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Title: Thermal Structure of the Forearc in Subduction Zones: A Comparison of Methodologies
Abstract

Molnar and England (1990,https://doi.org/10.1029/JB095iB04p04833) introduced equations using a semianalytical approach that approximate the thermal structure of the forearc regions in subduction zones. A detailed new comparison with high‐resolution finite element models shows that the original equations provide robust predictions and can be improved by a few modifications that follow from the theoretical derivation. The updated approximate equations are shown to be quite accurate for a straight‐dipping slab that is warmed by heat flowing from its base and by shear heating at its top. The approximation of radiogenic heating in the crust of the overriding plate is less accurate but the overall effect of this heating mode is small. It is shown that the previous and updated approximate equations become increasingly inaccurate with decreasing thermal parameter and increasing variability of slab dip. It is also shown that the approximate equations cannot be extrapolated accurately past the brittle‐ductile transition. Conclusions in a recent paper (Kohn et al., 2018,https://doi.org/10.1073/pnas.1809962115) that modest amount of shear heating can explain the thermal conditions of past subduction from the exhumed metamorphic rock record are invalid due to a number of compounding errors in the application of the Molnar and England (1990,https://doi.org/10.1029/JB095iB04p04833) equations past the brittle‐ductile transition. The use of the improved approximate equations is highly recommended provided their limitations are taken into account. For subduction zones with variable dip and/or low thermal parameter finite element modeling is recommended.

 
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Award ID(s):
1850634
NSF-PAR ID:
10445559
Author(s) / Creator(s):
 ;  ;  ;  
Publisher / Repository:
DOI PREFIX: 10.1029
Date Published:
Journal Name:
Geochemistry, Geophysics, Geosystems
Volume:
20
Issue:
7
ISSN:
1525-2027
Page Range / eLocation ID:
p. 3268-3288
Format(s):
Medium: X
Sponsoring Org:
National Science Foundation
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