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    Increasing evidence from seismic methods shows that anisotropy within subduction zones should consist of multiple layers. To test this, we calculate and model shear wave splitting across the Alaska-Aleutians Subduction Zone (AASZ), where previous studies have argued for separate layers of anisotropy in the subslab, slab and mantle wedge. We present an updated teleseismic splitting catalogue along the span of the AASZ, which has many broad-band seismometers recently upgraded to three components. Splitting observations are sparse in the Western Aleutians, and fast directions are oriented generally trench parallel. There are significantly more splitting measurements further east along the AASZ. We identify six regions in the Central and Eastern Aleutians, Alaskan Peninsula and Cook Inlet with a high density of splits suitable for multilayered anisotropy analyses. These regions were tested for multilayer anisotropy, and for five of the six regions we favour multiple layers over a single layer of anisotropy. We find that the optimal setup for our models is one with a dipping middle layer oriented parallel to palaeospreading. A prominent feature of our modelling is that fast directions above and below the dipping layer are generally oriented parallel to the strike of the slab. Additionally, we lay out a framework for robust and statistically reliable multilayer shear wave splitting modelling.

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    The Alaska–Aleutian subduction zone represents an ideal location to study dynamics within a mantle wedge. The subduction system spans several thousand kilometres, is characterized by a slab edge, and has ample seismicity. Additionally, the majority of islands along the arc house broad-band seismic instruments. We examine shear wave splitting of local-S phases originating along the length of the subduction zone. We have dense measurement spacing in two regions, the central Aleutians and beneath Alaska. Beneath Alaska, we observe a rotation in fast splitting directions near the edge of the subducting slab. Fast directions change from roughly trench perpendicular away from the slab edge to trench parallel near the boundary. This is indicative of toroidal flow around the edge of the subducting Alaska slab. In the central Aleutians, local-S splitting is primarily oriented parallel to, or oblique to, the strike of the trench. The local-S measurements, however, exhibit a depth dependence where deeper events show more consistently trench-parallel directions indicating prevalent trench-parallel mantle flow. Our local-S shear wave splitting results suggest trench-parallel orientation are likely present along much of the subduction zone excited by the slab edge, but that additional complexities exist along strike.

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  3. null (Ed.)
    Abstract Megathrust earthquake behavior in subduction zones is controlled by a variety of factors including the hydration state of the subducting slab. Increased hydration reduces the occur-rence of great, damaging earthquakes by diminishing the strength of the material along the interface between tectonic plates. Understanding variations in hydration in subductions zones is necessary for properly assessing the overall hazard posed by each region. Fortunately, seismic anisotropy is strongly dependent upon hydration of the subducting crust and litho-sphere. I present shear-wave splitting measurements that illuminate changes in anisotropy, and therefore hydration, of the subducting Pacific plate beneath the Alaska subduction zone (northern Pacific Ocean). Variations in shear-wave splitting directly correlate to changes in the behavior of great, megathrust earthquakes. My measurements show that the Shumagin seismic gap is characterized by a hydrated subducting slab, explaining the long-term lack of great earthquakes. Observations in the immediately adjacent Semidi segment, which experiences great events regularly, indicate a far less hydrated slab. These results are driven by the preferential alignment of paleo-spreading fabrics of the Pacific plate. Where fabrics are more closely aligned with the orientation of the trench, outer-rise faulting and plate hydration is enhanced. These results highlight the importance of changes in preexisting slab structures and subsequent hydration in the production of great, damaging earthquakes. 
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    A decade-long research collaboration has revealed that the split between Africa and North America roughly 200 million years ago was more drawn out than previously thought. 
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  6. Abstract

