Upper-mantle earthquakes beneath the Arafura Sea and south Aru Trough: Implications for continental rheology

Sloan, R. A. and Jackson, J. A. (2012) Upper-mantle earthquakes beneath the Arafura Sea and south Aru Trough: Implications for continental rheology. Journal of Geophysical Research, 117. 13 PP.. DOI doi:201210.1029/2011JB008992

[img] PDF
Restricted to Registered users only

Download (1MB)
Official URL: http://www.agu.org/pubs/crossref/2012/2011JB008992...


The extent and controls of long-term elastic strength and seismicity in the upper continental lithospheric mantle (UCLM) are controversial topics in continental tectonics. One key issue is the scarcity of UCLM earthquakes, even where the UCLM is likely to be colder than 600°C. The rarity of these earthquakes could be because the UCLM generally relatively hydrous causing it to deform aseismically even when colder than 600°C, unless it is deforming at exceptionally high strain rates. Alternatively, the UCLM could be relatively anhydrous, and potentially seismogenic at temperatures below 600°C; in which case the rarity of UCLM earthquakes may be because areas where the UCLM is colder than 600°C have such a thick seismogenic layer, and such a cool mantle root, that they deform exceptionally slowly. The identification and study of UCLM earthquakes allows us to distinguish between these possibilities. Here we show that two earthquakes occurred in the UCLM beneath the epicontinental Arafura Sea. Both earthquakes occurred where the UCLM is probably cooler than 600°C and one of these earthquakes lies ∼25 km below the Moho in an region where there is no evidence of unusually high strain rates. There at least, it is probable that the UCLM is relatively anhydrous, and seismogenic at temperatures below 600°C. We also find evidence that regions where the UCLM is colder than 600°C also have a seismogenic lower crust. This results in a single, extremely strong layer comprising the entire crust and the UCLM down to the 600°C isotherm.

Item Type: Article
Additional Information: 2012AREP; IA63; weekly list
Subjects: 02 - Geodynamics, Geophysics and Tectonics
Divisions: 02 - Geodynamics, Geophysics and Tectonics
Journal or Publication Title: Journal of Geophysical Research
Volume: 117
Page Range: 13 PP.
Identification Number: doi:201210.1029/2011JB008992
Depositing User: Sarah Humbert
Date Deposited: 27 Jun 2012 15:19
Last Modified: 23 Jul 2013 10:04
URI: http://eprints.esc.cam.ac.uk/id/eprint/2551

Actions (login required)

View Item View Item

About cookies