by plate cooling models for the 10 Ma subducting lithosphere. There is no systematic correlation between heat flow in the accretionary wedge and distance from the trench. A comparison with heat flow predicted by a simple analytical model suggests that there is little shear heating from within or beneath the wedge, despite the high basal friction suggested by the large taper angle of the wedge. The geothermal gradient varies systematically along the margin and is negatively correlated with the frontal slope of the wedge. Some local peaks may be attributed to channelised fluid expulsion.

  7. Rapid fore-arc extension and detachment-mode spreading following subduction initiation

    Science.gov (United States)

    Morris, Antony; Anderson, Mark W.; Omer, Ahmed; Maffione, Marco; van Hinsbergen, Douwe J. J.

    2017-11-01

    Most ophiolites have geochemical signatures that indicate formation by suprasubduction seafloor spreading above newly initiated subduction zones, and hence they record fore-arc processes operating following subduction initiation. They are frequently underlain by a metamorphic sole formed at the top of the downgoing plate and accreted below the overlying suprasubduction zone lithosphere immediately following ophiolite formation. Paleomagnetic analyses of ophiolites can provide important insights into the enigmatic geodynamic processes operating in this setting via identification of tectonic rotations related to upper plate extension. Here we present net tectonic rotation results from the Late Cretaceous Mersin ophiolite of southern Turkey that document rapid and progressive rotation of ophiolitic rocks and their associated metamorphic sole. Specifically, we demonstrate that lower crustal cumulate rocks and early dykes intruded into the underlying mantle section have undergone extreme rotation around ridge-parallel, shallowly-plunging axes, consistent with oceanic detachment faulting during spreading. Importantly, later dykes cutting the metamorphic sole experienced rotation around the same axis but with a lower magnitude. We show that these rotations occurred via a common mechanism in a pre-obduction, fore-arc setting, and are best explained by combining (hyper)extension resulting from detachment-mode, amagmatic suprasubduction zone spreading in a fore-arc environment with a recently proposed mechanism for exhumation of metamorphic soles driven by upper plate extension. Available age constraints demonstrate that extreme rotation of these units was accommodated rapidly by these processes over a time period of <∼3 Myr, comparable with rates of rotation seen in oceanic core complexes in the modern oceans.

  8. Current plate motions. [continental groupings and global modelling

    Science.gov (United States)

    Demets, C.; Gordon, R. G.; Argus, D. F.; Stein, S.

    1990-01-01

    A global plate motion model, named NUVEL-1, which describes current plate motions between 12 rigid plates is described, with special attention given to the method, data, and assumptions used. Tectonic implications of the patterns that emerged from the results are discussed. It is shown that wide plate boundary zones can form not only within the continental lithosphere but also within the oceanic lithosphere; e.g., between the Indian and Australian plates and between the North American and South American plates. Results of the model also suggest small but significant diffuse deformation of the oceanic lithosphere, which may be confined to small awkwardly shaped salients of major plates.

  9. Intrinsic and Extrinsic Factors in Subduction Dynamics

    Science.gov (United States)

    Billen, Magali; Arredondo, Katrina

    2014-05-01

    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

  10. Petrogenesis of fertile mantle peridotites from the Monte del Estado massif (southwest Puerto Rico): a preserved section of Proto-Caribbean oceanic lithospheric mantle?

    Science.gov (United States)

    Marchesi, Claudio; Jolly, Wayne T.; Lewis, John F.; Garrido, Carlos J.; Proenza, Joaquín. A.; Lidiak, Edward G.

    2010-05-01

    The Monte del Estado massif is the largest and northernmost serpentinized peridotite belt in southwest Puerto Rico. It is mainly composed of spinel lherzolite and minor harzburgite with variable clinopyroxene modal abundances. Mineral and whole rock major and trace element compositions of peridotites coincide with those of fertile abyssal peridotites from mid ocean ridges. Peridotites lost 2-14 wt% of relative MgO and variable amounts of CaO by serpentinization and seafloor weathering. HREE contents in whole rock indicate that the Monte del Estado peridotites are residues after low to moderate degrees (2-15%) of fractional partial melting in the spinel stability field. However, very low LREE/HREE and MREE/HREE in clinopyroxene cannot be explained by melting models of a spinel lherzolite source and support that the Monte del Estado peridotites experienced initial low fractional melting degrees (~ 4%) in the garnet stability field. The relative enrichment of LREE in whole rock is not due to secondary processes but probably reflects the capture of percolating melt fractions along grain boundaries or as microinclusions in minerals, or the presence of exotic micro-phases in the mineral assemblage. We propose that the Monte del Estado peridotite belt represents a section of ancient Proto-Caribbean (Atlantic) lithospheric mantle originated by seafloor spreading between North and South America in the Late Jurassic-Early Cretaceous. This portion of oceanic lithospheric mantle was subsequently trapped in the forearc region of the Greater Antilles paleo-island arc generated by the northward subduction of the Caribbean plate beneath the Proto-Caribbean ocean. Finally, the Monte del Estado peridotites belt was emplaced in the Early Cretaceous probably as result of the change in subduction polarity of the Greater Antilles paleo-island arc without having been significantly modified by subduction processes.

  11. Imaging of the subducted Kyushu-Palau Ridge in the Hyuga-nada region, western Nankai Trough subduction zone

    Science.gov (United States)

    Yamamoto, Yojiro; Obana, Koichiro; Takahashi, Tsutomu; Nakanishi, Ayako; Kodaira, Shuichi; Kaneda, Yoshiyuki

    2013-03-01

    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.

    Science.gov (United States)

    Conrad, Clinton P; Lithgow-Bertelloni, Carolina

    2002-10-04

    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. Interplay of plate convergence and arc migration in the central Mediterranean (Sicily and Calabria)

    Science.gov (United States)

    Nijholt, Nicolai; Govers, Rob; Wortel, Rinus

    2016-04-01

    Key components in the current geodynamic setting of the central Mediterranean are continuous, slow Africa-Eurasia plate convergence (~5 mm/yr) and arc migration. This combination encompasses roll-back, tearing and detachment of slabs, and leads to back-arc opening and orogeny. Since ~30 Ma the Apennnines-Calabrian and Gibraltar subduction zones have shaped the western-central Mediterranean region. Lithospheric tearing near slab edges and the accompanying surface expressions (STEP faults) are key in explaining surface dynamics as observed in geologic, geophysical and geodetic data. In the central Mediterranean, both the narrow Calabrian subduction zone and the Sicily-Tyrrhenian offshore thrust front show convergence, with a transfer (shear) zone connecting the distinct SW edge of the former with the less distinct, eastern limit of the latter (similar, albeit on a smaller scale, to the situation in New Zealand with oppositely verging subduction zones and the Alpine fault as the transfer shear zone). The ~NNW-SSE oriented transfer zone (Aeolian-Sisifo-Tindari(-Ionian) fault system) shows transtensive-to-strike slip motion. Recent seismicity, geological data and GPS vectors in the central Mediterranean indicate that the region can be subdivided into several distinct domains, both on- and offshore, delineated by deformation zones and faults. However, there is discussion about the (relative) importance of some of these faults on the lithospheric scale. We focus on finding the best-fitting assembly of faults for the transfer zone connecting subduction beneath Calabria and convergence north of Sicily in the Sicily-Tyrrhenian offshore thrust front. This includes determining whether the Alfeo-Etna fault, Malta Escarpment and/or Ionian fault, which have all been suggested to represent the STEP fault of the Calabrian subduction zone, are key in describing the observed deformation patterns. We first focus on the present-day. We use geodynamic models to reproduce observed GPS

  14. Lithospheric thinning in the Eastern Indian Craton: Evidence for lithospheric delamination below the Archean Singhbhum Craton?

    Science.gov (United States)

    Mandal, Prantik

    2017-02-01

    We herein present shear velocity structure extending down to 300 km depth below the Archean Singhbhum-Odisha Craton (SOC) and Proterozoic Chotanagpur granitic-gneissic terrain (CGGT), which has been obtained through the inversion modeling of P-receiver functions. We use three-component broadband recordings of 200 teleseismic earthquakes (30° ≤ ∆ ≤ 90°) from a 15 station seismic network that has been operational in the Eastern Indian shield since February 2013. We obtain the thinnest crust of 35 km overlying a thin lithosphere of 78 km, below the region near south Singhbhum shear zone, which could be attributed to the 1.6 Ga plume activity associated with Dalma volcanic. However, the thickest crust of 47 km overlying a thin lithosphere of 81 km is noticed below the region near the Singhbhum granite of 3.6 Ga. This thinning of lithosphere could be attributed to the delamination of lithospheric root due to the Himalayan orogeny with a shortening rate of 2 cm/year. This delamination model in SOC gets further support from the densification of the lower crust, which could result from repeated episodes of basaltic underplating associated with episodes related to Dalma ( 1.6 Ga) and Rajmahal ( 117 Ma) volcanisms. This led to relatively more mafic, heterogeneous and deformed crustal structure in SOC as well as EGMB (with an average crustal Vs of 4.0 km/s) in comparison to that in CGGT (with an average crustal Vs of 3.9 km/s), as seen through our modeling results. The thickest lithosphere of 100 km is observed in the southwestern SOC as well as northeastern CGGT. We also notice that a sharp and flat Moho in CGGT, which could be attributed to thermal reactivation and large volume melting of the mafic cratonic crust during the late Archean subduction process and associated volcanism episodes. This model gets further support from the estimated 169 km thick lower Vs zone in the upper mantle below CGGT. Our modeling results also support a northward subduction of Archean

  15. Using global, quantitative models of the coupled plates/mantle system to understand Late Miocene dynamics of the Pacific plate

    Science.gov (United States)

    Stotz, Ingo; Iaffaldano, Giampiero; Rhodri Davies, D.

    2017-04-01

    Knowledge of the evolution of continents, inferred from a variety of geological data, as well as observations of the ocean-floor magnetization pattern provide an increasingly-detailed picture of past and present-day plate motions. These are key to study the evolving balance of shallow- and deep-rooted forces acting upon plates and to unravel the dynamics of the coupled plates/mantle system. Here we focus on the clockwise rotation of the Pacific plate motion relative to the hotspots reference frame between 10 and 5 Ma, which is evidenced by a bend in the Hawaiian sea mount chain (Cox & Engebretson, 1985) as well as by marine magnetic and bathymetric data along the Pacific/Antarctica Ridge (Croon et al., 2008). It has been suggested that such a kinematic change owes to the arrival of the Ontong-Java plateau, the biggest oceanic plateau on the Pacific plate, at the Australia/Pacific subducting margin between 10 and 5 Ma, and to its collision with the Melanesian arc. This could have changed the local buoyancy forces and/or sparked a redistribution of the forces already acting within the Pacific realm, causing the Pacific plate to rotate clockwise. Such hypotheses have never been tested explicitly against the available kinematic reconstructions. We do so by using global numerical models of the coupled plates/mantle system. Our models build on the available codes Terra and Shells. Terra is a global, spherical finite-element code for mantle convection, developed by Baumgardner (1985) and Bunge et al. (1996), and further advanced by Yang (1997; 2000) and Davies et al. (2013), among others. Shells is a thin-sheet, finite-element code for lithosphere dynamics (e.g., Bird, 1998). By merging these two independent models we are able to simulate the rheological behavior of the brittle lithosphere and viscous mantle. We compare the plate velocities output by our models with the available kinematic reconstructions to test the above-mentioned hypotheses, and simulate the impact of

  16. Using Global, Quantitative Models of the Coupled Plates/Mantle System to Understand Late Neogene Dynamics of the Pacific Plate

    Science.gov (United States)

    Stotz, I.; Davies, R.; Iaffaldano, G.

    2016-12-01

    Knowledge of the evolution of continents, inferred from a variety of geological data, as well as observations of the ocean-floor magnetization pattern provide an increasingly-detailed picture of past and present-day plate motions. These are key to study the evolving balance of shallow- and deep-rooted forces acting upon plates and to unravel the dynamics of the coupled plates/mantle system. Here we focus on the clockwise rotation of the Pacific plate motion relative to the hotspots reference frame between 10 and 5 Ma, which is evidenced by a bend in the Hawaiian sea mount chain (Cox & Engebretson, 1985) as well as by marine magnetic and bathymetric data along the Pacific/Antarctica Ridge (Croon et al., 2008). It has been suggested that such a kinematic change owes to the arrival of the Ontong-Java plateau, the biggest oceanic plateau on the Pacific plate, at the Australia/Pacific subducting margin between 10 and 5 Ma, and to its collision with the Melanesian arc. This could have changed the local buoyancy forces and/or sparked a redistribution of the forces already acting within the Pacific realm, causing the Pacific plate to rotate clockwise. Such hypotheses have never been tested explicitly against the available kinematic reconstructions. We do so by using global numerical models of the coupled plates/mantle system. Our models build on the available codes Terra and Shells. Terra is a global, spherical finite-element code for mantle convection, developed by Baumgardner (1985) and Bunge et al. (1996), and further advanced by Yang (1997; 2000) and Davies et al. (2013), among others. Shells is a thin-sheet, finite-element code for lithosphere dynamics (e.g., Bird, 1998). By merging these two independent models we are able to simulate the rheological behavior of the brittle lithosphere and viscous mantle. We compare the plate velocities output by our models with the available kinematic reconstructions to test the above-mentioned hypotheses, and simulate the impact of

  17. Hidden Earthquake Potential in Plate Boundary Transition Zones

    Science.gov (United States)

    Furlong, Kevin P.; Herman, Matthew; Govers, Rob

    2017-04-01

    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

  18. Introduction to the structures and processes of subduction zones

    Science.gov (United States)

    Zheng, Yong-Fei; Zhao, Zi-Fu

    2017-09-01

    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

  19. Strain localization at the margins of strong lithospheric domains: insights from analogue models

    NARCIS (Netherlands)

    Calignano, Elisa; Sokoutis, Dimitrios; Willingshofer, Ernst; Gueydan, Frederic; Cloetingh, Sierd

    The lateral variation of the mechanical properties of continental lithosphere is an important factor controlling the localization of deformation and thus the deformation history and geometry of intra-plate mountain belts. A series of three-layer lithospheric-scale analog models, with a strong domain

  20. Seismological Insights on the Lithosphere-Asthenosphere Boundary

    Science.gov (United States)

    Fischer, K. M.

