The generating mechanism and process of slow earthquakes can help us to better understand the seismogenic process and the petrological evolution of the subduction system, but they are still not very clear. In this work we present robust P and S wave tomography and Poisson's ratio images of the subducting Philippine Sea Plate beneath the Kii peninsula in Southwest Japan. Our results clearly reveal the spatial extent and variation of a low-velocity and high Poisson's ratio layer which is interpreted as the remnant of the subducted oceanic crust. The low-velocity layer disappears at depths >50 km, which is attributed to crustal eclogitization and consumption of fluids. The crustal eclogitization and destruction of the impermeable seal play a key role in the generation of slow earthquakes. The Moho depth of the overlying plate is an important factor affecting the depth range of slow earthquakes in warm subduction zones due to the transition of interface permeability from low to high there. The possible mechanism of the deep slow earthquakes is the dehydrated oceanic crustal rupture and shear slip at the transition zone in response to the crustal eclogitization and the temporal stress/strain field. A potential cause of the slow event gap existing beneath easternmost Shikoku and the Kii channel is the premature rupture of the subducted oceanic crust due to the large tensional force.
- crustal eclogitization
- slow earthquakes
- subduction dynamics
ASJC Scopus subject areas
- Earth and Planetary Sciences(all)