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Estimates of effective elastic thickness at subduction zones

Author:
Yang, An  Fu, Yongtao  


Journal:
JOURNAL OF GEODYNAMICS


Issue Date:
2018


Abstract(summary):

The effective elastic thickness (T-e) is an important parameter that characterizes the long-term strength of the lithosphere. Estimates of T-e at subduction zones have important tectonic and geodynamic implications, providing constraints for the strength of the oceanic lithosphere at a short-term scale. We estimated T-e values in several subduction zones worldwide by using models including both surface and subsurface loads from the analysis of free-air gravity anomaly and bathymetric data, together with a moving window admittance technique (MWAT). Tests with synthetic gravity and bathymetry data show that this method is a reliable way to recover T-e of oceanic lithosphere. Our results show that there is a noticeable reduction in the effective elastic thickness of the subducting plate from the outer rise to the trench axis for most studied subduction zones, suggesting plate weakening at the trench-outer rise of the subduction zones. These subduction zones have T-e range of 6-60 km, corresponding to a wide range of isotherms from 200 to 800 degrees C. Different trenches show distinct patterns. The Caribbean, Kuril-Japan, Mariana and Tonga subduction zones show predominantly high T-e. By contrast, the Middle America and Java subduction zones have a much lower T-e. The Peru-Chile, Aleutian and Philippine subduction zones show considerable scatter. The large variation of the isotherm for different trenches does not show dear relationship with plate weakening at the outer rise.


Page:
75---87


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