    2016-12-01

    The paradigm of plate tectonics is fundamental to our understanding of the Earth, yet the question of what makes the lithosphere "plate-like" remains unanswered. As Earth's outer thermal boundary layer, the lithosphere derives its high viscosity largely from its cold temperatures, relative to the warmer asthenosphere. However, the roles of partial melt and volatiles in further reducing asthenospheric viscosity are still debated, even 90 years after Beno Gutenberg identified a widespread velocity decrease at 80 km depth which he later attributed to the top of a layer containing partial melt. Seismic phase conversions generated by a velocity gradient within the lithosphere-asthenosphere transition, combined with surface wave tomography, provide key constraints. At the base of thick, stable cratonic lithosphere, the absence of clear Sp conversions (except at the longest periods) is consistent with a shear velocity decrease over >60 km and a lithosphere-asthenosphere boundary (LAB) that reflects an increase in temperature alone. In contrast, strong Sp conversions from the LAB in tectonically active continental regions indicate a vertically-localized negative velocity gradient (discontinuities likely represent the remains of past plate collisions. The most widespread cratonic feature is a sub-horizontal negative velocity gradient, typically at depths of 70-90 km, that is explained by the volatile-rich products of now-solid partial melt that once ponded beneath the carbonated peridotite solidus.

  1. POTENTIAL OF TSUNAMI GENERATION ALONG THE COLOMBIA/ECUADOR SUBDUCTION MARGIN AND THE DOLORES-GUAYAQUIL MEGA-THRUST

    Directory of Open Access Journals (Sweden)

    George Pararas-Carayannis

    2012-01-01

    Full Text Available The Colombia/Ecuador subduction zone is a region where high seismic stress is presently accumulating. Statistical probability studies and GPS measurements of crustal deformation indicate that the region has an increased potential to generate in the near future a major or great tsunamigenic earthquake similar to the 1979 or 1906. Although most of the major earthquakes along this margin usually generate local tsunamis, the recurrence of a great mega-thrust, inter-plate earthquake, similar in magnitude and rupture to the 1906 event (Mw=8.8, rupture 600 km., can generate a tsunami with destructive near and far-field impacts. To understand the potential for such destructive tsunami generation in this region, the present study examines and evaluates: a the controlling inter-plate coupling mechanisms of the tectonic regime of the margin – including lithospheric structure deformation, sea-floor relief and the subduction or accretion of highly folded, hydrated sediments along the seismogenic zone of southern Colombia/North Ecuador; b the seismo-dynamics and role in tsunami generation as affected by the Carnegie Ridge’s oblique subduction beneath the South American continent; and c the seismotectonic extensional processes in the vicinity of the Gulf of Guayaquil-Tumbes Basin and how the northwestward movement of the North Andes block away from the South American continent along the Dolores Guayaquil mega-thrust and the resulting strain rotation may cause sudden detachment, décollement and deformation, with the potential for local tsunami generation that may affect the Gulf of Guayaquil and other coastal areas along southern Ecuador.

  2. Lithospheric Flexural Modeling of Iapetus' Equatorial Ridge

    Science.gov (United States)

    Zheng, W.; Ip, W.-H.; Teng, L. S.

    2012-04-01

    Iapetus, which is one of Saturn's ball-shaped satellites, has some unique features in the Solar System. This satellite has a mean radius of 735 km, and there is an approximately 20-kilometer-high mountain lying precisely on its equator. The mountain is known as an "equatorial ridge" since it makes Iapetus appear walnut shaped. The origin of the equatorial ridge is attributed to several hypotheses, including different endogenesis and exogenesis processes. In this work, we attempted to construct a flexural model of the equatorial ridge using elastic lithosphere theory. The equatorial ridge is treated as a linear load which exerts uniform force on Iapetus' hard shell (i.e. elastic lithosphere of Iapetus). To calculate the deflection of surface, we use the Digital Terrain Model (DTM) data of Iapetus' leading side published by Giese et al. (2008). Giese et al. also pointed out that the elastic lithospheric thickness of Iapetus must exceed 100 km to support the ridge without deflecting. However, we found possible evidence in the DTM data that implied deflection. There are two sites of surface depression on the northern side of the equatorial ridge. The few-kilometer deflection implies a thinner lithosphere than previous suggested. Assume that the thickness of elastic lithosphere is only 5% below of the radius of Iapetus, so the flat-Earth and one-plate condition could adapt to the flexure model of Iapetus. Based on analysis of the distance between a bulge and the ridge, the calculated lithospheric thickness is 6-10 km. The new result seems controversial, but the modeled surface profile is highly consistent with numerical ridge DTM profile extracted from Giese et al. (2008). Thinner lithosphere also supports the contraction model proposed by Sandwell and Schubert (2010) since the bucking harmonic degree increases. In the other hand, the transformation layer between hard shell and plastic inner core may need constraint on thermal history or crystal form of ice. In

  3. 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

    Science.gov (United States)

    Toksoz, M. Nafi; Reilinger, Robert

    1992-01-01

    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.

  4. Olivine anisotropy suggests Gutenberg discontinuity is not the base of the lithosphere

    OpenAIRE

    Hansen, Lars N.; Qi, Chao; Warren, Jessica M.

    2016-01-01

    Although plate tectonics has seen broad acceptance for Earth, the manner in which lithospheric plates are coupled to Earth’s deeper interior is still heavily debated. In particular, recent seismological observations suggest a sharp, flat base of the lithosphere, whereas thermal models suggest a gradational boundary that deepens with age. Based on laboratory experiments, we suggest that thermal models are most appropriate and that seismic studies are detecting features frozen into the lithosph...

  5. Splay fault branching along the Nankai subduction zone.

    Science.gov (United States)

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

    2002-08-16

    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.

  6. Formation and stability of a double subduction system: a numerical study

    Science.gov (United States)

    Pusok, Adina E.; Stegman, Dave

    2017-04-01

    al., 2016] capable of simulating lithospheric deformation while simultaneously taking mantle flow and an internal free surface into account. We start from a single subduction setup, where subduction is already initiated (mature) and we stress the system by controlling the convergence rate of the system (i.e. imposing influx/outflux boundary conditions). Under certain conditions, a second subduction may develop and transform into a stable double subduction system. Preliminary results suggest that the fate of the incipient secondary subduction depends on internal factors (i.e. buoyancy and rheology), but also on the dynamics of the primary subduction zone and the boundary conditions (i.e. convergence rate).

  7. Electrical conductivity imaging in the western Pacific subduction zone

    Science.gov (United States)

    Utada, Hisashi; Baba, Kiyoshi; Shimizu, Hisayoshi

    2010-05-01

    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

  8. Multiscale Architecture of a Subduction Complex and Insight into Large-scale Material Movement in Subduction Systems

    Science.gov (United States)

    Wakabayashi, J.

    2014-12-01

    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

  9. Revisiting the Ridge-Push Force Using the Lithospheric Geoid

    Science.gov (United States)

    Richardson, R. M.; Coblentz, D. D.

    2014-12-01

    The geoid anomaly and driving force associated with the cooling oceanic lithosphere ("ridge push") are both proportional to dipole moment of the density-depth distribution, and allow a reevaluation of the ridge push force using the geoid. The challenge with this approach is to isolate the "lithospheric geoid" from the full geoid signal. Our approach is to use a band-pass spherical harmonic filter on the full geoid (e.g., EGM2008-WGS84, complete to spherical harmonic degree and order 2159) between orders 6 and 80. However, even this "lithospheric geoid" is noisy, and thus we average over 100 profiles evenly spaced along the global ridge system to obtain an average geoid step associated with the mid-ocean ridges. Because the positive ridge geoid signal is largest near the ridge (and to capture fast-spreading ridges), we evaluate symmetrical profiles extending ±45 m.y. about the ridge. We find an average ridge geoid anomaly of 4.5m, which is equivalent to a 10m anomaly for 100 m.y. old oceanic lithosphere. This geoid step corresponds to a ridge push force of ~2.4 x1012N/m for old oceanic lithosphere of 100 m.y., very similar to earlier estimates of ~2.5 x1012N/m based on simple half-space models. This simple half-space model also predicts constant geoid slopes of about 0.15 m/m.y. for cooling oceanic lithosphere. Our observed geoid slopes are consistent with this value for ages up to 40-50 m.y., but drop off to lower values at greater ages. We model this using a plate cooling model (with a thickness of the order of 125km) to fit the observation that the geoid anomaly and ridge driving force only increase slowly for ages greater than 40 m.y. (in contrast to the half-space model where the linear dependence on age holds for all ages). This reduction of the geoid slope results in a 20% decrease in the predicted ridge push force. This decrease is due to the combined effects of treating the oceanic lithosphere as a cooling plate (vs. a half-space), and the loss of geoidal

  10. Friction and stress coupling on the subduction interfaces

    Science.gov (United States)

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

    2011-12-01

    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

  11. Receiver Function Imaging of Crustal and Lithospheric Structure Beneath the Jalisco Block and Western Michoacan, Mexico.

    Science.gov (United States)

    Reyes Alfaro, G.; Cruz-Atienza, V. M.; Perez-Campos, X.; Reyes Dávila, G. A.

    2014-12-01

    We used a receiver function technique for imaging western Mexico, a unique area with several active seismic and volcanic zones like the triple junction of Rivera, Cocos and North American plates and the Colima volcano complex (CVC), the most active in Mexico. Clear images of the distribution of the crust and the lithosphere-asthenosphere boundary are obtained using P-to-S receiver functions (RF) from around ~80 broadband stations recorded by the Mapping the Rivera Subduction Zone (MARS), the Colima Volcano Deep Seismic Experiment (CODEX) and a local network (RESCO) that allowed us to considerably increase the teleseismic database used in the project. For imaging, we constructed several 2-D profiles of depth transformed RFs to delineate the seismic discontinuities of the region. Low seismic velocities associated with the Michoacan-Guanajuato and the Mascota-Ayutla-Tapalpa volcanic fields are also observed. Most impressive, a large and well delineated magma body 100 km underneath CVC is recognized along a surely related depression of the moho discontinuity just above it. We bring more tools for a better understanding of the deep processes that ultimately control eruptive behavior in the region.

  12. 3D isotropic shear wave velocity structure of the lithosphere-asthenosphere system underneath the Alpine-Mediterranean Mobile belt

    Science.gov (United States)

    El-Sharkawy, Amr; Weidle, Christian; Christiano, Luigia; Lebedev, Sergei; Meier, Thomas

    2017-04-01

    The Alpine-Mediterranean mobile belt is, tectonically, one of the most complicated and active regions in the world. Since the Mesozoic, collisions between Gondwana-derived continental blocks and Eurasia, due to the closure of a number of rather small ocean basins, have shaped the Mediterranean geology. During the late Mesozoic, it was dominated by subduction zones (e.g., in Anatolia, the Dinarides, the Carpathians, the Alps, the Apennines, and the Betics), which inverted the extensional regime, consuming the previously formed oceanic lithosphere, the adjacent passive continental margins and presumably partly also continental lithosphere. The location, distribution, and evolution of these subduction zones were mainly controlled by the continental or oceanic nature, density, and thickness of the lithosphere inherited from the Mesozoic rift after the European Variscan Orogeny. Despite the numerous studies that have attempted to characterize the lithosphere-asthenosphere structure in that area, details of the lithospheric structure and dynamics, as well as flow in the asthenosphere are, however, poorly known. A 3D shear-wave velocity structure of the lithosphere-asthenosphere system in the Mediterranean is investigated using new tomographic images obtained from surface wave tomography. An automated algorithm for inter-station phase velocity measurements is applied here to obtain both Rayleigh and Love fundamental mode phase velocities. We utilize a database consisting of more than 4000 seismic events recorded by more than 2000 broadband seismic stations within the area, provided by the European Integrated Data Archive (WebDc/EIDA) and IRIS. Moreover, for the first time, data from the Egyptian National Seismological Network (ENSN), recorded by up to 25 broad band seismic stations, are also included in the analysis. For each station pair, approximately located on the same great circle path, the recorded waveforms are cross correlated and the dispersion curves of

  13. Lithosphere Deformation Modelling of the Italian Peninsula: A Tool for Seismic Hazard Assessment

    Science.gov (United States)

    Jiménez-Munt, I.; Pagani, M.; Marcellini, A.; Sabadini, R.

