Blackwell Publishing Journal Backfiles 1879-2005
Abstract Using topography and observed gravity anomalies, we have estimated the effective elastic thickness as a measure of strength of Japanese island arc lithosphere. The thickness is found to range from about 3 km to 〉20 km. The thickness seems to be controlled primarily by the thermal state of the lithosphere. The higher the heat flow, the thinner is the elastic plate. However, several areas show significant deviations. The smaller effective elastic thickness in the northern Ryukyu arc than that inferred from heat flow may be attributed to the stress regime. In Japan, extensional tectonics are going on only in the Ryukyu arc region. Shallow subducting slab under the south-western Japan frontal arc probably increases the effective thickness by several kilometers. The determined effective elastic thickness suggests that when we consider vertical movements in the volcanic arc, we should take account of topographic and subsurface loading over a few hundred kilometers. However, if the dip of the slab is shallow, the flexural responses of the underlying slab, not only that of the island arc lithosphere, should be taken into account for the compensation, as is the case of the south-western Japan frontal arc.
Type of Medium: