3D constrained gravity inversion to model Moho geometry and stagnant slabs of the Northwestern Pacific plate at the Japan Islands

Tamer Farag, Mohamed Sobh, Hideki Mizunaga

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

5 Citations (Scopus)


The motivation for this work was to model the crustal thickness, and the geometry of the Mohorovičić (Moho) discontinuity, the crust-upper mantle boundary around the Japanese archipelago. The western Pacific Ocean is one of the most eminent subduction zones in the world. The subduction zone complexity is due to alteration within the geometry of the stagnant slab. We compiled a three-dimensional density distribution model for subduction plates around the Japan Islands, and estimated the depth to Moho using the constrained non-linear inversion of gravity data derived from the latest Gravity field and Ocean Circulation Explorer, or GOCE, model known as GOCO06s. The study had three steps, starting with the data corrections followed by the inversion, and ending with the modeling and comparing of the estimated results with previous models and studies. In this study, we used available receiver function results, seismic tomography models, global crustal thickness, and geological and tectonic information as constraints. The model estimated the crustal thickness, surface geometry of the Moho, and geometry of the stagnant slab in the Kuril Trench, Japan Trench, Nankai Trough, and Izu-Bonin Trough. In gravity inversion, we used 34 km and 600 kg m−3 as the Moho depth reference and density contrast, respectively. Results showed that the crustal thickness ranged from 14 to 43 km with a − 0.78 mean misfit for Moho depths derived from seismic P-wave analysis. The calculated gravity data had a 0.16 mGal misfit with the observed data. The normalized analytical signal helped to sharply delineate the different plates and their edges. Three cross-sections were conducted to model the stagnant slab along the subduction zone of the Eastern Eurasian plate, western Pacific plate, Okhotsk plate, and Philippine Sea plate. The eastern area of the entire region (Pacific plate) had a low crust thickness and high density compared to the western area (Eurasian plate), which had a high crust thickness and low density.

Original languageEnglish
Article number229297
Publication statusPublished - Apr 20 2022

All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

  • Geophysics
  • Earth-Surface Processes


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