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An Evaluation of Proposed Mechanisms of Slab Flattening in Central Mexico

Skinner, Steven M. and Clayton, Robert W. (2011) An Evaluation of Proposed Mechanisms of Slab Flattening in Central Mexico. Pure and Applied Geophysics, 168 (8-9). pp. 1461-1474. ISSN 0033-4553. doi:10.1007/s00024-010-0200-3.

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Central Mexico is the site of an enigmatic zone of flat subduction. The general geometry of the subducting slab has been known for some time and is characterized by a horizontal zone bounded on either side by two moderately dipping sections. We systematically evaluate proposed hypotheses for shallow subduction in Mexico based on the spatial and temporal evidence, and we find no simple or obvious explanation for the shallow subduction in Mexico. We are unable to locate an oceanic lithosphere impactor, or the conjugate of an impactor, that is most often called upon to explain shallow subduction zones as in South America, Japan, and Laramide deformation in the US. The only bathymetric feature that is of the right age and in the correct position on the conjugate plate is a set of unnamed seamounts that are too small to have a significant effect on the buoyancy of the slab. The only candidate that we cannot dismiss is a change in the dynamics of subduction through a change in wedge viscosity, possibly caused by water brought in by the slab.

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Clayton, Robert W.0000-0003-3323-3508
Additional Information:© 2011 The Author(s). This article is distributed under the terms of the Creative Commons Attribution Noncommercial License which permits any noncommercial use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, provided the original author(s) and source are credited. Received February 5, 2010; revised June 28, 2010; accepted August 18, 2010; Published online November 16, 2010. This study was supported by the Gordon and Betty Moore Foundation through the Tectonics Observatory at Caltech. This is contribution number 136 from the Caltech Tectonics Observatory.
Group:Caltech Tectonics Observatory, Seismological Laboratory
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Gordon and Betty Moore FoundationUNSPECIFIED
Subject Keywords:Mexico; flat slab; subduction
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Caltech Tectonics Observatory136
Issue or Number:8-9
Record Number:CaltechAUTHORS:20110802-135440314
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Usage Policy:No commercial reproduction, distribution, display or performance rights in this work are provided.
ID Code:24630
Deposited On:02 Aug 2011 22:39
Last Modified:09 Nov 2021 16:25

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