100 results found
Braszus B, Goes S, Allen R, et al., 2021, Subduction history of the Caribbean from upper-mantle seismic imaging and plate reconstruction, Nature Communications, Vol: 12, Pages: 1-14, ISSN: 2041-1723
The margins of the Caribbean and associated hazards and resources have been shaped by a poorly understood history of subduction. Using new data, we improve teleseismic P-wave imaging of the eastern Caribbean upper mantle and compare identified subducted-plate fragments with trench locations predicted from plate reconstruction. This shows that material at 700–1200 km depth below South America derives from 90–115 Myr old westward subduction, initiated prior to Caribbean Large-Igneous-Province volcanism. At shallower depths, an accumulation of subducted material is attributed to Great Arc of the Caribbean subduction as it evolved over the past 70 Ma. We interpret gaps in these subducted-plate anomalies as: a plate window and tear along the subducted Proto-Caribbean ridge; tearing along subducted fracture zones, and subduction of a volatile-rich boundary between Proto-Caribbean and Atlantic domains. Phases of back-arc spreading and arc jumps correlate with changes in age, and hence buoyancy, of the subducting plate.
Schlaphorst D, Harmon N, Kendall JM, et al., 2021, Variation in Upper Plate Crustal and Lithospheric Mantle Structure in the Greater and Lesser Antilles From Ambient Noise Tomography, GEOCHEMISTRY GEOPHYSICS GEOSYSTEMS, Vol: 22
Harmon N, Rychert CA, Goes S, et al., 2021, Widespread hydration of the back arc and the link to variable hydration of the incoming plate in the lesser Antilles from rayleigh wave imaging, Geochemistry, Geophysics, Geosystems, Vol: 22, Pages: 1-27, ISSN: 1525-2027
Subduction zone dynamics are important for a better understanding of natural hazards, plate tectonics, and the evolution of the planet. Despite this, the factors dictating the location and style of volcanism are not well-known. Here we present Rayleigh Wave imaging of the Lesser Antilles subduction zone using the ocean bottom and land seismic data collected as a part of the VoiLA experiment. This region is an important global endmember that represents a slow (<19 mm/yr) convergence rate of old (80–120 Ma), Atlantic lithosphere formed at a slow spreading ridge. We image the fast slab, the fast-overriding plate and the slow mantle wedge across the entire arc. We find slow velocity anomalies (∼4.1 km/s) in the mantle wedge directly beneath the arc with local minima beneath Dominica/Martinique, Montserrat and the Grenadines. We observe that slow velocities in the wedge extend 200 km into the back arc west of Martinique. The slowest mantle wedge velocity anomaly is more muted than several global wedges, likely reflecting the lower temperatures and less partial melt predicted for the Antilles. Subducted fracture zones and plate boundaries are a potential source of hydration, since they are located near the anomalies, although not directly beneath them. To match our observations, geodynamic models with a broadly hydrated mantle wedge are required, which can be achieved via deep hydration of the slab, and fluid release further into the back arc. In addition, 3-D flow and melt migration or ponding are required to explain the shape and location of our anomalies.
Suchoy L, Goes S, Maunder B, et al., 2021, Effects of basal drag on subduction dynamics from 2D numerical models, SOLID EARTH, Vol: 12, Pages: 79-93, ISSN: 1869-9510
Suchoy L, Goes S, Maunder B, et al., 2020, Effects of basal drag on subduction dynamics from 2D numerical models, Solid Earth, ISSN: 1869-9510
Subducting slabs are an important driver of plate motions, yet the force balance governing subduction dynamics remains incompletely understood. Basal drag has been proposed to be a minor contributor to subduction forcing, because of the lack of correlation between plate size and velocity in observed and reconstructed plate motions. Furthermore, in single subduction system models, low basal drag, associated with a low ratio of asthenospheric to lithospheric viscosity, leads to subduction behaviour most consistent with the observation that trench migration velocities are generally low compared to convergence velocities. By contrast, analytical calculations and global mantle flow models indicate basal drag can be substantial. In this study, we revisit this problem by examining the drag at the base of the lithosphere, for a single subduction system, in 2D models with a free trench and composite non-linear rheology. We compare the behaviour of short and long plates for a range of asthenospheric and lithospheric rheologies. We reproduce results from previous modelling studies, including low ratios of trench over plate motions. However, we also find that any combination of asthenosphere and lithosphere viscosity that produces Earth-like subduction behaviour leads to a correlation of velocities with plate size, due to the role of basal drag. By examining Cenozoic plate motion reconstructions, we find that slab age and plate size are positively correlated: higher slab pull for older plates tends to be offset by higher basal drag below these larger plates. This, in part, explains the lack of plate velocity-size correlation in observations, despite the important role of basal drag in the subduction force-balance.
