P and S wave tomography and anisotropy in Northwest Pacific and East Asia: Constraints on stagnant slab and intraplate volcanism

Wei Wei, Dapeng Zhao, Jiandong Xu, Feixiang Wei, Guoming Liu

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117 Citations (Scopus)


We determined three-dimensional P and S wave velocities and P wave azimuthal anisotropic tomography of the Northwest Pacific subduction zones by inverting 1,225,086 P wave and 335,117 S wave arrival times from 13,413 earthquakes. Our results show some differences between P and S wave images for the stagnant Pacific slab in the mantle transition zone (MTZ) beneath Northeast China. The stagnant slab looks thicker in the P wave image than that in the S wave image, which may reflects the effects of both hydration and lower temperature in the MTZ, though differences in the resolution of P and S wave tomography may also have some effects. The Changbai intraplate volcanism is caused by hot and wet upwelling in the big mantle wedge above the stagnant Pacific slab. Our P wave anisotropy tomography shows that the fast velocity direction (FVD) in the subducting Philippine Sea plate beneath the Ryukyu arc is NE-SW (trench parallel), which is consistent with the spreading direction of the West Philippine Basin during its initial opening stage, suggesting that it may reflect the fossil anisotropy. A striking variation of the FVD with depth is revealed in the subducting Pacific slab beneath the Northeast Japan arc, which may be caused by slab dehydration that changed elastic properties of the slab with depth. The FVD in the mantle wedge beneath the Northeast Japan and Ryukyu arcs is trench normal, which reflects subduction-induced convection. Beneath the Kuril and Izu-Bonin arcs where oblique subduction occurs, the FVD in the mantle wedge is nearly normal to the moving direction of the downgoing Pacific plate, suggesting that the oblique subduction together with the complex slab morphology have disturbed the mantle flow.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)1642-1666
Number of pages25
JournalJournal of Geophysical Research: Solid Earth
Issue number3
Publication statusPublished - 2015 Mar 1


  • intraplate volcanism
  • mantle wedge
  • seismic anisotropy
  • seismic tomography
  • slab dehydration
  • subduction zones

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Geophysics
  • Geochemistry and Petrology
  • Earth and Planetary Sciences (miscellaneous)
  • Space and Planetary Science


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