Three-dimensional seismic attenuation structure beneath Kyusyu, Japan: Implications for arc magmatism

Friday, 19 December 2014
Hiroto Saita1, Junichi Nakajima2 and Takahiro Shiina1, (1)Tohoku University, Sendai, Japan, (2)Tohoku Univ, Sendai, Japan
The Philippine Sea (PHS) plate is subducting beneath Kyusyu and a clear volcanic front is formed through the middle of the arc. However, there is a volcanic gap in the central part of Kyushu, between Aso and Kirishima volcanoes. Many studies have discussed arc magmatism in Kyushu in terms of 3D seismic velocity structure, but little is known on seismic attenuation structure. Seismic attenuation structure provides additional insights into subduction-zone dynamics, because higher-temperature environments or the existence of fluids may have different effects on seismic attenuation from on seismic velocity. Therefore the estimate of seismic attenuation is very important to understand arc magmatism and mantle dynamics in subduction zone. This study estimates seismic attenuation structure beneath Kyushu using a large number of high-quality waveform data.

We applied the method of Nakajima et al. (2013, JGR) to waveform data derived from 3052 earthquakes that occurred from April 2003 to May 2014. We determined the corner frequency of earthquakes by the spectral ratio method of S-coda waves. Then, we determined a whole-path attenuation term (t*), site-amplification factors and spectrum level simultaneously by a joint inversion. Finally, the t* values (N= 62290) were inverted to obtain three-dimensional attenuation structure.

The obtained results show several interesting features. First, the subducting PHS slab is imaged as a low attenuation zone. Second, high-attenuation zone exists in the fore-arc mantle. This high-attenuation zone corresponds spatially to a high Poisson’s ratio area, suggesting that the mantle is serpentinized as a result of fluids released by dehydration in the subducting crust. Third, an inclined high-attenuation zone that is interpreted as a mantle upwelling flow is observed in the back-arc mantle. However, the inclined high-attenuation zone is less developed in the volcanic gap between Aso and Kirishima volcanoes. This observation suggests the important role of mantle-wedge processes in the genesis of arc magmas.