Subduction Thermal Regime, Slab Dehydration, and Seismicity Distribution Beneath Hikurangi Based on 3‐D Simulations

  • Nobuaki Suenaga
    Research Center for Urban Safety and Security Kobe University Kobe Japan
  • Yingfeng Ji
    Research Center for Urban Safety and Security Kobe University Kobe Japan
  • Shoichi Yoshioka
    Research Center for Urban Safety and Security Kobe University Kobe Japan
  • Deshan Feng
    School of Geoscience and Info‐physics Central South University Changsha China

Abstract

<jats:title>Abstract</jats:title><jats:p>The downdip limit of seismogenic interfaces inferred from the subduction thermal regime by thermal models has been suggested to relate to the faulting instability caused by the brittle failure regime in various plate convergent systems. However, the featured three‐dimensional thermal state, especially along the horizontal (trench‐parallel) direction of a subducted oceanic plate, remains poorly constrained. To robustly investigate and further map the horizontal (trench‐parallel) distribution of the subduction regime and subsequently induced slab dewatering in a descending plate beneath a convergent margin, we construct a regional thermal model that incorporates an up‐to‐date three‐dimensional slab geometry and the MORVEL plate velocity to simulate the plate subduction history in Hikurangi. Our calculations suggest an identified thrust zone featuring remarkable slab dehydration near the Taupo volcanic arc in the North Island distributed in the Kapiti, Manawatu, and Raukumara region. The calculated average subduction‐associated slab dehydration of 0.09 to 0.12 wt%/km is greater than the dehydration in other portions of the descending slab and possibly contributes to an along‐arc variation in the interplate pore fluid pressure. A large‐scale slab dehydration (>0.05 wt%/km) and a high thermal gradient (>4 °C/km) are also identified in the Kapiti, Manawatu, and Raukumara region and are associated with frequent deep slow slip events. An intraslab dehydration that exceeds 0.2 wt%/km beneath Manawatu near the source region of tectonic tremors suggests an unknown relationship in the genesis of slow earthquakes.</jats:p>

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