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OBSERVATIONS AT CONVERGENT MARGINS

CONCERNING SEDIMENT SUBDUCTION,


SUBDUCTION EROSION, AND THE GROWTH
OF CONTINENTAL CRUST

Roland von Huene David W. Scholl


GEOMAR,Kiel, Germany U.S.GeologicalSurvey
Menlo Park, California

Abstract. At oceanmarginswheretwo platesconverge, indirectly from continentaldenudation.Interstitial water


the oceanicplate sinks or is subductedbeneathan upper currentlyexpulsedfrom accretedand deeply subducted
one topped by a layer of terrestrialcrust. This crust is sedimentand recycledto the oceanbasinsis estimatedat
constructed of continental or island arc material. The 0.9 km/yr.Thethinning
andtruncation
caused
by
subductionprocess either builds juvenile masses of subductionerosionof the margin'sframeworkrock and
terrestrialcrustthrougharc volcanismor new areasof crust overlyingsedimentarydepositshavebeendemonstrated
at
throughthe piling up of accretionarymasses(prisms)of many convergentmarginsbut only off northernJapan,
sedimentarydeposits and fragments of thicker crustal central Peru, and northern Chile has sufficient information
bodiesscrapedoff the subducting lower plate. At conver- been collectedto determineaverageor long-termrates,
gent margins, terrestrial material can also bypass the whichrangefrom25 to 50 km/m.y.
perkilometer
of
accretionaryprismas a resultof sedimentsubduction,and margin.A conservative
long-term
rateapplicable
to many
terrestrialmattercan be removedfrom the upperplate by sectors
of convergent
margins
is 30 kmZ/km/m.y.
If
processesof subductionerosion. Sediment subduction appliedto the lengthof type2 margins,subduction
erosion
occurswhere sedimentremainsattachedto the subducting removes
andtransports
approximately
0.6km/yrofupper
oceanicplate and underthrusts the seawardpositionof the
plate material to greater depths. At various places,
upperplate's resistivebuttress(backstop)of consolidated
subduction
erosionalsoaffectssectorsof type 1 margins
sediment and rock. Sediment subduction occurs at two borderedby small-to medium-sized accretionary
prisms
types of convergent margins: type 1 margins where (for example,JapanandPeru),thusincreasing the global
accretionaryprismsform and type 2 marginswhere little ratebypossibly
0.5km3/yr
toa totalof 1.1km/yr.
Little
net accretiontakesplace.At type 2 margins(-19,000 km information is available to assess subduction erosion at
in global length), effectively all incoming sedimentis marginsborderedby large accretionaryprisms. Mass
subducted beneath the massif of basement or framework balance calculations allow assessmentsto be made of the
rocks forming the landwardtrenchslope.At accretingor amountof subducted sediment thatbypasses theprismand
type 1 margins,sedimentsubduction beginsat the seaward underthrusts the margin'srock framework.This subcrus-
accretionary tallysubducted
positionof an activebuttressof consolidated sediment is estimated at 0.7 km/yr.
material that accumulatedin front of a startingor core Combinedwith the range of terrestrialmatter removed
buttress of framework rocks. Where small-to-medium- from the margin'srock frameworkby subduction erosion,
sized prismshave formed (-16,300 km), approximately the global volume of subcrustallysubductedmaterial is
20% of the incomingsedimentis skimmedoff a detach- estimated torange from1.3to 1.8km/yr.Subcrustally
ment surfaceor decollementand frontallyaccretedto the subducted material is either returned to the terrestrial crust
active buttress.The remaining80% subductsbeneaththe by arc-related igneous processes or crustalunderplating or
buttressandmay eitherunderplateolderpartsof the frontal is lost from the crustby mantleabsorption. Geochemical
body or bypass the prism entirely and underthrustthe and isotopicdata supportthe notion that upper mantle
leadingedgeof the margin'srock framework.At margins melting returnsonly a small percentof the subducted
borderedby largeprisms(-8,200 km), roughly70% of the material to the terrestrialcrust as arc igneousrocks.
incoming trench floor section is subductedbeneaththe Limited areal exposuresof terrestrial rocks metamor-
frontal accretionarybody and its active buttress. In phosedat deep (>20-30 km) subcrustal pressures and
roundedfigures the contemporaryrate of solid-volume temperatures imply that only a smallfractionof subducted
sediment subduction at convergent ocean margins materialis reattachedvia deep crustal underplating.
(43,500 km)is calculated tobe 1.5km3/yr. Correcting Possibly, therefore much of the subducted terrestrial
type 1 margins for high rates of terrigenousseafloor material isrecycledtothemantle ataratenear1.6km/yr,
sedimentationduring the past 30 m.y. or so sets the whichis effectivelyequivalent to thecommonlyestimated
long-term
rateof sediment
subduction
at 1.0km3/yr.
The rateat whichthe mantleaddsjuvenileigneousmaterialto
bulk of the subductedmaterial is derived directly or theEarth'slayerof terrestrialrock.

Copyright
1991by theAmericanGeophysical
Union. Reviews
of Geophysics,
29, 3 / August1991
pages279-316
8755-1209/91/91 RG-00969 .$15.00 Papernumber91 RG00969
279
280 von Huene and Scholl: GROWTH OF CONTINENTALCRUST 29, 3 / REVIEWSOF GEOPHYSICS

INTRODUCTION AND BACKGROUND accretionarycomplex(or prismor wedge)is commonly


PERSPECTIVES referred to as sulxluctionaccretion.Hamilton [1988],
Bickford[1988], and Howell [1989a] have recently
Terrestrial crust, which is constructedof continental and reviewedkey observationsand thinkingconcerning
islandarc rocks,is amassedat convergentoceanmargins accretionarytectonismand also the associatedlateral or
[seeKay, 1980; Dewey and Winclley,1981;Reymerand sideways movement of terranesthatispartof theassembly
Schubert, 1984; Taylor and McLennan, 1985; Howell, processat oceanmargins[seeBeck, 1983, 1986].
1989a;Ashwal,1989].Convergent oceanmarginsareplate Notwithstanding the attentiongiven to processes of
boundariesat which the oceanicor lower plate is sub- juvenile crustalgrowthand terraneaccumulation, it has
ductedbeneaththe upperplate.The top of the upperplate longbeenrecognized thatothersubruction processes actat
is typically a 20-40 km thick layer of terrestrialrocks convergentmarginsto either removeor fail to storerock
(Figure 1). At the subructionzones,arc igneousrocks andsedimentary masses [Gilluly,1963].Theseprocesses,
contributedfrom the underlying mantle add juvenile which, respectively,involve sediment subruction and
materialto the layerof terrestrialrocks.Arc magmatism is subruction erosion [Scholl et al., 1980], can retard or
probablythe mostimportantprocesssustaining theEarth's thwart continentalgrowth. Subructionerosioncan also
stockof terrestrialmatter[ReymerandSchubert,1984]. truncatethe seawardedgesof accretionary bodiesand
It is also widely recognizedthat tectonicprocessesat ancientcontinental masses [Schollet al., 1977;Ziegleret
convergentmarginsconstantlyfashion new regionsof al., 1981;Scholland Vallier, 1981]. In this paperwe
continentalcrustfrom fragmentsof older or preexisting reviewandreflectontheimplications of relatively
recently
crustalmaterial[Helwig,1974;Coneyet al., 1980;Howell, acquiredmarinegeological andgeophysical dataconcern-
1989a]. These assemblagesform becausesome of the ing the processesof sedimentsubductionand subduction
igneous,sedimentary,and thickercrustalmassesattached erosion. We estimate contemporary andlong-term ratesof
to the underthrusting oceanicplate are mechanically subruction of terrestrial
material.We notein particular that
scrapedoff andaccretedto the seawardedgeof the upper duringthelatterpartof Earth'shistory thevolume of deep
terrestrialplate(Figure1). The processof formingsuchan or subcrustally subducted materialpotentially reaching

VOLCANIC
ARC ACCRETIONARY
PRISM
OCEAN
MARGIN AXIAL
DEPOSITS T R E NC H
WEDGE

OCEAN BASIN
DEPOSITS
+ + + + + +
+ + + + +
+ + + + + +
+ + + + +
+ + + + + + FRAMEWOR
+ + + +

+ + + + + + + + + I
+ + + + +
+ + + +
+ + + + +
I

0 200 km
I I

V.E.- 2:1

Figure1. Diagrammaticportrayal
of theprincipalsedimentarydeposits
andmorphologic elements
of a convergentoceanmarginandthesediment-associated subduction
processesoperating there.
Facingarrows indicate
thatthecontinentalor terrestrial
crustof theupperplate(left)converges
orthogonallywiththeunderthrustingoceaniccrustof thelowerplate.Seaward of themargin's
framework rock,theprocess
of subductionaccretionhasformeda smallaccretionarypileor prism
of offscrapedtrenchfloor deposits.The companionprocessof sedimentsubduction
is shown
conveyingtrench and oceanbasin depositsbeneaththe seawardbase of the frameworkand
potentially
to mantle(M) depths.
Diagramis onlyroughlyto scale.
29, 3 / REVIEWSOF GEOPHYSICS von HueneandScholl GROVVTHOF CONTINENTALCRUST 281

mantledepthseffectivelyequalsthe bestestimatesof the subduction complexes, and the small size or virtual
addition of juvenile igneousmassesto the layer of absenceof accretionarywedgesalong lengthy sectorsof
terrestrialrocks [Kay, 1980; Dewey and Windley,1981; convergentmargins.Sketchyhistoriesof theseconcerns
ReymerandSchubert,1984;Howell, 1989a]. have been presentedby Scholl et al. [1980] and $choll
[1987].One of thefirst to invokeandillustratetheconcept
of sediment subduction was Coats [1962], who
BACKGROUND PERSPECTIVE hypothesized thatsedimentinjectedto mantledepthsby an
underthrusting oceaniccrustwas neededto accountfor the
Convergentmargins are dynamic plate boundaries geochemistry of volcanicrocksexposedalongthe Aleutian
characterizedgeomorphicallyby deep ocean trenches, islandarc. Figure 2a is a simplifiedreproductionof the
seismicallyby landwarddipping zonesof earthquakes, diagramhe usedto presenthis seminalconcept.
tectonicallyby regional-scalecrustalfaulting and terrane
movements,and magmaticallyby arcuateand linear belts A
of eruptivecenters,the so-calledvolcanicarc (Figure 1).
Vexing to many [seeSchollet al., 1970; yon Hueneand _,e.,ALEUTIAN SEDIMENT
':':::?::'I ARC SUBDUCTION
$hor, 1969],in the 1960'sandearly 1970'stherecognition
of structuresdiagnostic of how subductionprocesses
workedat convergentmarginswaschallengedby the great 2 ^.^^^^^ ^^^
water depthsand steep submarineslopesof the trench +.*!!tlJl11^^ -^^,,",, ^
environment. These circumstances made it difficult to
recoverrock samplesby conventionaldredgingandgreatly '
oo, 0_.o '- '.' ..
-::::_.
'_ _". o
,'.o '..
o.'..';
diminishedthe resolutionof the subsurfacestructuresby ,o.,
-- .:. 'o-.,;.. ,...;,.';r
After Coats (1962)
acoustic imaging techniquesthen available to most
researchers.
Nonetheless,by the mid 70's, offshoreseismicreflec-
tion studieshad resolvedsomeof the importantstructural B
aspectsof the accretionaryprocess[Seely et al., 1974;
Karig and Sharman,1975]. Despitetheseadvances, much CHILE
ANDES
of the understandingof how subductionaccretionoperated TRENCH
camefrom examiningancientaccretionarymassesexposed -,,, _ , ,- -,:-,I :.--':,.,",
,:,--:,,.
,. ,-
in coastal mountainbelts, for example, the Franciscan
Complexof California[Hamilton,1969;Ernst, 1970]. But
the study of theseaccretionarycomplexesprovidedlittle
insightinto inferredand suspected processes
that might
EROSION-- ,k.fterH. Miller (1970)
effect the bypassingof oceanic sediment (subcrustal
sedimentsubduction)and wastageof upperplate material
(subductionerosion)[Schollet al., 1977]. C
Duringthe pastdecade,advancesin offshoregeological JAPAN
and geophysicaltechniqueshave made it possible to
successfully explore the deep subsurfacestructuresand
..j"&};'':'*. SUBDUCTION
19m, -,,t [t
.,-_,97;'.':-' ;',-T,
,'
, P
EROSION
/
rock sequencesof convergentmargins.These advance-
mentsincludeswath-mapping bathymetry,which provides
accuratearealimagesof the morphologyof the trenchaxis i

