Geothermal evidence for fluid flow through the gas hydrate stability field off Central Chile - Transient flow related to large subduction zone earthquakes?

Ingo Grevemeyer, Norbert Kaul, Juan L. Diaz-Naveas

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

16 Scopus citations

Abstract

Fluids are suspected to play a major role in the nucleation and rupture propagation of earthquakes. In Chile, seismological data were previously interpreted to indicate that fluids captured in the fault zone are released periodically during large underthrust earthquakes, leading to post-seismic fluid flow. In central Chile, heat flow derived from the presence of a bottom simulating reflector (BSR) show a smooth trend across the margin. BSR-derived data are in excellent agreement with thermal subduction zone models. Over the young accretionary prism, both BSR-derived and measured surface heat flow support a common trend. Landwards of the backstop, however, measured heat flow triples over a distance of 20-30 km, producing a profound discrepancy to the BSR-derived data. We suggest that this disparity is related to transient flow of warm fluids through the gas hydrate stability zone possibly caused by fluids released after large underthrust earthquakes. Such flow events may inherently affect the distribution of solid gas hydrates between the seafloor and the BSR.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)461-468
Number of pages8
JournalGeophysical Journal International
Volume166
Issue number1
DOIs
StatePublished - Jul 2006
Externally publishedYes

Keywords

  • Earthquakes
  • Fluids in rocks
  • Gas hydrates
  • Heat flow
  • Subduction zone

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