Heat Flow Surveys on the Washington Margin of the Cascadia Subduction Zone
Wednesday, 17 December 2014
Understanding the temperature distribution along an active subducting plate interface can improve our understanding of subduction zone dynamics and our ability to estimate seismic hazards. The ‘locking’ mechanism on the fault appears temperature dependent, where the up-dip (shallow) limit of the seismic zone ranges from 100-150°and the down-dip (deep) limit is a transition zone between 350°C and 450°C. Heat flow measurements provide the most direct method for resolving the subduction zone thermal environment. The Cascadia Subduction Zone currently poses the single largest seismic hazard to population centers within the Northwest United States. In August 2013, heat flow data were collected offshore Grays Harbor, WA, along a profile perpendicular to the accretionary wedge. Measurements extend seaward of the Cascadia deformation front and landward over the accretionary wedge and are collocated along line 4 of the 2012 R/V Langseth multi-channel seismology (MCS) profiles. These data consist of 43 long probe (3 m) measurements, 204 ROV Jason II probe (0.6 m) and 27 thermal blanket heat flow measurements Preliminary results indicate a mean heat flow of 110 mW/m2 over the incoming plate, a decrease to 30 mW/m2 at the first deformation ridge, then heat flow varying between 90 to 120 mW/m2 over the lower accretionary wedge. BSR derived heat flow decreases from 90 mW/m2 at the deformation front to 60 mW/m2 60 km landward and up the accretionary wedge. Regionally the heat flow values are consistent with the subduction of a thickly sedimented and young oceanic plate and local heat flow variations likely reflect advective and conductive heat transfer within the shallow portion of the accretionary wedge.