The cause of seismic anisotropy exhibiting trench parallel fast directions in subduction systems has been the subject of significant recent research. We provide new constraints on the contributions of hydrous phases to seismic anisotropy from an unusually well-localized region of trench parallel fast directions in Rayleigh wave phase velocities near the Cascade arc at 45 to 66 s periods. We constrain the location of the anisotropic material to within or directly above the oceanic plate, using the depth sensitivity of Rayleigh waves as a function of frequency and the accurate slab imaging available for Cascadia from scattered wave studies. We infer that the likely source of trench-parallel anisotropy is either a thin layer of sheared hydrous material directly above the slab or hydrated outer rise faults in the upper part of the subducting plate. Similar contributions to trench parallel anisotropy from hydrous phases are likely stronger in other subduction zones.
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