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Title: Geometrical Relations Between Slab Dip and the Location of Volcanic Arcs and Back‐Arc Spreading Centers

A global study of subduction zone dynamics indicates that the thermal structure of the overriding plate may control arc location. A fast convergence rate and a steep slab dip bring a hotter mantle further into the wedge corner, forming arc volcanoes closer to the trench. Separately, laboratory and numerical experiments showed that the development of a back‐arc spreading center (BASC) is driven by the migration of the subducting hinge, especially following changes in the slab geometry. As both arc location and the deformation regime of the overriding plate depend on slab kinematics and geometry, we investigate the possible correlations between BASC, the position of volcanic arcs, and slab dip at the scale of individual subduction zones. To do this, we compare the distance from trench to arc and trench to BASC at the Mariana, Scotia, Vanuatu, Tonga, and Kermadec subduction zones. In most cases, the arc and BASC are closer to the trench when the slab is dipping steeply. The correlation could result from an interplay between progressive changes in slab geometry and overriding plate deformation. This assumes, on the one hand, that the isotherm at the apex of which the arc forms is tied to a constant slab decoupling depth and, on the other hand, that back‐arc opening accommodates a change in slab dip. As slab dip decreases, both the BASC and the apex of the isotherm controlling the melt focusing move further from the trench. The observed trends are consistent with a slab anchored at 660 km depth.

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Award ID(s):
1761912 2218314
Author(s) / Creator(s):
 ;  ;  
Publisher / Repository:
DOI PREFIX: 10.1029
Date Published:
Journal Name:
Geochemistry, Geophysics, Geosystems
Medium: X
Sponsoring Org:
National Science Foundation
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  2. Abstract

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    Table S3. Location of each trench, arc, and back-arc defined in a direction parallel to the convergence, and the corresponding distance from the trench to the arc (D_TA), subarc slab depth (H), and from the trench to the back-arc spreading center (D_TB). The slab dip is measured at 50km (Dip50), 100km (Dip100), and 200km (Dip200) and averaged from 0 to 50 km (Dip050), 0 to 100km (Dip0100), 0 to 200km (Dip0200), and 50 to 200km (Dip50200). 

    Table S4. Location of each trench, arc, and back-arc defined in a direction perpendicular to the trench, and the corresponding distance from the trench to the arc (D_TA), subarc slab depth (H), and from the trench to the back-arc spreading center (D_TB). The slab dip is measured at 50km (Dip50), 100km (Dip100), and 200km (Dip200) and averaged from 0 to 50 km (Dip050), 0 to 100km (Dip0100), 0 to 200km (Dip0200), and 50 to 200km (Dip50200). 

    Table S5. Location of each trench, arc, and back-arc defined in a direction parallel to the spreading direction, and the corresponding distance from the trench to the arc (D_TA), subarc slab depth (H), and from the trench to the back-arc spreading center (D_TB). The slab dip is measured at 50km (Dip50), 100km (Dip100), and 200km (Dip200) and averaged from 0 to 50 km (Dip050), 0 to 100km (Dip0100), 0 to 200km (Dip0200), and 50 to 200km (Dip50200). 


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  4. Abstract

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  5. null (Ed.)
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