    2003-04-01

    Large uncertainties of input data for seismic hazard assessment, like the incompleteness of the historical catalogues, magnitude estimation uncertainties and low reliability of epicentral location forces the adoption of additional information for the characterization of seismicity. Lithosphere deformation measuring and modelling techniques were largely increased and improved during the last decade; the detail and the reliability of the deformation models presently available make possible the development of methodologies for constraining the geodynamical evolution of active areas and particularly of their long term seismotectonic behaviour. In the present work we describe and test a procedure to create a probabilistic hazard source model for some areas of the Italian peninsula by integrating crustal deformation modelling results with historical evidences of earthquake occurrence. This procedure uses a Bayesian approach with geophysical input to define the earthquake occurrence behaviour: historical earthquake data characterize the sample likelihood function while strain derived occurrence rates define prior distribution parameters. Modelled strain rates are calculated by means of a finite element model based on the thin shell scheme of peninsular Italy and central Mediterranean that simulates the effects of Africa-Eurasia convergence and subduction underneath the Calabrian Arc on lithospheric deformation. The computed horizontal velocities and strain rates are compared with their geodetic counterparts retrieved by a network of permanent GPS receivers in the area. In order to reproduce the clockwise rotation in southern Italy from the NNW direction of the NOTO site (south eastern Sicily), envisaging the motion of the Africa plate, to the NNE direction of GPS sites in Calabria and Matera, the effects of the Calabrian subduction must be completed by the effects of the counter-clockwise rotation of the Adria microplate. This kinematics of Adria reproduces the NNE motion

  14. Structural discontinuities inside the Pacific plate offshore of the Tohoku and Kanto regions revealed by seismic reflection imaging

    Science.gov (United States)

    Panayotopoulos, Y.; Kasahara, K.; Hirata, N.; Abe, S.; Katou, M.; Kato, A.; Obara, K.

    2012-12-01

    We have investigated the material properties and the tectonic processes that govern the Pacific plate just before it is subducted in the Japan Trench Subduction zone. We reprocessed the 500 km long data retrieved by the summer 1991 seismic survey offshore of the Boso peninsula and Tohoku regions and produced a high resolution image of the Pacific plate crust and Mantle lithosphere beneath it. We have conducted a CMP gather analysis combining 18828 traces and applied a first arrival mute at almost every 4 shots. Consecutively we applied NMO corrections after determining stacking velocity values every 30 CMP gathers, which is equivalent to every 800 m along the profile. The corrected traces enabled us to retrieve a high resolution image of the sediments deposited on the Pacific plate. The upper part of the plate is characterized by a thick sequence of sediments offshore of the Boso peninsula that becomes progressively thinner towards the north in the region offshore the Tohoku region. This could be due to the geometry of the profile, since the southern part is further away from the trench than the north. Offshore Tohoku the sediments are possibly eroded and redeposit inside the trench by down going currents. Our profile intersects with a seamount range that is currently subducting under the Japan Trench. The sedimentary sequence on the Pacific plate around this range is disturbed by a thick sequence of possibly volcanic origin sediments derived from the seamount range. The sedimentary units offshore Boso peninsula display an uplift of several hundred meters. In the southernmost part of our profile we were able to observe several long scale discontinuities inside the plate, that stretch down to the Moho. This area greatly coincides with the Kashima fault zone, previously observed only by the shift of the magnetic anomalies on the plate. The Pacific sea plate crust immediately to the north of this fault zone is significantly thicker than the average crustal thickness

  15. Depositionary Margins: The Destruction and Renovation of Subduction Forearcs

    Science.gov (United States)

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

    2016-12-01

    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.

  16. Subduction initiation and Obduction: insights from analog models

    Science.gov (United States)

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

    2013-12-01

    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

  17. Seismicity and tectonics of the Bay of Bengal: Evidence for intraplate deformation of the northern Indian plate

    Science.gov (United States)

    Biswas, Satyajit; Majumdar, Ranjit K.

    1997-02-01

    Seismicity and fault plane solutions of several earthquakes in the Bay of Bengal have been studied to focus attention on the nature of intraplate deformation in the northern Indian plate. A widely dispersed diffuse seismicity provides evidence that the intraplate region of the entire Bay of Bengal and peninsular India of the Indian plate are seismically active of which the Gangetic delta and the eastern flank of the Ninety East Ridge show somewhat higher seismicity in comparison to the thickly populated epicenters at the eastern plate boundary. Predominance of thrust faulting earthquake mechanisms with consistent north-dipping fault planes and more or less NS pressure axes imply that NS compression is more prevalent in the intraplate region of the Bay of Bengal which is analogous to the Himalayan arc. This intraplate seismicity and NS compressive deformation is presumed to be the result of collisional resistance to the north moving Indian plate with the Eurasian plate at the Himalayas where subduction of the Indian lithosphere in mantle has stopped recently. As a result, to compensate the horizontal compressive force by ridge-push at the Carlsberg Ridge, the intraplate region of the northern Indian plate in continuation to the Central Indian Ocean Basin no longer remains passive due to a strong repulsive force at the collisonal plate boundary Himalaya that causes stress transmission towards south and makes the intraplate region seismically active.

  18. Using glacial morphology to constrain the impact of the Chile active spreading ridge subduction in Central Patagonia

    Science.gov (United States)

    Scalabrino, B.; Ritz, J. F.; Lagabrielle, Y.

    2009-04-01

    The Central Patagonian Cordillera is a unique laboratory to study interaction between oceanic and continental lithospheres during the subduction of an active spreading ridge beneath a continent. The subduction of the South Chile spreading Ridge, which separates the Nazca plate from the Antarctic plate, started ca. 15-14 Ma at the southern tip of Patagonia (55°S latitude). The northwards migration of the Chile Triple Junction induces the subduction of several segments especially around 46°S latitude. There, three segments subducted at ca. 6, 3 and 0.3 Ma, leading to the formation of a large asthenospheric slab-window beneath Central Patagonia. Contemporaneously, the Central Patagonia reliefs are undergoing major glacial events since at least 7 Ma. These events are evidenced to the east of the Central Patagonian morphotectonic front within perched relict surfaces. Inset in these perched glacial surfaces are found mid-Pleistocene glacial valleys, as the Lake General Carrera-Buenos Aires amphitheatre (LGCBA), which formed between 1.1 Ma and 16 ka. We used the relationships between the glacial valleys and the volcanism associated with the asthenospheric slab-window to better constraints the structural evolution of the Patagonian Cordillera related to the subduction of the Chili active spreading Ridge. The present work focused within two well-preserved perched flat surfaces named Meseta del Lago Buenos Aires and Meseta del Cerro Galera: (i) The meseta del Lago Buenos Aires defines a plateau made of interbedded units of tills and lavas dated between 12 Ma and 3 Ma. The top surface of the meseta, ˜2000 meters high is dated at 3 Ma, and is shaped by four NE-SW trending glacial lobes characterized with kettles, lineations and moraines. The glacial valleys are beheaded westwards and define perched valleys 200 to 400 meters higher than the western Cordillera. This suggests recent vertical movement along N160 extensive/transtensive corridor located between the morphotectonic

  19. Is plate tectonics needed to evolve technological species on exoplanets?

    Directory of Open Access Journals (Sweden)

    Robert J. Stern

    2016-07-01

    Full Text Available As we continue searching for exoplanets, we wonder if life and technological species capable of communicating with us exists on any of them. As geoscientists, we can also wonder how important is the presence or absence of plate tectonics for the evolution of technological species. This essay considers this question, focusing on tectonically active rocky (silicate planets, like Earth, Venus, and Mars. The development of technological species on Earth provides key insights for understanding evolution on exoplanets, including the likely role that plate tectonics may play. An Earth-sized silicate planet is likely to experience several tectonic styles over its lifetime, as it cools and its lithosphere thickens, strengthens, and becomes denser. These include magma ocean, various styles of stagnant lid, and perhaps plate tectonics. Abundant liquid water favors both life and plate tectonics. Ocean is required for early evolution of diverse single-celled organisms, then colonies of cells which specialized further to form guts, appendages, and sensory organisms up to the complexity of fish (central nervous system, appendages, eyes. Large expanses of dry land also begin in the ocean, today produced above subduction zones in juvenile arcs and by their coalescence to form continents, although it is not clear that plate tectonics was required to create continental crust on Earth. Dry land of continents is required for further evolution of technological species, where modification of appendages for grasping and manipulating, and improvement of eyes and central nervous system could be perfected. These bioassets allowed intelligent creatures to examine the night sky and wonder, the beginning of abstract thinking, including religion and science. Technology arises from the exigencies of daily living such as tool-making, agriculture, clothing, and weapons, but the pace of innovation accelerates once it is allied with science. Finally, the importance of plate

  20. The Start of Plate Tectonics in the Eoarchean: A Tribute to Gilbert N Hanson, Pioneer in Archean Geochemistry

    Science.gov (United States)

    Shirey, S. B.; Kamber, B. S.; Whitehouse, M. J.; Mueller, P. A.; Basu, A. R.

    2007-05-01

    The use of isotopic and trace element geochemistry and igneous petrology to understand the petrogenesis of Archean rocks was pioneered by Gilbert Hanson and Joseph Arth at SUNY Stony Brook in the 1970's. Extension of these approaches allows the onset of plate tectonics on Earth shortly after the end of the Hadean to be specified. Nb/Th and Th/U ratios of mafic-ultramafic rocks from the depleted upper mantle begin to change from 7 to 18.2 and 4.7 to 2.9 (respectively) at 3.6 Ga. This signals the appearance of subduction-altered slabs in general mantle circulation from subduction initiated at 3.8 Ga. Juvenile crustal rocks begin to show derivation from progressively depleted mantle with typical igneous ɛNd:ɛHf = 1:2 after 3.6 Ga. Cratons with stable mantle keels that have subduction imprints begin to appear at 3.5 Ga. These changes all suggest that extraction of continental crust by plate tectonic processes was progressively depleting the mantle from 3.6 Ga onwards. Neoarchean subduction appears largely analogous to present subduction except in being able to produce large cratons with thick mantle keels. The earliest Eoarchean juvenile rocks and Hadean zircons have compositions that reflect the integrated effects of separation of an early enriched reservoir and fractionation of perovskite from the Mars-size impact-derived magma ocean, rather than separation of voluminous continental crust or oceanic plate tectonics. Hadean zircons most likely were derived from a continent-absent, mafic to ultramafic protocrust that was multiply remelted between 4.4 and 4.0 Ga under wet conditions to produce evolved felsic rocks. If the protocrust was produced by global mantle overturn at ca 4.4 Ga, then the transition to plate tectonics resulted from radioactive decay-driven mantle heating. Otherwise, such protocrust would have been the typical product of mantle convection and the transition to plate tectonics resulted from cooling to the extent that large lithospheric plates

  1. The Elephants' Graveyard: Constraints from Mantle Plumes on the Fate of Subducted Slabs and Implications for the Style of Mantle Convection

    Science.gov (United States)

    Lassiter, J. C.

    2007-12-01

    The style of mantle convection (e.g., layered- vs. whole-mantle convection) is one of the most hotly contested questions in the Geological Sciences. Geochemical arguments for and against mantle layering have largely focused on mass-balance evidence for the existence of "hidden" geochemical reservoirs. However, the size and location of such reservoirs are largely unconstrained, and most geochemical arguments for mantle layering are consistent with a depleted mantle comprising most of the mantle mass and a comparatively small volume of enriched, hidden material either within D" or within seismically anomalous "piles" beneath southern Africa and the South Pacific. The mass flux associated with subduction of oceanic lithosphere is large and plate subduction is an efficient driver of convective mixing in the mantle. Therefore, the depth to which oceanic lithosphere descends into the mantle is effectively the depth of the upper mantle in any layered mantle model. Numerous geochemical studies provide convincing evidence that many mantle plumes contain material which at one point resided close to the Earth's surface (e.g., recycled oceanic crust ± sediments, possibly subduction-modified mantle wedge material). Fluid dynamic models further reveal that only the central cores of mantle plumes are involved in melt generation. The presence of recycled material in the sources of many ocean island basalts therefore cannot be explained by entrainment of this material during plume ascent, but requires that recycled material resides within or immediately above the thermo-chemical boundary layer(s) that generates mantle plumes. More recent Os- isotope studies of mantle xenoliths from OIB settings reveal the presence not only of recycled crust in mantle plumes, but also ancient melt-depleted harzburgite interpreted to represent ancient recycled oceanic lithosphere [1]. Thus, there is increasing evidence that subducted slabs accumulate in the boundary layer(s) that provide the source

  2. Reducing risk where tectonic plates collide

    Science.gov (United States)

    Gomberg, Joan S.; Ludwig, Kristin A.

    2017-06-19

    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.

  3. A 3-D shear velocity model of the southern North American and Caribbean plates from ambient noise and earthquake tomography

    Science.gov (United States)

    Gaite, B.; Villaseñor, A.; Iglesias, A.; Herraiz, M.; Jiménez-Munt, I.

