Plate coupling across the northern Manila subduction zone deduced from mantle lithosphere buoyancy

Chung Liang Lo, Wen Bin Doo, Hao Kuo-Chen, Shu Kun Hsu

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6 Scopus citations


The Manila subduction zone is located at the plate boundary where the Philippine Sea plate (PSP) moves northwestward toward the Eurasian plate (EU) with a high convergence rate. However, historically, no large earthquakes greater than Mw7 have been observed across the northern Manila subduction zone. The poorly understood plate interaction between these two plates in this region creates significant issues for evaluating the seismic hazard. Therefore, the variation of mantle lithospheric buoyancy is calculated to evaluate the plate coupling status across the northern Manila subduction zone, based on recently published forward gravity modeling constrained by the results of the P-wave seismic crustal structure of the TAIGER (Taiwan Integrated Geodynamic Research) project. The results indicate weak plate coupling between the PSP and EU, which could be related to the release of the overriding PSP from the descending EU's dragging force, which was deduced from the higher elevation of the Luzon arc and the fore-arc basin northward toward the Taiwan orogen. Moreover, serpentinized peridotite is present above the plate boundary and is distributed more widely and thickly closer to offshore southern Taiwan orogen. We suggest that low plate coupling may facilitate the uplifting of serpentinized mantle material up to the plate boundary.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)50-54
Number of pages5
JournalPhysics of the Earth and Planetary Interiors
StatePublished - Dec 2017


  • Buoyancy
  • Manila subduction zone
  • Plate coupling
  • Serpentinization
  • Taiwan


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