By Jonathan Delph, Alan Levander, and Fenglin Niu
Abstract: The dehydration of oceanic slabs during subduction is mainly thermally controlled and is often expressed as intermediate‐depth seismicity. In warm subduction zones, shallow dehydration can also lead to the buildup of pore‐fluid pressure near the plate interface, resulting in nonvolcanic tremor. Along the Cascadia margin, tremor density and intermediate‐depth seismicity correlate but vary significantly from south to north despite little variation in the thermal structure of the Juan de Fuca Plate. Along the northern and southern Cascadia margin, intermediate‐depth seismicity likely corresponds to increased fluid flux, while increased tremor density may result from fluid infiltration into thick underthrust metasediments characterized by very slow shear wave velocities (<3.2 km/s). In central Cascadia, low intermediate‐depth seismicity and tremor density may indicate a lower fluid flux, and shear wave velocities indicate that the Siletzia terrane extends to the plate interface. These results indicate that the presence of thick underthrust sediments is associated with increased tremor occurrence.
Rice Press Release: Tiny northwest quakes tied to deep crust structure
Delph JR, Levander A, and Niu F (2018) Fluid controls on the heterogeneous seismic characteristics of the Cascadia margin, Geophys Res Lett, doi:10.1029/2018GL079518