A Caltech Library Service

Mechanisms and Implications of Deep Earthquakes

Zhan, Zhongwen (2020) Mechanisms and Implications of Deep Earthquakes. Annual Review of Earth and Planetary Sciences, 48 . pp. 147-174. ISSN 0084-6597. doi:10.1146/annurev-earth-053018-060314.

Full text is not posted in this repository. Consult Related URLs below.

Use this Persistent URL to link to this item:


Deep earthquakes behave like shallow earthquakes but must have fundamentally different physical processes. Their rupture behaviors, magnitude-frequency statistics, and aftershocks are diverse and imperfectly dependent on various factors, such as slab temperature, depth, and magnitude. The three leading mechanisms for deep earthquakes (i.e., transformational faulting, dehydration embrittlement, and thermal runaway) can each explain portions of the observations but have potentially fundamental difficulties explaining the rest. This situation calls for more serious consideration of hypotheses that involve more than one mechanism. For example, deep earthquakes may initiate by one mechanism, but the ruptures may propagate via another mechanism once triggered. To make further progress, it is critical to evaluate the hypotheses, both single- or dual-mechanism, under conditions as close to those of real slabs as possible to make accurate and specific predictions that are testable using seismic or other geophysical observations. Any new understanding of deep earthquakes promises new constraints on subduction zone structure and dynamics.

Item Type:Article
Related URLs:
URLURL TypeDescription
Zhan, Zhongwen0000-0002-5586-2607
Additional Information:© 2020 by Annual Reviews. Review in Advance first posted on December 23, 2019. I thank Robert Holm, Haijiang Zhang, Heidi Houston, Yanbin Wang, Bradley Hacker, Akira Hasegawa, and Timm John for permissions to use their published figures. Comments from Heidi Houston, Timm John, Alex Schubnnel, and an anonymous reviewer helped improve the manuscript. The author is not aware of any affiliations, memberships, funding, or financial holdings that might be perceived as affecting the objectivity of this review.
Group:Seismological Laboratory
Subject Keywords:deep earthquake, subduction zone, transformational faulting, dehydration, thermal runaway
Record Number:CaltechAUTHORS:20200102-143031414
Persistent URL:
Official Citation:Mechanisms and Implications of Deep Earthquakes. Zhongwen Zhan. Annual Review of Earth and Planetary Sciences 2020 48:1, 147-174; doi: 10.1146/annurev-earth-053018-060314
Usage Policy:No commercial reproduction, distribution, display or performance rights in this work are provided.
ID Code:100466
Deposited By: Tony Diaz
Deposited On:03 Jan 2020 02:52
Last Modified:16 Nov 2021 17:54

Repository Staff Only: item control page