Cascadia subducting plate fluids channelled to fore-arc mantle corner: ETS and silica deposition

Journal of Geophysical Research
By: , and 

Links

Abstract

In this study we first summarize the constraints that on the Cascadia subduction thrust, there is a 70 km gap downdip between the megathrust seismogenic zone and the Episodic Tremor and Slip (ETS) that lies further landward; there is not a continuous transition from unstable to conditionally stable sliding. Seismic rupture occurs mainly offshore for this hot subduction zone. ETS lies onshore. We then suggest what does control the downdip position of ETS. We conclude that fluids from dehydration of the downgoing plate, focused to rise above the fore-arc mantle corner, are responsible for ETS. There is a remarkable correspondence between the position of ETS and this corner along the whole margin. Hydrated mineral assemblages in the subducting oceanic crust and uppermost mantle are dehydrated with downdip increasing temperature, and seismic tomography data indicate that these fluids have strongly serpentinized the overlying fore-arc mantle. Laboratory data show that such fore-arc mantle serpentinite has low permeability and likely blocks vertical expulsion and restricts flow updip within the underlying permeable oceanic crust and subduction shear zone. At the fore-arc mantle corner these fluids are released upward into the more permeable overlying fore-arc crust. An indication of this fluid flux comes from low Poisson's Ratios (and Vp/Vs) found above the corner that may be explained by a concentration of quartz which has exceptionally low Poisson's Ratio. The rising fluids should be silica saturated and precipitate quartz with decreasing temperature and pressure as they rise above the corner.

Additional publication details

Publication type Article
Publication Subtype Journal Article
Title Cascadia subducting plate fluids channelled to fore-arc mantle corner: ETS and silica deposition
Series title Journal of Geophysical Research
DOI 10.1002/2015JB011920
Volume 120
Issue 6
Year Published 2015
Language English
Publisher American Geophysical Union
Contributing office(s) Earthquake Science Center
Description 15 p.
First page 4344
Last page 4358