A Caltech Library Service

Seismicity and the subduction process

Ruff, Larry and Kanamori, Hiroo (1980) Seismicity and the subduction process. Physics of the Earth and Planetary Interiors, 23 (3). pp. 240-252. ISSN 0031-9201. doi:10.1016/0031-9201(80)90117-X.

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

Use this Persistent URL to link to this item:


There is considerable variation between subduction zones in the largest characteristic earthquake within each zone. Assuming that coupling between downgoing and upper plates is directly related to characteristic earthquake size, we have tested for correlations between variation in coupling and other physical features of subduction zones: the lateral extent and penetration depth of Benioff zones, age of subducting lithosphere, convergence rate, and back-arc spreading. Using linear multivariate regression, coupling is correlated with two variables: convergence rate and lithosphere age. Secondary correlations within the data set are penetration depth versus lithosphere age, and lateral extent versus convergence rate. An important additional correlation is that back-arc spreading is found to be associated with subduction zones where coupling is low (those characterised by small earthquakes). Taken together, the observed correlations suggest a simple qualitative model where convergence rate and lithosphere age determine the horizontal and sinking rates, respectively, of slabs: these parameters influence the seismic coupling in the subduction zone. In the limit of a fast sinking rate and slow convergence rate, back-arc spreading occurs and thereby appears to be a passive process.

Item Type:Article
Related URLs:
URLURL TypeDescription DOIArticle
Kanamori, Hiroo0000-0001-8219-9428
Additional Information:© 1980 Elsevier Scientific Publishing Company. Received February 6, 1980; accepted for publication March 25, 1980. This research has been supported by the Earth Sciences Section, National Science Foundation, through Grant No. EAR78-11973, and by NASA Grant No. NSG-7610.
Funding AgencyGrant Number
Issue or Number:3
Record Number:CaltechAUTHORS:20141216-145828377
Persistent URL:
Official Citation:Larry Ruff, Hiroo Kanamori, Seismicity and the subduction process, Physics of the Earth and Planetary Interiors, Volume 23, Issue 3, October 1980, Pages 240-252, ISSN 0031-9201, (
Usage Policy:No commercial reproduction, distribution, display or performance rights in this work are provided.
ID Code:52896
Deposited By: Tony Diaz
Deposited On:17 Dec 2014 04:12
Last Modified:10 Nov 2021 19:45

Repository Staff Only: item control page