The Pacific megagash: A future plate boundary?
Published:October 01, 2015
Jean-Paul Montagner, Don L. Anderson, 2015. "The Pacific megagash: A future plate boundary?", The Interdisciplinary Earth: A Volume in Honor of Don L. Anderson, Gillian R. Foulger, Michele Lustrino, Scott D. King
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Seismic anisotropy is an efficient way to investigate the deformation field within the upper mantle. In the framework of rigid tectonic plates, we make use of recent tomographic models of azimuthal anisotropy to derive the best rotation pole of the Pacific plate in the uppermost 200 km of the mantle. It is found to be in good agreement with current plate motion (NUVEL1, HS3, and NNR). However, when dividing the Pacific plate into two subplates separated by what we refer to as the megagash, an east-west low-velocity and low-anisotropy band extending across the Pacific plate from Samoa-Tonga to the Easter–Juan Fernández Islands, the rotation pole of northern Pacific is still in agreement with current plate motion but not the rotation pole of the southern part of the Pacific, far away from the “classical” rotation pole of the Pacific plate. This result suggests a differential motion between the North and South Pacific and an ongoing reorganization of plates in the Pacific Ocean. The megagash might be a future plate boundary between the North and South Pacific plates, associated with the intense volcanism along this band.