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Non-volcanic tremor and discontinuous slab dehydration

Fagereng, Ake and Diener, Johann F. A. 2011. Non-volcanic tremor and discontinuous slab dehydration. Geophysical Research Letters 38 (15) , L15302. 10.1029/2011GL048214

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[1] Non-volcanic tremor is a recently discovered fault slip style occurring with remarkable regularity in space near the down-dip end of the locked zone on several subduction thrust interfaces. The physical mechanisms and the controls on the location of tremor have not yet been determined. We calculate the stable mineral assemblages and their water content in the subducting slab, and find that slab dehydration is not continuous, but rather restricted to a few reactions localised in pressure-temperature space. Along geothermal gradients applicable to Shikoku and Cascadia - where tremor has been relatively easy to detect - tremor locations correlate with discontinuous and localised voluminous water release from the breakdown of lawsonite and chlorite + glaucophane respectively. The shape of the pressure-temperature path for subducting slabs prevents fluid release at depths above and below where these dehydration reactions occur. We conclude that abundant tremor activity requires metamorphic conditions where localised dehydration occurs during subduction, and this may explain why tremor appears more abundant in some subduction zones than others.

Item Type: Article
Date Type: Publication
Status: Published
Schools: Earth and Environmental Sciences
Subjects: Q Science > QE Geology
Uncontrolled Keywords: dehydration reactions; metamorphism; subduction; thermodynamics; tremor
Publisher: Wiley-Blackwell
ISSN: 1944-8007
Last Modified: 04 Jun 2017 06:06

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