Altoe I, Eeken T, Goes S, et al., 2020, Thermo-compositional structure of the north-eastern Canadian Shield from Rayleigh wave dispersion analysis as a record of its tectonic history, Earth and Planetary Science Letters, Vol: 547, ISSN: 0012-821X
The thermal and compositional structure of lithospheric keels underlying cratons, which are stable continental cores formed during the Precambrian, is still an enigma. Mapping lithospheric temperatures and compositional heterogeneities is essential to better understand geodynamic processes that control craton formation and evolution. Here we investigate the northeastern part of North America which comprises the Superior Craton, the largest Archean craton in the world, and surrounding Proterozoic belts. We model Rayleigh-wave dispersion curves from a previous study, which were regionalised based on cluster analysis. Next, we perform a grid search for sub-crustal thermal and compositional structures that are consistent with the average dispersion curve for each cluster. We apply constraints on crustal structure and use thermodynamic methods to map thermo-compositional structures into seismic velocity. In agreement with previous studies, most regions require concentrations of metasomatic minerals over certain depth intervals to fit the seismic profiles. Our results further require vertical as well as lateral variations in compositional and thermal structures, which appear to reflect different stages of formation and modification of the lithosphere below the region, with distinct structures found under Archean cores, Archean/Paleoproterozoic collision belts, mid-late Proterozoic collision belts, and zones affected by rifting.
Thermal structure of the lithosphere exerts a primary control on its strength and density and thereby its dynamic evolution as the outer thermal and mechanic boundary layer of the convecting mantle. This contribution focuses on continental lithosphere. We review constraints on thermal conductivity and heat production, geophysical and geochemical/petrological constraints on thermal structure of the continental lithosphere, as well as steady-state and non-steady state 1D thermal models and their applicability. Commonly used geotherm families that assume that crustal heat production contributes an approximately constant fraction of 25–40% to surface heat flow reproduce the global spread of temperatures and thermal thicknesses of the lithosphere below continents. However, we find that global variations in seismic thickness of continental lithosphere and seismically estimated variations in Moho temperature below the US are more compatible with models where upper crustal heat production is 2–3 times higher than lower crustal heat production (consistent with rock estimates) and the contribution of effective crustal heat production to thermal structure (i.e. estimated by describing thermal structure with steady-state geotherms) varies systematically from 40 to 60% in tectonically stable low surface heat flow regions to 20% or lower in higher heat flow tectonically active regions. The low effective heat production in tectonically active regions is likely partly the expression of a non-steady thermal state and advective heat transport.
Cooper GF, Macpherson CG, Blundy JD, et al., 2020, Variable water input controls evolution of the Lesser Antilles volcanic arc (vol 87, pg 931, 2020), Nature, Vol: 584, Pages: E36-E36, ISSN: 0028-0836
Kounoudis R, Bastow I, Ogden C, et al., 2020, Seismic tomographic imaging of the Eastern Mediterranean Mantle: Implications for terminal-stage subduction, the uplift of Anatolia, and the development of the North Anatolian Fault, G3: Geochemistry, Geophysics, Geosystems: an electronic journal of the earth sciences, Vol: 21, ISSN: 1525-2027
The Eastern Mediterranean captures the eastwest transition from active subduction of Earth'soldest oceanic lithosphere to continental collision, making it an ideal location to study terminalstagesubduction. Asthenospheric or subductionrelated processes are the main candidates for the region's ∼2kmuplift and Miocene volcanism; however, their relative importance is debated. To address these issues, wepresent new P and S wave relative arrivaltime tomographic models that reveal fast anomalies associatedwith an intact Aegean slab in the west, progressing to a fragmented, partially continental, Cyprean slabbelow central Anatolia. We resolve a gap between the Aegean and Cyprean slabs, and a horizontal tear in theCyprean slab below the Central Anatolian Volcanic Province. Below eastern Anatolia, the completelydetached “Bitlis” slab is characterized by fast wave speeds at ∼500 km depth. Assuming slab sinkingrates mirror ArabiaAnatolia convergence rates, the Bitlis slab's location indicates an Oligocene (∼26 Ma)breakoff. Results further reveal a strong velocity contrast across the North Anatolian Fault likelyrepresenting a 40–60 km decrease in lithospheric thickness from the Precambrian lithosphere north of thefault to a thinned Anatolian lithosphere in the south. Slow uppermostmantle wave speeds below activevolcanoes in eastern Anatolia, and ratios of P to S wave relative traveltimes, indicate a thin lithosphere andmelt contributions. Positive central and eastern Anatolian residual topography requires additional supportfrom hot/buoyant asthenosphere to maintain the 1–2 km elevation in addition to an almost absentlithospheric mantle. Smallscale fast velocity structures in the shallow mantle above the Bitlis slab maytherefore be drips of Anatolian lithospheric mantle.