region,modemseismicreflectionacquisitionandprocess-
. ,// ,
ing techniquesthat resolve subsurfacestructureswith Aaer Murauchi' , A -
detail and clarity, and deep-seadrilling for scientific (1971) /17'4
purposesthat returns samplesfrom nearly a kilometer
beneaththe deeplysubmerged landwardslopesof trenches. Figure 2. Someof the first publisheddepictionsof the processes
of sedimentsubductionandsubductionerosion.(a) Coats [1962],
well before the plate tectonics paradigm was formulated,
conceivedthatsedimentsubduction wasan essentialingredientin
SEDIMENT SUBDUCTION volcanicrocks causingto be eruptedalongthe Aleutian arc. (b)
Miller [1970a, b], nearlya decadelater,proposedthatsubduction
can also truncatethe rock frameworkof oceanmargins,in his
SomeHistoryand Definitions examplethe structuralfabric of metamorphicand igneousrocks
The generalnotion that sedimentarymasseshave been underlyingthe centralandnorthernmarginof Chile (seeFigure
subductedbeneathoceanmarginsaroseover the implica- 18). Independently, Murauchi [1971] reasoned that a
tionsof unbalancedvolumesin regionalsedimentbudgets, subduction-related processof tectonicerosionwastedaway the
the paucity of oceanic pelagic sediment in exposed continentalcrustalrocksof thenorthernJapanmargin.
282 von HueneandScholl:GROWTH OF CONTINENTALCRUST 29, 3 / REVIEWS
OF GEOPHYSICS

At convergentocean marginsthe lower plate is the materialsupplied


by planktonic
andbenthicorganism,
and
principalcontributorof input material(Figure 1). The metaloxidesandashof volcanogcnicorigin[Howelland
lower plate is constructedof igneousrocksof the oceanic Murray, 1986;Hay et al., 1988]. Far from continentsand
crust and its overlying cover of ocean basin sexliment adjacent to poorly drained landmasscs,ocean basin
(Figure3). Oceanbasinsedimentis composed chieflyof depositsarc typically only 200-600 rn thick. This thin
clayey, far-traveled terrigenousor continentaldetritus sedimentarymanticis commonlyreferredto as the ocean
contributedby continentalerosion,carbonateand siliceous basinlayerof pelagicor hcmipclagic
deposits.

Accretionary
prism

Active
frontal e>l
Palco
I
Zt
- Trench
-
axialfronta!. [ accreaionl
accreton .o- '_,_,. "...'.
-..
..........
_..-....'....'
","'"_-'
Ma!.g,n
.
.-'-'" seomen[
r, weage ....... ' "__+ + +
k ' + + + +
:,.::,.:<,::....,..:.,.,;,.,.,
,.--'----k+ +++++++ fRrarewor
k
I __I - " I ?v I,"'Z---'-.-""-zs;;:.
Accretedby
underplating
ACCRETIONARY
AND ... . . sediment Decollement
SEDIMENT
SUBDUCTION ubducteo
PROCESSES sediment
Y
Mass frontally
(H) accreted
during
Trench time
(T)
B wedge
--'"'''J'+
++
IlSubduction

V'fV VVVunderplating
V VDecollement
Convergence
rate
(CR)
- Accret

POTENTIAL
FRONTAL(Plate
boundary)
MASS = H xCR xT

TYPE-2, NON-ACCRETING MARGIN, (19,000 kin)


Ocean basin
sediment
x .-
c + Rock
v v v-+ .+ framework
Sediment v Subcrustally
subduction
and subducted
by-pass
point sediment
TYPE-1, ACCRETING MARGIN,
SMALL PRISM (5-40krn wide)
TYPE-l*, ACCRETING
MARGIN,
LARGE PRISM (>40kin wide) (8,000 km)
(16,000 km)
Ocean basin Ocean basin Accretionaryprism
sediment Acretionary
pris sediment
x \ J
. -..................
....
:_......:.......:.
+ + Core
v " ". buttress
v v
: +
subduction ' '
Sediment "' r
subductionBy-pass L;oe
By-pass
point
point buttress

Figure3. (a) Diagramof accretionary


prismandtheprocesses
of frontalaccretion
andunderplat-
ing thatcontributeto its volumetricgrowth.Frontalaccretionoccursseawardof an activebuttress
of structurally
strengthenedolderaccretionary material,whichwasinitiallyaddedto a corebuttress
of themargin'sbedrockor rockframework. Solidbarbsindicateactivethrustfaults,openbarbs
indicateless active and inactivethrustfaults.Offscrapedtrenchsedimentis detachedabovea
decollement,theeffective plateboundary, in packets
thatbuildthefrontalmassby thrustfaulting,
folding, andtilting againstthe activebuttress,belowwhichoceansedimentis subducted.
Once the
thrustpacketshave achievedmaximumtilting and shortening, accretionof subducted sediment
continues to increasethe volumeof the prismby processes of underplating,
whichcan extend
landward beneath thecorebuttress.(b) Thegeophysically
measured volumeof a frontallyaccreted
body(shaded) whencompared to thepotential
volumeof sucha mass,whichis approximated by
theproductof theconvergent rate(CR), averagethickness
of incomingtrenchfloorsediment (H),
andthe timeperiodduringwhichthemeasured volumeaccumulated (T), identifiesthevolumeof
sedimentthat is underthrustingthe frontalbodyandhasbeensubducted landwardof the active
buttress.(c) Simplifieddiagrams of threetypesof convergent margins: type2 or nonaccreting
margins,type 1 marginswith smallto medium-sized prisms,andtype1' marginswith large
accretionary prisms.The approximate globallengthof thesemargintypesis shown,frontal
accretionarymassesare shaded.
29, 3 / REVIEWS
OF GEOPHYSICS von HueneandScholl GROWTH OF CONTINENTALCRUST 283

Contrastingly,along convergentmarginsreachedby At thoseconvergentmarginswhereaccretionaryprisms


largeriversor drainagesystems, oceanbasindepositsare of oceanicsedimenteffectivelydo not form, the baseof the
dominantly coarser grained sandy and silty units of landward trench slope is the seaward position of the
terrigenousorigin. Seawardof the trenchthe terrigenous margin's rock framework, which can also serve as a core
blanket, or hemiterrigenouswhere accompaniedby an or startingbuttressfor an eventualpile of offscraped
importantbiogeniccomponent, attainsthicknesses usually sediment.Sediment subduction,potentially leading to
greaterthan500 m and,in someareas,asthickas5-6 km subcrustalunderplatingfarther landward, begins here
(for example,Barbadosregion of the Lesser Antilles) (Figure 3c). Small, ephemeral accretionary prisms
[Biju-Duvalet al., 1982;Westbrook et al., 1988;Mascle commonly form in front of such core buttresses.Where
and Moore, 1990]. Depositionof turbiditycurrentdeposits larger more permanent accretionary prisms form, the
alongthe trenchaxis, the axial trenchfill or wedge,can position of the resistive buttressadvancesseaward as
also thicken the overall ocean floor section to several accretingmaterialstructurallyconsolidatesin front of the
kilometers or more. Thick axial wedges are shown corebuttress(Figures3a and 3b). Unlike the corebuttress
diagrammatically on Figures1 and 3. The accretionary the front of the advancingor active buttressis not a static
complex that underliesthe landward slopesof many or exact structurebut a dynamic one. Its geographic
trenches is predominantly composed of terrigenous positionis determinedby the dynamicsof the accretionary
turbiditedepositsthathavebeenskimmedoff the subduct- processandcanonly be approximatelylocated.
ingoceancrust[KarigandSharman,1975]. Thesedynamicsare modeledby Platt [1989]. During
In this paper the accretionaryprism refers to the the beginningof frontalaccretion,thrustslicesthat detach
landwardthickeningwedge-shaped body of oceanicrock the upperpart of the incomingsedimentarysectionhave
and sedimentthat duringa periodof time hasbeenadded dimensionsdeterminedby sedimentstrengthand thick-
tectonicallyto thebasementor rockframeworkof an ocean ness. Stackingand upward rotation of the thrust slices
margin (Figures1 and 4). This frameworkis commonly thicken and shorten the accreted material. Once the
constructedof complexesof igneous and metamorphic maximum thickening and shorteningallowed by the
rock or sequencesof deformed sedimentaryrock much strengthof the sedimentis attained,the accretionaryprism
older than, and not tectonically part of, a growing furthermaintainsits seawardtaper by subsurfaceunder-
accretionary mass.The additivemechanisms are thoseof platingor by new thrustfaults that cut the accretionary
subduction accretion, which involve the transfer of bodyat a low angle(outof sequence thrusts).Underplating
materialfrom the lower plate to the upperone by frontal beneaththe older part of the accretionarymasstendsto
accretionandunderplating (Figure3) [Schollet al., 1980]. isolateit from shearstresses generatedalongthe underly-
Accretionarypiles grow volumetricallyby the surface ing plate boundary. Rapid tectonic shortening and
processof frontalaccretionand by the subsurface process thickeningof the older frontal mass thus cease,and the
of underplating.The divisionof theserefersto the seaward positionof the activebuttressshiftsseaward.
positionof the margin'sresistiverock structureor buttress. In this paperwe locatethe activebuttressas the point
In front of the buttressthe upper part of the oceanic landward of which horizontal shorteningof frontally
sedimentis offscrapedby the processof frontalaccretion accretedmaterialgreatlyslowsand volumetricgrowthof
and the lower part is underthrust.Landwardand beneath the prismis effectedprincipallyby underplating (Figure
the buttress, oceanic sediment is subducted and subse- 3a) (see,for example,Watkinset al. [1982], Moore et al.
quentlyeitheraccretedby underplating or transportedon [1982], Platt et al. [1985],Brown et al. [1990],Ladd et al.
the lower plateto greaterdepths(Figure3a). The resistive [1990], and Snavely and Wells [1991]). Sedimentthat
buttressis the seawardmost part of the margin'smechani- subductsbeneaththe margin'score buttressmay yet be
cal backstop,which includesthe rock frameworkand the accretedto the baseof the upperplate by underplating
relatively consolidatedand tectonicallyquiescentolder processes.But such subcrustallyunderplatedmaterial,
partsof the accretionarymass(see also Cloosand Shreve althoughpart of the generalsubduction
accretionprocess,
[ 1988a, b]). Sedimentarydepositsa few hundredmetersto has bypassedthe geographicor structuralpositionof the
many kilometers in thicknessbury the surface of the accretionaryprismand is not considered
part of thisbody
buttressmass(Figures1 and3). (Figures3a and 3c). Unfortunately,even adjacentto the
An oftenusedanalogyof frontalaccretionandsubduction active buttress,seismic resolution of subsurfacestructures
is the blade of earth or snow movingmachineryand the is typically insufficientor too equivocalto identify
behaviorof the movedand unmovedmedium(Figure3a) underplatedsedimenteitherwithinthe accretionary
prism
[HelwigandHall, 1974].The blade(buttress) dislodges
the or beneaththe margin'srock framework.
upperlessconsolidatedmedium(sediment)from a lower Our approachto quantifyingsubductedand accreted
more consolidated one (consolidated sedimentor igneous sedimentis to principallyconsiderthe frontallyaccreted
ocean crust). Against the blade, the upper medium is material,thus moving the computationalpoint of where
offscrapedinto a growing mass of thrust slices (frontal sedimentsubductionbeginsfrom the core buttressto as
accretion),but part of the medium passesrearwardand closeaspossibleto theactivebuttress(pointY to X, Figure
beneaththebladeandis overrun(subduction). 3a). This approachminimizesdealingwith the deeply
284vonHueneand$choll'GROWTH
OFCONTINENTAL
CRUST 29,3/ REVIEWS
OFGEOPHYSICS