    2015-02-01

    We use group velocities from earthquake tomography together with group and phase velocities from ambient noise tomography (ANT) of Rayleigh waves to invert for the 3-D shear-wave velocity structure (5-70 km) of the Caribbean (CAR) and southern North American (NAM) plates. The lithospheric model proposed offers a complete image of the crust and uppermost-mantle with imprints of the tectonic evolution. One of the most striking features inferred is the main role of the Ouachita-Marathon-Sonora orogeny front on the crustal seismic structure of the NAM plate. A new imaged feature is the low crustal velocities along the USA-Mexico border. The model also shows a break of the east-west mantle velocity dichotomy of the NAM and CAR plates beneath the Isthmus of the Tehuantepec and the Yucatan Block. High upper-mantle velocities along the Mesoamerican Subduction Zone coincide with inactive volcanic areas while the lowest velocities correspond to active volcanic arcs and thin lithospheric mantle regions.

  4. Review of subduction and its association with geothermal system in Sumatera-Java

    Science.gov (United States)

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

    2017-12-01

    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.

  5. Great earthquakes hazard in slow subduction zones

    Science.gov (United States)

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

    2008-12-01

    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

  6. The South Sandwich "Forgotten" Subduction Zone and Tsunami Hazard in the South Atlantic

    Science.gov (United States)

    Okal, E. A.; Hartnady, C. J. H.; Synolakis, C. E.

    2009-04-01

    While no large interplate thrust earthquakes are know at the "forgotten" South Sandwich subduction zone, historical catalogues include a number of events with reported magnitudes 7 or more. A detailed seismological study of the largest event (27 June 1929; M (G&R) = 8.3) is presented. The earthquake relocates 80 km North of the Northwestern corner of the arc and its mechanism, inverted using the PDFM method, features normal faulting on a steeply dipping fault plane (phi, delta, lambda = 71, 70, 272 deg. respectively). The seismic moment of 1.7*10**28 dyn*cm supports Gutenberg and Richter's estimate, and is 28 times the largest shallow CMT in the region. This event is interpreted as representing a lateral tear in the South Atlantic plate, comparable to similar earthquakes in Samoa and Loyalty, deemed "STEP faults" by Gover and Wortel [2005]. Hydrodynamic simulations were performed using the MOST method [Titov and Synolakis, 1997]. Computed deep-water tsunami amplitudes of 30cm and 20cm were found off the coast of Brazil and along the Gulf of Guinea (Ivory Coast, Ghana) respectively. The 1929 moment was assigned to the geometries of other know earthquakes in the region, namely outer-rise normal faulting events at the center of the arc and its southern extremity, and an interplate thrust fault at the Southern corner, where the youngest lithosphere is subducted. Tsunami hydrodynamic simulation of these scenarios revealed strong focusing of tsunami wave energy by the SAR, the SWIOR and the Agulhas Rise, in Ghana, Southern Mozambique and certain parts of the coast of South Africa. This study documents the potential tsunami hazard to South Atlantic shorelines from earthquakes in this region, principally normal faulting events.

  7. A model for the termination of the Ryukyu subduction zone against Taiwan: A junction of collision, subduction/separation, and subduction boundaries

    Science.gov (United States)

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

    2009-01-01

    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.

  8. Ultra-slow spreading ridges: a response to the interplay between mantle convection and plate tectonics

    Science.gov (United States)

    Husson, Laurent; Yamato, Philippe; Bezos, Antoine

    2014-05-01

    Ultra-slow spreading ridges such as the South West Indian ridge or the Arctic ridge system are oddities amongst oceanic ridges. Conversely to faster oceanic ridges, petrographic and seafloor studies have shown that they are characterized by low melt supply and present low crustal thicknesses and heat flow; these features are interpreted as an evidence for a cooler sublithospheric mantle. In cartoonish sketches of plate tectonics, ridges open above upwellings, subduction zones occur over downwellings, and plates are riding over the mantle convection cells. In this study, we designed a simple yet dynamically consistent thermal convection model to test the impact of far-field forces on spreading ridges and show that this pattern is disrupted by plate tectonics. In particular, continental collisions modulate the spreading rates because resisting forces build up at plate boundaries. As a consequence, this modifies the surface boundary conditions and therefore the underlying mantle flow. We show that the ideal convection cell pattern quickly breaks down when plate motion is impeded by continental collisions in the far field. Not only the decreasing spreading rates are diagnostic, but in the same time, (i) the heat flow is decreasing at the ridge, (ii) the thermal structure of the cooling lithosphere no longer matches the cooling half-space model, and (iii) the mantle temperature beneath the ridge drops by more than 100 degrees. We compare our model predictions to available observables and show that this simple mechanism explains the atypical thermo-mechanical evolution of the South West Indian ridge and Arctic ridge system. Last, the recent S wave seismic tomography model of Debayle and Ricard (2012) reveals that only away from those two ridges does lithospheric thickening departs from the half-space cooling model, in accord with our model predictions.

  9. Viscous Dissipation and Criticality of Subducting Slabs

    Science.gov (United States)

    Riedel, Mike; Karato, Shun; Yuen, Dave

    2016-04-01

    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

  10. Seismic reflection imaging of two megathrust shear zones in the northern Cascadia subduction zone.

    Science.gov (United States)

    Calvert, Andrew J

    2004-03-11

    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.

  11. Geotectonic Elements, Stuctural Constraints and Current Problems for a Kinematic Reconstruction of the Caribbean Plate Margins during the Cretaceous.

    Science.gov (United States)

    Giunta, G.

    2001-12-01

    In the Caribbean Plate deformed margins are found relics of the Mid to Late Cretaceous eo-Caribbean tectonic phases, indicating the occurrence of sub-continental subduction zones with melange formation, and HP/LT metamorphism of ophiolitic rocks, and two main stages of intraoceanic subductions involving the unthickened proto-Caribbean oceanic lithosphere and/or supra-subduction complexes. These two stages are marked by the occurrence of (a) HP/LT metamorphic ophiolites and volcano-plutonic sequences with island-arc tholeiitic (IAT) or calc-alkaline (CA) affinities; (b) unmetamorphosed tonalitic intrusions of CA affinity below the proto-Caribbean thickened oceanic plateau. Since the Late Cretaceous the kinematics of the Caribbean Plate is closely related to the eastward drifting of the proto-Caribbean oceanic plateau (Colombia and Venezuela Basins) that produced both a diachronous tonalitic magmatism from 85-82 Ma, associated with a westward dipping oblique subduction of the proto-Caribbean-Atlantic ocean floor below the plateau, and an opposite dismembering of subduction complexes, of different ages along an E-W trend (North and South Caribbean Margins). This seems to be the consequence of the eastward shifting of both the northern and southern triple junctions, while allowing further bending of the Aves- Lesser Antilles arc. Moreover, the Caribbean oceanic plateau was trapped by different rotation rates of the Chortis, Chorotega and Choco blocks, during the construction of the western plate margin (Central American Isthmus). The previous Mid-Late Cretaceous eo-Caribbean evolution, correspondent to the beginning of the compressional conditions in Central America area, is characterized by sub-continental and/or intraoceanic subduction systems with associated IAT and CA arc magmatism. This simplified kinematic approach falls short in explaining (1) the Early Cretaceous paleogeography and morphology of the margins of the North, South American continents and minor

  12. Asthenospheric outflow from the shrinking Philippine Sea Plate: Evidence from Hf-Nd isotopes of southern Mariana lavas

    Science.gov (United States)

    Ribeiro, Julia M.; Stern, Robert J.; Martinez, Fernando; Woodhead, Jon; Chen, Min; Ohara, Yasuhiko

    2017-11-01

    At subduction zones, sinking of the downgoing lithosphere is thought to enable a return flow of asthenospheric mantle around the slab edges, so that the asthenosphere from underneath the slab invades the ambient mantle flowing underneath the volcanic arc and the backarc basin. For instance at the northern end of the Lau Basin, trench retreat and slab rollback enable toroidal return flow of Samoan mantle beneath a transform margin to provide a supply of fresh, undepleted Indian mantle that feeds the backarc spreading center. Questions, however, arise about the sense of mantle flow when plate kinematics predict that the trench is advancing, as seen in the Mariana convergent margin. Does the mantle flow in or does it escape outward through slab tears or gaps? Here, we address the origin and sense of asthenospheric mantle flow supplying the southern Mariana convergent margin, a region of strong extension occurring above the subducting Pacific plate. Does the asthenosphere flow northward, from underneath the Pacific plate and Caroline hotspot through a slab tear or gap, or does it flow outward from the Mariana Trough, which possesses a characteristic Indian Ocean isotopic signature? To address these questions, we integrate geodetic data along with new Hf-Nd isotopic data for fresh basaltic lavas from three tectonic provinces in the southernmost Marianas: the Fina Nagu volcanic complex, the Malaguana-Gadao backarc spreading ridge and the SE Mariana forearc rift. Our results indicate that Indian mantle flows outward and likely escapes through slab tears or gaps to accommodate shrinking of the Philippine Sea plate. We thus predict that asthenospheric flow around the Pacific slab at the southern Mariana Trench is opposite to that predicted by most subduction-driven mantle flow models.

  13. Imaging Canary Island hotspot material beneath the lithosphere of Morocco and southern Spain

    Science.gov (United States)

    Miller, Meghan S.; O'Driscoll, Leland J.; Butcher, Amber J.; Thomas, Christine

    2015-12-01

    The westernmost Mediterranean has developed into its present day tectonic configuration as a result of complex interactions between late stage subduction of the Neo-Tethys Ocean, continental collision of Africa and Eurasia, and the Canary Island mantle plume. This study utilizes S receiver functions (SRFs) from over 360 broadband seismic stations to seismically image the lithosphere and uppermost mantle from southern Spain through Morocco and the Canary Islands. The lithospheric thickness ranges from ∼65 km beneath the Atlas Mountains and the active volcanic islands to over ∼210 km beneath the cratonic lithosphere in southern Morocco. The common conversion point (CCP) volume of the SRFs indicates that thinned lithosphere extends from beneath the Canary Islands offshore southwestern Morocco, to beneath the continental lithosphere of the Atlas Mountains, and then thickens abruptly at the West African craton. Beneath thin lithosphere between the Canary hot spot and southern Spain, including below the Atlas Mountains and the Alboran Sea, there are distinct pockets of low velocity material, as inferred from high amplitude positive, sub-lithospheric conversions in the SRFs. These regions of low seismic velocity at the base of the lithosphere extend beneath the areas of Pliocene-Quaternary magmatism, which has been linked to a Canary hotspot source via geochemical signatures. However, we find that this volume of low velocity material is discontinuous along strike and occurs only in areas of recent volcanism and where asthenospheric mantle flow is identified with shear wave splitting analyses. We propose that the low velocity structure beneath the lithosphere is material flowing sub-horizontally northeastwards beneath Morocco from the tilted Canary Island plume, and the small, localized volcanoes are the result of small-scale upwellings from this material.

  14. Geomorphologic Indices for Transition from Subduction to Arc-Continent Collision in Sumba Island, Indonesia

    Science.gov (United States)

    Authemayou, C.; Delcaillau, B.; Brocard, G. Y.; Molliex, S.; Nexer, M.; Pedoja, K.

    2014-12-01

    The Sumba Island lies in a key area to study the eastern Indonesia geodynamics. It is located in the Sunda-Banda fore-arc in the area of transition from subduction of the Indian oceanic lithosphere (W) beneath the Sunda-Banda arc to arc-continent collision between the Australian continental margin and the Sunda-Banda arc (E). East of the Sumba Island, the western boundary of the Savu basin originated during Middle Miocene by the southeastward slab retreat below the Sunda-Banda arc (Rigg and Hall, 2001). Previous studies has detected a global uplift of the island accommodating the Australian plate - South West Banda Arc convergence (Fleury et al., 2009). This uplift is associated with northeastward tilting and gravitational collapse to the South. Analyses of various geomorphic markers (perched low relief landscapes, rockyshore platform, coral reef terraces, drainages) and of morphometric indices allowed us to localise new structures (faults and folds), to determine the chronology of their activation and to better constraint the uplift history of Sumba Island. These results aim to understand the evolution of the deformation in Sumba Island in regard with its geodynamic context from Middle Miocene to present-day.

  15. 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

    2015-01-01

    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.

  16. The Modern Gorda-Juan de Fuca Subduction System and the Inherited Stratification of the Transition Zone below Western US

    Science.gov (United States)

    Tauzin, B.; van der Hilst, R. D.; Wittlinger, G.; Ricard, Y. R.

