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SUMMARY Tectonic plate motions predominantly result from a balance between the potential energy change of the subducting slab and viscous dissipation in the mantle, bending lithosphere and slab–upper plate interface. A wide range of observations from active subduction zones and exhumed rocks suggest that subduction interface shear zone rheology is sensitive to the composition of subducting crustal material—for example, sediments versus mafic igneous oceanic crust. Here we use 2-D numerical models of dynamically consistent subduction to systematically investigate how subduction interface viscosity influences large-scale subduction kinematics and dynamics. Our model consists of an oceanic slab subducting beneath an overriding continentalmore »Free, publicly-accessible full text available April 13, 2023
The importance of slab–slab interactions is manifested in the kinematics and geometry of the Philippine Sea Plate and western Pacific subduction zones, and such interactions offer a dynamic basis for the first-order observations in this complex subduction setting. The westward subduction of the Pacific Sea Plate changes, along-strike, from single slab subduction beneath Japan, to a double-subduction setting where Pacific subduction beneath the Philippine Sea Plate occurs in tandem with westward subduction of the Philippine Sea Plate beneath Eurasia. Our 3-D numerical models show that there are fundamental differences between single slab systems and double slab systems where both subductionmore »