Eeken T, Goes S, Petrescu L, et al., 2020, Lateral variations in thermochemical structure of the Eastern Canadian Shield, Journal of Geophysical Research, Vol: 125, Pages: 1-19, ISSN: 0148-0227
The origin of 3D seismic heterogeneity in Precambrian lithosphere has been enigmatic, because temperature variations in old stable shields are expected to be small and seismic sensitivity to major‐element compositional variations is limited. Previous studies indicate that metasomatic alteration may significantly affect average 1‐D structure below shields. Here, we perform a grid search for 3‐D thermo‐chemical structure, including variations in alteration, to model published Rayleigh‐wave phase velocities between 20 and 160 s for the eastern part of the Archean Superior and Canadian Proterozoic Grenville Provinces. We find that, consistent with constraints from surface heatflow and xenoliths, the lithosphere is coolest (Moho heatflow 12‐17 mW/m2) and the thermal boundary layer thickest (>250 km) in the northeastern Superior and warmest in the southeastern Grenville (Moho heatflow 20‐25 mW/m2, thermal boundary thickness 160‐200 km). Compositionally, the phase velocities for most of the Superior within our study region require little alteration, but in a few regions, fast velocities need to overlie slower velocities. These can be modelled with an eclogite layer in the mid lithosphere, consistent with active‐seismic and xenolith evidence for remnants of subducted Archean crust. The phase velocities from the Grenville Province require significant metasomatic modification to explain the relatively low velocities of the shallow lithosphere, and the required intensity of alteration is highest in parts of the Grenville associated with arc accretion. Thus, composition of the northeastern Canadian Shield appears to reflect different stages and styles of craton assembly.
Cooper GF, Macpherson CG, Blundy JD, et al., 2020, Variable water input controls evolution of the Lesser Antilles volcanic arc, Nature, Vol: 582, Pages: 525-529, ISSN: 0028-0836
Oceanic lithosphere carries volatiles, notably water, into the mantle through subduction at convergent plate boundaries. This subducted water exercises control on the production of magma, earthquakes, formation of continental crust and mineral resources. Identifying different potential fluid sources (sediments, crust and mantle lithosphere) and tracing fluids from their release to the surface has proved challenging1. Atlantic subduction zones are a valuable endmember when studying this deep water cycle because hydration in Atlantic lithosphere, produced by slow spreading, is expected to be highly non-uniform2. Here, as part of a multi-disciplinary project in the Lesser Antilles volcanic arc3, we studied boron trace element and isotopic fingerprints of melt inclusions. These reveal that serpentine—that is, hydrated mantle rather than crust or sediments—is a dominant supplier of subducted water to the central arc. This serpentine is most likely to reside in a set of major fracture zones subducted beneath the central arc over approximately the past ten million years. The current dehydration of these fracture zones coincides with the current locations of the highest rates of earthquakes and prominent low shear velocities, whereas the preceding history of dehydration is consistent with the locations of higher volcanic productivity and thicker arc crust. These combined geochemical and geophysical data indicate that the structure and hydration of the subducted plate are directly connected to the evolution of the arc and its associated seismic and volcanic hazards.
Davy R, Collier JS, Henstock TJ, et al., 2020, Wide‐angle seismic imaging of two modes of crustal accretion in mature Atlantic Ocean crust, Journal of Geophysical Research: Solid Earth, Vol: 125, Pages: 1-21, ISSN: 2169-9313
We present a high‐resolution 2‐D P‐wave velocity model from a 225 km long active seismic profile, collected over ~60‐75 Ma central Atlantic crust. The profile crosses five ridge segments separated by a transform and three non‐transform offsets. All ridge discontinuities share similar primary characteristics, independent of the offset. We identify two types of crustal segment. The first displays a classic two‐layer velocity structure with a high gradient layer 2 (~0.9 s‐1) above a lower gradient layer 3 (0.2 s‐1). Here PmP coincides with the 7.5 km s‐1 contour and velocity increases to >7.8 km s‐1 within 1 km below. We interpret these segments as magmatically‐robust, with PmP representing a petrological boundary between crust and mantle. The second has a reduced contrast in velocity gradient between upper and lower crust, and PmP shallower than the 7.5 km s‐1 contour. We interpret these segments as tectonically dominated, with PmP representing a serpentinized (alteration) front. Whilst velocity depth profiles fit within previous envelopes for slow‐spreading crust, our results suggest that such generalizations give a misleading impression of uniformity. We estimate that the two crustal styles are present in equal proportions on the floor of the Atlantic. Within two tectonically dominated segments we make the first wide‐angle seismic identifications of buried oceanic core complexes in mature (> 20 Ma) Atlantic Ocean crust. They have a ~20 km wide “domal” morphology with shallow basement and increased upper‐crustal velocities. We interpret their mid‐crustal seismic velocity inversions as alteration and rock‐type assemblage contrasts across crustal‐scale detachment faults.
