NS  Vol.10 No.6 , June 2018
Deep and Ultra-Deep Earthquakes Worldwide, Possible Anomalies in South America
Author(s) M. Hagen1*, A. Azevedo2
ABSTRACT
The aim of this paper is to evaluate the worldwide variation of deep and ultra-deep earthquakes (DQ and UDQ) during the period 1996-2017. This project found only three locations around the globe presenting this kind of seismicity. Although there are other global settings showing deep seismicity, they are not periodical and cannot be considered by a statistical view. The three areas with intense activity for DQ and UDQ events are located mostly in subduction areas. The largest variations of DQ and UDQ border the Pacific Ocean and include the North Pacific, South Pacific, and South America. The major difference in this set is that the first two sites are subduction zones and the South American occurrences happened in the interior of the continent. Another anomaly is an internal layer between 300 - 500 km in South America that shows no tremors in the period studied. However, below 500 km activity reappears, even at extreme depths of up to 650 km. We suggested that the reason for those occurrences would be due to an anomaly in the asthenosphere in this region. This anomaly would probably be presenting a breakable material that was pushed by the Nazca platform against the South America plate. Other depths below 100 km in all the regions are discussed as well. We suggested that the reason for those occurrences was an anomaly created in the asthenosphere as part of the process of the South America collision with the Nazca plate. Part of the Nazca plate has subducted below South America, creating a slab as deep as 500 km. The convergent slab is still moving against South America and sinking due to the gravity and rotation of the Earth. The discrepancies in the occurrences we tracked at different locations indicated that this slab had different thicknesses around South America. We found similar results for Vanuatu and Fiji; in these regions UDQ events occur at the subduction zones under the ocean with depths greater than 700 km. Here, a possible explanation is that part of the lithosphere is subducted at these depths and is causing tremors.
Cite this paper
Hagen, M. and Azevedo, A. (2018) Deep and Ultra-Deep Earthquakes Worldwide, Possible Anomalies in South America. Natural Science, 10, 199-213. doi: 10.4236/ns.2018.106022.
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