Evolution of subduction dip angles and seismic stress patterns during arc-continent collision: Modeling Mindoro Island

Craig R. Bina, Hana Čížková, Po Fei Chen

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4 Scopus citations


Here we dynamically model the temporal development of arc-continent collision, with particular attention to the evolution of slab dip angles and stress fields during approach to collisional locking (suturing). Our modeling is based on a simplified representation of Mindoro Island and the southern Manila Trench, which provide a natural laboratory in that convergence is ongoing to the north but collision is complete in the south, so that distance of 2D slices along the arc may serve as a reasonable proxy for time. We consider in detail the effects of the negative petrological buoyancy imparted to the slab upon encountering the thermally uplifted “410-km” (wadsleyite-forming) phase transition, as well as the effects of initial separation distance between the incoming Palawan continental fragment and the overriding Philippine Mobile Belt assemblage of arc-continent terranes. Despite simplifications in representing this tectonically complex region, our model reproduces important seismic observations, including the progressive steepening of slab dip and the growth of down-dip extensional stresses during the progress of collision. It also reveals that a significant contribution (of order 100 MPa) to the maximum attainable down-dip extensional stress arises from the negative petrological buoyancy of the uplifted “410-km” transition, and it illuminates how the initial separation of arc-continent fragments controls the temporal offset between collisional locking and the onset of negative petrological buoyancy. Finally, associated calculations of maximum shear stress may offer a partial explanation for the aseismic nature of tomographically proposed slab extensions below the Wadati-Benioff zone.

Original languageEnglish
Article number116054
JournalEarth and Planetary Science Letters
StatePublished - 1 Mar 2020


  • arc-continent collision
  • Manila trench
  • mantle transition zone
  • seismic stress fields
  • subduction dynamics
  • trench migration


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