Maunder B, Prytulak J, Goes S, et al., 2020, Rapid subduction initiation and magmatism in the Western Pacific driven by internal vertical forces, Nature Communications, Vol: 11, ISSN: 2041-1723
Plate tectonics requires the formation of plate boundaries. Particularly important is the enigmatic initiation of subduction: the sliding of one plate below the other, and the primary driver of plate tectonics. A continuous, in situ record of subduction initiation was recovered by the International Ocean Discovery Program Expedition 352, which drilled a segment of the fore-arc of the Izu-Bonin-Mariana subduction system, revealing a distinct magmatic progression with a rapid timescale (approximately 1 million years). Here, using numerical models, we demonstrate that these observations cannot be produced by previously proposed horizontal external forcing. Instead a geodynamic evolution that is dominated by internal, vertical forces produces both the temporal and spatial distribution of magmatic products, and progresses to self-sustained subduction. Such a primarily internally driven initiation event is necessarily whole-plate scale and the rock sequence generated (also found along the Tethyan margin) may be considered as a smoking gun for this type of event.
Bie L, Rietbrock A, Hicks S, et al., 2020, Along‐arc heterogeneity in local seismicity across the lesser antilles subduction zone from a dense ocean‐bottom seismometer network, Seismological Research Letters, Vol: 91, Pages: 237-247, ISSN: 0895-0695
The Lesser Antilles arc is only one of two subduction zones where slow‐spreading Atlantic lithosphere is consumed. Slow‐spreading may result in the Atlantic lithosphere being more pervasively and heterogeneously hydrated than fast‐spreading Pacific lithosphere, thus affecting the flux of fluids into the deep mantle. Understanding the distribution of seismicity can help unravel the effect of fluids on geodynamic and seismogenic processes. However, a detailed view of local seismicity across the whole Lesser Antilles subduction zone is lacking. Using a temporary ocean‐bottom seismic network we invert for hypocenters and 1D velocity model. A systematic search yields a 27 km thick crust, reflecting average arc and back‐arc structures. We find abundant intraslab seismicity beneath Martinique and Dominica, which may relate to the subducted Marathon and/or Mercurius Fracture Zones. Pervasive seismicity in the cold mantle wedge corner and thrust seismicity deep on the subducting plate interface suggest an unusually wide megathrust seismogenic zone reaching ∼65km∼65 km depth. Our results provide an excellent framework for future understanding of regional seismic hazard in eastern Caribbean and the volatile cycling beneath the Lesser Antilles arc.
Civiero C, Armitage J, Goes S, et al., 2019, The seismic signature of upper-mantle plumes: application to the northern East African Rift, G3: Geochemistry, Geophysics, Geosystems: an electronic journal of the earth sciences, Vol: 20, Pages: 6106-6122, ISSN: 1525-2027
Several seismic and numerical studies proposed that below some hotspots upper‐mantle plumelets rise from a thermal boundary layer below 660 km depth, fed by a deeper plume source. We recently found tomographic evidence of multiple upper‐mantle upwellings, spaced by several 100 km, rising through the transition zone below the northern East African Rift. To better test this interpretation, we run 3D numerical simulations of mantle convection for Newtonian and non‐Newtonian rheologies, for both thermal instabilities rising from a lower boundary layer, and the destabilisation of a thermal anomaly placed at the base of the box (700‐800 km depth). The thermal structures are converted to seismic velocities using a thermo‐dynamic approach. Resolution tests are then conducted for the same P‐ and S‐data distribution and inversion parameters as our travel‐time tomography. The Rayleigh Taylor models predict simultaneous plumelets in different stages of evolution rising from a hot layer located below the transition zone, resulting in seismic structure that looks more complex than the simple vertical cylinders that are often anticipated. From the wide selection of models tested we find that the destabilisation of a 200°C, 100 km thick thermal anomaly with a non‐Newtonian rheology, most closely matches the magnitude, the spatial and temporal distribution of the anomalies below the rift. Finally, we find that for reasonable upper‐mantle viscosities, the synthetic plume structures are similar in scale and shape to the actual low‐velocity anomalies, providing further support for the existence of upper‐mantle plumelets below the northern East African Rift.
