The Impact of a Very Weak and Thin Upper Asthenosphere on Subduction Motions

R. Carluccio*, B. Kaus, F. A. Capitanio, L. N. Moresi

*Corresponding author for this work

    Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

    6 Citations (Scopus)

    Abstract

    Recent geophysical observations report the presence of a very weak and thin upper asthenosphere underneath subducting oceanic plates at convergent margins. Along these margins, trench migrations are significantly slower than plate convergence rates. We use numerical models to assess the role of a weak upper asthenospheric layer on plate and trench motions. We show that the presence of this layer alone can enhance an advancing trend for the motion of the plate and hamper trench retreat. This mechanism provides a novel and alternative explanation for the slow rates of trench migration and fast-moving plates observed globally at natural subduction zones.

    Original languageEnglish
    Pages (from-to)11893-11905
    Number of pages13
    JournalGeophysical Research Letters
    Volume46
    Issue number21
    DOIs
    Publication statusPublished - 16 Nov 2019

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