Shear wave splitting and mantle flow associated with the deflected Pacific slab beneath northeast Asia



[1] A total of 361 SKS and five local S wave splitting measurements obtained at global and regional seismic network stations in NE China and Mongolia are used to infer the characteristics of mantle fabrics beneath northeast Asia. Fast polarization directions at most of the stations in the western part of the study area are found to be consistent with the strike of local geological features. The dominant fast directions at the eastern part, beneath which seismic tomography and receiver function studies revealed a deflected slab in the mantle transition zone (MTZ), are about 100° from north, which are almost exactly the same as the motion direction of the Eurasian plate relative to the Pacific plate, and are independent of the direction of local geological features. The splitting times at those stations are about 1 s which correspond to a layer of about 150 km thickness with a 3% anisotropy. The shear wave splitting observations, complemented by the well-established observation that most of the eastern part of the study area is underlain by a lithosphere thinned by delamination in the Paleozoic era, can be best explained by the preferred alignment of metastable olivine associated with the subduction of the deflected Pacific slab in the MTZ, or by back-arc asthenospheric flow in the mantle wedge above the slab.