Allen R, Collier J, Stewart A, et al., 2019, The role of arc migration in the development of the Lesser Antilles: a new tectonic model for the Cenozoic evolution of the eastern Caribbean, Geology, Vol: 47, Pages: 891-895, ISSN: 0091-7613
Continental arc systems often show evidence of large-scale migration both towards and away from the incoming plate. In oceanic arc systems however, whilst slab roll-back and the associated processes of back-arc spreading and arc migration towards the incoming plate are commonplace, arc migration away from the incoming plate is rarely observed. We present a new compilation of marine magnetic anomaly and seismic data in order to propose a new tectonic model for the eastern Caribbean region that includes arc migration in both directions. We synthesise new evidence to show two phases of back-arc spreading and eastward arc migration towards the incoming Atlantic. A third and final phase of arc migration to the west subdivided the earlier back-arc basin on either side of the present-day Lesser Antilles Arc. This is the first example of regional multi-directional arc migration in an intra-oceanic setting and has implications for along-arc structural and geochemical variations. The back and forth arc migrations are probably due to the constraints the neighbouring American plates impose on this isolated subduction system rather than variations in subducting slab buoyancy.
Halpaap F, Rondenay S, Perrin A, et al., 2019, Earthquakes track subduction fluids from slab source to mantle wedge sink, Science Advances, Vol: 5, ISSN: 2375-2548
Subducting plates release fluids as they plunge into Earth’s mantle and occasionally rupture to produce intraslab earthquakes. It is debated whether fluids and earthquakes are directly related. By combining seismic observations and geodynamic models from western Greece, and comparing across other subduction zones, we find that earthquakes effectively track the flow of fluids from their slab source at >80 km depth to their sink at shallow (<40 km) depth. Between source and sink, the fluids flow updip under a sealed plate interface, facilitating intraslab earthquakes. In some locations, the seal breaks and fluids escape through vents into the mantle wedge, thereby reducing the fluid supply and seismicity updip in the slab. The vents themselves may represent nucleation sites for larger damaging earthquakes.
Goes S, Collier J, Blundy J, et al., 2019, Project VoiLA: Volatile Recycling in the Lesser Antilles, Eos, Vol: 100, ISSN: 2324-9250
Deep water cycle studies have largely focused on subduction of lithosphere formed at fast spreading ridges. However, oceanic plates are more likely to become hydrated as spreading rate decreases.
Beghein C, Xing Z, Goes S, 2019, Thermal nature and resolution of the lithosphere–asthenosphere boundary under the Pacific from surface waves, Geophysical Journal International, Vol: 216, Pages: 1441-1465, ISSN: 0956-540X
It is strongly debated whether the interface between the lithosphere and underlying asthenosphere is a temperature-dependent rheological transition, as expected in a thermal convection system, or additionally affected by the presence of melts and/or fluids. Previous surface wave studies of Pacific oceanic lithosphere have found that shear velocity and azimuthal anisotropy vary with seafloor crustal age as expected for a thermal control; however radial anisotropy does not. Various thermomechanical models have been proposed to explain this disparate behaviour. Nonetheless, it is unclear how robust the surface wave constraints are, and this is what we test in this study. We apply a Bayesian model space search approach to three published Pacific surface wave dispersion data sets, two phase-velocity and one combined phase- and group-velocity set, and determine various proxies for the depth of the lithosphere–asthenosphere boundary (LAB) and their uncertainties based on the velocity and radial anisotropy model distributions obtained. In their overall character and pattern with age, the velocity models from different data sets are consistent with each other, although they differ in their values of LAB depths. Uncertainties are substantial (as much as 20 km on LAB depths) and the addition of group-velocity data does not reduce them. Radial anisotropy structures differ even in pattern and display no obvious age dependence. However, given the uncertainties, we cannot exclude that radial anisotropy, azimuthal anisotropy and velocity models actually reflect compatible, age-dependent, LAB depth estimates. The velocity LAB trends are most like those expected for half-space cooling, because velocity differences persist at old ages, below the depth of common plate cooling models. Any direct signature of sub-ridge melt would be too small-scale to be resolved by these data. However, the velocity-increasing effects of dehydration and depletion due to melting below the rid
Perrin A, Goes S, Prytulak J, et al., 2018, Mantle wedge temperatures and their potential relation to volcanic arc location, Earth and Planetary Science Letters, Vol: 501, Pages: 67-77, ISSN: 0012-821X
The mechanisms underpinning the formation of a focused volcanic arc above subduction zones are debated. Suggestions include controls by: (i) where the subducting plate releases water, lowering the solidus in the overlying mantle wedge; (ii) the location where the mantle wedge melts to the highest degree; and (iii) a limit on melt formation and migration imposed by the cool shallow corner of the wedge. Here, we evaluate these three proposed mechanisms using a set of kinematically-driven 2D thermo-mechanical mantle-wedge models in which subduction velocity, slab dip and age, overriding-plate thickness and the depth of decoupling between the two plates are systematically varied. All mechanisms predict, on the basis of model geometry, that the arc-trench distance, D, decreases strongly with increasing dip, consistent with the negative D-dip correlations found in global subduction data. Model trends of sub-arc slab depth, H, with dip are positive if H is wedge-temperature controlled and overriding-plate thickness does not exceed the decoupling depth by more than 50 km, and negative if H is slab-temperature controlled. Observed global H-dip trends are overall positive. With increasing overriding plate thickness, the position of maximum melting shifts to smaller H and D, while the position of the trenchward limit of the melt zone, controlled by the wedge's cold corner, shifts to larger H and D, similar to the trend in the data for oceanic subduction zones. Thus, the limit imposed by the wedge corner on melting and melt migration seems to exert the first-order control on arc position.
