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Mesozoic subducted slabs under Siberia

By R. Van der Voo, W. Spakman and H. Bijwaard


Recent results from seismic tomography demonstrate that subducted oceanic lithosphere can be observed globally as slabs of relatively high seismic velocity in the upper as well as lower mantle(1,2). The Asian mantle is no exception, with high-velocity slabs being observed downwards from the west Pacific subduction zones under the Kurile Islands, Japan and farther south(3-5), as well as under Asia's ancient Tethyan margin. Here we present evidence for the presence of slab remnants of Jurassic age that were subducted when the Mongol-Okhotsk and Kular-Nera oceans closed between Siberia, the combined Mongolia-North China blocks and the Omolon block(6-8). We identify these proposed slab remnants in the lower mantle west of Lake Baikal down to depths of at least 2,500 km, where they join what has been interpreted as a 'graveyard'(9) of subducted lithosphere at the bottom of the mantle. Our interpretation implies that slab remnants in the mantle can still be recognized some 150 million years or more after they have been subducted and that such structures may be useful in associating geodynamic to surface-tectonic processes

Publisher: Macmillan Magazines Ltd.
Year: 1999
DOI identifier: 10.1038/16686
OAI identifier:
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