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  • 1
    Publication Date: 2019-09-23
    Description: We describe the deep structure of the south Colombian–northern Ecuador convergent margin using travel time inversion of wide-angle seismic data recently collected offshore. The margin appears segmented into three contrasting zones. In the North Zone, affected by four great subduction earthquakes during the 20th century, normal oceanic crust subducts beneath the oceanic Cretaceous substratum of the margin underlined by seismic velocities as high as 6.0–6.5 km/s. In the Central Zone the subducting oceanic crust is over-thickened beneath the Carnegie Ridge. A steeper slope and a well-developed, high velocity, Cretaceous oceanic basement characterizes the margin wedge. This area coincides with a gap in significant subduction earthquake activity. In the South Zone, the subducting oceanic crust is normal. The fore-arc is characterized by large sedimentary basins suggesting significant subsidence. Velocities in the margin wedge are significantly lower and denote a different nature or a higher degree of fracturing. Even if the distance between the three profiles exceeds 150 km, the structural segmentation obtained along the Ecuadorian margin correlates well with the distribution of seismic activity and the neotectonic zonation.
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  • 2
    Publication Date: 2020-02-06
    Description: We characterise the aftershock sequence following the 2016 Mw=7.8 Pedernales earthquake. More than 10,000 events were detected and located, with magnitudes up to 6.9. Most of the aftershock seismicity results from interplate thrust faulting, but we also observe a few normal and strike-slip mechanisms. Seismicity extends for more than 300 km along strike, and is constrained between the trench and the maximum depth of the coseismic rupture. The most striking feature is the presence of three seismicity bands, perpendicular to the trench, which are also observed during the interseismic period. Additionally, we observe a linear dependency between the temporal evolution of afterslip and aftershocks. We also find a temporal semi-logarithmic expansion of aftershock seismicity along strike and dip directions, further indicating that their occurrence is modulated by afterslip. Lastly, we observe that the spatial distribution of seismic and aseismic slip processes is correlated to the distribution of bathymetric anomalies associated with the northern flank of the Carnegie Ridge, suggesting that slip in the area could be influenced by the relief of the subducting seafloor. To explain our observations, we propose a conceptual model in which the Ecuadorian margin is subject to a bimodal slip mode, with distributed seismic and aseismic slip mechanically controlled by the subduction of a rough oceanic relief. Our study sheds new light on the mechanics of subduction, relevant for convergent margins with a complex and heterogeneous structure such as the Ecuadorian margin.
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  • 3
    Publication Date: 2019-09-23
    Description: Oceanic island arcs are sites of high magma production and contribute to the formation of continental crust. Geophysical studies may provide information on the configuration and composition of island arc crust, however, to date only few seismic profiles exist across active island arcs, limiting our knowledge on the deep structure and processes related to the production of arc crust. We acquired active-source wide-angle seismic data crossing the central Lesser Antilles island arc north of Dominica where the oceanic Tiburon Ridge subducts obliquely beneath the forearc. A combined analysis of wide-angle seismics and pre-stack depth migrated reflection data images the complex structure of the backstop and its segmentation into two individual ridges, suggesting an intricate relation between subducted basement relief and forearc deformation. Tomographic imaging reveals three distinct layers composing the island arc crust. A three kilometer thick upper crust of volcanogenic sedimentary rocks and volcaniclastics is underlain by intermediate to felsic middle crust and plutonic lower crust. The island arc crust may comprise inherited elements of oceanic plateau material contributing to the observed crustal thickness. A high density ultramafic cumulates layer is not detected, which is an important observation for models of continental crust formation. The upper plate Moho is found at a depth of 24 km below the sea floor. Upper mantle velocities are close to the global average. Our study provides important information on the composition of the island arc crust and its deep structure, ranging from intermediate to felsic and mafic conditions. In this study we model the deep structure of the Lesser Antilles Island Arc. We use a hybrid analysis of refraction and reflection seismic data. We image the complex structure of two ridges forming the backstop. Island arc crust composition ranges from intermediate to felsic to mafic conditions. We discuss the formation of island arc and continental crust.