Maguire R, Ritsema J, Goes S, 2018, Evidence of subduction-related thermal and compositional heterogeneity below the United States from transition zone receiver functions, Geophysical Research Letters, Vol: 45, Pages: 8913-8922, ISSN: 0094-8276
The subduction of the Farallon Plate has altered the temperature and composition of the mantle transition zone (MTZ) beneath the United States. We investigate MTZ structure by mapping P‐to‐S conversions at mineralogical phase changes using USArray waveform data and theoretical seismic profiles based on experimental constraints of phase transition properties as a function of temperature and composition. The width of the MTZ varies by about 35 km over the study region, corresponding to a temperature variation of more than 300 K. The MTZ is coldest and thickest beneath the eastern United States where high shear velocity anomalies are tomographically resolved. We detect intermittent P‐to‐S conversions at depths of 520 km and 730 km. The conversions at 730‐km depth are coherent beneath the southeastern United States and are consistent with basalt enrichment of about 50%, possibly due to the emplacement of a fragment of an oceanic plateau (i.e., the Hess conjugate).
Agrusta R, van Hunen J, Goes S, 2018, Strong plates enhance mantle mixing in early Earth, Nature Communications, Vol: 9, Pages: 1-10, ISSN: 2041-1723
In the present-day Earth, some subducting plates (slabs) are flattening above the upper–lower mantle boundary at ~670 km depth, whereas others go through, indicating a mode between layered and whole-mantle convection. Previous models predicted that in a few hundred degree hotter early Earth, convection was likely more layered due to dominant slab stagnation. In self-consistent numerical models where slabs have a plate-like rheology, strong slabs and mobile plate boundaries favour stagnation for old and penetration for young slabs, as observed today. Here we show that such models predict slabs would have penetrated into the lower mantle more easily in a hotter Earth, when a weaker asthenosphere and decreased plate density and strength resulted in subduction almost without trench retreat. Thus, heat and material transport in the Earth’s mantle was more (rather than less) efficient in the past, which better matches the thermal evolution of the Earth.
Eeken T, Goes S, Pedersen H, et al., 2018, Seismic evidence for depth-dependent metasomatism in cratons, Earth and Planetary Science Letters, Vol: 491, Pages: 148-159, ISSN: 0012-821X
The long-term stability of cratons has been attributed to low temperatures and depletion iniron and water, which decrease density and increase viscosity. However, steady-state thermalmodels based on heat flow and xenolith constraints systematically overpredict the seismicvelocity-depth gradients in cratonic lithospheric mantle. Here we invert for the 1-D thermalstructure and a depth distribution of metasomatic minerals that fit average Rayleigh-wavedispersion curves for the Archean Kaapvaal, Yilgarn and Slave cratons and the ProterozoicBaltic Shield below Finland. To match the seismic profiles, we need a significant amount ofhydrous and/or carbonate minerals in the shallow lithospheric mantle, starting between theMoho and 70 km depth and extending down to at least 100-150 km. The metasomaticcomponent can consist of 0.5-1 wt% water bound in amphibole, antigorite and chlorite, ~0.2wt% water plus potassium to form phlogopite, or ~5 wt% CO2 plus Ca for carbonate, or acombination of these. Lithospheric temperatures that fit the seismic data are consistent withheat flow constraints, but most are lower than those inferred from xenolithgeothermobarometry. The dispersion data require differences in Moho heat flux betweenindividual cratons, and sublithospheric mantle temperatures that are 100-200°C less beneathYilgarn, Slave and Finland than beneath Kaapvaal. Significant upward-increasingmetasomatism by water and CO2-rich fluids is not only a plausible mechanism to explain theaverage seismic structure of cratonic lithosphere but such metasomatism may also lead to theformation of mid-lithospheric discontinuities and would contribute to the positive chemicalbuoyancy of cratonic roots.
Yu C, Day E, De Hoop M, et al., 2018, Compositional heterogeneity near the base of the mantle transition zone beneath Hawaii, Nature Communications, Vol: 9, Pages: 1-9, ISSN: 2041-1723
Global seismic discontinuities near 410 and 660 km depth in Earth’s mantle are expressions of solid-state phase transitions. These transitions modulate thermal and material fluxes across the mantle and variations in their depth are often attributed to temperature anomalies. Here we use novel seismic array analysis of SS waves reflecting off the 410 and 660 below the Hawaiian hotspot. We find amplitude–distance trends in reflectivity that imply lateral variations in wavespeed and density contrasts across 660 for which thermodynamic modeling precludes a thermal origin. No such variations are found along the 410. The inferred 660 contrasts can be explained by mantle composition varying from average (pyrolitic) mantle beneath Hawaii to a mixture with more melt-depleted harzburgite southeast of the hotspot. Such compositional segregation was predicted, from petrological and numerical convection studies, to occur near hot deep mantle upwellings like the one often invoked to cause volcanic activity on Hawaii.
