A new azimuthal anisotropy model for the North American and Caribbean Plates, namely,
Laboratory experiments and geodynamic simulations demonstrate that poloidal- and toroidal-mode mantle flows develop around subduction zones. Here, we use a new 3-D azimuthal anisotropy model constructed by full waveform inversion, to infer deep subduction-induced mantle flows underneath Middle America. At depths shallower than 150 km, poloidal-mode flow is perpendicular to the trajectory of the Middle American Trench. From 300 to 450 km depth, return flows surround the edges of the Rivera and Atlantic slabs, while escape flows are inferred through slab windows beneath Panama and central Mexico. Furthermore, at 700 km depth, the study region is dominated by the Farallon anomaly, with fast axes perpendicular to its strike, suggesting the development of lattice-preferred orientations by substantial stress. These observations provide depth-dependent seismic anisotropy for future mantle flow simulations, and call for further investigations about the deformation mechanisms and elasticity of minerals in the transition zone and uppermost lower mantle.more » « less
- Award ID(s):
- NSF-PAR ID:
- Publisher / Repository:
- Nature Publishing Group
- Date Published:
- Journal Name:
- Nature Communications
- Medium: X
- Sponsoring Org:
- National Science Foundation
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A new azimuthal anisotropy model for the North American and Caribbean Plates, namely,
, is constructed based on full waveform inversion and records from the USArray and other temporary/permanent networks deployed in the study region. A total of 180 earthquakes and 4,516 seismographic stations are employed in the inversion to simultaneously constrain radially and azimuthally anisotropic model parameters: , , , and , within the crust and mantle. Thirty‐two preconditioned conjugate gradient iterations have been utilized to minimize frequency‐dependent phase discrepancies between observed and predicted seismograms for three‐component short‐period (15–40 s) body waves and long‐period (25–100 s) surface waves. Model exhibits complicated variations in anisotropic fabrics underneath the western and eastern United States, especially at depths shallower than 100 km. For instance, the fast axis orientations in model suggest the presence of trench‐perpendicular mantle flows underneath the Cascadia Subduction Zone and also follow the strikes of the Snake River Plain, the Ouachita Orogenic Front, and the Grenville and Appalachian Orogenic Belts. The amplitudes of azimuthal anisotropy reduce to around 1% at depths greater than 200 km, and the orientations are subparallel to the global plate motion directions to the east of the Rocky Mountain, except for large discrepancies in central and eastern Canada. At a depth of 700 km, the fast axes change along the trajectory of the Farallon slab underneath the Great Lakes region and Gulf of Mexico, which might indicate the development of 2‐D poloidal‐mode mantle flows perpendicular to the strike of the sinking slab within the uppermost lower mantle. Comparisons between model with a western U.S. model from ambient noise tomography and SKS splitting measurements demonstrate a relatively good agreement for the fast axis orientations, considering the usage of different data sets and imaging techniques. However, the absolute magnitude of azimuthal anisotropy in model might be underestimated, especially at greater depths, given the poor agreement on the amplitudes of predicted and observed SKS splitting times. At the current stage, the agreement among different azimuthal anisotropy models at global and continental scales is still poor even for the United States with a dense station coverage.
We use surface wave measurements to reveal anisotropy as a function of depth within the Juan de Fuca and Gorda plate system. Using a two‐plane wave method, we measure phase velocity and azimuthal anisotropy of fundamental mode Rayleigh waves, solving for anisotropic shear velocity. These surface wave measurements are jointly inverted with constraints from
SKSsplitting studies using a Markov chain approach. We show that the two data sets are consistent and present inversions that offer new constraints on the vertical distribution of strain beneath the plates and the processes at spreading centers. Anisotropy of the Juan de Fuca plate interior is strongest (~2.4%) in the low‐velocity zone between ~40‐ to 90‐km depth, with ENE direction driven by relative shear between plate motion and mantle return flow from the Cascadia subduction zone. In disagreement with Pnmeasurements, weak (~1.1%) lithospheric anisotropy in Juan de Fuca is highly oblique to the expected ridge‐perpendicular direction, perhaps connoting complex intralithospheric fabrics associated with melt or off‐axis downwelling. In the Gorda microplate, strong shallow anisotropy (~1.9%) is consistent with Pninversions and aligned with spreading and may be enhanced by edge‐driven internal strain. Weak anisotropy with ambiguous orientation in the low‐velocity zone can be explained by Gorda's youth and modest motion relative to the Pacific. Deeper (≥90 km) fabric appears controlled by regional flow fields modulated by the Farallon slab edge: anisotropy is strong (~1.8%) beneath Gorda, but absent beneath the Juan de Fuca, which is in the strain shadow of the slab.
