Velocity-interface structure of the southwestern Rhukyu subduction zone from EW9509-1 OBS/MCS data

Tan K. Wang, Kirk McIntosh, Yosio Nakamura, Char Shine Liu, How Wei Chen

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25 Scopus citations


A wide-angle seismic survey, combining ocean-bottom seismometers (OBS) and multi-channel seismic (MCS) profiling, was implemented in the southwestern Ryukyu subduction zone during August and September 1995. In this paper, we present the data analysis of eight OBSs and the corresponding MCS line along profile EW9509-1 from this experiment. Seismic data modeling includes identification of refracted and reflected arrivals, initial model building from velocity analysis of the MCS data, and simultaneous and layer-stripping inversions of the OBS and MCS arrivals. The velocity-interface structure constructed along profile EW9509-1 shows that the northward subduction of the Philippine Sea Plate has resulted in a northward thickening of the sediments of the Ryukyu Trench and the Yaeyama accretionary wedge north of the trench. The boundary between the subducting oceanic crust and the overriding continental crust (represented by a velocity contour of 6.75 km/s) and a sudden increase of the subducting angle (from 5 degrees to 25 degrees) are well imaged below the Nanao Basin. Furthermore, velocity undulation and interface variation are found within the upper crust of the Ryukyu Arc. Therefore, the strongest compression due to subduction and a break-off of the slab may have occurred and induced the high seismicity in the forearc region.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)265-287
Number of pages23
JournalMarine Geophysical Research
Issue number4
StatePublished - 2001


  • Crustal structure
  • OBS
  • Ray
  • Subduction
  • Travel-time inversion


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