buriedolder part of the accretionary


prismwherethe upperand lower converging
plates.Sedimentabovethe
sedimentage,physicaldimensions,
andinternalstructures decollement
detaches
toformthefrontal
accretionary
pile.
arepoorlyknown.It allowsus to isolaterelativelygood Below
thedecollement,
sedimentunderthrusts
theactively
estimatesof the contemporaryand long-termratesof gr6wingaccretionary
pile, and landwardof its active
frontal sedimentaccretionand sedimentsubductionfrom buttress,
subdecollement
sediment
is subducted
(Theterm
lessconstrained
calculations
basedon an analysis
of the decollement
refersto a faultalonga bedding
plane. In
entireaccretionary
body.Wedo,however, attempt
through describing
subduction zones, decollement
is commonly
mass balance calculations to estimate the amount of extended
to include
sections
of theplateboundary
where
subducted
sediment
thatbypasses
the accretionary
prism themasterthrustcrosses
beddingplanes.In accordwith
and subcrustailyunderthruststhe margin's rock the commonusageof this term,we usedecollement
as a
framework.
synonymfor plateboundary.Someauthorsinfer that the
Thediagrams
of Figure3 andtheseismic
reflectionplateboundary
becomes
a zoneof distributed
faulting
and
recordsof Figure4 demonstrate that sedimentmoving that the decollementis the lowestfault in sucha zone
landwardbeneaththe frontalpart of the accretionary[Cloos andShreve,1988b, p. 509](Figure3a).
wedgetypicallydoessobelowa nearlyhorizontal surface If thedecollement moves downward withina packetof
of detachment,
whichis commonly calledthedecollement. subducted
sediment,
thematerial of thelowerplatecanbe
Thedecollement is theprincipal
boundary separating
the transferredto theupperone,thuseffecting underplating

0 5 10 Km
! I I
V.E. = 1.5x

Km GULF
OF
ALASKA

Thrust fault Aleutian


Thrust
Trench
fault axis

.,__

v v
9 Underthrust v
| sediment
v v v
v v v v
Decollement
Topofcrust
ocean
igneous
v v v

Aleutian
Decollement Trench axis

v v
_v',,
_ .----- /
-,-j" Underthrust
v- v
v v
v --. v Underplated sediment
Topofigneous
,, .,,," sediment
// ocean
crust B

Figure4. Linedrawings,
in depth,
of twoseismic
reflection
sections
thatshowthedecollement
sepiatingtheupper
andlowerplates.
Theuppersection
(a)crosses
theeastern
Aleutian
Trench
off
Kodiak
Island,
Alaska,
and
the
bottom
profile
(b)traverses
Islands, Alaska Peninsula.
the
lower
trench
slope
offthe
Shumagin
29, 3 / REVIEWSOF GEOPHYSICS von HueneandScholl GROWTH OF CONTINENTALCRUST 285

and volumetricgrowthof the prism(Figure3a). Concep- With clear seismic images and knowledge of the
tually,thedecollement can alsomoveupwardandtransfer velocityof soundin accretedrock unitsthe sizeof a frontal
accretedmaterial to the lower plate, thus promoting accretionary mass can be estimated(see, for example,
subduction erosion [Chadton, 1988; Cloos and Shreve, Bally [1983], von Huene [1986], Westbrooket al. [1988]
1988a, b]. and Ryan and Scholl [1989]). The age of the measured
accretionarymass can be best estimatedby subsurface
Observations samples recoveredat drillingsitesof theDeep-SeaDrilling
Project(DSDP) or the OceanDrilling Program(ODP). For
Sediment subductionis presumedto have occurred Neogenetime (approximatelythe past22 m.y. or sincethe
where the volume of sediment accreted frontally to a earliest Miocene) the orthogonalconversionrate can be
buttress is less than that which could have been so accreted extractedfrom many sources[e.g., Minster and Jordan,
(Figure3b). That is, if the measured sizeof the frontally 1978; Engebretsonet al., 1985; Jarrad, 1986a; Gordon
accreted mass is less than its potential size (had all andJurdy, 1986].
incoming sedimentbeen frontally accretedduring a Information adequate .to underwrite mass balance
prescribed time) then sediment underthrustingand calculations can be best compiledat sevenaccretionary
subductionhas taken place. In these calculations,sub- prisms.Six of theseare for small-to-medium-width prisms
decollement sediment passing beneath the actively (5-40 km from the trenchaxisto the corebuttress, Figure
growingfrontalmassis includedin thesubducted fraction. 3c that border the Pacific Basin; the seventhis repre-
The potentialsize of a frontal accretionarybody is the sentativeof the muchlargeraccretionaryprism (150-250
approximateproductof (1) the time during which the km) flankingthe Barbadosregionof the Atlantic'sLesser
sedimentaccreted,(2) the time-averagerate of orthogonal Antillesmargin(Figures3c and 5). The Pacificprismsare
plate convergence,and (3) the time-averagethicknessof listed on Table 1, which compares the measured
sedimententeringthe subduction zone(Figure3b). Where volumetricmassof their frontally accretedbody to the
exceptionallywide accretionarymasseshave formed,the potential volumes. A structurallydefined core buttress,
seawardgrowthrate shouldbe addedto the convergence which servesas the inner boundary,existsfor eachof the
rate [DavisandHyndman,1989]. Pacific margins.Unfortunately,it is difficult to clearly

90 145 160 105" 50

Kuril Aleutian
ean
Japan
Nankai Lesser
30 Antilles
Izu-Bonin

Mariana Mexico

Middle
Yap-Palau
America
New Britain
Triobriand

San

Sulawesi Tonga
North
I Chile
Kermadec --

I
Hikurangi

MacQuarie

South
Sandwich

Figure 5. Trenches(barbedlines) and convergentmarginsof the Pacific, Caribbean,and eastern


IndianOceanregions.Not shown,butindicated,
aretheshorttrenchsystems of theMakranregion
of the Gulf of Oman,northwestern
IndianOcean,the SouthSandwichTrenchconnecting South
AmericaandAntarctica,andthe Aegeanregionof the Mediterranean. Filledbarbsare type 1 or
accretingtrenches,
openbarbsaretype2 trenches
at whicheffectivelyno accretionary
prismforms
(seeTable 2).
286vonHuene
andScholl:GROVVTH
OFCONTINENTAL
CRUST 29,3/REVIEWS
OFGEOPHYSICS

distinguishfrontallyaccreted
fromunderplated
materialon Although the contemporary thicknessof incoming
seismic reflection
records.As a consequence,
the sizeof trenchfloordeposits is accurately
measured by seismic
thefrontally accretedbodieslistedonTable1, espially reflection
techniques,
estimates
of pastthicknesses
become
for the Mexico,Alaska,andAleutianmargins,includes increasingly uncertainwithtime.Thisproblem is espe-
someunderplated sediment(perhaps asmuchas15-20%). ciallytroublesome forthepastseveral
millionyearsowing
Thiscircumstance increasesthecalculated
efficiencyof to higherglacialageratesof deliveryof terrigenous
frontal accretionover that of sedimentsubduction.Thus sedimentto the oceanfloors.Our calculationsin Table 1
for the Pacific-marginprism on Table 1 the frontal account fortheincrease in sedimentation
during glaciation
accretionpercentages shownare probablymaximum that is most applicableto high-latitude trenchesand
values.
trencheswith wedge-shaped bodiesof axial turbidite

TABLE
1.Effective
Frontal
Sediment
Accretion
atPacific
Margins
Bordered
bySmall-
toMedium-Sized
(5-40
km)
Accretionary
Pile
Potential
Solid- Solid
Measured Average Fraction Solid- Fraction
Volumeof Thickness Trench Fraction Volume,
Accreted ofTrench Conver-Average Sediment Average Accreted Accreted
Sediment, Sediment,
km gence Porosity Thickness,
km Porosity Sediment,Sediment
J, Percent
km$/kmMin.Age, 0-2.5Ma Rate, Trench 0-2.5Ma Accretedkm$1km km$1kmSediment
Margin ofTrench m.y. > 2.5Ma km/m.y.Sediment
> 2.5Ma Sediment
i ofTrenchofTrenchAccreted

Northern
Japan
63 10.5 0.8 100 46 0.43 107.5
INOC-2
19 51 251.5 20
0.4 55 0.18 144
MidAmerica
Trench
t' 0.6 50 0.30 52.5
Mexico 38 10 70 23 29 120.5 24
0.3 58 0.13 68
Peru
9S
c 0.7 48 0.36 90
38 6.5 100 33 25 150 17
0.35 56.5 0.15 60
Peru
11Sa 0.3 58 0.13 32.5
14 3 100 25 10.5 35.5 30
0.15 62 0.06 3
EasternAlaskaMargine 2.5 31 1.73 277
75 5 64 22 58.5 397 15
1.25 40 0.75 120
C.Aleutian
Margin
/ 116 6 2.0 75 33 1.34 20 93.5 251
L9-6
403 23
1.0 42 0.58 152
C. AleutianMargins 2.0 41 1.18 221
L9-6 116 6 75 24 88 363 24
1.0 46 0.54 142

*Accreted
voltune,
age,
trench
floor
thickness,
and
convergence
rate
derived
from
Nasu
etal.[1980]
andR.vonHuene
andJ.Miller
(unpublished
data,
1991).
Accreted
volume,
age,
trench
floor
MooreandShipley[1988].
thickness,
and
convergence
rate
derived
from
Collins
and Watkins
[1986],
Moore etal.[1982],
and
CAccreted
volume,
age,
trench
floor
thickness,
and
convergence
rate
derived
fromKulm
etal.[1986]
andSuess
etal.[1988].
aAccreted
volume,
age,
trench
floor
thickness,
and
convergence
rate
derived
fromyon
HueneandMiller[1988]
andSuessetal.[1988].
eAccreted
volume,
age,
trench
floor
thickness,
and
convergence
rate
derived
fromyon
Hueneetal.[1986,
1989].
/'Accreted
volume, age,
trench floor
thickness,
andconvergence
rate
derived
from
McCarthyandScholl
[1985],
Scholl
etal.[1987],
and
Ryan
and
Scholl
[1989]
anddensity,
velocity,
andporosity
relations
described
byHamilton
[1976,
1978].
gAverage
conversion
porositydeterminedusingmultichannel
curvesof Hamilton[1976,1978].
stacking
veocities
[McCarthy
andScholl,
1985;
RyanandScholl,
1989]
anddensity
STheaverageporosityoftrench sediment determined
fromFigure
6,except
forthebottom
row ofporosity
values
forthe
central
Aleutian
Trench,which arebasedonconvertinginterval
velocity
information
toinsitu
porosity
(see
footnote
g).
/Theaverageporosityofthe accreted
material
determined
fromFigure
6,exceptforthe
bottom
rowofporosity
values
forthe
central
Aleutian
Trench,
whicharebased
onconverting
interval
velocity
information
toinsitu
porosity
(see
footnote
g).
rPotential
solid-fraction
volume
=(age)
(solid-fraction
trench
thickness)
(convergence
rate).
kPercent
accreted
=(solid-fraction
volume
accreted/potential
volume)x 100.
29, 3 / REVIEWSOF GEOPHYSICS von Huene and Scholl GROWTH OF CONTINENTALCRUST 287

deposits.Thesewedgesare only a few hundredthousand medium-sizedaccretionaryprisms (Figure 3c). These


