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Title: Shear Wave Splitting and Mantle Flow Beneath Alaska

Shear wave splitting is often assumed to be caused by mantle flow or preexisting lithospheric fabrics. We present 2,389 new SKS shear wave splitting observations from 384 broadband stations deployed in Alaska from January 2010 to August 2017. In Alaska, splitting appears to be controlled by the absolute plate motion (APM) of the North American and Pacific plates, the interaction between the two plates, and the geometry of the subducting Pacific‐Yakutat plate. Outside of the subduction zone's influence, the fast directions in northern Alaska parallel the North American APM direction. Fast directions near the Queen Charlotte‐Fairweather transform margin are parallel to the faults and are likely caused by the strike‐slip deformation extending throughout the lithosphere. In the mantle wedge, fast directions are oriented along the strike of the slab with large splitting times and are caused by along‐strike flow in the mantle wedge as the slab provides a barrier to flow. South of the Alaska Peninsula, the fast directions are parallel to the trench regardless of sea floor fabric, indicating along strike flow under the Pacific plate. Under the Kenai Peninsula, the complex flat slab geometry may cause subslab flow to be parallel to Pacific APM direction or to the North America‐Pacific relative motion.

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DOI PREFIX: 10.1029
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Journal Name:
Journal of Geophysical Research: Solid Earth
Medium: X
Sponsoring Org:
National Science Foundation
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