Yujing Lai, Ling Chen*, Tao Wang* and Zhongwen Zhan
Journal of Geophysical Research: Solid Earth
The structure of the mantle transition zone (MTZ) in subduction zones is essential for understanding subduction dynamics in the deep mantle and its surface responses. We constructed the P (Vp) and SH velocity (Vs) structure images of the MTZ beneath Northeast Asia based on two-dimensional (2D) triplicated waveform modeling. In the upper MTZ, a normal Vp but 2.5% low Vs layer compared with IASP91 are required by the triplicated data. In the lower MTZ, our results show a relatively higher velocity layer (+2% Vp and -0.5% Vs compared to IASP91) with a thickness of ~140 km and length of ~1200 km atop the 660-km discontinuity. Taking this anomaly as the stagnant slab and considering the plate convergence rate of 7-10 cm/yr in western Pacific region during late Cenozoic, we deduced that the stagnant slab has a subduction age of less than 30 Ma. This suggests that the observed stagnancy of the slab in the MTZ beneath Northeast Asia may have occurred no earlier than the Early Oligocene. From the constraints derived individually on Vp and Vs structures, high Vp/Vs ratios are obtained for the entire MTZ beneath Northeast Asia, which may imply a water-rich and/or carbonated environment. Within the overall higher-velocity stagnant slab, a low-velocity anomaly was further detected, with a width of ~150 km, Vp and Vs reductions of 1% and 3% relative to IASP91. Such a gap may have provided a passage for hot deep mantle materials to penetrate through the thick slab and feed the Changbaishan volcano.