Geology and Deformation at the Conditions of Slow Slip in Subduction Zones

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Melodie French, Rice University

Wednesday, May 19, 2021 at 10:30 AM

Online-only seminar via Microsoft Teams

In some subduction zones, the plate boundary fault slips at rates faster than tectonic plate rates, but orders of magnitude slower than typical earthquakes. These ‘slow slip events’ have been particularly well-documented along subduction plate boundaries, where they are observed at the downdip and updip limits of the earthquake-producing seismogenic zone. A number of plausible hypotheses have been proposed to explain their occurrence; however, that there is no agreed upon cause of these events suggests our understanding of the physics, rock properties, and/or physical conditions along the subduction plate boundary are incomplete. Here, I will summarize some of the factors limiting our understanding of the phenomenon of slow slip, and present results from ongoing studies in our group to constrain the geology, physical conditions, and rock deformation processes in the slow slip environment.

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