yearsold,andtheycanbe maintained alongthetrenchaxis subductionzonesare listed as type 1 marginson Table 2,
only by exceptionallyhighratesof terrigenoussedimenta- whichis a compilationof informationusedto calculatethe
tion [vonHuene and Kulm, 1973; Helwig and Hall, 1974; contemporaryvolume of sedimententering and being
Scholl,1974].Major rateincreases canthusrapidlythicken subducted at all trenches.
thetrenchfloordeposits enteringthesubductionzone. Differing with the implicationsof the data on Table 1,
Recent high-resolutionstudies of stable isotope Davis and Hyndman[1989] reportthat the outeror frontal
stratigraphyindicatethat oceanwater coolednoticeably part of the Vancouver prism of the northern Cascadia
between3.1 and 3.5 Ma and thattemperatures reachedthe margin (southern British Columbia and northern
levels commonlyobservedduring the Pleistoceneabout Washington,Figure 5) is balanced to the volume of
2.5 Ma [Sarnthein and Thiedemann, 1989]. We therefore sedimentexpectedto have enteredthis subductionzone
applieda sedimentthicknesscorrectionat 2.5 Ma. The duringthepast1.8 m.y., and,lesssecurely,duringthepast
magnitudeof the correctionwas guidedby changesin the 40 m.y. The large Vancouver accretionaryprism has
globalrateof sedimentation in theoceanbasinsseawardof accumulated seaward of a core buttress of Eocene and
trenches.The data compiledby Southamand Hay [1981], older igneousand sedimentaryrocks.At the deformation
Sloan[1985],andHay et al. [1988] showa roughdoubling frontof the Vancouverprism,seismicreflectiondata show
of the rateof terrigenoussedimentationbeginningabout3 that the decollementlies at the surfaceof the igneous
Ma. Along many trenches,rate doubling could double oceanic crust and thus at the base rather than within the
axial thicknesswithin lessthan 0.5 m.y. Accordingly,we incomingsedimentarysection.Evidently,presently,in the
assumedthat the presentthicknessof the terrigenousor Vancouver accretionaryprocessthe entire thicknessof
turbiditewedgeunit of Pacifictrenchesmaybe asmuchas incomingsedimentis being frontally accreted(see also
twicethattypicalof previousnonglacialtimes.We explain Calvertand Clowes[1990] andSnavely[1987]).
below thatreducingthe preglacialtrenchthicknessto one In thecalculations of Table2 we assumethatalongthe
half that of the contemporarysectionmay be a harsh southernsectorof the Cascadiamarginthe efficiencyof
correction.But, for the purposeof not overestimatingthe frontalaccretionis more typicalof that of the margins
volume of sedimentsubductedat the marginslisted on listedon Table 1. Off Oregon,a prism-frontdecollementis
Table 1, we haveelectedto applythe50% correctionto the established at least1.5 km abovethebaseof the incoming
thicknessof both the trench wedge and the underlying sedimentary sectionof the CascadiaBasin[Snavelyet al.,
oceanbasinsectionenteringthesesubductionzonesprior 1986, MacKay et al., 1989]. We further note that at the
to 2.5 Ma. front of the southernChile and easternAlaska prisms
Becauseaccretionaryprocesses at the front of conver- thrustfaultsalsoreachdownwardto the igneousbasement,
gent marginsvertically stacksand horizontallyshortens but farther landwardthrustsbottom along a decollement
offscrapedtrench floor sequences, intergranularor pore that separates accretingand underthrusting
sediment.The
fluidsare squeezedout of the growingaccretionary mass, possibilitythat frontalaccretionis exceptionallyefficient
thusdecreasingits volume.To compensate for this fluid where a decollementdoes not form within the body of
loss,massbalancevolumesare porositycorrected;that is, sedimentat the front of the prism may thereforenot be a
they are convenedto the solid fraction (zero porosity) widelyapplicableinterpretation.
volume of the trenchaxis and accretedsections.Porosity But, as Davis and Hyndman [1989] infer, someof the
correctionsare basedon data compiledon Figure 6. For truly massive accretionarybodies may achieve their
specificareas,down-sectionporosityvaluescan also be exceptional size because factors that favor efficient
extractedfrom subsurfacevelocity data (see Table 1, offscrapingoperateat thesemargins,for example,slow
centralAleutians). convergencespeedsand thick (2-6+ km) incoming
In Table 1 the volumeof sedimentaccretedfrontallyat sectionsof relativelycoarsegrained(silty and sandy)
six margins(representing~5,000 km of convergentmargin terrigenous beds.At the very largeBarbadosprismof the
sectors)is comparedwith that potentiallypiled there had Lesser Antilles and that of the Makran area of southern
all the incomingtrenchfloor sequencebeen so accreted. Pakistan(Figure5), prominentwithin-sectiondecollements
The estimatesin Table 1 indicatethat for prisms5 to 40 occurwell abovethe igneousbasement[Platt et al., 1985,
km wide the frontal masscommonlyrepresentslessthan Westbrooket al., 1988; Minshull and White, 1989; Brown
20% of the sediment that entered the subduction zone et al., 1990]. The within-sectionpositionof the decolle-
duringlate Cenozoictime. By implicationthe bulk of the mentsimply that the tectonicfate of the thick incoming
sedimententeringthe remaining~11,000 km of similar sedimentarysectionto these large accretionaryprisms
subduction zones elsewhere, but at which mass balance includessubduction,underplating,and, most likely,
calculationscannotbe constrained,is alsosubductedrather bypassing(Figure3c).
than frontallystored.We think the fractionalportionsof Evidenceof thegeneralor globalefficiencyof sediment
20% accretedand 80% subducted presentlybestrepresent subduction is providedby the observation that lengthy
the partitioningfactor for the entire ~16,000-km global segmentsof convergentmarginsare effectivelynonac-
length of convergent margins bordered by small-to- cretionary.
Thesetrenchesare listedas type2 marginson
288 von Huene and Scholl' GROWTH OF CONTINENTALCRUST 29, 3 / REVIEWSOF GEOPHYSICS

TRENCH SEQUENCE ACCRETED SEDIMENT


o

lOO lOO

200 2OO

300 300

400 4OO

500 500

600 6OO

700 7OO

800 8OO

CO 900 ( 900

I,U lOOO 1000


oo ; 1100
Peru #685
'"" 12OO "- 1200
Barbados #671B
't' Barbados #672 Aleutian #181
I--
Q-
1300 Aleutian #180
Nankai #682 1300 [] Mid. Am. Tr. #488
Mid. Am. Tr. #491
U.I
t't 1400 0 Hamilton(1976) Q 14oo 0 Bray & Karig (1986)

1500 1500

1600 1600

1700 1700

1800 1800

1900 1900

2ooo I I 2OOO
10 20 30 40 50 60 70 80 10 20 30 40 50 60 70 80

POROSITY IN PERCENT POROSITY IN PERCENT

Figure 6. Depth versusporositycurvesof trenchfloor sedimentarydepositsand thoseof the


accretionaryprism.UpperdatapointscompiledfromDSDP andODP cores.Deeperporosities for
accretedmaterialbasedon correlationbetweenseismicvelocityandporosityof Bray and Karig
[1985]; deeperporosityinformationfor the trenchfloorsectiontakenfromHamilton[1976].

Table 2 (Figure3c). An exampleof a nonaccretionaryaccretionary


prismsof a size to be readilydetected(few
trench borders the Middle America Trench off Guatemala, kilometerswide) are uncommonto rare (Figure5; Table2;
where a deeply towed seismic system detectedan see,for example,from northto south,Seliverstov[1987]
accretionary massonlya few hundredmeterswide[Moore (KamchatlmTrench), Gnibidenkoet al. [1980] (Kuril
et al., 1982].Immediatelyshoreward, the landwardtrench Trench), Fujioka [1985] and von Huene and Culotta
slopeis underlain by a corebuttress
of igneous oceancrust [1989] (JapanTrench),Honza and Tamaki[1985] (Bonin
of Cretaceousage that was accretedin Eocenetime Trench), Hussongand Uyeda [1982] and Hussongand
[Aubouinand vonHuene, 1985]. AlthoughunderthrustingFryer [1985] (MadanaTrench),Kobayashiet al. [1985]
has occurred beneath this rock framework since at least (southernMariana-Yap-PalauTrenches),and Scholl and
Eocenetime (past 37 m.y.), the net amountof frontal Vallier [1985],Lonsdale[1986], andPelletierand Dupont
accretionis very small. [1990] (Tonga Trench). Western Pacific trencheslack
Similarly,along virtually the lengthof the western accretionarymassesbecausethe supply of terrigenous
Pacific, from Kamchatkasouthwardvia the Kuril, Japan sediment reachingthetrenchfloor is insufficientto nourish
(exceptingthe northernJapanTrench),Bonin,Mariana, their growth. Nonaccretingmargins are thus typically
Yap, Palau,and Tongatrenchesto near New Zealand, borderedby sediment-starved trenches.As a consequence,
29, 3 /REVIEWSOF GEOPHYSICS von HueneandScholl GROWTH OF CONTINENTALCRUST 289

TABLE 2. SolidMass of SedimentSubductedat ConvergentOceanMargins

Orthogonal Trench
Convergence Sediment Estimated Solid and Fluid Estimated Solid Fraction
TrenchLensth,km Rate? Thickness Thickness,
c km Subducted
x 1000km$/m.y.
d
Trench Type1 Margin Type2 Margin km/rno
y. km Solid Fluid Type1 Margin Type2 Margin

North Pacific
Mexico 1450 70 0.80 0.43 0.37 35
Washington-Oregon 900 35 2.00 1.34 0.66 34
Vancouver* 400 35 2.00 1.34 0.66 13
Aleutian-Alaska 2700 70 2.00 1.34 0.66 177
Japan 800 105 0.80 0.43 0.37 29
Nankal 800 30 1.50 0.95 0.55 18
Manila* 1050 10 1.50 0.95 0.55 7
Negros 500 20 1.00 0.58 0.42 5
East Luzon 300 90 1.50 0.95 0.55 21
Sulawesi 600 30 1.00 0.58 0.42 8
Colombia 1050 70 1.50 0.95 0.55 56
Middle America 1450 65 0.40 0.24 0.16 23
Kuril 2200 90 0.40 0.24 0.16 48
Izu-Bonin 1000 105 0.40 0.24 0.16 25
Mariana 2400 90 0.40 0.24 0.16 52
Yap-PalauIsland 550 20 0.40 0.24 0.16 3
Ryukyu 1350 60 0.40 0.24 0.16 19
Philippine 1550 90 0.40 0.24 0.16 33
Southern Chile 1500 20 2.00 1.34 0.66 32
Central Chile 1400 70 1.50 0.95 0.55 74
Peru 1500 100 1.00 0.58 0.42 70
Triobriand 650 20 2.00 1.34 0.66 14
SouthPacific
New Britain 900 110 1.00 0.58 0.42 46
Hikurangi 600 30 2.00 1.34 0.66 19
New Hebrides 1800 100 0.40 0.24 0.16 43
Northern Chile 1500 80 0.40 0.24 0.16 29
San Cristobal 1050 110 0.40 0.24 0.16 28
Tonga 1350 170 0.40 0.24 0.16 55
Kermadec 1400 70 0.40 0.24 0.16 24
McQuarle 500 25 0.40 0.24 0.16 3
Indian Ocean
Makran* 950 35 6.00 4.65 1.35 108
Andaman* 1500 30 5.00 3.80 1.20 120
Sunda* 2050 50 2.00 1.34 0.66 96
Java 650 75 1.50 0.95 0.55 37
Atlantic-Mediterranean
Antilles* 800 20 2.50 1.74 0.78 19
South Sandwich 800 20 0.40 0.24 0.16
Aegean* 1500 25 5.00 3.80 1.20 100
Total 24,550 18,900 1138 389
Sums 43,450 1527

