SummaryEarthquake arrival time data from a 36-station deployment of portable seismographs on the Raukumara Peninsula have been used to determine the 3-D Vp and Vp/Vs structure of this region of shallow subduction. A series of inversions have been performed, starting with an inversion for 1-D structure, then 2-D, and finally 3-D. This procedure ensures a smooth regional model in places of low resolution. The subducted plate is imaged as a northwest-dipping feature, with Vp consistently greater than 8.5 km s−1in the uppermost mantle of the plate. Structure in the overlying plate changes significantly along strike. In the northeast, there is an extensive low-velocity zone in the lower crust underlying the most rapidly rising part of the Raukumara Range. It is bounded on its arcward side by an upwarp of high velocity. A viable explanation for the low-velocity zone is that it represents an accumulation of underplated subducted sediment, while serpentinization of the uppermost mantle may be responsible for the adjacent high-velocity region. The low-velocity zone decreases and the adjacent high-velocity region is less extensive in the southwest. This change is interpreted to be related to a change in the thickness of the crust of the overlying plate. In the northeast the crust is thinner, and subducted sediment ponds against relatively strong uppermost mantle, while in the southwest the crust is thicker, and the relatively weak lower crust allows sediment subduction to greater depths. A narrow zone of high Vp/Vs parallels the shallow part of the plate interface. This suggests elevated fluid pressures, with the distribution of earthquakes about this zone further suggesting that these pressures may be close to lithostatic. The plate interface at 20 km depth beneath the Raukumara Peninsula may thus be a closed system for fluid flow, similar to that seen at much shallower depths in other subduction décollements.
Geophysical Journal International – Oxford University Press
Published: Jun 1, 1999
Keywords: Keywords crustal structure New Zealand seismic velocities subduction underplating
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