The Seismogenic Zone of Subduction Thrust Faults

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Timothy H Dixon, Casey Moore
Columbia University Press, Aug 7, 2012 - Science - 692 pages
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Subduction zones, one of the three types of plate boundaries, return Earth's surface to its deep interior. Because subduction zones are gently inclined at shallow depths and depress Earth's temperature gradient, they have the largest seismogenic area of any plate boundary. Consequently, subduction zones generate Earth's largest earthquakes and most destructive tsunamis. As tragically demonstrated by the Sumatra earthquake and tsunami of December 2004, these events often impact densely populated coastal areas and cause large numbers of fatalities.

While scientists have a general understanding of the seismogenic zone, many critical details remain obscure. This volume attempts to answer such fundamental concerns as why some interplate subduction earthquakes are relatively modest in rupture length (greater than 100 km) while others, such as the great (M greater than 9) 1960 Chile, 1964 Alaska, and 2004 Sumatra events, rupture along 1000 km or more. Contributors also address why certain subduction zones are fully locked, accumulating elastic strain at essentially the full plate convergence rate, while others appear to be only partially coupled or even freely slipping; whether these locking patterns persist through the seismic cycle; and what is the role of sediments and fluids on the incoming plate.

Nineteen papers written by experts in a variety of fields review the most current lab, field, and theoretical research on the origins and mechanics of subduction zone earthquakes and suggest further areas of exploration. They consider the composition of incoming plates, laboratory studies concerning sediment evolution during subduction and fault frictional properties, seismic and geodetic studies, and regional scale deformation. The forces behind subduction zone earthquakes are of increasing environmental and societal importance.


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Introduction by Timothy H Dixon and J Casey Moore
What We Know and Dont Know R D Hyndman
Part II The Incoming Plate
Why Lithostratigraphy and Clay Mineralogy Matter by Michael B Underwood
4 The Thermal State of 18 24 Ma Upper Lithosphere Subducting Below the Nicoya Peninsula Northern Costa Rica Margin by M Hutnak A T Fisher ...
5 Influence of Subducting Topography on Earthquake Rupture by Susan L Bilek
Part III Convergent Margin Structure Fluids and Subduction Thrust Evolution
A Synthesis by Barbara A Bekins and Elizabeth J Screaton
12 Fault Friction and the Upper Transition from Seismic to Aseismic Faulting by Chris Marone and Demian M Saffer
Strength Seismic Coupling Dilatancy and PoreFluid Pressure by N M Beeler
Part V Seismic and Geodetic Studies
14 Asperities and QuasiStatic Slips on the Subducting Plate Boundary East of Tohoku Northeast Japan by Akira Hasegawa Naoki Uchida Toshihiro I...
15 Anomalous Earthquake Ruptures at Shallow Depths on Subduction Zone Megathrusts by Thorne Lay and Susan Bilek
Implication for Plate Dynamics in Convergent Boundaries by Kosuke Heki
17 Elastic and Viscoelastic Models of Crustal Deformation in Subduction Earthquake Cycles by Kelin Wang
Evidence for Two Mechanical Transitions by Susan Y Schwartz and Heather R DeShon

7 Pore Pressure within Underthrust Sediment in Subduction Zones by Demian M Saffer
Implications for Prism Evolution and Decollement Initiation and Propagation by Julia K Morgan Elizabeth B Sunderland né E Blanche Ramsey and ...
Seismic Reflection Imaging of the Source of a Tsunami Earthquake by Kirk D McIntosh Eli A Silver Imtiaz Ahmed Arnim Berhorst Cesar R Ranero ...
10 How Accretionary Prisms Elucidate Seismogenesis in Subduction Zones by J Casey Moore Christie Rowe and Francesca Meneghini
Part IV Laboratory Studies
A Review and Interpretation of Data by Diane E Moore and David A Lockner
Part VI Regional Scale Deformation
From a Viewpoint of Slab Dehydration by Tetsuzo Seno
20 Subduction and Mountain Building in the Central Andes by Jonas Kley and Tim Vietor
List of Contributors

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About the author (2012)

Timothy H. Dixon is a professor of tectonics, geodesy, and remote sensing at the Rosenstiel School of Marine and Atmospheric Science, which is associated with the University of Miami.

J. Casey Moore is professor of earth sciences at the University of California Santa Cruz.

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