lithospheric profile

2015-11-26 08:44:50

During arc-continent collision, buoyant sections of sediments and rifted continental crust from a subducting plate will accrete to the forearc of the upper plate as long as this backstop remains intact. Deformation of the oceanic arc and forearc block may ultimately lead to accretion of these mafic rock units to the new orogen. The Taiwan mountain belt, which formed at ∼6.5 Ma by oblique convergence between the Eurasian passive margin and the overriding Luzon arc in northern Taiwan, offers important insight in this process, since the collision is more advanced in the north than in the south. The incipient stage of arc-collision can be studied in southern Taiwan, while the northern portion of the orogen is presently undergoing collapse due to a flip in the subduction polarity between the Eurasian Plate and the Philippine Sea Plate. In this study, we seismically image the structure of the northern section of the mountain belt with a tomographic inversion. We present marine and land-based seismic refraction data, as well as local earthquake data, from transect T6 of the Taiwan Integrated Geodynamic Research (TAIGER) program across the Taiwan mountain belt and the adjacent Ryukyu arc. Our 2-D compressional seismic velocity model for this transect, which is based on a tomographic inversion of 10 213 P-wave arrival times, shows that the Eurasian crystalline continental crust thickens from ∼24 km in the Taiwan Strait to ∼40 km beneath the eastern Central Range of Taiwan. The detailed seismic velocity structure of the Taiwan mountain belt shows vertical continuity in the upper 15 km, which suggests that rocks are exhumed to the surface here from the middle crust in a near-vertical path. The continental crust of the westernmost Ryukyu arc is almost as thick (∼40 km) as in the adjacent northern Central Range of Taiwan, and it appears to override the leading edge of the Philippine Sea Plate offshore northeastern Taiwan. If we assume that the western Ryukyu a
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