Impact of bending related faulting on the seismic properties of the incoming oceanic plate offshore of Nicaragua.

Ivandic, Monika, Grevemeyer, Ingo , Berhorst, Arnim, Flueh, Ernst R. and McIntosh, Kirk (2008) Impact of bending related faulting on the seismic properties of the incoming oceanic plate offshore of Nicaragua. Open Access Journal of Geophysical Research: Solid Earth, 113 . B05410. DOI 10.1029/2007JB005291.

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A seismic wide‐angle and refraction experiment was conducted offshore of Nicaragua in the Middle American Trench to investigate the impact of bending‐related normal faulting on the seismic properties of the oceanic lithosphere prior to subduction. On the basis of the reflectivity pattern of multichannel seismic reflection (MCS) data it has been suggested that bending‐related faulting facilitates hydration and serpentinization of the incoming oceanic lithosphere. Seismic wide‐angle and refraction data were collected along a transect which extends from the outer rise region not yet affected by subduction into the trench northwest of the Nicoya Peninsula, where multibeam bathymetric data show prominent normal faults on the seaward trench slope. A tomographic joint inversion of seismic refraction and wide‐angle reflection data yield anomalously low seismic P wave velocities in the crust and uppermost mantle seaward of the trench axis. Crustal velocities are reduced by 0.2–0.5 km s−1 compared to normal mature oceanic crust. Seismic velocities of the uppermost mantle are 7.6–7.8 km s−1 and hence 5–7% lower than the typical velocity of mantle peridotite. These systematic changes in P wave velocity from the outer rise toward the trench axis indicate an evolutionary process in the subducting slab consistent with percolation of seawater through the faulted and fractured lithosphere and serpentinization of mantle peridotites. If hydration is indeed affecting the seismic properties of the mantle, serpentinization might be reaching 12–17% in the uppermost 3–4 km of the mantle, depending on the unknown degree of fracturing and its impact on the elastic properties of the subducting lithosphere.

Document Type: Article
Research affiliation: OceanRep > The Future Ocean - Cluster of Excellence
OceanRep > SFB 574 > A5
OceanRep > SFB 574
OceanRep > GEOMAR > FB4 Dynamics of the Ocean Floor > FB4-GDY Marine Geodynamics
Refereed: Yes
Open Access Journal?: No
DOI etc.: 10.1029/2007JB005291
ISSN: 0148-0227
Projects: Future Ocean, SFB574
Contribution Number:
SFB 574132
Date Deposited: 03 Dec 2008 16:51
Last Modified: 23 Sep 2019 17:26

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