The Seismogenic Zone of Subduction Thrust Faults

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Overview

Subduction zones, one of the three types of plate boundaries, return Earth's surface to its deep interior. Because subduction zones are gently inclined at shallow depths and depress Earth's temperature gradient, they have the largest seismogenic area of any plate boundary. Consequently, subduction zones generate Earth's largest earthquakes and most destructive tsunamis. As tragically demonstrated by the Sumatra earthquake and tsunami of December 2004, these events often impact densely populated coastal areas and cause large numbers of fatalities.

While scientists have a general understanding of the seismogenic zone, many critical details remain obscure. This volume attempts to answer such fundamental concerns as why some interplate subduction earthquakes are relatively modest in rupture length (greater than 100 km) while others, such as the great (M greater than 9) 1960 Chile, 1964 Alaska, and 2004 Sumatra events, rupture along 1000 km or more. Contributors also address why certain subduction zones are fully locked, accumulating elastic strain at essentially the full plate convergence rate, while others appear to be only partially coupled or even freely slipping; whether these locking patterns persist through the seismic cycle; and what is the role of sediments and fluids on the incoming plate.

Nineteen papers written by experts in a variety of fields review the most current lab, field, and theoretical research on the origins and mechanics of subduction zone earthquakes and suggest further areas of exploration. They consider the composition of incoming plates, laboratory studies concerning sediment evolution during subduction and fault frictional properties, seismic and geodetic studies, and regional scale deformation. The forces behind subduction zone earthquakes are of increasing environmental and societal importance.

Columbia University Press

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Product Details

Meet the Author

Timothy H. Dixon is a professor of tectonics, geodesy, and remote sensing at the Rosenstiel School of Marine and Atmospheric Science, which is associated with the University of Miami.

J. Casey Moore is professor of earth sciences at the University of California Santa Cruz.

Columbia University Press

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Table of Contents

The Thermal State of 1824 Ma Upper Lithosphere 78 Influence of Subducting Topography on Earthquake 123 Pore Pressure and Fluid Flow in the Northern Barbados 148 Pore Pressure within Underthrust Sediment in Subduction 171 Deformation and Mechanical Strength of Sediments at 210 Seismic Reflection Imaging 257 How Accretionary Prisms Elucidate Seismogenesis 288 A Review 317Seismic and Geodetic Studies 450 Anomalous Earthquake Ruptures at Shallow Depths 476 Secular Transient and Seasonal Crustal Movements in Japan 16 Elastic and Viscoelastic Models of Crustal Deformation 540 Distinct Updip Limits to Geodetic Locking and Microseismicity 576 Regional Scale Deformation 600 Subduction and Mountain Building in the Central Andes 624 List of Contributors 661

Columbia University Press

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