Crustal structure of the central Costa Rica subduction zone: implications for basal erosion from seismic wide-angle data.

Zhu, Junjiang, Kopp, Heidrun , Flueh, Ernst R., Klaeschen, Dirk , Papenberg, Cord and Planert, Lars (2009) Crustal structure of the central Costa Rica subduction zone: implications for basal erosion from seismic wide-angle data. Geophysical Journal International, 178 . pp. 1112-1131. DOI 10.1111/j.1365-246X.2009.04208.x.

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On the Pacific margin off central Costa Rica, an anomalous lens-shaped zone is located between the overriding plate and the subducting oceanic lithosphere approximately 25 km landward of the deformation front. This feature was previously recognized in reflection seismic data when it was termed 'megalens'. Its origin and seismic velocity structure, however, could not unambiguously be derived from earlier studies. Therefore during RV SONNE cruise SO163, seismic wide-angle data were acquired in 2002 using closely spaced ocean bottom hydrophones and seismometers along two parallel strike and two parallel dip lines above the 'megalens', intersecting on the middle slope. The P-wave velocities and structure of the subducting oceanic Cocos Plate and overriding Caribbean Plate were determined by modelling the wide-angle seismic data in combination with the analysis of coincident reflection seismic data and the use of synthetic seismograms. The margin wedge is defined by high seismic velocities (4.3-6.1 km s(-1)) identified within a wedge-shaped body covered by a slope sediment drape. It is divided into two layers with different velocity gradients. The lower margin wedge is clearly constrained by decreasing velocities trenchward and terminates beneath the middle slope at the location of the 'megalens'. Seismic velocities of the 'megalens' are lower (3.8-4.3 km s(-1)) relative to the margin wedge. We propose that the 'megalens' represents hybrid material composed of subducted sediment and eroded fragments from the base of the upper plate. Upward-migrating overpressured fluids weaken the base of the margin wedge through hydrofracturing, thus causing material transfer from the upper plate to the lower plate. Results from amplitude modelling support that the 'megalens' observed off central Costa Rica is bound by a low-velocity zone documenting fluid drainage from the plate boundary to the upper plate.

Document Type: Article
Keywords: Subduction zone processes, Continental margins: convergent, Oceanic transform and fracture zone processes, crustal structure
Research affiliation: OceanRep > SFB 574
OceanRep > SFB 574 > A2
OceanRep > The Future Ocean - Cluster of Excellence
OceanRep > GEOMAR > FB4 Dynamics of the Ocean Floor > FB4-GDY Marine Geodynamics
Refereed: Yes
DOI etc.: 10.1111/j.1365-246X.2009.04208.x
ISSN: 0956-540X
Projects: Future Ocean
Contribution Number:
SFB 574156
Date Deposited: 09 Dec 2009 12:16
Last Modified: 23 Sep 2019 16:35

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