*Orthogonal convergence fromMinsterandJordan[1978],Jarrard [1986a],J. T. Brans,M. Fisher,S. Lewis,andE. Silver(personal


communication, 1990), andnumerous publications
for specificsectorsof convergent
margins.Whereappropriate,
backarc spreading
rates
were includedin convergence rateslisted.
hAverage
thickness
estimates
based
onexamined
seismic
reflection
records,
forexample,
those
published
byBally[1983]andyon
Huene [1986] aswell asnumerousotherauthors.
the solid-andfluid-fractionthicknesses
for type 1 marginsarebasedon the porosity-depth
curveof Figure6. Thicknessfor type2
marginsarebasedon theaverageporosityof thePacificOceanbasinsection[HowellandMurray, 1986]
a:or
type
2 margins,
estimates
were
based
on100%
ofsolid-fraction
thickness
oftrench.
Fortyte
1with
small-
tomedium-sized
prisms,estimates
werebasedon 80%.Fortype1 withlargeaccretionary
prisms,estimates
werebasedon 70%.The latterareindicated
by
asterisks.
290 von HueneandScholl:GROWTHOF CONTINENTAL
CRUST 29, 3 /REVIEWS
OF GEOPHYSICS

despitetensof millionsof yearsof underthrustingby an In our view the widespreadoccurrence of both nonac-
oceanplate typicallycoveredwith a layer of pelagic cretingmargins andaccretingmarginsthatretainin frontal
oceanicsediment200-600 m thick, the rock frameworkof accretionary bodiesonlya fractionof theoceanicsediment
most western Pacific margins are not fronted by provideddocuments the workingsof efficientsediment
accretionary
masses butremainexposedat theinnertrench subduction processes (Tables1 and 2; Figure3)). This
wall [Bloomer,1983; Bloomer and Fisher, 1987, 1988]. conclusion isconsistentwiththepaucity of oceanicpelagic
On Figure7 themultichannelseismicprofilesthattraverse sedimentexposedin mountainbeltsof deformedrocksof
the lower slopeof the TongaTrenchare exemplaryof ancientaccretionary complexes[Spencer,1974;Schollet
nonaccreting
margins.On the oppositeor easternside of al., 1977].
thePacific,similarnonaccreting,
sediment-starved
margins
are reported from southernPeru to southcentralChile Mechanisms of Sediment Subduction
(20-33S;
Hussong
et al., 1976;Hussong
andWipper- Theefficiency
of sediment
subduction
is thought
to be
man, 1981; Scholl et al., 1970; von Huene et al., 1985; affected
by a numberof physical
factors,including
the
ThornburgandKulrn, 1987]. volumeandtextureof sedimentsuppliedandthe surface

NW SE
Landward trench slope
4.0-

0_:_ Surface
ofsubducted
oceanic
crust
-''.'.':
'-::;".":.
:.;'.".'.
,'.:'
.,.'.!
.'.
::
.'.'-'.,':,:
:
Seaward
trench
slope '
.. .:..?-5-
..... . . _
: ' ,

-'g -t--;..'.
.'/.'....<:.//....
.' :...':':;;'-;'..',,,-..
'-:-'":?=.'..;.."7-'"*
.... [/' ,, -:.--.2.=:,,, = I -,- ,.,<,:,.-: .......-;,_.,_.::_<;,-,-.:.:.
;,,:..__-
::-:-'.-':"';
'.,""'-'::.-'':.'.'.{..-.'.:".:>..::,>,.':.'?.'..,::-,':5
:.-..,:::>':.:;'.-:-
t-'rl-""----'
..:.`..:<-``.:...:'.:`::::...?`..`'-:..-.......'7-`.-`:.-..:.:```.
'' G b - '-' ',- .
.-):-?_,'
e.':;
'.'=".6_.
V:..
:,;:.,;.;':}::.
;..'.:..<-'.'?....,.
:,.:.
.:.:
:mr ...... :,:..:....,:.:
....-::-:.; ,};::'-',,.:'-.::,-,:.'-.
:':'.:.;-::'7.5,.
:.:*..m->-:
'.'t".:;::":::.-'Z'..-.'?-'?Z.d:.:'
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NW SE

4.0 Landwardtrenchslope Seawardtrenchslope


__
_-_._. ..__:___ of
__subducted
oceanic
crust /
6.0-- nga Tren__ch..
. . .!,...' . :. ::: .:-'..
. .....

10.0 ,.:...=.._.,:.
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Figure 7. Migrated,depthconvertedmultichannelseismicreflectionlines 82-12 and 84-12 that


cross
thelowerlandwardtrench
slope
of thesouthern
TongaTrench,
a typical
example
of a type2
marginatwhicheffectively
noaccretionary
prismforms.
Linelocations
areshownonFigure17.
Theunderthrusting
surface
of theoceanic
plate(highlighted),
whichcanbe tracedlandward
of the
trench
floorfor several
tensof kilometers,
reveals
theundulating
profileof subductedtroughs
(grabens)
andridges(horsts).
Astheyunderthrust
theinnertrench
wall,thecavityof thegrabens
are presumablymostly filled with subductedarc-relatedsedimentand rock frameworkmaterial.
Alongthesectorof theTongaTrenchcrossed
by theseseismiclinestherateof subduction
erosion
hasbeenaccelerated
byitscollision
withthemassif
of theLouisville
Ridge(seeFigure17).
29, 3 / REVIEWSOF GEOPHYSICS von Huene and Scholl GROWTH OF CONTINENTALCRUST 291

relief, descentangle, and orthogonalconvergence


rate of Although the upper or frontally accreting unit was
the underthrustingoceanplate [Cloosand Shreve,1988a, acoustically imagedin the late 1960sandearly 1970s(see,
b]. Two somewhat different tectonic processes are for example,Chase and Bunce [1969] and Hilde et al.
involved in sediment subduction. The first is associated [1969]), the existenceof the partitioningdecollementand
with the underthrusting of oceanfloor relief that is not the lower underthrustingand effectively undeformed
buriedby thick depositional sequences; for example,the sedimentary sequencewas first convincinglydemonstrated
Tonga Trench (see Figure 7). The secondconcernsthe in the early 1980sby Aoki et al. [1982]. Clearly,imaged
partial subductionof sedimentarysections that are decollements have sincebeenrecordedfrom many other
sufficientlythick to overwhelmocean floor relief; for convergentmargins (Figure 4), for example southern
example,theeasternAleutianTrench(Figure4a). Alaska Iron Huene et al., 1983; yon Huene, 1986],
The seawardslopesof many oceantrenchestypically northernOregon[Snavelyet al., 1986; Shayelyand Wells,
exhibita surfacerelief of fault-bordered
ridgesandvalleys, 1991], the Barbados region of the Lesser Antilles
horstsand grabens(Figure 1, also seeFigure 15). Horsts [Westbrookand Smith, 1983; Moore et al., 1988], the
and grabensform seawardof trenchesin responseto Aleutian arc [McCarthy and Scholl, 1985], the Middle
bendingstresses engendered by the downwardflexing of AmericanTrenchsegments borderingCostaRica [Shipley
the oceanicplate towardthe subduction zone [Joneset al., andMoore, 1986]andMexico [MooreandShipley,1988].
1978]. The depth or relief of the grabensis commonly It was emphasizedearlier that the physicalprocessof
300-500 rn but may reach1 km or more[Lonsdale,1986]. underthrusting and potentiallysubductinga mechanically
Their widthis generallya few kilometersto asmuchas 10 weak sectionof sedimentrequiresan environment along
km. the decollementof low stressand thus greatlyreduced
Seaward of sediment-starved trenches, the faulted sliding friction Iron Huene and Lee, 1982; Carson et al.,
oceaniccrustis overlainby a mostlyprefault-ageblanket 1982; Westbrookand Smith, 1983; yon Huene, 1984; Davis
of ocean basin pelagic sedimenttypically 200-600 rn and yon Huene, 1987; Minshull and White, 1989]. Most
thick. Terrigenousdebris suppliedby mass wasting or authorsascribestressreductionto elevated(greaterthan
collapseof the landwardtrenchslopemustfill the void of hydrostatic)pore fluid pressures,which Hubbert and
the grabensas theypassbeneathit. Thusat thebaseof the Rubey [1959] had decadesbefore proposedwas the
slope,relatively thick debrispiles are stackedatop the essentialcondition explaining the mechanicsof thrust
blanket of pelagic sediment. The general process of faulting.Elevatedporepressures bearmuchof the weight,
subducting relativelythin sectionsof oceanfloor sediment or lithostaficload, imposedby the upperplate, which is
in grabenshas been describedby Schwellerand Kulm therebyeffectively floated above a low-shear-strength
[1978, Schwelleret al. [1981], and Hilde [1983]. Key to decollement. In effect,lubricationtheorycanbe appliedto
the subductionprocessis the establishment of a decolle- modelthe sedimentsubduction process[Shreveand Cloos,
mentor masterslip surfacebetweenthe two platesacross 1986; Cloos and Shreve, 1988a, hi.
the topsof the horstsanddebris-infilleddepressions of the Field observationsand modeling studiesdemonstrate
grabens.Subductedbasementrelief revealingthe lows of that lithostaticloading in the subductionzone causes
grabensand the highs of flanking horst blocks are subsurfacefluid pressuresto elevate. Numerical studies
commonly imaged on seismicreflection records,for indicatethat wheretrenchaxis sedimentation
is rapid,
example,thoseof Figure7 and 13. overpressured
conditionscan exist even before the trench
Where sufficient sedimenthas accumulatedto deeply sectionis offscraped
andstackedin a frontalaccrefionary
cover basementrelief, the tops of horst blocksare not pile [Shi and Wang, 1985, 1986, 1988]. Offscraped
involvedin determiningthe positionof the decollement. depositsare commonlymuddy,thustheirpermeabilityis
Along the JapanandeasternAleutianmargins,seismically low. The rate of depositionalong rapidly sedimented
imagedbasementrelief is 500 rn and more beneaththe trenchesis at leastan orderof magnitudegreaterthanover
decollement [von Huene and Culotta, 1989]. The subsur- the adjacentseafloor.Excessfluid pressuresarise within
facepositionof the decollementis typicallydeterminedat theserapidly accumulated sectionsbecausedeposifional
a stratigraphicboundary within the trench floor sedi- loadingactsto compactunderlyingstrataand expeltheir
mentary sequence. Commonly, the decollement is porefluidsat theseafloor.But thelow permeability of the
established at the contact between the lower unit of ocean compacting sectionandthe steadilylengthening migration
basinsedimentandthe overlyingwedge-shaped unit of the path to reachthe trenchfloor hindersfluid expulsion.A
axial trenchfill [Aokiet al., 1982;HayesandLewis, 1984; largepartof thelithostafic loadimposed by thethickening
Moore and Shipley,1988]. However,wherethe wedgeis trenchsection is thustransferred
to thepoorlyventedpore
thick, the decollementmay be established within the axial fluids. Owing to the rapid loading, the decollement
turbiditefill [McCarthy and Scholl, 1985; Moore et al., commonly formsnearthechange in sediment
permeability
1986]. Or, where the lower ocean basin section is un- at the surfaceseparating the upperaxial wedgefrom the
usuallythick, the decollement may form within it [Moore lower oceanbasin sectionof fine-grainedpelagicand
and Biju-Duval, 1983; Westbrooket al., 1988; Brown et hemipelagicbeds [Hayes and Lewis, 1985; Moore and
al., 1990; Mascle and Moore, 1990]. Shipley,1988].
292 von Huene and Scholl: GROVVTHOF CONTINENTALCRUST 29, 3 / REVIEWSOF GEOPHYSICS

