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The northern Hikurangi margin three-dimensional plate interface in New Zealand remains rough 100 km from the trench

Leah, Harold, Fagereng, Åke ORCID:, Bastow, Ian, Bell, Rebecca, Lane, Victoria, Henrys, Stuart, Jacobs, Katie and Fry, Bill 2022. The northern Hikurangi margin three-dimensional plate interface in New Zealand remains rough 100 km from the trench. Geology 50 (11) , pp. 1256-1260. 10.1130/G50272.1

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At the northern Hikurangi margin (North Island, New Zealand), shallow slow slip events (SSEs) frequently accommodate subduction-interface plate motion from landward of the trench to <20 km depth. SSEs may be spatially related to geometrical interface heterogeneity, though kilometer-scale plate-interface roughness imaged by active-source seismic methods is only constrained offshore at <12 km depth. Onshore constraints are comparatively lacking, but we mapped the Hikurangi margin plate interface using receiver functions from data collected by a dense 22 × 10 km array of 49 broadband seismometers. The plate interface manifests as a positive-amplitude conversion (velocity increase with depth) dipping west from 10 to 17 km depth. This interface corroborates relocated earthquake hypocenters, seismic velocity models, and downdip extrapolation of depth-converted two-dimensional active-source lines. Our mapped plate interface has kilometer-amplitude roughness we interpret as oceanic volcanics or seamounts, and is 1–4 km shallower than the regional-scale plate-interface model used in geodetic inversions. Slip during SSEs may thus have different magnitudes and/or distributions than previously thought. We show interface roughness also leads to shear-strength variability, where slip may nucleate in locally weak areas and propagate across areas of low shear-strength gradient. Heterogeneous shear strength throughout the depth range of the northern Hikurangi margin may govern the nature of plate deformation, including the localization of both slow slip and hazardous earthquakes.

Item Type: Article
Date Type: Published Online
Status: Published
Schools: Earth and Environmental Sciences
Publisher: Geological Society of America
ISSN: 0091-7613
Date of First Compliant Deposit: 20 September 2022
Date of Acceptance: 18 June 2022
Last Modified: 10 May 2023 12:32

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