    2012-12-01

    We provide insights on the deep geodynamic processes that have shaped western North America (NA) during the past 100 Myr. We use data of P-to-S converted waves recorded at seismic stations of the US Transportable Array to image main discontinuities in shear-wave velocity within the transition zone (TZ). We measure the topography and the reflectance (i.e. the amplitude of conversion) of the `410' and `660' interfaces. We image also minor seismic discontinuities around 350, 590 and 630 km depths. Idaho is the location of strong structural anomalies with a sharp topography of the `660', a thick TZ, a reduced reflectance of the `410' and a positive interface at 630 km depth. The thick TZ and the `630' discontinuity suggest low temperatures and a possible garnet to ilmenite transition. Water could also reduce locally the `410' Vs contrast. A remnant of the Farallon plate, anchored 55 Myr ago in the mantle below Idaho [Schmandt and Humphreys, 2011] and providing cool temperatures and water to the TZ, is a possible explanation. At the same location, a layer with 4% shear-wave speed reduction (the `350') and 70 km thickness is present atop the `410' discontinuity. In addition, an almost continuous interface, marking shear wave velocity reductions, spreads at 590 km depth roughly from southern Idaho to southeastern western US. Dehydration induced partial melting [Bercovici and Karato, 2003] can explain a melt layer atop the `410'. However, it does not explain a widespread negative `590' discontinuity within the TZ. It is possible that eclogitic material has progressively accumulated at the base of the TZ due to crustal delamination from the subducted Farallon oceanic lithosphere. With low Vs, the top of a garnetite layer could produce sharp negative velocity gradients around 590 km depth. The geometry of the Gorda-Juan de Fuca subduction system is also subject to debate. Tomography has shown the plate to subduct in the mantle along the whole western margin of NA except

  17. Characterizing Seismic Anisotropy across the Peruvian Flat-Slab Subduction Zone: Implications for the Dynamics of Flat-Slabs

    Science.gov (United States)

    Eakin, Caroline; Long, Maureen; Beck, Susan; Wagner, Lara; Tavera, Hernando

    2014-05-01

    Although 10% of subduction zones worldwide today exhibit shallow or flat subduction, we are yet to fully understand how and why these slabs go flat. An excellent study location for such a problem is in Peru, where the largest region of flat-subduction currently exists, extending ~1500 km in length (from 3 °S to 15 °S) and ~300 km in width. Across this region we investigate the pattern of seismic anisotropy, an indicator for past and/or ongoing deformation in the upper mantle. To achieve this we conduct shear wave splitting analyzes at 40 broadband stations from the PULSE project (PerU Lithosphere and Slab Experiment). These stations were deployed for 2+ years across the southern half of the Peruvian flat-slab region. We present detailed shear wave splitting results for both teleseismic events (such as SKS, SKKS, PKS, sSKS) that sample the upper mantle column beneath the stations as well as direct S from local events that constrain anisotropy in the upper portion of the subduction zone. We analyze the variability of our results with respect to initial polarizations, ray paths, and frequency content as well as spatial variability between stations as the underlying slab morphology changes. Teleseismic results show predominately NW-SE fast polarizations (trench oblique to sub-parallel) over the flat-slab region east of Lima. These results are consistent with observations of more complex multi-layered anisotropy beneath a nearby permanent station (NNA) that suggests a trench-perpendicular fast direction in the lowest layer in the sub-slab mantle. Further south, towards the transition to steeper subduction, the splitting pattern becomes increasingly dominated by null measurements. Over to the east however, beyond Cuzco, where the mantle wedge might begin to play a role, we record fast polarizations quasi-parallel to the local slab contours. Local S results indicate the presence of weak (delay times typically less than 0.5 seconds) and heterogeneous supra

  18. Geoid anomalies in the vicinity of subduction zones

    Science.gov (United States)

    Mcadoo, D. C.

    1981-01-01

    In the considered investigation, attention is given to the line source model, a surface source model, an application of the model, and a model of the thermal lithosphere associated with marginal basins. It is found that undulations in the altimetrically observed geoid of the southwest Pacific are strongly controlled by positive density anomalies in the subducting slabs of the region and the effects of elevation of the geotherm in behind arc lithosphere (corresponding to young marginal basins). Finer details of slab geometry do not obviously manifest themselves in the observed geoid. Such gravitational effects are quite attenuated at sea level and are apparently mixed with crustal effects, oceanographic noise, etc. It appears that slabs in global composite may contribute substantially to intermediate and long wavelength portions (down to spherical harmonic degree 3 or 4) of the earth's gravity field.

  19. Plume-subduction interaction forms large auriferous provinces.

    Science.gov (United States)

    Tassara, Santiago; González-Jiménez, José M; Reich, Martin; Schilling, Manuel E; Morata, Diego; Begg, Graham; Saunders, Edward; Griffin, William L; O'Reilly, Suzanne Y; Grégoire, Michel; Barra, Fernando; Corgne, Alexandre

    2017-10-10

    Gold enrichment at the crustal or mantle source has been proposed as a key ingredient in the production of giant gold deposits and districts. However, the lithospheric-scale processes controlling gold endowment in a given metallogenic province remain unclear. Here we provide the first direct evidence of native gold in the mantle beneath the Deseado Massif in Patagonia that links an enriched mantle source to the occurrence of a large auriferous province in the overlying crust. A precursor stage of mantle refertilisation by plume-derived melts generated a gold-rich mantle source during the Early Jurassic. The interplay of this enriched mantle domain and subduction-related fluids released during the Middle-Late Jurassic resulted in optimal conditions to produce the ore-forming magmas that generated the gold deposits. Our study highlights that refertilisation of the subcontinental lithospheric mantle is a key factor in forming large metallogenic provinces in the Earth's crust, thus providing an alternative view to current crust-related enrichment models.The lithospheric controls on giant gold deposits remain unclear. Here, the authors show evidence for native gold in the mantle from the Deseado Massif in Patagonia demonstrating that refertilisation of the lithospheric mantle is key in forming metallogenic provinces.

  20. Cascadia subduction tremor muted by crustal faults

    Science.gov (United States)

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

    2017-01-01

    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.

  1. A fictitious domain method for fluid/solid coupling applied to the lithosphere/asthenosphere interaction.

    Science.gov (United States)

    Cerpa, Nestor; Hassani, Riad; Gerbault, Muriel

    2014-05-01

    A large variety of geodynamical problems can be viewed as a solid/fluid interaction problem coupling two bodies with different physics. In particular the lithosphere/asthenosphere mechanical interaction in subduction zones belongs to this kind of problem, where the solid lithosphere is embedded in the asthenospheric viscous fluid. In many fields (Industry, Civil Engineering,etc.), in which deformations of solid and fluid are "small", numerical modelers consider the exact discretization of both domains and fit as well as possible the shape of the interface between the two domains, solving the discretized physic problems by the Finite Element Method (FEM). Although, in a context of subduction, the lithosphere is submitted to large deformation, and can evolve into a complex geometry, thus leading to important deformation of the surrounding asthenosphere. To alleviate the precise meshing of complex geometries, numerical modelers have developed non-matching interface methods called Fictitious Domain Methods (FDM). The main idea of these methods is to extend the initial problem to a bigger (and simpler) domain. In our version of FDM, we determine the forces at the immersed solid boundary required to minimize (at the least square sense) the difference between fluid and solid velocities at this interface. This method is first-order accurate and the stability depends on the ratio between the fluid background mesh size and the interface discretization. We present the formulation and provide benchmarks and examples showing the potential of the method : 1) A comparison with an analytical solution of a viscous flow around a rigid body. 2) An experiment of a rigid sphere sinking in a viscous fluid (in two and three dimensional cases). 3) A comparison with an analog subduction experiment. Another presentation aims at describing the geodynamical application of this method to Andean subduction dynamics, studying cyclic slab folding on the 660 km discontinuity, and its relationship

  2. Arc and backarc geochemical signatures of the proto-Philippine Sea Plate: Insights from the petrography and geochemistry of the Samar Ophiolite volcanic section

    Science.gov (United States)

    Guotana, Juan Miguel R.; Payot, Betchaida D.; Dimalanta, Carla B.; Ramos, Noelynna T.; Faustino-Eslava, Decibel V.; Queaño, Karlo L.; Yumul, Graciano P.

    2017-07-01

    Remnants of a Cretaceous lithosphere are found at the peripheries of the West Philippine Basin. These Mesozoic fragments preserve arc affinity and include the Amami Plateau, the East Halmahera Ophiolite and the ophiolites along the eastern margin of the Philippine archipelago. The eastern margin of the Philippines is composed of Early to Late Cretaceous ophiolites and ophiolitic complexes that exhibit strong subduction imprints. The early Late Cretaceous Samar Ophiolite in the central Philippines forms part of this eastern belt. Recent surveys in southern Samar revealed the presence of peridotites, gabbros, and massive and pillowed flows of the Samar Ophiolite. Major, trace and rare earth element signatures of the volcanic rock samples indicate moderate to strong subduction-related influences and formation in an island arc setting. In contrast to other similarly-aged ophiolites along the eastern margin of the archipelago, those to the north of Samar Island exhibit weak to almost mid-oceanic ridge characteristics. These differences in the geochemical signatures of the ophiolites and ophiolitic complexes along eastern Philippines require a re-evaluation of a previous model suggesting that these ophiolites originated from a single oceanic lithosphere, possibly the proto-Philippine Sea Plate.

  3. THE POTENTIAL OF TSUNAMI GENERATION ALONG THE MAKRAN SUBDUCTION ZONE IN THE NORTHERN ARABIAN SEA. CASE STUDY: THE EARTHQUAKE AND TSUNAMI OF NOVEMBER 28, 1945

    Directory of Open Access Journals (Sweden)

    George Pararas-Carayannis

    2006-01-01

    Full Text Available Although large earthquakes along the Makran Subduction Zone are infrequent, the potential for the generation of destructive tsunamis in the Northern Arabian Sea cannot be overlooked. It is quite possible that historical tsunamis in this region have not been properly reported or documented. Such past tsunamis must have affected Southern Pakistan, India, Iran, Oman, the Maldives and other countries bordering the Indian Ocean.The best known of the historical tsunamis in the region is the one generated by the great earthquake of November 28, 1945 off Pakistan's Makran Coast (Balochistan in the Northern Arabian Sea. The destructive tsunami killed more than 4,000 people in Southern Pakistan but also caused great loss of life and devastation along the coasts of Western India, Iran, Oman and possibly elsewhere.The seismotectonics of the Makran subduction zone, historical earthquakes in the region, the recent earthquake of October 8, 2005 in Northern Pakistan, and the great tsunamigenic earthquakes of December 26, 2004 and March 28, 2005, are indicative of the active tectonic collision process that is taking place along the entire southern and southeastern boundary of the Eurasian plate as it collides with the Indian plate and adjacent microplates. Tectonic stress transference to other, stress loaded tectonic regions could trigger tsunamigenic earthquakes in the Northern Arabian Sea in the future.The northward movement and subduction of the Oman oceanic lithosphere beneath the Iranian micro-plate at a very shallow angle and at the high rate is responsible for active orogenesis and uplift that has created a belt of highly folded and densely faulted coastal mountain ridges along the coastal region of Makran, in both the Balochistan and Sindh provinces. The same tectonic collision process has created offshore thrust faults. As in the past, large destructive tsunamigenic earthquakes can occur along major faults in the east Makran region, near Karachi, as

  4. Mountain building, from subduction to collision and erosion: insights from 30 years of field and analog modeling studies (Stephan Mueller Medal Lecture)

    Science.gov (United States)

    Malavieille, J.

    2012-04-01

    Through a rapid overview of my research career, I will outline the role of the primary mechanisms and processes, which exert a strong control on mountain building. Field observations (both from structural geology on-land and marine geophysical surveys at sea), and analog modeling are the two main approaches that I used and developed during more than 30 years of research studying mountain belts at Montpellier University. The substantial contributions made through collaborations and exchanges with colleagues and students will be acknowledged. As mountain belts are long lived structures, their evolution involves numerous processes that interact since the early history, beginning during oceanic subduction and ending during the late orogenic evolution which leads to erosion and the ultimate destruction of topography. Most orogens form in subduction settings due to plate convergence involving large horizontal shortening and strong deformation of the crust developing into an overall wedge shape during their evolution. I will focus on orogens caused by subduction of a continental margin lower-plate under an oceanic or continental upper-plate following oceanic subduction, a process also commonly known as collision. After development of a sedimentary accretionary prism and closure of the oceanic domain, continuous subduction of the lithospheric mantle induces deformation of the continental crust and controls the structural asymmetry of the mountain belt. Since the pioneer works by Dahlen, Davis and Suppe in the Eighties, mountain belts have been often considered by geologists as crustal scale accretionary wedges whose deformation mechanisms can be satisfactorily described by a Coulomb behavior. The theory offers a simple mechanical framework allowing a division into different tectonic regimes depending on wedge stability : critical, undercritical, overcritical. Since then, it has been shown that orogens commonly adopt a distinct geometry with a low-tapered pro-wedge facing

  5. Thermal implications of the cessation of subduction in the Sierra Nevada and Baja- California arcs

    Science.gov (United States)

    Erkan, K.; Blackwell, D. D.

