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The image is dominated by the presence of a dipping low‐velocity zone (LVZ, in red) evident from the coast line (0 km distance, 20 km depth) to a depth of ∼37 km depth at 65 km distance. At greater depths, the upper contrast of the LVZ disappears, though its base persists with diminishing contrast to at least 70 km and roughly coincides with the locus of intraslab seismicity. The LVZ was interpreted byNicholson et al. Note that the top of plate boundary defined by Audet et al. 3‐D receiver function modeling of scattered waves from the LVZ corresponds closely to the top of LVZ in the diffraction image, suggesting that the 2‐D image is not significantly contaminated by 3‐D structure. As inFigures 4 and 5, the LFEs in Figure 8 lie below the plate boundary within the LVZ. We also note, however, that although our LFE locations coincide closely with high tremor densities mapped by Kao et al.
In Figure 8 (bottom), we reproduce Figure 4c from Shelly et al. LFEs and intraslab seismicity atop a profile of VP/VSperturbations across Shikoku, as determined using double‐difference traveltime tomography. The Cascadia and Nankai images are plotted to the same scale and a number of similarities and differences are evident. On both profiles LFEs occur a few km above the Wadati‐Benioff zone, approaching the top of a highVP/VS layer. 40 km depth. This observation indicates that the downdip extent of LFEs in this region is not governed by the crust‐to‐mantle transition in the overriding plate. In this context, the increased proximity of LFEs and intraslab events near the downdip limit of LFEs (and prominent LVZ) on profile B-B′ could be explained as due to a transition to diminished pore fluid pressures and porosity. That is, the LFE templates can be considered to represent empirical, time‐differentiated Green's functions. Figure 7consistently display a component of strike‐slip motion. North America is moving relative to a fixed North America reference frame.
Vancouver Island moves at a rate of 3.2 mm/yr N43°E relative to North America; consequently the Cascadia slip rate vector is 43.5 mm/yr N66°E at station TWKB. The range of nodal planes represented in the focal mechanism solutions is sufficient to permit inversion for stress orientation under the assumption that stress is uniform over the region. The other two principal stress axes are poorly constrained (intermediate stress in magenta, minimum stress in cyan), indicating either comparable magnitudes or local stress variations. In the second inversion (“SHALLOW” in inset), the shallower of the 2 nodal planes is taken to be the fault plane based on the assumption that deformation manifest by LFEs should preferentially align with the subhorizontal attitude of subduction. This solution presents a maximum compressive stress oriented at N59°E plunging 32° to the southwest with well defined intermediate and minimum principal stress axes. Given the presence of pore fluids, likely development of phyllosilicate minerals in situ, and large total shear strains, a dramatically weakened, clastomylonite shear zone may exist from the subduction interface into the upper oceanic crust.
Large strains associated with subduction (including slow slip events) are accommodated by ductile flow along mylonite strands, whereas local brittle patches may be loaded by both this ductile flow and upper plate stresses to produce LFEs. This variation in stress state suggests that the LVZ behaves as a decoupling horizon operating at low differential stresses. S‐wave splitting of up to 0.3 s in signals from these stations. Horizontal component waveforms at stations LZB and TWKB, shown inFigure 6, corroborate this finding in demonstrating a consistent phase advance of east component over north component for a broad range of epicentral distances. Note in particular, that the advance systematically diminishes with increasing epicentral distance at station LZB. The second structural signal evident in Figure 6 in the form of additional phases following the primary P‐ andS‐arrivals, is likely related to short‐wavelength, structural heterogeneity. In particular, the timing of phases at smaller epicentral distances is consistent with an origin in reflection/conversion from the base of the LVZ inFigure 8. We are currently investigating this possibility. The timing of scattered phases from boundaries of the LVZ would provide a powerful means of precisely mapping LFE location relative to the LVZ and gaining further insight into the nature of LFEs and tectonic tremor.