Backarc spreading and mantle wedge flow beneath the Japan Sea: Insight from Rayleigh-wave anisotropic tomography

Xin Liu, Dapeng Zhao

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

21 Citations (Scopus)


We present the first high-resolution Rayleigh-wave phase-velocity azimuthal anisotropy tomography of the Japan subduction zone at periods of 20-150 s, which is determined using a large number of high-quality amplitude and phase data of teleseismic fundamental-mode Rayleigh waves. The obtained 2-D anisotropic phase-velocity models are then inverted for a 3-D shear-wave velocity azimuthal anisotropy tomography down to a depth of ~300 km beneath Japan. The subducting Pacific slab is imaged as a dipping high-velocity zone with trench-parallel fast-velocity directions (FVDs) which may indicate the anisotropy arising from the normal faults produced at the outer-rise area near the Japan trench axis, overprinting the slab fossil fabric, whereas the mantle wedge generally exhibits lower velocities with trenchnormal FVDs which reflect subduction-driven corner flow and anisotropy. Depth variations of azimuthal anisotropy are revealed in the big mantle wedge beneath the Japan Sea, which may reflect past deformations in the Eurasian lithosphere related to backarc spreading during 21 to 15 Ma and complex current convection in the asthenosphere induced by active subductions of both the Pacific and Philippine Sea plates.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)357-373
Number of pages17
JournalGeophysical Journal International
Issue number1
Publication statusPublished - 2016 Oct 1


  • Backarc basin processes
  • Seismic anisotropy
  • Seismic tomography
  • Subduction zone processes
  • Surface waves and free oscillations

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Geophysics
  • Geochemistry and Petrology


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