    2006-12-01

    The thermal regime in the extinct Sierra Nevada arc has undergone substantial transformation as a result of the cessation of subduction in the last 30 My. The dynamic mechanism of cooling in the arc has been replaced by re-equilibration of the lithosphere toward continental averages. Preliminary 1D thermal models reveal that the effect of asthenospheric heating at the bottom do not lead to credible changes in the lithospheric temperatures for a 30 My years period in terms of surface manifestations. In the Great Valley, neither the topography nor the surface heat flow show considerable variations before and after the cessation of subduction. On the other hand, Sierra Nevada has experienced substantial uplift in the post subduction California. In the Sierra Nevada, the surface heat flow lags deep temperature response but the topography responds directly to temperatures at depth. As the end of subduction migrated north with the Mendocino triple junction, the dynamic equilibrium between the cold Sierra Nevada and Basin and Range has been upset and the high temperatures of Basin and Range started to invade the Sierra Nevada lithosphere. Our 2D thermal model reveals that conductive heating of the Sierran lithosphere by the hot Basin and Range lithosphere could be the dominant source for the tilted uplift in the Sierra Nevada. The heating from the bottom is likely not very effective in Sierra Nevada as no uplift is observed in the neighboring Great Valley region. The thermal uplift due to Basin and Range heating is substantial at the east edge of the Sierra Nevada and decreases rapidly toward the west. The uplift as far as 100 km toward west could be accommodated by flexural bending of the cold Sierra Nevada lithosphere as the eastern edge thermally expanded. A similar thermo-tectonic scenario could explain the westward tilted Baja-California peninsular ranges which were part of the same tectonic setting of the Sierra Nevada during subduction. We also investigated the

  6. The latest geodynamics in Asia: Synthesis of data on volcanic evolution, lithosphere motion, and mantle velocities in the Baikal-Mongolian region

    Directory of Open Access Journals (Sweden)

    Sergei Rasskazov

    2017-07-01

    Full Text Available From a synthesis of data on volcanic evolution, movement of the lithosphere, and mantle velocities in the Baikal-Mongolian region, we propose a comprehensive model for deep dynamics of Asia that assumes an important role of the Gobi, Baikal, and North Transbaikal transition-layer melting anomalies. This layer was distorted by lower-mantle fluxes at the beginning of the latest geodynamic stage (i.e. in the early late Cretaceous due to avalanches of slab material that were stagnated beneath the closed fragments of the Solonker, Ural-Mongolian paleoceans and Mongol-Okhotsk Gulf of Paleo-Pacific. At the latest geodynamic stage, Asia was involved in east–southeast movement, and the Pacific plate moved in the opposite direction with subduction under Asia. The weakened upper mantle region of the Gobi melting anomaly provided a counterflow connected with rollback in the Japan Sea area. These dynamics resulted in the formation of the Honshu-Korea flexure of the Pacific slab. A similar weakened upper mantle region of the North Transbaikal melting anomaly was associated with the formation of the Hokkaido-Amur flexure of the Pacific slab, formed due to progressive pull-down of the slab material into the transition layer in the direction of the Pacific plate and Asia convergence. The early–middle Miocene structural reorganization of the mantle processes in Asia resulted in the development of upper mantle low-velocity domains associated with the development of rifts and orogens. We propose that extension at the Baikal Rift was caused by deviator flowing mantle material, initiated under the moving lithosphere in the Baikal melting anomaly. Contraction at the Hangay orogen was created by facilitation of the tectonic stress transfer from the Indo-Asian interaction zone due to the low-viscosity mantle in the Gobi melting anomaly.

  7. Spatial variations of current tectonic stress field and its relationship to the structure and rheology of lithosphere around the Bohai Sea, North China

    Science.gov (United States)

    Li, Xianrui; Wang, Jie; Zeng, Zuoxun; Dai, Qingqin

    2017-05-01

    The tectonic stress field in the middle-upper crust is closely related to the structure and rheology of the lithosphere. To determine the stress field in the deep crust, we inversed the focal mechanism solutions (FMSs) of 62 earthquakes that occurred between 2009 and 2015 in the Bohai Sea and its surrounding areas using broadband seismic waveforms collected from 140 stations. We then derived the tectonic stress field using the software SATSI (Spatial And Temporal Stress Inversion) based on the damped linear inversion method. The inversion results show that both the maximum (σ1) and minimum (σ3) principle stress axes throughout the entire region are nearly horizontal except in the Tangshan and Haicheng areas, suggesting that the study area is predominantly under a strike-slip faulting stress regime. The σ1 and σ3 axes are found to be oriented in the NEE-SWW or nearly E-W and NNW-SSE or nearly S-N directions, respectively. These results indicate that the stress field in the North China Craton is controlled by the combined effects of the Pacific Plate westward subduction and the India-Eurasia Plate collision. However, localized normal faulting stress regimes (where the vertical stress σv ≈ σ1) are observed in the Tangshan and Haicheng areas, where low viscosity bodies (LVBs) were identified using geophysical data. Based on the analysis of focal mechanism solutions, active faults and lithosphere rheology characteristics in the Tangshan and Haicheng areas, we speculate that the anomalous stress regime is caused by the local extension resulting from the movement of strike-slip faults under the action of the regional stress field. The existence of LVB may indicate weakness in the crust that favors the accumulation of tectonic stress and triggers large earthquakes.

  8. A 3-D shear velocity model of the southern North America and the Caribbean plates from ambient noise and earthquake tomography

    Science.gov (United States)

    Gaite, B.; Villaseñor, A.; Iglesias, A.; Herraiz, M.; Jiménez-Munt, I.

    2014-10-01

    We use group velocities from earthquake tomography together with group and phase velocities from ambient noise tomography (ANT) of Rayleigh-waves to invert for the 3-D shear-wave velocity structure (5-70 km) of the Caribbean (CAR) and southern North American (NAM) plates. The lithospheric model proposed offers a complete image of the crust and uppermost-mantle with imprints of the tectonic evolution. One of the most striking features inferred is the main role of the Ouachita-Marathon-Sonora orogeny front on the crustal seismic structure of NAM plate. A new imaged feature is the low crustal velocities along USA-Mexico border. The model also shows a break of the E-W mantle velocity dichotomy of the NAM and CAR plates beneath the Isthmus of Tehuantepec and Yucatan Block. High upper-mantle velocities along the Mesoamerican Subduction Zone coincide with inactive volcanic areas while the lowest velocities correspond to active volcanic arcs and thin lithospheric mantle regions.

  9. Why lithospheric extension separated the Aegean from Turkey

    Science.gov (United States)

    Ring, U.; Gessner, K.; Thomson, S. N.; Markwitz, V.

    2015-12-01

    The Aegean Sea region in the eastern Mediterranean is one of the classic and best-studied extensional provinces. Inspired by recent 3D geodynamic models of laterally heterogeneous accretion during rollback we discuss the nature of the transition from the Aegean Sea basin (Hellenides) into the Anatolian plateau of west Turkey (Anatolides). The Hellenides and Anatolides experienced similar rates of convergence, but display remarkable differences in lithospheric structure. Whereas the Aegean is characterized by sustained high-pressure metamorphism followed by slab retreat since c. 60 Ma, a south verging greenschist-facies thrust-and-fold belt formed in the Anatolides since c. 45 Ma. Fission-track contour maps show that since c. 24 Ma extension in both regions evolved differently. Gravity data, earthquake locations and seismic velocity anomalies highlight a N-S oriented subvertical boundary in the upper mantle between a fast slab below the Aegean and a slow asthenospheric region below west Turkey, the West Anatolia Transfer Zone (WATZ). Our data support the hypothesis that the WATZ developed as a result of laterally inhomogeneous convergence along the boundary of the Adriatic and Anatolian lithospheres. 3D numerical simulations of laterally inhomogeneous convergence predict a similar evolution, where two distinct domains develop along strike: a region of distributed shortening where the systems gets congested by a microcontinent (Anatolides), and a region of extension associated with rollback of the active subduction zone (Hellenides). Strike-slip deformation concentrates perpendicular to the boundary of the two domains (WATZ). The numerical simulations also predict other salient features of regional geology and geodynamics, including the origin of a lithospheric window below west Turkey, local ocean floor topography, and the formation of the North Anatolian Fault zone. We argue that the seemingly complex tectonic evolution of the Aegean-Anatolian portion of the

  10. Did high Neo-Tethys subduction rates contribute to early Cenozoic warming?

    Science.gov (United States)

    Hoareau, G.; Bomou, B.; van Hinsbergen, D. J. J.; Carry, N.; Marquer, D.; Donnadieu, Y.; Le Hir, G.; Vrielynck, B.; Walter-Simonnet, A.-V.

    2015-12-01

    The 58-51 Ma interval was characterized by a long-term increase of global temperatures (+4 to +6 °C) up to the Early Eocene Climate Optimum (EECO, 52.9-50.7 Ma), the warmest interval of the Cenozoic. It was recently suggested that sustained high atmospheric pCO2, controlling warm early Cenozoic climate, may have been released during Neo-Tethys closure through the subduction of large amounts of pelagic carbonates and their recycling as CO2 at arc volcanoes. To analyze the impact of Neo-Tethys closure on early Cenozoic warming, we have modeled the volume of subducted sediments and the amount of CO2 emitted along the northern Tethys margin. The impact of calculated CO2 fluxes on global temperature during the early Cenozoic have then been tested using a climate carbon cycle model (GEOCLIM). We show that CO2 production may have reached up to 1.55 × 1018 mol Ma-1 specifically during the EECO, ~ 4 to 37 % higher that the modern global volcanic CO2 output, owing to a dramatic India-Asia plate convergence increase. The subduction of thick Greater Indian continental margin carbonate sediments at ~ 55-50 Ma may also have led to additional CO2 production of 3.35 × 1018 mol Ma-1 during the EECO, making a total of 85 % of the global volcanic CO2 outgassed. However, climate modeling demonstrates that timing of maximum CO2 release only partially fits with the EECO, and that corresponding maximum pCO2 values (750 ppm) and surface warming (+2 °C) do not reach values inferred from geochemical proxies, a result consistent with conclusions arising from modeling based on other published CO2 fluxes. These results demonstrate that CO2 derived from decarbonation of Neo-Tethyan lithosphere may have possibly contributed to, but certainly cannot account alone for early Cenozoic warming. Other commonly cited sources of excess CO2 such as enhanced igneous province volcanism also appear to be up to 1 order of magnitude below fluxes required by the model to fit with proxy data of pCO2 and

  11. Release of mineral-bound water prior to subduction tied to shallow seismogenic slip off Sumatra.

    Science.gov (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

    2017-05-26

    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.

  12. Louisville seamount subduction and its implication on mantle flow beneath the central Tonga-Kermadec arc.

    Science.gov (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

    2013-01-01

    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.

  13. Extensive decarbonation of continuously hydrated subducting slabs

    Science.gov (United States)

    Arzilli, Fabio; Burton, Mike; La Spina, Giuseppe; Macpherson, Colin G.

    2017-04-01

    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

  14. The dynamical control of subduction parameters on surface topography

    Science.gov (United States)

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

    2017-04-01

    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.

  15. Subducting characteristic of the Pacific slab beneath northeast China

    Science.gov (United States)

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

    2012-12-01

    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.

  16. Deformation of the central Andes (15-27 deg S) derived from a flow model of subduction zones

    Science.gov (United States)

    Wdowinski, Shimon; O'Connell, Richard J.

    1991-01-01

    A simple viscous flow model of a subduction zone is used to calculate the deformation within continental lithosphere above a subducting slab. This formulation accounts for two forces that dominate the deformation in the overriding lithosphere: tectonic forces and buoyancy forces. Numerical solutions, obtained by using a finite element technique, are compared with observations from the central Andes (15-27 deg S). The model predicts the observed deformation pattern of extension in the forearc, compression in the Western Monocline (corresponding to magmatic activity), extension in the Altiplano, compression in the Eastern Monocline and Subandes, and no deformation in the Brazilian Shield. By comparing the calculated solutions with the large-scale tectonic observations, the forces that govern the deformation in the central Andes are evaluated. The approximately constant subduction velocity in the past 26 million years suggests that the rate of crustal shortening in the Andes has decreased with time due to the thickening of the crust.