    Little has been seismically imaged through the lithosphere and mantle at rifted margins across the continent‐ocean transition. A 2014–2015 community seismic experiment deployed broadband seismic instruments across the shoreline of the eastern North American rifted margin. Previous shear‐wave splitting along the margin shows several perplexing patterns of anisotropy, and by proxy, mantle flow. Neither margin parallel offshore fast azimuths nor null splitting on the continental coast obviously accord with absolute plate motion, paleo‐spreading, or rift‐induced anisotropy. Splitting measurements, however, offer no depth constraints on anisotropy. Additionally, mantle structure has not yet been imaged in detail across the continent‐ocean transition. We used teleseismicS,SKS,SKKS, andPKSsplitting and differential travel times recorded on ocean‐bottom seismometers, regional seismic networks, and EarthScope Transportable Array stations to conduct joint isotropic/anisotropic tomography across the margin. The velocity model reveals a transition from fast, thick, continental keel to low velocity, thinned lithosphere eastward. Imaged short wavelength velocity anomalies can be largely explained by edge‐driven convection or shear‐driven upwelling. We also find that layered anisotropy is prevalent across the margin. The anisotropic fast polarization is parallel to the margin within the asthenosphere. This suggests margin parallel flow beneath the plate. The lower oceanic lithosphere preserves paleo‐spreading‐parallel anisotropy, while the continental lithosphere has complex anisotropy reflecting several Wilson cycles. These results demonstrate the complex and active nature of a margin which is traditionally considered tectonically inactive.

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  7. Abstract

    The subducting African Plate in the easternmost Mediterranean is actively tearing and deforming beneath the Anatolian Plate as the margin transitions from long‐lived subduction to collision. In central Anatolia, the subducting slab is characterized by both lateral and vertical slab tears. We investigate patterns of mantle flow around the edges of a contorting and fragmenting African slab segment, called the Cyprean slab, using measurements of shear wave splitting. We observe three distinct regions of coherent shear wave splitting that correlate with the segmentation boundaries of the Cyprean slab. Regionally coherent mantle flow occurs near both the eastern and western the edges of the slab. These regions of coherent splitting are separated by an area of null splitting that encompasses the Central Anatolian Volcanic Province near the easternmost edge of the slab. The null measurements likely result from mantle upwelling due to the displacement of asthenosphere from the vertical Cyprean slab.

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  10. SUMMARY The Ecuadorian forearc is a complex region of accreted terranes with a history of large megathrust earthquakes. Most recently, a Mw 7.8 megathrust earthquake ruptured the plate boundary offshore of Pedernales, Ecuador on 16 April 2016. Following this event, an international collaboration arranged by the Instituto Geofisico at the Escuela Politécnica Nacional mobilized a rapid deployment of 65 seismic instruments along the Ecuadorian forearc. We combine this new seismic data set with 14 permanent stations from the Ecuadorian national network to better understand how variations in crustal structure relate to regional seismic hazards along the margin. Here, we present receiver function adaptive common conversion point stacks and a shear velocity model derived from the joint inversion of receiver functions and surface wave dispersion data obtained through ambient noise cross-correlations for the upper 50 km of the forearc. Beneath the forearc crust, we observe an eastward dipping slow velocity anomaly we interpret as subducting oceanic crust, which shallows near the projected centre of the subducting Carnegie Ridge. We also observe a strong shallow positive conversion in the Ecuadorian forearc near the Borbon Basin indicating a major discontinuity at a depth of ∼7 km. This conversion is not ubiquitous and may be the top of the accreted terranes. We also observe significant north–south changes in shear wave velocity. The velocity changes indicate variations in the accreted terranes and may indicate an increased amount of hydration beneath the Manabí Basin. This change in structure also correlates geographically with the southern rupture limit of multiple high magnitude megathrust earthquakes. The earthquake record along the Ecuadorian trench shows that no event with a Mw >7.4 has ruptured south of ∼0.5°S in southern Ecuador or northern Peru. Our observations, along with previous studies, suggest that variations in the forearc crustal structure and subducting oceanic crust may influance the occurrence and spatial distribution of high magnitude seismicity in the region. 
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