Three‐dimensional numerical modeling of thermal regime and slab dehydration beneath Kanto and Tohoku, Japan

Abstract

<jats:title>Abstract</jats:title><jats:p>Although the thermal regime of the interface between two overlapping subducting plates, such as those beneath Kanto, Japan, is thought to play an important role in affecting the distribution of interplate and intraslab earthquakes, the estimation of the thermal regime remains challenging to date. We constructed a three‐dimensional (3‐D) thermal convection model to simulate the subduction of the Pacific plate along the Japan Trench and Izu‐Bonin Trench, including the subduction of the Philippine Sea beneath Kanto and investigated the slab thermal regime and slab water contents in this complex tectonic setting. Based on the subduction parameters tested in generic models with two flat oceanic plates, a faster or thicker plate subducting in a more trench‐normal direction produces a colder slab thermal regime. The interplate temperature of the cold anomaly beneath offshore Kanto was approximately 300°C colder than that beneath offshore Tohoku at a same depth of 40 km and approximately 600°C colder at a depth of 70 km. The convergence between the two subducting plates produces an asymmetric thermal structure in the slab contact zone beneath Kanto, which is characterized by clustered seismicity in the colder southwestern half. The thermo‐dehydration state of the mid‐ocean ridge basalt near the upper surface of the subducted Pacific plate controls the interplate seismicity beneath the Kanto‐Tohoku region according to the spatial concurrence of the thermo‐dehydration and seismicity along the megathrust fault zone of the subducted Pacific plate.</jats:p>

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