Pressures increase landward of the trench axis because plate. This definition includes material that had been
of theincreasing
lithostatic
loadimposed by thethickening attachedto the seawardedge of the upper plate by
accretionarypile. The tectonicslackof offscraped and accretionaryprocessesas well as more landwardframe-
underplatedtrenchfloordeposits furthercomplicatesfluid workrockandits coverof slopedeposits.VonHueneand
escapepaths.Modelingsuggests thatmorethan90% of the Lallemand [1990] distinguishbetweenfrontal and basal
burden of the accreted'wedge can be supportedby subductionerosion. Processesof frontal erosion loosen and
heightenedpore fluid pressuresin the subdecollement or remove rock and sediment masses located at the front or
underthrusting section[Westbrookand Smith,1983;Davis toe of the landward trench slope. Processesof basal
et al., 1983; Davis and von Huene, 1987; Borja and erosionsubcrustally removethe underside of the upper
Dreiss, 1989]. Seismicimagesreveallittle deformationin plate, in particularthe margin's rock framework.Both
subdecollement
sediment,thus documenting
that weak frontal and basal subduction erosion act to reduce the
interplate coupling persistsbetween the underthrusting materialvolumeof themargin,therebycausingupperplate
sectionandthe frontallyaccretedandunderplated masses, thinningand the landwardmigrationof the trenchaxis.
as well as someof the margin'srock framework(see,for Frontaland basalerosionare the respectiveconverseof
example,Aoki et al. [1982], Moore andBiju-Duval [1982], frontalaccretion
andunderplating.
von Huene [1986], Brown et al. [1990], Moore et al.
[1990], and Shipley et al. [1990]): This observationis SomeHistoryandComments
consistentwith the fact that few majorearthquakes
occur Subduction
erosionwasperhaps
firstinvokedto explain
alongthe plate boundaryunderlyingthe lower slopesof largeamountsof missingcontinentalcrustalongocean
convergentmargins[Yoshi,1979]. margins.For example,two decadesago Rutland [1971]
Field evidenceof elevatedsubsurface pressures,
which proposed subduction-linked tectonic erosion as the
arelargelysummarized
by Shouldice
[1971];vonHuene explanation
for the occurrence
of a belt of arc igneous
andLee [ 1982], Carsonet al. [ 1982],Davis and Hyndman rocks of Mesozoicage along the coastof centraland
[ 1989],Minshulland White[1989]andthegroupof papers northernChile.Presentarc magmatism occursalongthe
introducedby Langseth and Moore [1990], has been crestof the Andesroughly220 km landwardof the coastal
recognized
at manyconvergent
margins.
Theseobserva-area and 325 km inboard of the trench axis. Thus some
tions includethe low anglesof thrustfaultsand seafloor processof rock removal had placed the Mesozoic arc
slopestypical of accretionarywedges,and, within them, within 100 km of the modem Chile Trench.
the commonoccurrenceof fluid escapestructures observed Reasoningsimilarly,but independently, Miller [1970a,
in drill cores. Seismic reflection and seafloorimaging b] identified subruction-induced tectonic erosion as the
techniquesalso reveal the abundanceof mud volcanoes processthat truncatedseaward projectingtrends in
and mud diapirs, which documentthe eruption at the continentalcrustalrocks exposedalong the coastlineof
seafloorof verticallyascendingmassesof overpressured, centralChile (Figure 2b). Along the westernside of the
fluid-rich sediment (s.ee, for example, Westbrookand Pacific,Murauchi [1971] appealedto tectonicerosionto
Smith[1983], Breen et al. [1986, 1988], Snavely[1987], explainthe truncation of well-lithifiedrocksexhibiting
Brown and Westbrook[1988], Reed et al. [1990], and Le high acoustictransmission velocities,presumablyold
Pichon et al. [1990]). Direct measurementsof fluid continentalcrustalmaterial, off northernHonshuIsland,
pressure near modem accretionary wedges are not Japan(Figure2c). Simplifiedrealmwings of the illustra-
numerous,but these measurementsconfirm modeling tionsMiller andMurauchiusedto introduce theirconcept
studiesand the implicationsof fluid escapestructures
that of subductionerosionare presented,respectively,on
overpressured conditionsprevail [Hottmanet al., 1979; Figures2b and 2c. But as Karig [1974] and Karig and
Moore et al., 1983; von Huene, 1985; Minshull and White, Ranken [1983] emphasize,truncationat convergent
19891. margins
canalsobecaused
byregionalstrike-slip
faulting.
During the 70s, studiesat modem and ancientconver-
gent marginscontinuedto provideevidenceof missing
SUBDUCTION EROSION materialand margintruncationand subsidence
(see,for
example,Hussonget al. [1976], Scholl et al. [1977], and
Definitions Ziegler et al. [1981]). But not until the 1980s was the
Subduction erosion, a form of tectonic erosion, de- conceptof subduction
erosionbolsteredsignificantly
by
scribesthesubduction-causedbreakup,wearingaway,and the recoveryof new offshoreevidence,in particularthat
removal of the rock and sedimentarybodiesof an ocean supplied by deepwater rock dredging,deep-seadrilling,
margin.Subductionerosionis not tied to a specificmeans andtheacquisition andmodemprocessing of multichannel
by whichloosened rock massesanddebrisare transported seismic reflection data. Drill cores and seismic records
beneaththe marginsrock framework.We distinguishthe fromtheJapanandPerumarginsin particulardocumented
removal processesof subductionerosionfrom those of deeplyburiedand subsidederosionalsurfaces(unconfor-
sedimentsubductionby requiringthat an erodedrock or mities) that had been carvednear sea level and then buried
sedimentmassmusthaveformerlybeenpart of the upper beneathan advancingshoreline[vonHuene et al., 1982,
29, 3 / REVIEWSOF GEOPHYSICS von Huene and Scholl GROWTH OF CONTINENTALCRUST 293

1988]. From the coastalregion seawardtheseunconfor- fracturesare much less than required to explain crustal
mities tilt downwardtowardthe trenchaxis andplungeto subsidenceof the order of the 4-5 km observed.Also,
depthsof 4-5 km, whichis nearlythe depthof the trench crustalthinningeffectedby trenchwardextensionwould
floor. Adjacent to the Mariana Trench, although the increasethe width of the margin from trench to arc,
evidencewas less firm for large-scalesinking of the whereas observational evidence indicates decrease in width
seafloor,DSDP drillingrecoveredcarbonatedepositsthat in conjunctionwith subsidence.
suggestedat least several kilometers of subsidence Thinningalongthe baseof the upperplate causedby
[Hussongand Uyeda, 1982]. In all theseareas it was tectonicerosionof therockframeworkcanaccountfor any
argued,subsidence was so substantialthatcrustalthinning measure of observed subsidence or truncation of ocean
of the upperplate was called for, and most likely by an marginrocks.Substantiallyfor this reasonand the lack of
erosiveprocesslinked to the underthrustingactionof the evidencesupporting the efficacyof othercauses,progres-
lowerplate. sively throughoutthe 1980s the processof subduction
Notwithstandingthis argument,subsidence of conver- erosionwas acceptedby a wideningcommunityof Earth
gent margins of the order of several kilometersand scientists[Schollet al., 1980; Hussongand Uyeda, 1982;
otherthan Scholl, 1987; Cloos and Shreve, 1988a, b; yon Huene and
possiblymorecan involvetectonicprocesses
tectonicerosion.The more importantof theseinclude(1) Lallemand, 1990].
depression of the lower oceanicplate and (2) thinningof
the upperplate by extensionand seawardslidingof the Observations
margin'srockframework. Unanticipatedevidenceof subsidencewas discovered
Depressionof the lower oceanicplate can be causedby alongthe landwardslopeof theJapanTrenchat DSDP site
the load imposedby a growingaccretionaryprism [Karig 438/439, located approximately90 km landward of the
et al., 1976]. But neither the Japannor Peru margins,at trench
inwater1560mdeep(Figures
8 and9).At thissite
which subsidenceof 4-5 km was documented [yon Huene an unconformity carvedin the early Neogeneby subaerial
and Lallemand, 1990], have large accretionarymassesof andnearshoreerosionwaspenetratedapproximately2750
Cenozoicage.The subsided shorelineunconformityalso m below presentsea level (Figure 9) [yon Huene et al.,
extends many tens of kilometers landward of the 1982]. Drill coresjust abovethe unconformityrecovered
accretionary
prismwherethe upperplate is unaffectedby upperOligocene conglomerate overlainby sandcontaining
accretionaryloading. Margin subsidencecan also result fossilsdiagnosticof a nearshoreor beach environment.
from an increasein the bulk densityof the subducting The unconformity was cut across a rock framework
lower plate,which wouldcauseit to sink deeperinto the consistingof a lithified accretionarycomplex (acoustic
underlyingasthenospheric mantle [Langsethet al., 1981; velocity-4.2 km/s) of Late Cretaceousage. Burial of the
Hilde and Uyeda, 1982]. The density of oceanic unconformityby the upper Oligocene beds ended a
lithosphereis proportionalto its age.If increasingly
older depositionalhiatus of approximately40 m.y. duration.
oceancrustunderthrusts a margin,for exampleaspresently During the past 22 m.y., youngeroceanmargin sediment
happensin the far northPacific alongthe Aleutianridge accumulatedin increasinglydeeper water, thereby
[Grow and Atwater, 1970; Scholl et al., 1987; Lonsdale, documentingthe progressiveNeogene subsidenceof a
1988;Atwater, 1989], it canbe anticipatedthat at leastthe former subaerialterrane (Figure 9) [yon Huene et al.,
outer margin will progressively subside. But plate 1982].Seismicreflectionrecordsimagethe unconformity
reconstruction
modelsshowthatrapidNeogenesubsidence as a distinctivehorizon truncatingdipping beds of the
of the Japanand Peru marginswas accompanied by little underlyingCretaceousaccretionarybody (Figures4a, 9,
change, or even a decrease,in the absoluteage of the and 13). In the reflectiondata the unconformitycan be
underthrustinglithosphere[yon Huene and Lallemand, tracedfrom the lower trenchslope,at a depthnearly7 km
1990]. belowsealevel,to theinnershelf,andtheserecordsverify
Crustalthinninglinked to largesubsidenceoccurswhere that subsidenceaffectedthousands of squarekilometersof
lithosphericslabsare stretchedandpulledapart[Wernicke theJapanmargin(Figures8 and9).
andBurchfiel,1982],includingat continentalmargins,see, Assuming subsidencewas caused by subduction
for example, Tankard and Balkwill [1989]. Low-angle erosion, the amount of material eroded from the base of the
detachment faulting,grand-scalesliding,andthe unroofing upperplate to accountfor the subsidencecan be estimated
of deep-crustalrock complexescan occur at convergent by comparingthe margin's presentstructuraldimension
margins,in particularwhere massiveaccretionarypiles with thatexistingin theearlyNeogene.Reconstructing the
haveformed[Listeret al., 1984;Platt, 1986;Jaykoet al., earlyNeogenemarginis explainedfully by yonHueneand
1987]. Evidence of massive-scalesliding at convergent Lallemand[1990],but theprocedurebasicallyinvolves(1)
marginswouldbe regional-scale extensionfaultingandthe placingtheseawardmost pointof the unconformity at sea
translationof rotatingblocksof upperplate rock toward level, (2) droppinga descendingslope parallel to the
the trench. Although extension faults are common on modemone from this point to the early Neogenetrench
convergentmargins,and typical of Japanand Peru, the axis,(3) determining thedepthof theearlyNeogenetrench
horizontaland vertical displacements recordedby these axis,and(4) determiningthe ancientsubsurface profileof
294 vonHueneandScholl'GROWTHOFCONTINENTAL
CRUST 29, 3 /REVIEWS
OF GEOPHYSICS

Erimo Smt

iN OF
EW, FI6. 16

ORI78-4 (fig4)
436 Figure8. Indexmapof northern
Japan,
showinggeneralizedbathymetryand
P-849
location of multichannel seismic lines
in the vicinity of DSDP sites (large
dots with numbers)and used to draw
Figures9, 11, and 13. Boxes outlines
mesh-net perspectivediagrams, and
,/ direction of viewing of seamounts
illustratedon Figures14 and16.