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  • 4
    Publication Date: 2018-01-05
    Description: This work focuses on the analysis of a unique set of seismological data recorded by two temporary networks of seismometers deployed onshore and offshore in the Central Lesser Antilles Island Arc from Martinique to Guadeloupe islands. During the whole recording period, extending from January to the end of August 2007, more than 1300 local seismic events were detected in this area. A subset of 769 earthquakes was located precisely by using HypoEllipse. We also computed focal mechanisms using P-wave polarities of the best azimuthally constrained earthquakes. We detected earthquakes beneath the Caribbean forearc and in the Atlantic oceanic plate as well. At depth seismicity delineates the Wadati–Benioff Zone down to 170 km depth. The main seismic activity is concentrated in the lower crust and in the mantle wedge, close to the island arc beneath an inner forearc domain in comparison to an outer forearc domain where little seismicity is observed. We propose that the difference of the seismicity beneath the inner and the outer forearc is related to a difference of crustal structure between the inner forearc interpreted as a dense, thick and rigid crustal block and the lighter and more flexible outer forearc. Seismicity is enhanced beneath the inner forearc because it likely increases the vertical stress applied to the subducting plate.
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  • 5
    Publication Date: 2017-12-05
    Description: 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 theMesozoicmagmatic 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.
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  • 6
    Publication Date: 2018-01-05
    Description: The 300-km-long north-central segment of the Lesser Antilles subduction zone, including Martinique and Guadeloupe islands has been the target of a specific approach to the seismic structure and activity by a cluster of active and passive offshore–onshore seismic experiments. The top of the subducting plate can be followed under the wide accretionary wedge by multichannel reflection seismics. This reveals the hidden updip limit of the contact of the upper plate crustal backstop onto the slab. Two OBS refraction seismic profiles from the volcanic arc throughout the forearc domain constrain a 26-km-large crustal thickness all along. In the common assumption that the upper plate Moho contact on the slab is a proxy of its downdip limit these new observations imply a three times larger width of the potential interplate seismogenic zone under the marine domain of the Caribbean plate with respect to a regular intra-oceanic subduction zone. Towards larger depth under the mantle corner, the top of the slab imaged fromthe conversions of teleseismic body-waves and the locations of earthquakes appearswith kinks which increase the dip to 10–20° under the forearc domain, and then to 60° from 70 km depth. At 145 km depth under the volcanic arc just north of Martinique, the 2007 M 7.4 earthquake, largest for half a century in the region, allows to document a deep slab deformation consistent with segmentation into slab panels. In relation with this occurrence, an increased seismic activity over the whole depth range provides a new focussed image thanks to the OBS and land deployments. A double-planed dipping slab seismicity is thus now resolved, as originally discovered in Tohoku (NE Japan) and since in other subduction zones. Two other types of seismic activity uniquely observed in Tohoku, are now resolved here: “supraslab” earthquakes with normal-faulting focal mechanisms reliably located in the mantle corner and “deep flat-thrust” earthquakes at 45 km depth on the interplate fault under the Caribbean plate forearc mantle. None such types of seismicity should occur under the paradigm of a regular peridotitic mantle of the upper plate which is expected to be serpentinized by the fluids provided from the dehydrating slab beneath. This process is commonly considered as limiting the downward extent of the interplate coupling. Interpretations are not readily available either for the large crustal thickness of this shallow water marine upper plate, except when remarking its likeness to oceanic plateaus formed above hotspots. The Caribbean Oceanic Plateau of the upper plate has been formed earlier by the material advection from a mantle plume. It could then be underlain by a correspondingly modified, heterogeneous mantle, which may include pyroxenitic material among peridotites. Such heterogeneity in the mantle corner of the present subduction zone may account for the notable peculiarities in seismic structure and activity and impose regions of stick-slip behavior on the interplate among stable-gliding areas.
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  • 7
    Publication Date: 2013-10-01
    Type: Conference or Workshop Item , NonPeerReviewed
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  • 8
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    Wiley
    In:  Geophysical Journal International, 161 (3). pp. 763-788.
