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Title: A new GPS velocity field for the pacific plate - Part 1: Constraints on plate motion, intraplate deformation, and the viscosity of pacific basin asthenosphere
Author: Demets, C.
Marquez-azua, B.
Cabral-cano, E.
Issue Date: 2014
Abstract: We combine new, well-determined GPS velocities from Clarion, Guadalupe and Socorro islands on young seafloor in the eastern Pacific basin with newly estimated velocities for 26 GPS sites from older seafloor in the central, western and southern parts of the Pacific Plate to test for deformation within the interior of the Pacific Plate and estimate the viscosity of the asthenosphere below the plate. Relative to a Pacific Plate reference frame defined from the velocities of the 26 GPS sites in other areas of the Pacific Plate, GPS sites on Clarion and Guadalupe islands in the eastern Pacific move 1.2 � 0.6 mm yr. -1 (1?) towards S09�W � 38� and 1.9 � 0.3 mm yr.-1 towards S19�E � 10�, respectively. The two velocities, which are consistent within their 95 per cent uncertainties, both differ significantly from Pacific Plate motion. Transient volcanic deformation related to a 1993-1996 eruption of the Socorro Island shield volcano renders our GPS velocity from that island unreliable for the tectonic analysis although its motion is also southward like those of Clarion and Guadalupe islands. We test but reject the possibilities that drift of Earth's origin in ITRF2008 or unmodelled elastic offsets due to large-magnitude earthquakes around the Pacific rim since 1993 can be invoked to explain the apparent slow southward motions of Clarion and Guadalupe islands. Similarly, corrections to the Pacific Plate GPS velocity field for possible viscoelastic deformation triggered by large-magnitude earthquakes since 1950 also fail to explain the southward motions of the two islands. Viscoelastic models with prescribed asthenospheric viscosities lower than 1 � 1019 Pa s instead introduce statistically significant inconsistencies into the Pacific Plate velocity field, suggesting that the viscosity of the asthenosphere below the plate is higher than 1 � 1019 Pa s. Elastic deformation from locked Pacific-North America Plate boundary faults is also too small to explain the southward motions of the two islands. Horizontal thermal contraction of the plate interior may explain the motion observed at Clarion and Guadalupe islands, as might long-term tectonic deformation of the plate interior. � The Authors 2014. Published by Oxford University Press on behalf of The Royal Astronomical Society.
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