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Title: Seismic evidence for subduction-induced mantle flows underneath Middle America

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.

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Nature Publishing Group
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Nature Communications
Medium: X
Sponsoring Org:
National Science Foundation
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