The crustal thickness of the Philippine sea plate derived from gravity data

Horng Yuan Yen, Yu Tsung Lo, Yu Lien Yeh, Hsien Hsiang Hsieh, Wen Yen Chang, Chieh Hung Chen, Chun Rong Chen, Min Hung Shih

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

4 Scopus citations


We constructed a new free-air gravity anomaly map of the Philippine Sea Plate (PSP) using ship-tracked gravity data from the National Geophysical Data Center (NGDC). Our results show that the isogals trend correlates well with the tectonic structures in the PSP. After removing the gravity induced by sea water from the free-air gravity data, we obtained the regional Bouguer gravity anomaly, which is later used to compute the Moho geometry in the PSP by applying the Parker-Oldenburg iterative method. Our results indicate that in the southern part of the West Philippine Basin (WPB) the crustal thickness is nearly homogeneous with a value of about 5 km, which implies that the WPB is quite stable. The low-amplitude and near-zero free-air gravity anomalies clearly indicate that the whole WPB, except at trenches and island arcs, is nearly in a state of isostatic equilibrium. The average crustal thickness of the Palau Kyushu Ridge (PKR) is more than 10 km. In the eastern PSP the crustal thickness gradually increases eastward. Our results also imply that a relatively thin and low density mantle exists beneath the Parece Vela Basin (PVB) as a consequence of back-arc spreading and serpentinized upwells of the thin crustal thickness.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)253-259
Number of pages7
JournalTerrestrial, Atmospheric and Oceanic Sciences
Issue number3
StatePublished - 1 Jun 2015


  • Bouguer gravity anomaly
  • Crustal thickness
  • Free-air gravity anomaly
  • Mantle upwelling
  • Philippine Sea Plate


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