Elasticity of Hydrous Phases in Subduction Zones- Geophysical Implications

Tuesday, 16 December 2014: 8:30 AM
Mainak Mookherjee, Cornell University, Ithaca, NY, United States and David Mainprice, University of Montpellier II, Montpellier Cedex 05, France
Globally, subduction zones are region associated with earthquakes and volcanic activities, both involving risk to local populations. These processes are intimately related to the thermodynamic stability and instabilty of hydrous phases that are subducted with the down going slab. These phases sequestrate several wt % of water in their crystallographic structure and can account for significant proportion of the hydrogen budget of the upper mantle , transition zone and perhaps the top of the lower mantle. In order to quantify the degree of mantle hydration, we need to have a good understanding of the elastic properties of layered hydrous phases, the effects of temperature, and pressure and relate them to seismological observables, such as the velocity and its anisotropy.

Using first principle simulations, we have investigated several layered hydrous phases, including the important minerals antigorite, talc, and chlorite. These results are complementary to the recent experimental Brillouin Scattering results at ambient conditions. Based on the full elastic constant tensor we note that these hydrous phases have significant shear wave anisotropy and often have unusual pressure dependence of the anisotropy. Together with elasticity data, thermodynamic predictions of phase stability and experimental plastic deformation studies it is apparent that these layered hydrous phases could account for the large delay times observed in certain subduction zone settings, such as Ryukyu trench.


MM is supported by the US National Science Foundation grant (EAR-1250477). MM acknowledges computing resources (request # EAR130015) from the Extreme Science and Engineering Discovery Environment (XSEDE), which is supported by National Science Foundation grant number OCI-1053575.