Anisotropic tomography of Hokkaido reveals delamination-induced flow above a subducting slab

Ivan Koulakov, Ekaterina Kukarina, Ismail Husain Fathi, Sami El Khrepy, Nassir Al-Arifi

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

16 Citations (Scopus)

Abstract

We present a new 3-D anisotropic seismic model for the crust and upper mantle beneath Hokkaido (Japan) based on tomographic inversion of P and S arrival times from a regional seismic database. The P model is parameterized with three parameters at each point that describe the azimuthal anisotropy; the S model is represented isotropically. The isotropic P and S velocity anomalies match nearly perfectly. In the crust, they show a prominent linear anomaly in central Hokkaido along the Kamuikotan and Hidaka Belts, which represents the area of eastward underthrusting of the Japan Block underneath the Kuril fore arc. We interpret the high-velocity anomaly beneath the Hidaka zone as being delaminated mafic crust and entrained mantle lithosphere, which developed due to crustal shortening in the collision zone. One of our vertical sections shows a very unusual configuration for a subduction zone: a low-velocity slab is overlain by a high-velocity body in the mantle wedge. We propose that the high-velocity delaminated material sinking along the slab surface prevents the escape of fluids and melts from the upper part of the slab, where they are generated due to phase transitions. As a result, a large portion of the fluids is entrained downward and lowers the seismic velocities in the slab. The azimuthal anisotropy in the crust clearly corresponds to the major tectonic units and delineates the major suture zones. In the mantle, the anisotropy has a fan-shaped configuration and most likely represents the deviating of flows starting in southern Hokkaido and splitting into three directions. The western and eastern flows proceed toward the two volcanic groups on Hokkaido, and they may carry with them additional material to trigger the characteristic caldera-forming eruptions in these groups

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)3219-3239
Number of pages21
JournalJournal of Geophysical Research: Solid Earth
Volume120
Issue number5
DOIs
Publication statusPublished - 1 May 2015

Keywords

  • anisotropy
  • delamination
  • Hokkaido
  • seismic tomography
  • subduction
  • volcanism

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