Magnetotelluric image of the fluid cycle in the Costa Rican subduction zone

Worzewski, Tamara, Jegen, Marion, Kopp, Heidrun, Brasse, Heinrich and Taylor, Waldo Taylor (2011) Magnetotelluric image of the fluid cycle in the Costa Rican subduction zone Nature Geoscience, 4 . pp. 108-111. DOI 10.1038/ngeo1041.

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Abstract

Fluids entering the subduction zone play a key role in the subduction process. They cause changes in the dynamics and thermal structure of the subduction zone1, and trigger earthquakes when released from the subducting plate during metamorphism. Fluids are delivered to the subduction zone by the oceanic crust and also enter as the oceanic plate bends downwards at the plate boundary. However, the amount of fluids entering subduction zones is not matched by that leaving through volcanic emissions4 or transfer to the deep mantle, implying possible storage of fluids in the crust. Here we use magnetotelluric data to map the entire hydration and dehydration cycle of the Costa Rican subduction zone to 120 km depth. Along the incoming plate bend, we detect a conductivity anomaly that we interpret as sea water penetrating down extensional faults and cracks into the upper mantle. Along the subducting plate interface we document the dehydration of sediments, the crust and mantle. We identify an accumulation of fluids at ~20–30 km depth at a distance of 30 km seaward from the volcanic arc. Comparison with other subduction zones5–14 indicates that such fluid accumulation is a global phenomenon. Although we are unable to test whether these fluid reservoirs grow with time, we suggest that they can account for some of the missing outflow of fluid at subduction zones.

Document Type: Article
Keywords: Hydrology; Electromagnetics, MT, subduction zone, Costa Rica, fluid imaging, water budget, structural geology, tectonics and geodynamics
Research affiliation: OceanRep > SFB 574
OceanRep > GEOMAR > FB4 Dynamics of the Ocean Floor > FB4-GDY Marine Geodynamics
OceanRep > SFB 574 > N01
OceanRep > The Future Ocean - Cluster of Excellence
Refereed: Yes
DOI etc.: 10.1038/ngeo1041
ISSN: 1752-0894
Related URLs:
Projects: Future Ocean
Contribution Number:
ProjectNumber
SFB 574187
Expeditions/Models:
Date Deposited: 16 Dec 2010 09:24
Last Modified: 21 Feb 2017 13:48
URI: http://eprints.uni-kiel.de/id/eprint/10431

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