Searching for slabs within the Earth's mantle through Tomographic Analysis of the Pacific Basin

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2022-04-14
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The reconstruction of subducted lithospheric plates is important to understand the behavior of current tectonic activity and its effect over long periods. The percentage of uncertainty increases as we go farther back in time, preventing accurate reconstructions of the subducted lithosphere. This study aims to construct a 3-D slab reconstruction model from previous research that detected seismic anomalies, suggesting possible unknown intra-oceanic subduction within the North Pacific basin. Public seismic tomography data and 3-D spatial analysis were utilized to reconstruct the anomalies detected within the mantle. GOCAD, a petroleum industry mapping software, allowed for the construction of a working slab model from the analyzed tomographic data. The working model was entered into the open-software GPlates to observe how it filled out a previous plate reconstruction model and track its movement through time. The results showed that the slab interpretations correlated well with the conjugate reconstruction model to suggest past intra-oceanic subduction before 125 Ma within the Pacific basin. Raw tomographic data supports the identified area of slab subduction from the Izanagi plate occurring before 125 Ma. Data collected from this study will be applied to future studies in determining geologic features that support the existence of identified slab subduction.

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