Understanding the strength of a plate coupling is critical for assessing potential seismic and tsunamic hazards in subduction zones. The interaction between an overriding plate and the associated subducting plate can be used to evaluate the strength of plate coupling by examining the mantle lithospheric buoyancy. Here, we calculate the mantle lithosphere buoyancy across the northern portion of the southern Ryukyu subduction zone based on gravity modeling with the constraints from a newly derived P-wave seismic velocity model. The result indicates that the strength of the plate coupling in the study area is relatively strong, which is consistent with previous observations in the southernmost Ryukyu subduction zone. Because few large earthquakes (Mw>7) have occurred in the southern Ryukyu subduction zone, a large amount of energy is locked and accumulated by plate coupling, that could be released in the near future.
Tectonophysics – Elsevier
Published: Jan 16, 2018
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