  17. The principal characteristics of the lithosphere of China

    Directory of Open Access Journals (Sweden)

    Tingdong Li

    2010-10-01

    Full Text Available The lithospheric structure of China and its adjacent area is very complex and is marked by several prominent characteristics. Firstly, China’s continental crust is thick in the west but thins to the east, and thick in the south but thins to the north. Secondly, the continental crust of the Qinghai–Tibet Plateau has an average thickness of 60–65 km with a maximum thickness of 80 km, whereas in eastern China the average thickness is 30–35 km, with a minimum thickness of only 5 km in the center of the South China Sea. The average thickness of continental crust in China is 47.6 km, which greatly exceeds the global average thickness of 39.2 km. Thirdly, as with the crust, the lithosphere of China and its adjacent areas shows a general pattern of thicker in the west and south, and thinner in the east and north. The lithosphere of the Qinghai–Tibet Plateau and northwestern China has an average thickness of 165 km, with a maximum thickness of 180–200 km in the central and eastern parts of the Tarim Basin, Pamir, and Changdu areas. In contrast, the vast areas to the east of the Da Hinggan Ling–Taihang–Wuling Mountains, including the marginal seas, are characterized by lithospheric thicknesses of only 50–85 km. Fourthly, in western China the lithosphere and asthenosphere behave as a “layered structure”, reflecting their dynamic background of plate collision and convergence. The lithosphere and asthenosphere in eastern China display a “block mosaic structure”, where the lithosphere is thin and the asthenosphere is very thick, a pattern reflecting the consequences of crustal extension and an upsurge of asthenospheric materials. The latter is responsible for a huge low velocity anomaly at a depth of 85–250 km beneath East Asia and the western Pacific Ocean. Finally, in China there is an age structure of “older in the upper layers and younger in the lower layers” between both the upper and lower crusts and between the

  18. METASOMATIC AND MAGMATIC PROCESSES IN THE MANTLE LITHOSPHERE OF THE BIREKTE TERRAIN OF THE SIBERIAN CRATON AND THEIR EFFECT ON THE LITHOSPHERE EVOLUTION

    Directory of Open Access Journals (Sweden)

    Lidia V. Solov’eva

    2015-01-01

    Full Text Available The area of studies covers the north-eastern part of the Siberian craton (the Birekte terrain, Russia. The influence of metasomatic and magmatic processes on the mantle lithosphere is studied based on results of analyses of phlogopite- and phlogopite-amphibole-containing deep-seated xenoliths from kimberlites of the Kuoika field. In the kimberlitic pipes, deep-seated xenoliths with mantle phlogopite- and phlogopite-amphibole mineralization are developed in two genetically different rock series: magnesian (Mg pyroxenite-peridotite series (with magnesian composition of rocks and minerals and phlogopite-ilmenite (Phl-Ilm hyperbasite series (with ferrous types of rocks and minerals. This paper is focused on issues of petrography and mineralogy of the xenoliths and describes the evidence of metasomatic / magmatic genesis of phlogopite and amphibole. We report here the first data set of 40Ar/39Ar age determinations for phlogopite from the rocks of the magnesian pyroxenite-peridotite series and the ferrous Phl-Ilm hyperbasite series.The Mg series is represented by a continuous transition of rocks from Sp, Sp-Grt, Grt clinopyroxenite and ortopyroxenite to websterite and lherzolite. Many researchers consider it as a layered intrusion in the mantle [Ukhanov et al., 1988; Solov’eva et al., 1994]. The mantle metasomatic phlogopite and amphibole are revealed in all petrographic types of the rocks in this series and compose transverse veins and irregular patchs at grain boundaries of primary minerals. At contacts of xenolith and its host kimberlite, grains of phlogopite and amphibole are often cut off, which gives an evidence of the development of metasomatic phlogopite-amphibole mineralization in the rocks before its’ entraiment into the kimberlite. In the xenoliths with exsolution pyroxene megacrystalls, comprising parallel plates of clino- and orthopyroxene ± garnet ± spinel (former high-temperature pigeonite [Solov’eva et al., 1994], the

  19. Deep electrical resistivity structure of Costa Rican Subduction Zone

    Science.gov (United States)

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

    2009-04-01

    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.

  20. Constraints of mapped and unfolded slabs on Oligocene to present-day Western Mediterranean plate reconstructions: potential role of north Iberia continental delamination

    Science.gov (United States)

    Lee, Yi-Te; Wu, Jonny; Wu, Yi-Min; Suppe, John; Sibuet, Jean-Claude; Chevrot, Sebastien

    2015-04-01

    Seismic tomographic images of subducted lithospheric remnants under the western Mediterranean have provided new constraints for Oligocene to present-day plate reconstructions. In this study, we mapped slabs under the western Mediterranean and Iberia from regional seismic tomography (Chevrot et al., 2014; Bezada et al., 2013) and from MITP08 global tomography (Li et al., 2008). A newly developed method was used to unfold (ie. structurally restore) the mapped slabs to a model spherical Earth surface, minimizing area and shape distortion. Slab constraints were input into plate tectonic reconstructions using Gplates software. Our mapping confirms the existence of western Mediterranean slabs including the Betic-Alboran, Algerian, and Calabrian slabs that were previously identified by Spakman and Wortel (2004). When unfolded these mapped slabs fit together in an Oligocene plate reconstruction, within tomographic resolution limits. Slab stretching was not required. Slab segmentation supports the existence of a North Balearic transform. Here we emphasize the potential importance for western Mediterranean tectonics of antoher slab under Iberia that we call the 'mid-Iberia slab'. This slab was first identified by Sibuet et al. (2004) and interpreted to be a Neotethyan suture. We have mapped this slab in detail from recent regional tomography (Chevrot et al., 2014). Our mapped slab is sub-vertical and strikes E-W under the southern margins of the Duero and Ebro basins. We newly interpret this slab to be delaminated northern Iberian continental lithosphere. We propose that continental delamination occurred during the Oligocene and produced uplifted Iberian Meseta topography, internally-drained basins, and high mean elevations that still persist today. We show how Oligocene northern Iberian continental delamination could have initiated subduction and rollback of the western Mediterranean

  1. Lithosphere Removal in the Central Andes: Reconciling Seismic Images and Elevation History

    Science.gov (United States)

    Henderson, O.; Currie, C. A.

    2015-12-01

    Shortening of the upper crust should be accompanied by thickening of the deeper lithosphere. However, for many orogens, including the central Andes, geophysical and geological observations indicate that mantle lithosphere is spatially heterogeneous, being anomalously thin or absent. Seismic studies of the central Andes suggest that mantle lithosphere is locally removed. Also, present day elevations of the central Andean Plateau have been explained by rapid removal of mantle lithosphere over the last 10 Ma. Yet, the geological record is innately incomplete, and seismic tomography and receiver functions can offer only a present day snapshot of the subsurface. None of these techniques provides concrete insight into the physical processes responsible for current Andean elevations (3-5 km). A 2D plane-strain thermo-mechanical code, SOPALE, is used to examine the deep lithospheric dynamics connected to mantle lithosphere removal within a subduction zone setting, such as the Andes. Three models have been tested: removal by viscous dripping, by delamination, and a model with no removal. The removal models contain a high density eclogite root, creating a contrast between mantle lithosphere and mantle material. For the viscous drip models, mantle lithosphere is removed within 2.5-5 Myrs, descending subvertically through the mantle, causing subsequent surface rebound. Prior to this rebound, surface topography subsides locally over the dense root. This subsidence is influenced by crustal rheology, where weaker crustal rheologies produce deep, narrower basins (25-75 km wide, ~1 km deep), and stronger crustal rheologies produce shallow, broader basins (300-400 km wide, ~0.5 km deep). Delamination, which involves the coherent removal of mantle lithosphere along the Moho, affects a larger region, and is reflected in broader basins that extend into the back-arc. In all models, the deep lithosphere dynamics have an appreciable effect on surface topography, therefore, removal events

  2. Does slab-window opening cause uplift of the overriding plate? A case study from the Gulf of California

    Science.gov (United States)

    Mark, Chris; Chew, David; Gupta, Sanjeev

    2017-11-01

    Complete subduction of an oceanic plate results in slab-window opening. A key uncertainty in this process is whether the higher heat flux and asthenospheric upwelling conventionally associated with slab-window opening generate a detectable topographic signature in the overriding plate. We focus on the Baja California Peninsula, which incorporates the western margin of the Gulf of California rift. The topography and tectonics of the rift flank along the peninsula are strongly bimodal. North of the Puertecitos accommodation zone, the primary drainage divide attains a mean elevation of ca. 1600 m above sea level (asl), above an asthenospheric slab-window opened by Pacific-Farallon spreading ridge subduction along this section of the trench at ca. 17-15 Ma. To the south, mean topography decreases abruptly to ca. 800 m asl (excluding the structurally distinct Los Cabos block at the southern tip of the peninsula), above fragments of the oceanic Farallon slab which stalled following slab tear-off at ca. 15-14 Ma. Along the peninsula, a low-relief surface established atop Miocene subduction-related volcaniclastic units has been incised by a west-draining canyon network in response to uplift. These canyons exhibit cut-and-fill relationships with widespread post-subduction lavas. Here, we utilise LANDSAT and digital elevation model (DEM) data, integrated with previously published K-Ar and 40Ar/39Ar lava crystallisation ages, to constrain the onset of rift flank uplift to ca. 9-5 Ma later than slab-window formation in the north and ca. 11-10 Ma later in the south. These greatly exceed response time estimates of ca. 2 Ma or less for uplift triggered by slab-window opening. Instead, uplift timing of the high-elevation northern region is consistent with lower-lithospheric erosion driven by rift-related convective upwelling. To the south, stalled slab fragments likely inhibited convective return flow, preventing lithospheric erosion and limiting uplift to the isostatic response

  3. Three-dimensional lithospheric density distribution of China and surrounding regions

    Directory of Open Access Journals (Sweden)

    Chuantao Li

    2014-01-01

    Full Text Available In this paper, we analyze lithospheric density distribution of China and surrounding regions on the basis of 30′ × 30′ gravity data and 1° × 1° P-wave velocity data. Firstly, we used the empirical equation between the density and the P-wave velocity difference as the base of the initial model of the Asian lithospheric density. Secondly, we calculated the gravity anomaly, caused by the Moho discontinuity and the sedimentary layer discontinuity, by the Parker formula. Thirdly, the gravity anomaly of the spherical harmonics with 2–40 order for the anomalous body below the lithosphere is calculated based on the model of EGM96. Finally, by using Algebra Reconstruction Techniques (ART, the inversion of 30′ × 30′ residual lithospheric Bouguer gravity anomaly caused by the lithosphere yields a rather detailed structural model. The results show that the lithospheric density distribution of China and surrounding regions has a certain connection with the tectonic structure. The density is relatively high in the Philippine Sea plate, Japan Sea, the Indian plate, the Kazakhstan shield and the Western Siberia plain, whereas the Tibetan Plateau has low-density characteristics. The minimum value of density lies in the north of Philippines, in the Taiwan province and in the Ryukyu island arc.

  4. SdP receiver function images of the lithosphere-asthenosphere boundary beneath the Western U.S using USArray data

    Science.gov (United States)

    Miller, M. S.; Levander, A.; Xu, Y.; Jiang, M.; Collier, M.; Lee, C. A.

    2008-12-01

    S-wave receiver functions from the USArray transportable array data have been made to examine the lithosphere and upper mantle structure beneath the western U.S. The project was initiated at the CIDER 2008 workshop in Santa Barbara, CA. Our preliminary results image the volume between the west coast of the US and 107°W and between the Canadian and Mexican borders to approximately 200 km depth. The large area allows us to investigate the structure of a variety of tectonic regions: the San Andreas plate boundary region, Mendicino Triple Junction, Cascadia subduction zone, Sierra Nevada, Snake River Plane, Basin and Range, Colorado Plateau, and the Rocky Mountains. Data from 59 events between 2005 and 2008 at epicentral distances of 55 to 80 degrees from the 556 stations in the transportable array database were processsed. To start we depth converted, spatially repositioned, and common conversion point stacked the SdP receiver functions using a 1D reference model based on averages of Crust2.0 and MC35. We are currently recalculating the depth and lateral positioning of the receiver functions using linear tomography corrections for laterally variable structure. The depth converted and preliminary CCP stack of the SdP receiver functions image a number of interesting lithospheric features including its base, the lithosphere- asthenosphere boundary (LAB). The LAB is a negative amplitude feature that has significant topographic variation, and cannot be described as a single surface. In the Basin and Range and particularly in the southern Sierra Nevada drip region the SdP LAB depths agree well with those determined from PdS receiver functions (Levander et al., 2008), however elsewhere large discrepancies exist between LAB estimates from the two different types of receiver functions We see a particularly strong correlation between calculated equilibration pressures of 911 primitive basalt whole rock samples from across the western United States, extracted from the NAVDAT

  5. High-Resolution Lithosphere Viscosity and Dynamics Revealed by Magnetotelluric Imaging

    Science.gov (United States)

    Liu, L.; Hasterok, D. P.

    2016-12-01

    An accurate viscosity structure is critical to truthfully modeling continental lithosphere dynamics, especially at spatial scales of factors including strain rate, plastic failure, composition, and grain size. Current efforts on inferring the detailed lithosphere viscosity structure are sparse and large uncertainties and discrepancies still exist. Here we report an attempt to infer the effective lithospheric viscosity from a high-resolution magnetotelluric (MT) survey across the western United States. The high sensitivity of MT fields to the presence of electrically conductive fluids makes it a promising proxy for determining mechanical strength variations throughout the lithosphere. We demonstrate how a viscosity structure, approximated from electrical resistivity, results in a geodynamic model that successfully predicts short-wavelength surface topography, lithospheric deformation, and mantle upwelling beneath recent volcanism. The results indicate that lithosphere viscosity structure rather than the buoyancy structure is the dominant controlling factor for short-wavelength topography and intra-plate deformation in tectonically active regions. We further show that this viscosity is consistent with and more effective than that derived from laboratory-based rheology. We therefore propose that MT imaging provides a practical observational constraint for quantifying the dynamic evolution of the continental lithosphere.