Roberts GG, Lodhia B, Fraser A, et al., 2018, Continental margin subsidence from shallow mantle convection: example from West Africa, Earth and Planetary Science Letters, Vol: 481, Pages: 350-361, ISSN: 0012-821X
Spatial and temporal evolution of the uppermost convecting mantle plays an important role in determining histories of magmatism, uplift, subsidence, erosion and deposition of sedimentary rock. Tomographic studies and mantle flow models suggest that changes in lithospheric thickness can focus convection and destabilize plates. Geologic observations that constrain the processes responsible for onset and evolution of shallow mantle convection are sparse. We integrate seismic, well, gravity, magmatic and tomographic information to determine the history of Neogene-Recent (<23 Ma) upper mantle convection from the Cape Verde swell to West Africa. Residual ocean-age depths of +2 km and oceanic heat flow anomalies of +16 ± 4 mW m−2 are centered on Cape Verde. Residual depths decrease eastward to zero at the fringe of the Mauritania basin. Backstripped wells and mapped seismic data show that 0.4–0.8 km of water-loaded subsidence occurred in a ∼500 × 500 km region centered on the Mauritania basin during the last 23 Ma. Conversion of shear wave velocities into temperature and simple isostatic calculations indicate that asthenospheric temperatures determine bathymetry from Cape Verde to West Africa. Calculated average excess temperatures beneath Cape Verde are View the MathML source °C providing ∼103 m of support. Beneath the Mauritania basin average excess temperatures are View the MathML source °C drawing down the lithosphere by ∼102 to 103 m. Up- and downwelling mantle has generated a bathymetric gradient of ∼1/300 at a wavelength of ∼103 km during the last ∼23 Ma. Our results suggest that asthenospheric flow away from upwelling mantle can generate downwelling beneath continental margins.
Maguire R, Ritsema J, Bonnin M, et al., 2017, Evaluating the resolution of deep mantle plumes in teleseismic traveltime tomography, Journal of Geophysical Research, Vol: 123, Pages: 384-400, ISSN: 0148-0227
The strongest evidence to support the classical plume hypothesis comes from seismic imaging of the mantle beneath hot spots. However, imaging results are often ambiguous and it is questionable whether narrow plume tails can be detected by present-day seismological techniques. Here we carry out synthetic tomography experiments based on spectral element method simulations of seismic waves with period T > 10 s propagating through geodynamically derived plume structures. We vary the source-receiver geometry in order to explore the conditions under which lower mantle plume tails may be detected seismically. We determine that wide-aperture (4,000–6,000 km) networks with dense station coverage (<100–200 km station spacing) are necessary to image narrow (<500 km wide) thermal plume tails. We find that if uncertainties on traveltime measurements exceed delay times imparted by plume tails (typically <1 s), the plume tails are concealed in seismic images. Vertically propagating SKS waves enhance plume tail recovery but lack vertical resolution in regions that are not independently constrained by direct S paths. We demonstrate how vertical smearing of an upper mantle low-velocity anomaly can appear as a plume originating in the deep mantle. Our results are useful for interpreting previous plume imaging experiments and guide the design of future experiments.
Maguire R, Ritsema J, Goes S, 2017, Signals of 660-km topography and harzburgite enrichment in seismic images of whole-mantle upwellings, Geophysical Research Letters, Vol: 44, Pages: 3600-3607, ISSN: 1944-8007
Various changes in seismic structures across the mantle transition zone (MTZ) indicate that it may hamper thermal and chemical circulation. Here we show how thermal elevation of the postspinel phase transition at 660 km depth plus harzburgite segregation below this depth can project as narrow high-velocity anomalies in tomographic images of continuous thermochemical mantle upwellings. Model S40RTS features a narrow high-velocity anomaly of +0.8% near 660 km depth within the broad low-velocity structure beneath the Samoa hot spot. Our analyses indicate that elevation of the 660 phase boundary in a hot pyrolitic plume alone is insufficient to explain this anomaly. An additional effect of harzburgite enrichment is required and consistent with geodynamic simulations that predict compositional segregation in the MTZ, especially within thermochemical upwellings. The Samoa anomaly can be modeled with a 125–175°C excess temperature and a harzburgite enrichment below 660 of least 60% compared to a pyrolitic mantle.
