Tomography of the subducting Cocos plate in central Mexico using data from the installation of a prototype wireless seismic network: Images of a truncated slab. Allen LeRoy Husker

ISBN: 9780549720812

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107 pages


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Tomography of the subducting Cocos plate in central Mexico using data from the installation of a prototype wireless seismic network: Images of a truncated slab.  by  Allen LeRoy Husker

Tomography of the subducting Cocos plate in central Mexico using data from the installation of a prototype wireless seismic network: Images of a truncated slab. by Allen LeRoy Husker
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The central Mexican subduction zone exhibits an oblique strike of the volcanic arc, the Trans-Mexican Volcanic Belt (TMVB), with respect to the trench, flat-slab subduction, and has no Wadati-Benioff zone. The oblique strike of the TMVB is explainedMoreThe central Mexican subduction zone exhibits an oblique strike of the volcanic arc, the Trans-Mexican Volcanic Belt (TMVB), with respect to the trench, flat-slab subduction, and has no Wadati-Benioff zone.

The oblique strike of the TMVB is explained by the changing rate of subduction at the trench. The shape of the slab beyond the flat slab section has been unknown until now due to a lack of seismicity, but inferred by the position of the volcanic arc. Here we use data from the Middle America Seismic Experiment (MASE) to image the slab both with tomography and inverting for a slab temperature model.-MASE is a collaboration between the Center for Embedded Networked Sensing (CENS) at UCLA, the Universidad Nacional Autonoma de Mexico (UNAM), and the California Institute of Technology (CIT).

The data used in this study was from the MASE seismic network. It consisted of 100 seismic stations running, in a line, every 5-6 km from Acapulco, north through TMVB, and to almost the Gulf of Mexico. Half of the seismic stations were the typical standalone style station. These stations were visited once a month to change memory disks and for maintenance. The other 50 stations were developed to send data wirelessly through the network to a base station where the data is linked to the Internet. The 50 stations, called the Wirelessly Linked Seismological Network (WiLSoN), utilize standard Internet tools and protocols to make it both robust and portable to other systems.

WiLSoN is described and compared to the standalone stations. The time to permit and install WiLSoN was double that of the standalone network. However, the benefits of WiLSoN included near real-time data and knowledge of system health as compared to only once a month visits to collect data from the standalone stations.

However, the data collected from the standalone sites was more complete than that collected from WiLSoN. The lack of data completeness is attributed to the development of both software and hardware for WiLSoN during the MASE experiment.-The MASE data is used to perform a 2D P-wave tomography of the subducting Cocos plate. A seismicity study by Pardo and Suarez (1995) mapped a flat Cocos slab under the North America plate to 190 km inland. Our tomography shows the slab subduction continues from 250 km inland at a much steeper angle of 75°. The slab stops somewhere between 450 km and 550 km depth under the northern Trans-Mexican Volcanic Belt.

The Farallon plate, from which the Cocos plate presumably broke, is not seen. P-wave travel times are also inverted for a 2D temperature model of the Cocos slab under Mexico. The temperature model from Davies and Stevenson (1992) is found to have unrealistic values in the case of a thin slab, so the diffusion equation is solved with their initial conditions to correct their solution to remove this limitation. The dipping portion of the slab begins 230 km inland, dip at an angle of 74 degrees from the surface, extend to 500 km depth, and have a thickness of 40 km.-The model is extended to 21/2D by assuming the slab is infinite along its width.

The strike of the slab is then solved for with the full 3D rays found from ray tracing through the iasp91 model. The strike of the dipping slab is found to be 108° clockwise from north, very similar to the strike of the TMVB.-A model of the tectonic history is presented that combines those proposed by Ferrari (2004) and Gorbatov and Fukao (2005).

At 25 Ma the volcanic arc moved inland marking the beginning of flat-slab subduction. At the same time a tear between the Cocos and Farallon initiated. The torsion from the tear squeezed the Cocos plate causing a flat-slab geometry. At 12.5 Ma another tear propagated along the flat Cocos slab removing the torsion causing uplift. The removal of the uplift caused the upper portion of the Cocos slab to sink and start rolling back until it reached the position where it is imaged in this study. The lack of a Wadati-Benioff zone is due to no deeper slab end which would normally elevate the deviatoric stress to levels that generate earthquakes.



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