Aseismic deep subduction of the Philippine Sea plate and slab window

Zhouchuan Huang, Dapeng Zhao, Akira Hasegawa, Norihito Umino, Jung Ho Park, Ik Bum Kang

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

46 Citations (Scopus)


We have made great efforts to collect and combine a large number of high-quality data from local earthquakes and teleseismic events recorded by the dense seismic networks in both South Korea and West Japan. This is the first time that a large number of Korean and Japanese seismic data sets are analyzed jointly. As a result, a high-resolution 3-D P-wave velocity model down to 700-km depth is determined, which clearly shows that the Philippine Sea (PHS) plate has subducted aseismically down to ~460. km depth under the Japan Sea, Tsushima Strait and East China Sea. The aseismic PHS slab is visible in two areas: one is under the Japan Sea off western Honshu, and the other is under East China Sea off western Kyushu. However, the aseismic PHS slab is not visible between the two areas, where a slab window has formed. The slab window is located beneath the center of the present study region where many teleseismic rays crisscross. Detailed synthetic tests were conducted, which indicate that both the aseismic PHS slab and the slab window are robust features. Using the teleseismic data recorded by the Japanese stations alone, the aseismic PHS slab and the slab window were also revealed ( Zhao et al., 2012), though the ray paths in the Japanese data set crisscross less well offshore. The slab window may be caused by the subducted Kyushu-Palau Ridge and Kinan Seamount Chain where the PHS slab may be segmented. Hot mantle upwelling is revealed in the big mantle wedge above the Pacific slab under the present study region, which may have facilitated the formation of the PHS slab window. These novel findings may shed new light on the subduction history of the PHS plate and the dynamic evolution of the Japan subduction zone.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)82-94
Number of pages13
JournalJournal of Asian Earth Sciences
Publication statusPublished - 2013 Oct 5


  • Japan Islands
  • Korean Peninsula
  • Mantle wedge
  • Pacific plate
  • Philippine Sea plate
  • Seismic tomography
  • Slab window
  • Subduction zones


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