Along-strike variations in temperature and tectonic tremor activity along the Hikurangi subduction zone, New ZealandReport as inadecuate




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Earth, Planets and Space

, 66:142

4. SeismologyNew Perspective of Subduction Zone Earthquake

Abstract

In the Hikurangi subduction zone, situated along the east coast of the North Island, New Zealand, where the old oceanic Pacific Plate is subducting beneath the Australian Plate, several slow slip events and tectonic tremors have recently been documented. These observations are somewhat surprising because such slow seismic phenomena tend to be common in subduction zones where relatively young oceanic plate is subducting. The locations of tectonic tremors, down-dip limit of slow slip events and seismic coupling transition change along strike from greater depths in the south to shallower depths in the north, suggesting significant along-strike variations in the characteristics of the plate interface. Similar along-strike variations have been observed for other characteristic features of the Hikurangi subduction zone. Here, we demonstrate that along-strike variations observed for tectonic tremors, slow slip events, and seismic coupling can be explained by lateral differences in the thermal structure of the subduction zone, which are controlled mainly by variations in convergence rate and friction along the plate interface. To demonstrate this, we first confirm that tectonic tremors occur around the plate interface. Then, we calculate the thermal structure of the Hikurangi subduction zone using a two-dimensional finite difference code. To explain the along-strike variation in the heat flow observed in the forearc region, temperatures along the plate interface should be systematically higher in the northern region than in the southern region, which we interpret as a consequence of higher convergence rates and greater frictional heating in the northern region. We compare the along-strike variation of seismic characteristics with calculated thermal structure and highlight that this along-strike variation in temperature controls the depth of the brittle-ductile transition, which is consistent with the observed spatial variations in tectonic tremors, down-dip limit of slow slip events and seismic coupling. Our results suggest that tectonic tremors recorded within subduction zones reflect the transient rheology of the materials being subducted, which is controlled by variations in temperature along the plate interface.

KeywordsNew Zealand Subduction zone Tectonic tremor Slow earthquake Thermal structure Electronic supplementary materialThe online version of this article doi:10.1186-s40623-014-0142-6 contains supplementary material, which is available to authorized users.

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Author: Suguru Yabe - Satoshi Ide - Shoichi Yoshioka

Source: https://link.springer.com/







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