Stress Fields of the Overriding Plate at Convergent Margins and Beneath Active Volcanic Arcs

Science  01 Nov 1991:
Vol. 254, Issue 5032, pp. 670-678
DOI: 10.1126/science.254.5032.670


Tectonic stress fields in the overriding plate at convergent plate margins are complex and vary on local to regional scales. Volcanic arcs are a common element of overriding plates. Stress fields in the volcanic arc region are related to deformation generated by subduction and to magma generation and ascent processes. Analysis of moment tensors of shallow and intermediate depth earthquakes in volcanic arcs indicates that the seismic strain field in the arc region of many convergent margins is subhorizontal extension oriented nearly perpendicular to the arc. A process capable of generating such a globally consistent strain field is induced asthenospheric corner flow below the arc region.