As subducting plates reach the base of the upper mantle, some appear to flatten and stagnate, while others seemingly go through unimpeded. This variable resistance to slab sinking has been proposed to affect long-term thermal and chemical mantle circulation. A review of observational constraints and dynamic models highlights that neither the increase in viscosity between upper and lower mantle (likely by a factor 20–50) nor the coincident endothermic phase transition in the main mantle silicates (with a likely Clapeyron slope of –1 to –2 MPa/K) suffice to stagnate slabs. However, together the two provide enough resistance to temporarily stagnate subducting plates, if they subduct accompanied by significant trench retreat. Older, stronger plates are more capable of inducing trench retreat, explaining why backarc spreading and flat slabs tend to be associated with old-plate subduction. Slab viscosities that are ∼2 orders of magnitude higher than background mantle (effective yield stresses of 100–300 MPa) lead to similar styles of deformation as those revealed by seismic tomography and slab earthquakes. None of the current transition-zone slabs seem to have stagnated there more than 60 m.y. Since modeled slab destabilization takes more than 100 m.y., lower-mantle entry is apparently usually triggered (e.g., by changes in plate buoyancy). Many of the complex morphologies of lower-mantle slabs can be the result of sinking and subsequent deformation of originally stagnated slabs, which can retain flat morphologies in the top of the lower mantle, fold as they sink deeper, and eventually form bulky shapes in the deep mantle.
Agrusta R, Goes S, Van Hunen J, 2017, Subducting-slab transition-zone interaction: stagnation, penetration and mode switches, Earth and Planetary Science Letters, Vol: 464, Pages: 10-23, ISSN: 1385-013X
Seismic tomography showsthat subducting slabs can either sink straight into the lowermantle, or lie down in the mantle transition zone. Moreover, some slabs seem to have changedmode from stagnation to penetration or vice-versa. We investigate the dynamic controls on these modes and particularly the transition between themusing 2D self-consistent thermo-mechanical subduction models.Our models confirm that the ability of the trench to move is key for slab flattening in the transition zone. Over a wide range of plausible Clapeyron slopes and viscosity jumps at the base of the 15transition zone, hot young slabs (25 Myrin our models) are most likely to penetrate,while cold old slabs (150 Myr) drive more trench motion and tend to stagnate. Several mechanisms are able to inducepenetrating slabs to stagnate:ageing of the subducting plate, decreasing upper plate forcing, andincreasing Clapeyron slope(e.g.due to the arrival of a more hydrated slab).Gettingstagnating slabs to penetrate is more difficult. It can be accomplishedby an instantaneous change inthe forcing of the upper plate from free to motionless,ora sudden decrease inthe Clapeyron slope. A rapid changein plate age at the trench from old to young cannot easily induce penetration. On Earth, ageing of thesubducting plateage(with accompanying upper plate rifting)may be the most common mechanism for causing slab stagnation, while strong changes inupper plate forcingappear required for triggering slab penetration.
Perrin A, Goes S, Prytulak J, et al., 2016, Reconciling mantle wedge thermal structure with arc lava thermobarometric determinations in oceanic subduction zones, Geochemistry, Geophysics, Geosystems, Vol: 17, Pages: 4105-4127, ISSN: 1525-2027
Subduction zone mantle wedge temperatures impact plate interaction, melt generation, and chemical recycling. However, it has been challenging to reconcile geophysical and geochemical constraints on wedge thermal structure. Here we chemically determine the equilibration pressures and temperatures of primitive arc lavas from worldwide intraoceanic subduction zones and compare them to kinematically driven thermal wedge models. We find that equilibration pressures are typically located in the lithosphere, starting just below the Moho, and spanning a wide depth range of ∼25 km. Equilibration temperatures are high for these depths, averaging ∼1300°C. We test for correlations with subduction parameters and find that equilibration pressures correlate with upper plate age, indicating overriding lithosphere thickness plays a role in magma equilibration. We suggest that most, if not all, thermobarometric pressure and temperature conditions reflect magmatic reequilibration at a mechanical boundary, rather than reflecting the conditions of major melt generation. The magma reequilibration conditions are difficult to reconcile, to a first order, with any of the conditions predicted by our dynamic models, with the exception of subduction zones with very young, thin upper plates. For most zones, a mechanism for substantially thinning the overriding plate is required. Most likely thinning is localized below the arc, as kinematic thinning above the wedge corner would lead to a hot fore arc, incompatible with fore-arc surface heat flow and seismic properties. Localized subarc thermal erosion is consistent with seismic imaging and exhumed arc structures. Furthermore, such thermal erosion can serve as a weakness zone and affect subsequent plate evolution.
This data is extracted from the Web of Science and reproduced under a licence from Thomson Reuters. You may not copy or re-distribute this data in whole or in part without the written consent of the Science business of Thomson Reuters.