An Inverted Double Seismic Zone in Chile: Evidence of Phase Transformation in the Subducted Slab

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Science  14 Jan 1994:
Vol. 263, Issue 5144, pp. 212-215
DOI: 10.1126/science.263.5144.212


Data from two microseismic field experiments in northern Chile revealed an elongated cluster of earthquakes in the subducted Nazca plate at a depth of about 100 kilometers in which down-dip tensional events were consistently shallower than a family of compressional earthquakes. This double seismic zone shows a distribution of stresses of opposite polarity relative to that observed in other double seismic zones in the world. The distribution of stresses in northern Chile supports the notion that at depths of between 90 to 150 kilometers, the basalt to eclogite transformation of the subducting oceanic crust induces tensional deformation in the upper part of the subducted slab and compressional deformation in the underlying mantle.