Katori
Smt(
DainiKashimaSmt

l&0 o
Daiichi
Kashima
Smt
IRECTIONOF VIEW FIG. 1/,
lZ5

CRETACEOUS DSDP DSDP TRENCH


0 HONSHU BASIN 438
439 SITES
AXIS 0
....++'----.- _ ..... _ ' , ,,
5 ++ '-----__ /////' -- / / x,,K ' / i /, .),, 5
10 + // / UNCONFORMI ....... 10
15 t
KARC AT
BASE
OF luu VVV
v15
NEOGENE
E

V V V VE=

Figure9. Geologicsectionacross theJapanmarginshowing generalstructural


relations,
including
the locationof DSDP drill sites,major rock and sedimentary
units,the drownedmid-Cenozoic
unconformity,andtheNeogeneaccretionary
prism.
29, 3 / REVIEWSOF GEOPHYSICS von Huene and Scholl GROWTH OF CONTINENTAL CRUST 295

the oceanic plate from the paleotrenchaxis landward Because the rate of orthogonal underthrustinghas
beneaththe margin (Figure 10). The depth of the early averagednear 100 km/m.y., the approximatesolid-volume
Neogenetrenchcan be fixed by the empiricalrelation thicknessof the layer of eroded material transported
establishedby Hilde and Uyeda [1982] relating age of landwardbeneaththe upper plate has averaged0.5 km.
subducting crustandtrenchdepth.The platereconstruction This layer is composedof materialremovedfrom the base
of Sageret al. [1988] indicatesthat in the early Neogene, of the upper plate's rock frameworkand mass-wasting
60-m.y.-old crust was at the trenchaxis, a plate age that debristhatreachedthebaseof the trenchslopebut that did
corresponds to a paleotrenchdepthof about 8 km. The not accretethere. Subsidenceof the margin was attended
profile of the underridingoceanicplate is reconstructed by the relativelandwardmigrationof the trenchaxis by
from the paleotrenchaxis to a locationinlandwherethe about 75 km Iron Huene and Lallemand, 1990]. The
lower platereacheda depthof about100 km, the typical subcrustal transportof erodedmaterialis in additionto that
depth above which arc volcanismoccurs.The 100-km- injectedbeneaththe corebuttressby sedimentsubduction,
deeptie point,which is locatedbeneaththe axis of early which presentlycontributesa roughly equivalentsolid-
Neogenearc volcanism,is essentiallycoincidentwith the volume mass (Table 2). The calculated solid-volume
axisof contemporary arc volcanoes. thicknessof subductingmaterial is thus about 1 km, a
In the reconstruction the early Neogeneprofile of the measurethat is in keepingwith the 2-km-thicklayer of
underthrusting plate mustbe adjusteddownwardfrom the sedimentand debristhat has been seismicallyimaged
positionof the modemone to compensate for the removed beneaththe seawardmostedge of the core buttress[yon
lithostaticload of a formerly thickerupperplate (Figure Huene and Culotta, 1989].
10). As the mass of the upper plate was progressively Hussonget al. [1976] wereamongthe first to point out
lessenedby subsurfaceerosion,the load it imposedon the evidence for large-scalesubsidenceof the central Peru
underthrusting plate steadilylessened,thus causingthe margin, which they ascribed to subduction erosion.
plateinterfaceto isostaticallyrise.Correctionfor the uplift Reprocessed seismicreflectiondata and drilling results
is estimatedby modelinga bendingelasticplate subjected alonga 600-kmstretch of thePerumargin(8 and 14S
to an underlyinghydrostaticrestoringforce [Karig et al., latitude) have now documenteda subsidencehistory
1976]. similar to that of Japan (Figure 12) [yon Huene et al.,
By subtractingthe volumeof the modemJapanmargin 1988]. Seismicrecordsreveal a regional unconformity
from the reconstructed early Neogenemarginthe volume extendingseawardfrom the shelf to at least the middle
of removed material can be identified (Figure 11) [von region of the trenchwarddescendingcontinentalslope
HueneandLallemand,1990].Thusduringthepast20 m.y. (Figure9) [Hussonget al., 1976; Hussongand Wipper-
for each linear kilometerof Japanmargin,approximately man, 1981; yon Huene et al., 1985; Ballesteros et al.,
1110km3 of upper platematerial havebeeneroded. The 1988]. Petroleumexplorationdrilling and dredgingof
volume rate of subductionerosion has averaged ap- submarineoutcropshave recoveredcrystallinemetamor-
proximately 50 km3/m.y. perkm of theJapan margin.phicrocksof Paleozoicagefrom below the unconformity

DEPTH OF
PALEO TRENCH

' ,,x,s
---t I
I __.,.,,-.m....
. .....:"..:'-.:':.:':.:':.:':.:':.:"'"
'.::.":.:':.:':.?i.:':.:'i.:':
"'...
......
'""""
' ' '".
'"."
' "' ""' .'..'
'""
' "- .'/:.:".'".'".'".'".,':
:'::'::'::'::' ' :':-:':-.'.-.'..'.
.::.::.::.:':.:':.:':.:':.:':-:':.:':.:':."'.'".'"'

'...-....
.........
====================================.;':
......:i:::-...' ........:.:':::'':2"
':;
:.,.,..
:...
.-..'' -'..'..'
'-.::,,-"''',x x ,N(OF;RMiT
' '..4.:.' :-::.: :': :': :-:2: :': :-::-::': :': :-;..,...i ' '-' '-: :;;..;4.-'.'
Y FROM
'-"'-"-':':':'':.:iii:ii:::i!:::i?i':.":..:
:..:. EROSION
I" A
'"'""!':'?:'i:!'::: SURF-ZONE
_,.,p,.,,.M"DERN
ISOSTATIC
.......
'-:':':''!:i'i?.:::..,..UBDUCTING
PLATE
REBOUND
FROM / ' '"''""--;.-".
UNLOADING TOP OF
EARLY NEOGENE
SUBDUCTING PLATE

Figure10.Diagram showingthemethod
of measuring
therockandsediment
volumeremoved by
subduction
erosionby comparing
thecontemporary
andearlyNeogene
structural
configuration
of
an oceanmargin.The areabetweenmodemsealevelanda wave-base
unconformitycut asthe
margin subsidedbeneathan ancientsea surfaceis a measureof the materialremovedfrom the
margin. Theweightof theerodedmaterialwasoncecompensated
forby a deeper
levelto thetop
of thelowerplate,whichroseisostatically
astheplatewasunloaded.
Missingmaterial
of theearly
Neogenemarginis indicated
by thepatterned
area.
296vonHuene
andScholl'GROWTH
OFCONTINENTAL
CRUST 29,3/ REVIEWS
OFGEOPHYSICS

w
present E
DSDP
/ seafloor point
Honshu I.
reconstructed 0
seafloor

-.... unconformify ,20 Ha ' <


!ii:::::.....
from subaeria!

erosion rench 10km


,-:-:'.'.' .' : axis
.'..:' present 20
french
5 '. '.' .'..:5 axis

V' = c.
'
I '-
.......c.-

area
=340
beneath
km 2
uplifted
./ - [ margin
" Hate boundary

'*
present
prate
20
Ha JAPAN TRENCH
boundary

pointODP ODP
A 688 670
PERU TRENCH reconstructed
.'.".".".'..".'t::'-.'::.''"lia'
'..
'..'..
:...-
..-.:
seafloor"-"-'"'t'"-:'s'".:'{"..'..'Z80
'....'."
k2'm
'"-'
'-'....
''."._ _'
Lima Basin area ",.
'.........
'-"
":-'.'.' present "Neogene
erosiona[ seafloor
surface, top
..kx,..
i..._.
of Eocene
0 50km ax,s.
20r.
la/ <.' '..
'...
:.'..::/..
._
:... beneath
area: 130km
uplifted
2

w
VE = 5.
' 10km
present
trench
axis Lc':..:...._-.
.:..: margin
k.... ___
Douneary
'Z._'%.presenf
-...'-
plate
ODP ODP 20-1;-'
' 'q;..".,
boundary
688 679
0 reconstructed
.ea-0'f :-:u:-idhYe'
i!i:::::
searloor '%/,/'
8-S
Ha,,,c
::::
_..
'."/ '!. erosionai
/...,C_: :_::::
:.,
'x . "Neogene to presenf
present

-_ _ 8-5Ha %'. boundary


8-5 Ha
to present '
Figure
11.Diagrams
showing
thereconstructed
(top)
Japan
and(bottom)
Peru
margins
where
a
comparison
ofthereconstructed
margins
withthecontemporary
profiles
wasused
tocalculate
the
rateofsubduction
erosion
during
thepast
20m.y.Theamount
ofsubsidence
used
toconstrain
the
paleobathymetry
was
obtained
from
studies
ofODP
cores
andindustry
drillsamples
tied
toseismic
stratigraphy.
Quantities
ofmissing
material
areexpressed
askm2butcanberead
asvolume
inkm3
per
kilometer
ofmargin.
See
Figures
8and
12forlocation
ofJapan
and
Peru
data,
respectively,
and
text
forexpanded
explanation
ofmethodology;
dataarefromvon
Huene
and
Lallemand
[1990].
29,3/ REVIEWS
OFGEOPHYSICS vonHuene
andScholl
GROWTH
OFCONTINENTAL
CRUST
297
8S
illo

eBallena
c
Delfin 'Chimbote
9 684

10
Figure12. Map showing
location
of multichannel seismic reflection
lines, ODP drill sites, and the
location of geographicfeatures
681
alongthePeruvian
margin.
11
679

12
allao

13


686

1481o
W 80 79 78 77

[Kulmet al., 1988]. The characteristichigh acoustic duringthe past 10 m.y. by an episodeof uplift and
velocityof theserocksallowsthemto be tracedseaward subsidence.This cycle of verticaltectonismis roughly
beneathmuchof the margin. concurrentwith thetime of subduction
of theNazcaRidge,
that a large submarine
In 1986,scientificdrillingby theODP established mountainrangeunderthrusting the
beneaththe landwardtrenchslopethe unconformity is Peruvianmargin(Figure12) [vanHueneet al., 1988].
immediately
overlainby sandy,shallow-water deposits
of If all the subsidenceis ascribed to subductionerosion,
middleEocene50 Ma age[Suess et al., 1988].Thesebasal the volume of rock and sedimenterodedand removed from
Paleogenebedsarein turnunconformably overlainby a thePerumargincanbe estimated by comparing its former
Neogenesectionof chieflymiddleMiocene (15 Ma) and cross-sectional masswith thatremaining(Figure 11). The
youngerstratathat accumulated in deeperwater,thus total subsidence,compensated for isostaticunloading,
testdying
to erosionat wavebasesucceeded by margin requires theremovalof a rockmassalongeachkilometer
submergencebeginning about20 Ma. The unconformityof margin euivalentto610 km3/yr during thepast 20m.y.
separating
Neogene andPaleogene unitsis thusa sealevel and370 km/km of marginduringthe past8 m.y., which
reference Miocenemarinetransgres- includesthe time of subductionof the Nazca Ridge. The
datumfor a post-early
sionacrossmuchof the Perumargin[Suesset al., 1988; corresponding rates of erosionare respectively31
van Huene and Lallemand, 1990]. The transgressive km3/m.y./km and46km3/m.y./km. During subduction
of
surfacecanbetracedseawardfromtheshelfedgeto within theNazcaRidgetherateof erosion localto theridgemay
15 km of the trenchaxis.Rocksexposedon the seafloor haveeffectivelydoubledoverthatof theprevious12 m.y.
flankingtheLimabasinfurtherdocument subsidence of (i.e.,from20-8Matheratewasonly20km3/m.y./km).
themargin duringthepast20m.y.[Kulmetal., 1988].The AlongthePerumarginat a convergence
rateof about90
subsidence historyof the marginhasbeencomplicatedkm/m.y.the requiredaveragethickness
of the subducted
298 von Huene and Scholl: GROWTH OF CONTINENTAL CRUST 29, 3 / REVIEWSOF GEOPHYSICS

detritusduringthe past 8 m.y. is 0.5 km [vonHuene and Theprocessof basalerosionalongtheJapanmarginhas


