Numerical modelling of seismic wave propagation along the plate contact of the Hellenic Subduction Zone the influence of a deep subduction channel.

Essen, K., Braatz, M., Ceranna, L., Friederich, W. and Meier, T. (2009) Numerical modelling of seismic wave propagation along the plate contact of the Hellenic Subduction Zone the influence of a deep subduction channel. Geophysical Journal International, 179 (3). pp. 1737-1756. DOI 10.1111/j.1365-246X.2009.04369.x.

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We model seismic wave propagation from intermediate depth earthquakes in a subduction zone using a 2-D Chebyshev pseudospectral method. Particular attention is directed to the influence of a deep, low-viscosity subduction channel on top of the plate contact where metamorphic rocks may be exhumed by forced return flow. The study is motivated by observations of complicated dispersive and high-amplitude P- and S-wave trains in the forearc of the Hellenic Subduction Zone. The basic model is a subducted slab with a thin oceanic crust forming a low-velocity layer. Our model setup closely follows recent results on the structure of the Hellenic Subduction Zone obtained from receiver functions and surface wave studies. They exhibit an abrupt change of the dip of the downgoing slab at about 70 km depth. The subduction channel is modelled as a thin, wedge-shaped layer of intermediate seismic velocity above a slower oceanic crust and below a faster overlying mantle wedge. We also look into the effects of a continuous phase transition from basalt to eclogite in the subducted oceanic crust and near-surface crustal structures. In all models, wave propagation is characterized by dispersive guided channel waves trapped in the low-velocity subducted crust. They produce high-amplitude arrivals in the forearc. A fast guided wave train (gP) originates from the direct P wave and a slower one (gS) from the direct S wave. Guided waves are radiated into the overlying mantle where the dip of the slab is abruptly changing. Seismogram sections for models without a subduction channel typically show two spatially separated guided wave trains, one following the oceanic crust and one travelling more steeply towards the forearc high. A subduction channel above the plate contact enhances the radiation effect of gP waves at the slab bend due to the weaker velocity contrast and inhibits the separation of the wave trains. In models with additional near-surface crustal structures the wave field is dominated by reverberations. However, guided waves remain discernible in seismogram sections because of their high amplitudes. When a basalt to eclogite phase transition is considered, guided waves are preferentially generated in the presence of a subduction channel. A pronounced gP-wave train develops particularly for sources inside this channel. On the contrary, guided waves are hardly distinct for sources below the subducted crust.

Document Type: Article
Keywords: Guided waves, Computational seismology, Wave propagation, Subduction zone processes
Research affiliation: OceanRep > The Future Ocean - Cluster of Excellence > FO-R06
Kiel University
OceanRep > The Future Ocean - Cluster of Excellence > FO-R09
OceanRep > The Future Ocean - Cluster of Excellence
Refereed: Yes
Open Access Journal?: Yes
DOI etc.: 10.1111/j.1365-246X.2009.04369.x
ISSN: 0956540X
Projects: Future Ocean
Date Deposited: 05 Oct 2017 09:10
Last Modified: 05 Oct 2017 09:10

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