    Publication Date: 2018-07-16
    Description: The Galápagos volcanic province (GVP) includes several aseismic ridges resulting from the interaction between the Galápagos hotspot (GHS) and the Cocos–Nazca spreading centre (CNSC). The most prominent are the Cocos, Carnegie and Malpelo ridges. In this work, we investigate the seismic structure of the Carnegie ridge along two profiles acquired during the South American Lithospheric Transects Across Volcanic Ridges (SALIERI) 2001 experiment. Maximum crustal thickness is ∼19 km in the central Carnegie profile, located at ∼85°W over a 19–20 Myr old oceanic crust, and only ∼13 km in the eastern Carnegie profile, located at ∼82°W over a 11–12 Myr old oceanic crust. The crustal velocity models are subsequently compared with those obtained in a previous work along three other profiles over the Cocos and Malpelo ridges, two of which are located at the conjugate positions of the Carnegie ones. Oceanic layer 2 thickness is quite uniform along the five profiles regardless of the total crustal thickness variations, hence crustal thickening is mainly accommodated by layer 3. Lower crustal velocities are systematically lower where the crust is thicker, thus contrary to what would be expected from melting of a hotter than normal mantle. The velocity-derived crustal density models account for the gravity and depth anomalies considering uniform and normal mantle densities (3300 kg m−3), which confirms that velocity models are consistent with gravity and topography data, and indicates that the ridges are isostatically compensated at the base of the crust. Finally, a two-dimensional (2-D) steady-state mantle melting model is developed and used to illustrate that the crust of the ridges does not seem to be the product of anomalous mantle temperatures, even if hydrous melting coupled with vigorous subsolidus upwelling is considered in the model. In contrast, we show that upwelling of a normal temperature but fertile mantle source that may result from recycling of oceanic crust prior to melting, accounts more easily for the estimated seismic structure as well as for isotopic, trace element and major element patterns of the GVP basalts.
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  • 9
    Publication Date: 2017-08-03
    Description: Offshore Ecuador, the Carnegie Ridge is a volcanic ridge with a carbonate sediment drape. During the SALIERI Cruise, multibeam bathymetry was collected across Carnegie Ridge with the Simrad EM120 of the R/V SONNE. The most conspicuous features discovered on the Carnegie Ridge are fields of circular closed depressions widely distributed along the mid-slope of the northern and southern flanks of the ridge between 1500 and 2600 m water depth. These circular depressions are 1–4 km wide and typically 100–400 m deep. Most are flat floored and some are so densely packed that they form a honeycomb pattern. The depressions were carved into the ridge sedimentary blanket, which consists of carbonate sediment and has been dated from upper Miocene to upper Pleistocene. Several hypotheses including pockmark origin, sediment creeping, paleo-topography of the volcanic basement, effects of subbottom currents, and both marine and subaerial karstic origins are discussed. We believe that underwater dissolution process merits the most serious consideration regarding the origin of the closed depression.
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  • 10
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    AGU (American Geological Union)
    In:  Journal of Geophysical Research: Solid Earth, 108 (B12). p. 2564.
    Publication Date: 2018-04-25
    Description: The Cocos and Malpelo Volcanic Ridges are blocks of thickened oceanic crust thought to be the result of the interaction between the Galapagos hot spot and the Cocos‐Nazca Spreading Center during the last 20 m.y. In this work we investigate the seismic structure of these two aseismic ridges along three wide‐angle transects acquired during the Panama basin and Galapagos plume—New Investigations of Intraplate magmatism (PAGANINI)‐1999 experiment. A two‐dimensional velocity field with the Moho geometry is obtained using joint refraction/reflection travel time tomography, and the uncertainty and robustness of the results are estimated by performing a Monte Carlo‐type analysis. Our results show that the maximum crustal thickness along these profiles ranges from ∼16.5 km (southern Cocos) to ∼19 km (northern Cocos and Malpelo). Oceanic layer 2 thickness is quite uniform regardless of total crustal thickness variations; crustal thickening is mainly accommodated by layer 3. These observations are shown to be consistent with gravity data. The variation of layer 3 velocities is similar along all profiles, being lower where crust is thicker. This leads to an overall anticorrelation between crustal thickness and bulk lower crustal velocity. Since this anticorrelation is contrary to crustal thickening resulting from passive upwelling of abnormally hot mantle, it is necessary to consider active upwelling components and/or some compositional heterogeneities in the mantle source. The NW limit of the Malpelo Ridge shows a dramatic crustal thinning and displays high lower crustal velocities and a poorly defined crust‐mantle boundary, suggesting that differential motion along the Coiba transform fault probably separated Regina and Malpelo Ridges.
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