Intermediate-Depth Earthquakes Controlled by Incoming Plate Hydration Along Bending-Related Faults

Yuval Boneh, Emily Schottenfels, Kevin Kwong, Iris van Zelst, Xinyue Tong, Melody Eimer, Meghan S. Miller, Louis Moresi, Jessica M. Warren, Douglas A. Wiens, Magali Billen, John Naliboff, Zhongwen Zhan

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

27 Scopus citations


Intermediate-depth earthquakes (focal depths 70–300 km) are enigmatic with respect to their nucleation and rupture mechanism and the properties controlling their spatial distribution. Several recent studies have shown a link between intermediate-depth earthquakes and the thermal-petrological path of subducting slabs in relation to the stability field of hydrous minerals. Here we investigate whether the structural characteristics of incoming plates can be correlated with the intermediate-depth seismicity rate. We quantify the structural characteristics of 17 incoming plates by estimating the maximum fault throw of bending-related faults. Maximum fault throw exhibits a statistically significant correlation with the seismicity rate. We suggest that the correlation between fault throw and intermediate-depth seismicity rate indicates the role of hydration of the incoming plate, with larger faults reflecting increased damage, greater fluid circulation, and thus more extensive slab hydration.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)3688-3697
Number of pages10
JournalGeophysical Research Letters
Issue number7
StatePublished - 16 Apr 2019


  • fault throw
  • intermediate-depth earthquakes
  • ocean floor bathymetry
  • plate hydration
  • subduction zone

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Geophysics
  • General Earth and Planetary Sciences


Dive into the research topics of 'Intermediate-Depth Earthquakes Controlled by Incoming Plate Hydration Along Bending-Related Faults'. Together they form a unique fingerprint.

Cite this