EGU General Assembly 2022
© Author(s) 2022. This work is distributed under
the Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 License.

Subduction history of the Caribbean from upper-mantle seismic imaging and plate reconstruction

Benedikt Braszus1, Saskia Goes2, Rob Allen2, Andreas Rietbrock1, Jenny Collier2, and the VoiLA Team*
Benedikt Braszus et al.
  • 1Geophysical Institute (GPI) of the Karlsruhe Institute of Technology (KIT), Germany (
  • 2Department of Earth Science and Engineering, Imperial College London, UK
  • *A full list of authors appears at the end of the abstract

Even though the Caribbean region is constantly struck by the impact of geological hazards, the details of the Caribbean plate's evolution are still not completely understood. This interdisciplinary study combines and jointly interprets seismic tomography data with trench positions derived from plate reconstruction which constrains some of the most important events governing the evolution of the Caribbean plate. 
Our new teleseismic P-wave tomography model of the upper mantle beneath the Caribbean includes manually processed and analysed data from 32 ocean-bottom seismometers installed for 16 months during the VoiLA experiment as well as recordings from 192 permanent and temporary land stations. Reconstruction tests show improved resolution compared to previous models and a sufficient recovery of a synthetic anomaly assimilating the Caribbean slab. 
Based on reconstructed trench positions we attribute slab fragments residing in depths of 700-1200km to 90–115 Myr old westward subduction along the Great Arc of the Caribbean (GAC) prior to Caribbean Large Igneous Province volcanism, rather than to eastward dipping Farallon subduction. 
In the mantle transition zone, the imaged slab coincides with predicted trench positions from 50-70 Ma with a slab window approximately at the location of the subducted Proto-Caribbean spreading ridge.
Along the otherwise continous slab in the shallow upper mantle from Hispanola to Grenada several tears are interpreted as ruptures along fault zones in the Proto-Caribbean crust as well as the subducted extinct Proto-Caribbean spreading ridge. 

VoiLA Team:

Benedikt Braszus, Saskia Goes, Rob Allen, Andreas Rietbrock, Jenny Collier, Nick Harmon, Tim Henstock, Stephen Hicks, Catherine A. Rychert, Ben Maunder, Jeroen van Hunen, Lidong Bie, Jon Blundy, George Cooper, Richard Davy, J. Michael Kendall, Colin Macpherson, Jamie Wilkinson, Marjorie Wilson

How to cite: Braszus, B., Goes, S., Allen, R., Rietbrock, A., and Collier, J. and the VoiLA Team: Subduction history of the Caribbean from upper-mantle seismic imaging and plate reconstruction, EGU General Assembly 2022, Vienna, Austria, 23–27 May 2022, EGU22-8121,, 2022.

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