Structure of the Lesser Antilles subduction forearc and backstop from 3D seismic refraction tomography

Evain, Mikael; Galve, Audrey; Charvis, Philippe; Laigle, Mireille; Kopp, Heidrun; Bécel, Anne; Weinzierl, Wolfgang; Hirn, Alfred; Flueh, Ernst R.; Gallart, Josep; Bayrakci, Gaye. 2013 Structure of the Lesser Antilles subduction forearc and backstop from 3D seismic refraction tomography. Tectonophysics, 603. 55-67.

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In 2007 the Sismantilles II experiment was conducted to constrain structure and seismicity in the central Lesser Antilles subduction zone. The seismic refraction data recorded by a network of 27 OBSs over an area of 65 km × 95 km provide new insights on the crustal structure of the forearc offshore Martinique and Dominica islands. The tomographic inversion of first arrival travel times provides a 3D P-wave velocity model down to 15 km. Basement velocity gradients depict that the forearc is made up of two distinct units: A high velocity gradient domain named the inner forearc in comparison to a lower velocity gradient domain located further trenchward named the outer forearc. Whereas the inner forearc appears as a rigid block uplifted and possibly tilted as a whole to the south, short wavelength deformations of the outer forearc basement are observed, beneath a 3 to 6 km thick sedimentary pile, in relation with the subduction of the Tiburon Ridge and associated seafloor reliefs. North, offshore Dominica Island, the outer forearc is 70 km wide. It extends as far as 180 km to the east of the volcanic front where it acts as a backstop on which the accretionary wedge developed. Its width decreases strongly to the south to terminate offshore Martinique where the inner forearc acts as the backstop. The inner forearc is likely the extension at depth of the Mesozoic magmatic crust outcropping to the north in La Désirade Island and along the scarp of the Karukera Spur. The outer forearc could be either the eastern prolongation of the inner forearc, but the crust was thinned and fractured during the past tectonic history of the area or by recent subduction processes, or an oceanic terrane more recently accreted to the island arc.

Item Type: Publication - Article
Digital Object Identifier (DOI):
ISSN: 00401951
Date made live: 26 Mar 2019 11:59 +0 (UTC)

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