Semibrittle seismic deformation in high-temperature mantle mylonite shear zone along the Romanche transform fault

Zhiteng Yu, Satish C. Singh, Emma P. M. Gregory, Marcia Maia, Zhikai Wang, Daniele Brunelli
2021 Science Advances  
Oceanic transform faults, a key element of plate tectonics, represent the first-order discontinuities along mid-ocean ridges, host large earthquakes, and induce extreme thermal gradients in lithosphere. However, the thermal structure along transform faults and its effects on earthquake generation are poorly understood. Here we report the presence of a 10- to 15-kilometer-thick in-depth band of microseismicity in 10 to 34 kilometer depth range associated with a high-temperature (700° to 900°C)
more » ... ntle below the brittle lithosphere along the Romanche mega transform fault in the equatorial Atlantic Ocean. The occurrence of the shallow 2016 moment magnitude 7.1 supershear rupture earthquake and these deep microearthquakes indicate that although large earthquakes occur in the upper brittle lithosphere, a substantial amount of deformation is accommodated in the semibrittle mylonitic mantle that resides at depths below the 600°C isotherm. We also observe a rapid westward deepening of this band of seismicity indicating a strong lateral heterogeneity.
doi:10.1126/sciadv.abf3388 pmid:33837085 fatcat:cmgwgl36ibgqbpxvhbefqkm4yu