The mantle transition zone (MTZ) of Earth is demarcated by solid‐to‐solid phase changes of the mineral olivine that produce seismic discontinuities at 410 and 660‐km depths. Mineral physics experiments predict that wadsleyite can have strong single‐crystal anisotropy at the pressure and temperature conditions of the MTZ. Thus, significant seismic anisotropy is possible in the upper MTZ where lattice‐preferred orientation of wadsleyite is produced by mantle flow. Here, we use a body wave method, SS precursors, to study the topography change and seismic anisotropy near the MTZ discontinuities. We stack the data to explore the azimuthal dependence of travel‐times and amplitudes of SS precursors and constrain the azimuthal anisotropy in the MTZ. Beneath the central Pacific, we find evidence for ~4% anisotropy with a SE fast direction in the upper mantle and no significant anisotropy in the MTZ. In subduction zones, we observe ~4% anisotropy with a trench‐parallel fast direction in the upper mantle and ~3% anisotropy with a trench‐perpendicular fast direction in the MTZ. The transition of fast directions indicates that the lattice‐preferred orientation of wadsleyite induced by MTZ flow is organized separately from the flow in the upper mantle. Global azimuthal stacking reveals ~1% azimuthal anisotropy in the upper mantle but negligible anisotropy (<1%) in the MTZ. Finally, we correct for the upper mantle and MTZ anisotropy structures to obtain a new MTZ topography model. The anisotropy correction produces
±3 km difference and therefore has minor overall effects on global MTZ topography.
To systematically investigate seismic azimuthal anisotropy in the Sumatra subduction zone and probe mantle dynamics associated with the subduction of the Australian Plate beneath the Sunda Plate, a total of 169 pairs of teleseismic XKS (including PKS, SKKS, SKS) and 115 pairs of local
Ssplitting parameters are obtained using broadband seismic data recorded at ~70 stations. Additionally, crustal anisotropy in the overriding Sunda Plate is measured by analyzing the moveout of P‐to‐ Sconversions from the Moho using a sinusoidal function. Comparison between the three sets of anisotropy measurements obtained using shear waves with different depths of origin suggests that (1) the crust of the Sunda Plate is anisotropic with mostly trench‐parallel fast orientations and a mean splitting time of 0.28 ± 0.05 s; (2) the mantle wedge is azimuthally anisotropic with dominantly trench‐parallel fast orientations and splitting times ranging from 0.22 to 0.81 s, which generally increase with the focal depth; and (3) subslab anisotropy is mostly trench‐normal beneath the fore‐arc region with an averaged splitting time of 1.48 ± 0.06 s, and becomes trench‐parallel beneath the arc and back‐arc areas with a mean splitting time of 0.33 ± 0.04 s. The resulting lateral and vertical distributions of anisotropy obtained using splitting of three types of shear waves advocate the presence of an entrained subslab flow that is deflected by the mantle transition zone. The flow enters the mantle wedge through a slab window and flows horizontally parallel to the trench.
Shear‐wave splitting observations can provide insight into mantle flow, due to the link between the deformation of mantle rocks and their direction‐dependent seismic wave velocities. We identify anisotropy in the Cook Inlet segment of the Alaska subduction zone by analyzing splitting parameters of S waves from local intraslab earthquakes between 50 and 200 km depths, recorded from 2015–2017 and emphasizing stations from the Southern Alaska Lithosphere and Mantle Observation Network experiment. We classify 678 high‐quality local shear‐wave splitting observations into four regions, from northwest to southeast: (L1b) splitting measurements parallel to Pacific plate motion, (L1a) arc‐perpendicular splitting pattern, (L2) sharp transition to arc‐parallel splitting, and (L3) splitting parallel to Pacific plate motion. Forward modeling of splitting from various mantle fabrics shows that no one simple model fully explains the observed splitting patterns. An A‐type olivine fabric with fast direction dipping 45° to the northwest (300°)—aligned with the dipping slab—predicts fast directions that fit L1a observations well, but not L2. The inability of the forward model fabrics to fit all the observed splitting patterns suggests that the anisotropy variations are not due to variable ray angles, but require distinct differences in the anisotropy regime below the arc, forearc, and subducting plate.