In subduction zones, high fluid content and pore pressure are thought to promote aseismic creep, whereas well-drained conditions are thought to promote locking and failure in earthquakes. However, observations directly linking fluid content and seismic coupling remain elusive. Heise et al. (2017) use a magnetotelluric survey to image the electrical resistivity structure of the northern Hikurangi subduction thrust to ~30 km depth, as an indicator of interconnected fluid content. The authors document a clear correlation between high resistivity and a distinct geodetically locked patch and between conductive areas and weak coupling. Their study, together with other recent geophysical investigations, provides new evidence for the role of fluids in governing subduction thrust locking.
All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes
- Earth and Planetary Sciences(all)