Three-dimensional crustal structure of the Mariana island arc from seismic tomography

TitleThree-dimensional crustal structure of the Mariana island arc from seismic tomography
Publication TypeJournal Article
Year of Publication2008
AuthorsCalvert, AJ, Klemperer, SL, Takahashi, N, Kerr, BC
JournalJournal of Geophysical Research: Solid Earth
Keywordscrust, Mariana arc, seismic tomography

A three-dimensional (3-D) seismic refraction survey was acquired over the Mariana volcanic arc at 14.5–18.5°N and 145–147°E. First-arrival traveltimes from this survey and from a separate 2-D survey acquired approximately perpendicular to the arc have been simultaneously inverted for a 3-D P wave velocity model using seismic tomography subject to smoothness constraints. The active arc, which initiated only 3–4 Ma ago, has an average crustal thickness of 18 km. Approximately 40 km to the east the inactive remnant of the rifted Eocene arc has an average crustal thickness of 21 km, due primarily to a thicker lower-crustal layer with velocities of 6.5–7.0 km s−1. Crustal production clearly varies both temporally and spatially, with some crustal layers, including the igneous fore-arc crust, varying in thickness by a factor of up to 2 along strike. Average P wave velocities within the upper crust of the modern arc are 240–360 m s−1 lower than in the Eocene arc but are 280 m s−1 higher within the lower crust. Middle crust with velocities of 6.0–6.5 km s−1 is best developed beneath the Eocene arc. These results suggest an evolution of arc structure with increasing age: We infer closure of fractures and porosity in the upper crust through hydrothermal circulation and a reduction in the mafic character of the middle to lower crust as a result of intracrustal differentiation. Although tonalitic rocks may predominate in the transition from upper to middle crust, the bulk of the crust is essentially basaltic.


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