Impact of Aseismic Ridges on Subduction Systems: Insights From Analog Modeling

A. G. Flórez-Rodríguez*, W. P. Schellart, V. Strak

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to JournalArticleAcademicpeer-review

Abstract

The influence of aseismic ridges on subduction kinematics and dynamics, and on the deformation of the overriding plate, remains a topic of debate. This study presents laboratory-based geodynamic models that simulate the process of aseismic ridge subduction below an overriding plate. The analog experiments show that, depending on its size, subduction of an aseismic ridge can impact on the kinematics of subduction, overriding plate deformation and, to a lower extent, on the geometry of the slab and that of the trench. Specifically, it can cause a reduction of the subducting plate and trench retreat velocities, decreases overriding plate extension and even drives local forearc shortening for the widest ridge, increases the slab dip angle next to the aseismic ridge, but decreases the dip angle at the aseismic ridge in case the ridge is thick and wide, and produces a local perturbation (indentation) of the trench geometry. The magnitude of the described modifications relies to a comparable extent on aseismic ridge width and thickness. The effects of aseismic ridge subduction observed in our models compare to those of the Louisville Seamount Chain, the Cocos Ridge, and the d'Entrecasteaux Ridge system in nature and provide an explanation for the local deformation observed at these subduction zones.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)5951-5969
Number of pages19
JournalJournal of Geophysical Research: Solid Earth
Volume124
Issue number6
Early online date9 May 2019
DOIs
Publication statusPublished - Jun 2019

Keywords

  • analog models
  • aseismic ridge
  • overriding plate deformation
  • slab dip
  • subduction
  • trench geometry

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