  6. Continental collision slowing due to viscous mantle lithosphere rather than topography.

    Science.gov (United States)

    Clark, Marin Kristen

    2012-02-29

    Because the inertia of tectonic plates is negligible, plate velocities result from the balance of forces acting at plate margins and along their base. Observations of past plate motion derived from marine magnetic anomalies provide evidence of how continental deformation may contribute to plate driving forces. A decrease in convergence rate at the inception of continental collision is expected because of the greater buoyancy of continental than oceanic lithosphere, but post-collisional rates are less well understood. Slowing of convergence has generally been attributed to the development of high topography that further resists convergent motion; however, the role of deforming continental mantle lithosphere on plate motions has not previously been considered. Here I show that the rate of India's penetration into Eurasia has decreased exponentially since their collision. The exponential decrease in convergence rate suggests that contractional strain across Tibet has been constant throughout the collision at a rate of 7.03 × 10(-16) s(-1), which matches the current rate. A constant bulk strain rate of the orogen suggests that convergent motion is resisted by constant average stress (constant force) applied to a relatively uniform layer or interface at depth. This finding follows new evidence that the mantle lithosphere beneath Tibet is intact, which supports the interpretation that the long-term strain history of Tibet reflects deformation of the mantle lithosphere. Under conditions of constant stress and strength, the deforming continental lithosphere creates a type of viscous resistance that affects plate motion irrespective of how topography evolved.

  7. 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

    2010-01-01

    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...

  8. Olivine anisotropy suggests Gutenberg discontinuity is not the base of the lithosphere

    Science.gov (United States)

    Hansen, Lars N.; Qi, Chao; Warren, Jessica M.

    2016-09-01

    Tectonic plates are a key feature of Earth’s structure, and their behavior and dynamics are fundamental drivers in a wide range of large-scale processes. The operation of plate tectonics, in general, depends intimately on the manner in which lithospheric plates couple to the convecting interior. Current debate centers on whether the transition from rigid lithosphere to flowing asthenosphere relates to increases in temperature or to changes in composition such as the presence of a small amount of melt or an increase in water content below a specified depth. Thus, the manner in which the rigid lithosphere couples to the flowing asthenosphere is currently unclear. Here we present results from laboratory-based torsion experiments on olivine aggregates with and without melt, yielding an improved database describing the crystallographic alignment of olivine grains. We combine this database with a flow model for oceanic upper mantle to predict the structure of the seismic anisotropy beneath ocean basins. Agreement between our model and seismological observations supports the view that the base of the lithosphere is thermally controlled. This model additionally supports the idea that discontinuities in velocity and anisotropy, often assumed to be the base of the lithosphere, are, instead, intralithospheric features reflecting a compositional boundary established at midocean ridges, not a rheological boundary.

  9. Sr, Nd, and Pb isotopes of ultramafic xenoliths in volcanic rocks of Eastern China: enriched components EMI and EMII in subcontinental lithosphere

    Science.gov (United States)

    Tatsumoto, M.; Basu, A.R.; Wankang, H.; Junwen, W.; Guanghong, X.

    1992-01-01

    basalts. The EMII mantle domain may be present in the Chinese continental lithosphere just above the EMI domain of the basalt source at the lower part of the lithosphere. We argue that the ancient depleted continental lithosphere was metasomatized, imparting the EMI signature, in earlier times ( > 1000 m.y.), and U migrated upward, resulting in high Th U ratios in the lower portion of the lithosphere. Observed high Th U, Rb Sr, 87Sr 86Sr and ??208, low Sm Nd ratios, and a large negative ??Nd in phlogopite pyroxenite with a depleted mantle model age of 2.9 Ga, support our contention that metasomatized continental lower mantle lithosphere is the source for the EMI component. We also suggest that the EMII signature may have been introduced later (less than ??? 500 Ma) by another metasomatic event during the subduction of an oceanic plate, which was partially responsible for some of the observed inter-mineral isotopic disequilibria. ?? 1992.

  10. Assessment of Optimum Value for Dip Angle and Locking Rate Parameters in Makran Subduction Zone

    Science.gov (United States)

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

    2017-09-01

    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.

  11. 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.

  12. Constraining the near-surface response to lithospheric reorientation: Structural thermochronology along the TRANSALP geophysical transect

    Science.gov (United States)

    Glotzbach, Christoph; Büttner, Lukas; Ehlers, Todd

    2017-04-01

    Tomographic analyses of the lithosphere structure underneath the Alps suggest a complex geodynamic history (e.g. Lippitsch et al. 2003), indicating, among other things, switches in the direction of subduction. A subduction polarity switch is proposed to have occurred in Miocene times between the Central and Eastern Alps (e.g. Lippitsch et al. 2003; Handy et al. 2015). In the Western and Central Alps SE-directed subduction of European continental lithosphere occurs, whereas NW-directed subduction of Adriatic lithosphere occurs further east (e.g. Kissling et al. 2006). The subducted slab steepens at the transition to the Eastern Alps, roughly at the position of the TRANSALP geophysical profile (S. Germany to N. Italy). This lithospheric reorientation was pre-dated by slab breakoff and also involves the delamination of the lower lithosphere, both processes producing distinct long-wavelength deformation (e.g. Gerya et al. 2004). Thermochronological data can be used to study the surface response to such a long-wavelength deformation. We present new apatite and zircon (U-Th)/He ages of 23 samples collected along 210 km of the TRANSALP profile. The samples were collected along a balanced cross section the TRANSALP profile (e.g. Lüschen et al. 2004) across individual structures that can be tied to deeper, seismically imaged, structures. The thermochronometer ages provide a record of exhumation related to both crustal shortening and post deformation erosional exhumation. Interpretation of the data is in progress and being used to discriminate between competing kinematic/geometric models, and the timing of major fault activity. Variations in exhumation along the section will also unravel the timing and shape of possible long-wavelength rock uplift event(s). References Gerya, T.V., Yuen, D.A., Maresch, W.V. 2004. Thermomechanical modelling of slab detachment. Earth Planet. Sci. Lett. 226, 101-116. Handy, M.R., Ustaszewski, K., Kissling, E. 2015. Reconstructing the Alps

  13. 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.

    2012-01-01

    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

  14. Transient uplift after a 17th-century earthquake along the Kuril subduction zone.

    Science.gov (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

    2004-12-10

    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.

  15. Connecting the Surface and the Deep: Evolving Role of Subduction Zone Fluids Through Time

    Science.gov (United States)

    Galvez, Matthieu Emmanuel

    2017-04-01

    The speciation of aqueous fluids controls the transport and exchange of metals and volatile elements on Earth. Subduction zones 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 been a major challenge in Earth science. I will first present thermodynamic predictions of fluid-rock equilibria that tie together models of mineralogy and fluid speciation along a range of model P-T paths. The pH of fluids in subducted crustal lithologies is uniform and confined to a mildly alkaline range, controlled by rock volatile and chlorine contents. In contrast, the pH of mantle wedge fluids exhibits marked sensitivity to minor variations in rock chemistry. 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 carbon, alkali and halogens illustrates a top-down control of Earth's atmosphere - ocean chemistry on the speciation of subduction zone fluids via the hydrothermally altered oceanic lithosphere. These results provide a perspective on the physicochemical mechanisms that have coupled metal and volatile cycles in subduction zones for over 2.5 billion years.

  16. Fossil intermediate-depth earthquakes in subducting slabs linked to differential stress release

    Science.gov (United States)

    Scambelluri, Marco; Pennacchioni, Giorgio; Gilio, Mattia; Bestmann, Michel; Plümper, Oliver; Nestola, Fabrizio

    2017-12-01

    The cause of intermediate-depth (50-300 km) seismicity in subduction zones is uncertain. It is typically attributed either to rock embrittlement associated with fluid pressurization, or to thermal runaway instabilities. Here we document glassy pseudotachylyte fault rocks—the products of frictional melting during coseismic faulting—in the Lanzo Massif ophiolite in the Italian Western Alps. These pseudotachylytes formed at subduction-zone depths of 60-70 km in poorly hydrated to dry oceanic gabbro and mantle peridotite. This rock suite is a fossil analogue to an oceanic lithospheric mantle that undergoes present-day subduction. The pseudotachylytes locally preserve high-pressure minerals that indicate an intermediate-depth seismic environment. These pseudotachylytes are important because they are hosted in a near-anhydrous lithosphere free of coeval ductile deformation, which excludes an origin by dehydration embrittlement or thermal runaway processes. Instead, our observations indicate that seismicity in cold subducting slabs can be explained by the release of differential stresses accumulated in strong dry metastable rocks.

  17. Using the Mesozoic History of the Canadian Cordillera as a Case Study in Teaching Plate Tectonics.

    Science.gov (United States)

    Chamberlain, Valerie Elaine

    1989-01-01

    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.…

  18. Three-dimensional Thermal Model of the Mexican Subduction Zone

    Science.gov (United States)

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

    2015-12-01

    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

  19. High-pressure creep of serpentine, interseismic deformation, and initiation of subduction.

    Science.gov (United States)

    Hilairet, Nadege; Reynard, Bruno; Wang, Yanbin; Daniel, Isabelle; Merkel, Sebastien; Nishiyama, Norimasa; Petitgirard, Sylvain

    2007-12-21

    The supposed low viscosity of serpentine may strongly influence subduction-zone dynamics at all time scales, but until now its role could not be quantified because measurements relevant to intermediate-depth settings were lacking. Deformation experiments on the serpentine antigorite at high pressures and temperatures (1 to 4 gigapascals, 200 degrees to 500 degrees C) showed that the viscosity of serpentine is much lower than that of the major mantle-forming minerals. Regardless of the temperature, low-viscosity serpentinized mantle at the slab surface can localize deformation, impede stress buildup, and limit the downdip propagation of large earthquakes at subduction zones. Antigorite enables viscous relaxation with characteristic times comparable to those of long-term postseismic deformations after large earthquakes and slow earthquakes. Antigorite viscosity is sufficiently low to make serpentinized faults in the oceanic lithosphere a site for subduction initiation.

  20. Investigating the Lithospheric Structure of Southern Madagascar

    Science.gov (United States)

    Tilmann, Frederik; Yuan, Xiaohui; Rümpker, Georg; Gerard, Rambolamana; Elisa, Rindraharisaona; Priestley, Keith

    2014-05-01

    The island of Madagascar occupies a key region in both the assembly and the multi-stage breakup of Gondwanaland, itself part of the super-continent Pangaea. Madagascar consists of an amalgamation of continental material, with the oldest rocks being of Archaean age. Its ancient fabric is characterised by several shear zones, some of them running oblique to the N-S trend, in particular in the south of the island. More recently during the Neogene, moderate volcanism has occurred in the Central and Northern part of the island, and there are indications of uplift throughout Eastern Madagascar over the last 10 Ma. Although Madagascar is now located within the interior of the African plate and far away from major plate boundaries (> 1000 km from the East African rift system and even further from the Central and South-West Indian Ridges), its seismic activity indicates that some deformation is taking place, and present-day kinematic models based on geodetic data and earthquake moment tensors in the global catalogues identify a diffuse N-S-oriented minor boundary separating two microplates, which appears to pass through Madagascar. In spite of the presence of Archaean and Proterozoic rocks continent-wide scale studies indicate a thin lithosphere (Madagascar, but are based on sparse data. We are operating a ENE-WSW oriented linear array of 25 broadband stations in southern Madagascar, extending from coast to coast and sampling the sedimentary basins in the west as well as the metamorphic rocks in the East, cutting geological boundaries seen at the surface at high angle. The array crosses the prominent Bongolava-Ranotsara shear zone which is thought to have been formed during Gondwanaland assembly, although this interpretation has recently been questioned. The array recorded the magnitude 5.3 earthquake of January 25, 2013 which occurred just off its western edge. In addition, in May 2013 we have deployed 25 short period sensors in the eastern part of the study area, where

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

    OpenAIRE

    D. Boutelier; Onno Oncken; A. Cruden

    2012-01-01

    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 ...

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

    OpenAIRE

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

    2016-01-01

    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...

  3. Strength, strain, and structure of the Australian continental lithosphere

    Science.gov (United States)

    van der Hilst, R. D.; Simons, F. J.

    2003-12-01

    and the two-dimensional coherence measurements can respectively be analyzed for anisotropy in the wave speed deviations or mechanical strength variations. Surface-wave tomography and gravity-topography analysis can thus provide independent measures of elastic anisotropy (one instantaneous, the second long-term) and, by implication, strain in the lithospheric upper mantle. The depth variation of their relation resolves a change both in the character of seismic anisotropy and in its relation to strain near ˜200 km depth in the Australian subcontinental lithospheric mantle. In our interpretation, the top 200 km of the Australian lithosphere primarily records the coherent signature of past deformation episodes, whereas below 200 km, active processes related to current plate motion provide the dominant explanation for the observed seismic anisotropy. The alignment of the fast axes in the flow direction is consistent with the deformation of a dry olivine mantle by simple shear. The correspondence between seismic fast axes and plate motion of Australia is best when the latter is expressed in a hot-spot reference frame. Thus, seismic anisotropy can add information on plate motion with respect to the underlying mantle that is independent from geodetic and plate-circuit constraints. Finally, the comparison of our results with mantle convection simulations suggests how seismic and mechanical models of the lithosphere are approaching resolutions at which they can be treated as ``data'' to refine forward models, thereby strengthening the crucial links between seismology, tectonics, and geodynamics.

  4. Oblique subduction modelling indicates along-trench tectonic transport of sediments.

    Science.gov (United States)

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

    2013-01-01

    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.

  5. Absolute Plate Velocities from Seismic Anisotropy

    Science.gov (United States)

    Kreemer, Corné; Zheng, Lin; Gordon, Richard

    2015-04-01

    The orientation of seismic anisotropy inferred beneath plate interiors may provide a means to estimate the motions of the plate relative to the s