Lallernand, 1990]. To the material eroded from the Peru beenascribedto the high-stress abrasiveor scrapingaction
margin, a volume rate of subductedsedimentof ap- of the landwardmovingandroughsurfaceof the subduct-
proximately 50 km3/m.y. foreachkilometer of margin ing plate [Hilde, 1983]. But, as noted, the relief of the
mustbe added(Table 2). During subduction of the Nazca underthrusting horstandgrabentopography is buriedat the
Ridge the total solid-volumepassageof terrigenous base of the trench landward slope, and the decollement
materialwithinthe subduction channelwasthusnearly100 forms 1-2 km above horst and graben structures,thus
km3/m.y., andthecorresponding thicknessofthesubduct-makingit unlikelythatabrasiveerosionoccurs.Similarly,
ing layer beneath the margin's core rock framework Stuoleyand Moore (1986) remark that off Costa Rica
roughly 1 km. basementridgespassingbeneaththe baseof the landward
Fartherto the south,in the vicinityof 46Slatitude, slopeof the Middle AmericanTrenchare coveredby a
seismicreflection studiesover the landwardslope of the layer of pelagic and hemipelagicoceanbasin deposits
Chile Trenchreveala seawarddepressed unconformitycut sufficientlythick to buffer abrasivecontactbetweenthe
acrosscontinentalcrust of Paleozoicand Mesozoic age two plates. Beneaththe margin's outer rock framework,
rocks(Figure 5) [Bangset al., 1989; Candeet al., 1988]. the absenceof large earthquakes[Yoshii, 1979] and the
The unconformityhasbeentracedseawardfrom the shelf occurrence of little deformedsubducting sediment(Figure
edge to within a few kilometers of the trench axis. 13) furtherimply that basalerosionoccursin an environ-
Althoughnot yet confirmedby drilling (but to be carried ment of low- rather than high-interplatefriction. Thus
out in 1992), it is likely that the unconformityrecords erosionprocesses requiringstrongcouplingand mechani-
massivethinning of the rock framework of the southern cal abrasionare not appealingexplanationsfor basal
Chile margin by basal erosion,probablyat least to the erosionalong the outer part of the Japanand similar
extentdocumentedoff Peru, (S. Cande,N. Bangs,and S. margins. Further inboard, however, where interplate-
Lewis,personalcommunications, 1990). contactearthquakesoccur, erosion may take place in
high-stressenvironments.
Mechanisms of Basal Erosion A low-friction mechanism of basal erosion was
Basalerosion,in somefashion,wearsaway the baseof proposedby Murauchi and Ludwig [1980]. Theseauthors
the upperplate. Acousticimagesof the erodedstructure imagineda piecemealstoping(an underground mining
are difficult to recognize, but a likely example of a processes) of materialfrom the undersideof the upper
truncatedstructurewas recordedalongthe Japanmargin. plate.Stopingwasthoughtto involveoverpressured pore
Near the front of the upperplate the landwarddipping fields releasedfrom subductedsedimentthat migrate
fabric of a paleoaccrefionary wedge is truncatedat the upwardanddisaggregate thebaseof the upperplate Iron
plateboundary(Figure13) [vonHueneand Culotta,1989]. HueneandLee, 1982;Platt, 1989].Elevatedpressures can
Subsidence of the tectonicblock containingthe fabrichas alsocausehydrofracting of rocksin theupperplate[Platt,
occurredduringthe past2 m.y., a time duringwhichbasal 1989].Tractionpluckingalongthe low-stressenvironment
subduction erosionactivelythinnedtheupperplate. of theplateboundarycancreatea slurryof waterandsmall

"_'-'----
_'-------._..._ NEOGENE 'r
'""--.,---- ACCRETIONARYn-n' Z

-'--''- ''-.-- PRISM Ou_ ua Ocean
basin
.,.
-_._..
.__... :......_
. u.i
n-< sediment 6
unconform,ty
"'" --'-"'
......
"" _- _.-.-.__._----'- 7

;,?
cretacus
..................................
5;:.,;,,,...:..,,I,:...
.......:;..,rff'.-?....-..;?.-/:;.?,:,:,,

_. 9
KM

baneament
5 Trunkted
beds
ofCretaceous
accretiona
prism 0 5 ! 0 KILOMETER$
Top of igneous I [ I
ocean crust V.E. = 1.05

Figure13. Linedrawingof a seismicdepthsectionacross


theJapanTrenchwherethestructural
or
deposifional
fabricof oldersedimentaryrockshasbeentruncated abovethe subducting
oceanic
plate.Truncation
is ascribedto subducfion
erosionalongthebaseof theupperplate[vonHeune
and Cullotta, 1989]. Locationof sectionat easternendof seismicline ORI-784, Figure8.
29, 3 / REVIEWS
OF GEOPHYSICS von HueneandScholl GROWTHOF CONTINENTALCRUST 299

rock fragmentsmoving along the subductionchannel low relief (-500 m) underthrustthe inner trench wall.
beneaththe buttress[von Huene and Lallemand, 1990]. Evidencethat frontal erosionis causedby the subduction
Individualblocksor fragmentsthathavebeenloosened by of bathymetricrelief has thereforeto be soughtwhere
basalerosionor are in the processof being transported seafloor features large enough to be imaged well, for
landward,areprobablytoo smallto be imagedby conven- example, major seamountsand oceanic ridges, enter
tionalreflectiontechniques. The hypotheticalsubduction subduction zones.
slurrywouldprobablyappearacoustically similarto a The tectonicconsequence of the collisionof a seamount
layerof subducted sediment. An overpressuredinterplate with an inner trench"wall" has long been a fascinating
environment canalsocauseplateboundaryshearplanesto consideration, no doubtbecausethe idea conjuresimages
move upward,therebyattachingslabsof the margin's of a calamitous tectonic event. But, like the chainsaw
framework rock to the underthrustinglower plate. model of horst and graben subduction,the drama of
Conceivably, theseupperplateslabscouldbe acoustically collidingtrenchwallsandseamounts is muchenhanced by
imaged,but distinguishing them from other"layerlike" the high verticalexaggeration commonlyused(typically
rockmassesin the shearzoneof theplateboundarywould 5-10:1) to illustratephysiographicfeatureson the ocean
be difficult [see Calvert and Clowes, 1990]. Shreveand floor. A verticallyexaggerated seamountappearsimpos-
Cloos [1986] and Cloosand Shreve[1988a, b] more fully sibly high for the continentalslopeto accommodate,thus
discussthe physical environmentof the subduction conveyingthe incorrectnotionthat seamounts are seldom
channelthatpromotessubduction erosion. subductedbut sheared off, smashed, and accreted to the
marginin smallbits.
Mechanisms of Frontal Erosion In the late 1970s, using conventionalor ship track
Deep-seadredginghasestablished thatframeworkrock sounding profiles, a partially subducted seamount,
is exposedalong the landwardslopesof nonaccretingDaiichi-Kashima,was discoveredalong the axis of the
trenches,an observation commonlycitedas documenting JapanTrench (Figure 8) [Mogi and Nishizawa, 1980].
the effectsof frontal erosion[Bloomer, 1983; Bloomer and Advanced or areal swath mapping techniqueswere
of frontalerosion,like subsequently
Fisher, 1988]. Initially, processes employedto define the morphologyof the
basal erosion,were visualizedas a consequence of the seamountin much greaterdetail (Figure 14) [Oshimaet
abrasiveaction of the underthrustinghorst and graben al., 1985;Kobayashiet al., 1987]. Daiichi-Kashimais cut
topography. Underthrusting ridge crestswere thoughtto by steeplydippingextension
faultsthatextendtowardit
cutoff thefrontof theupperplateanddelivertheresulting fromtheadjacent
oceanic
crust.
Tension
faulting
aros
the
debrisinto the trench,from which it was removedas part seamount
and the surrounding
oceanfloor 6CCurS
in
of thematerialfilling thetroughsof underthrusting
grabensresponseto the downwardflexing of the oceanicplate
[Schwellerand Kulm, 1978; Hilde and Sharman, 1978; towardthe trenchaxis [Fyrer and Smoot,1985;Fyrer and
Schweller et al., 1981]. However, seismic reflection Hussong, 1985]. Off Japan, the impacting seamounts
profilesand bathymetricdata show that the relief of elevateand bulge the lower trenchslope,disruptingthe
underthrustinghorstsare not like the sharpteeth of a downslopecontinuity of a drainage system of small
chainsawbut rather are broad ridgesborderedby gentle submarinecanyonsthat formally led to the trenchfloor.
slope(5 to 15) and toppedby weaklyconsolidatedSeismicreflectionrecordsshow that at the impact site,
oceanicbasin sediment[Shipleyand Moore, 1986]. As thrust faults and tilted strata have thickened the sediment
emphasized, where thesesedimentary sectionsenterthe and rock of the inner trench wall, but the structureof the
subductionzone, overpressuredconditionsform and underridingseamountis basicallyintact [Lallemandet al.,
frictional couplingbetween the two plates is greatly 1989].
reduced. Bathymetricswath-mapping farther to the north has
Alongnonaccreting marginsandevenalongsomewith revealedotherseamountsat variousstagesof underthrust-
medium-sizedaccretionarypiles, the passageof ocean ing (Figure 8). The initial stage is observedat Katori
floor horstsand ginbensbeneaththe margin cyclically seamount(immediatelynorthof Daiichi-Kashima),whose
elevatesandlowersthebaseof the trenchslope[McCarthy leadingflank has narrowedand elevatedthe trenchfloor
and Scholl,1985;Moore et al., 1986;Shipleyand Moore, (Figure14). Extensionfaultsinitiallypropagated acrossthe
1986]. This processof tectonicripplingis envisionedas seamount where it crossed the zone of maximum crustal
fracturingandthereforeweakeningthe rock and sediment flexurejust seawardof the trenchaxis. The initial stage,
sequenceof the lower slope.But, more importantly,at wherethe leadingflank of the seamounts is beginningto
poorly sedimentedand nonaccreting marginsthe under- be wedged beneath the base of the trench slope, is
thrustinghorstswill be borderedby unfilledginbensthat illustratedin Figure 15a.
shouldcausegravityfailureof the lowerlandwardtrench Fromthecrestto thebase,theoverallslopeangleof the
slopeas theypassbeneathits base[Ballanceet al. 1989]. subducting Japanese seamounts is about15. The under-
Unfortunately,owing to the limited resolvingpower of thrustingactionof theselargeedificeswedgesup, deforms,
contemporaryreflectiontechniques,this suppositionhas and thereforepresumablyfracturesthe baseof the trench
not beenconfirmedwhereridgesand valleysof relatively slope(Figure15b) [LallemandandLe Pichon,1987].
300 von HueneandScholl:GROWTHOF CONTINENTAL
CRUST 29, 3 / REVIEWS
OF GEOPHYSICS

partiallyfilled trenchaxis
constricted ' .....
re-entrant . .., .,-,...,, ._,,.. .- r,AiuN! SMT.

-2000
- .... -.... -..
-4000

-6000
.. - :: -< ...... :--------. -.......
-8000

.... - ., .-:. ,
.. disrupted
drainages .-
'.::::. '". . ,..'---. -

.uplifteo
a ea: -C . Z -' '' '' '

0 10 20kin

VE= 1,5

Figure 14. Perspectivenet-mesh


z diagram,basedon Seabeamswath
map bathymetricdata,viewing the
JapanTrench axis from the south
(seeFigure8 for locationand angle
oz
/-,,,... LLO SEAMOUNT of view). The subductingDaiichi
KashimaSeamount(height= 3500
m) has broken along a normal or
extensionfault and its westernpart
has underthrust the base of the

-- -- --;- .... ,, ___:_.._


...... ,.-- -......... ,..,
landwardtrenchslopeabout10 km.
Subduction of the seamount has

I:;::(b< uplifted and disrupted sediment


drainagepatternson the continental
slope. The slope has retreated
where the seamount is being
subducted.A stageprior to initial
subduction is seen to the north
where Katori Seamountis entering
the Japan Trench (Figure 8).
Opposite Katori Seamount is a
partially filled reentrantthat may
be the scar of a previously
subducted seamount.

j,,.,, COMPRESS IONAL


,. THICKENING
"--- '"..... . -.....................
" . ...... : 8 :
.......
'--- SLUMPS0F
-'*.... -C...:"-'
.........
:..:-:.-.?+..--,.,...-'..,::
........
................
:.:..
' %
ROCK

Figure 15. Cross sections illus-


tratingthe progressive responseof
the continentalslopeto the subduc-
tion of a seamount. The net result
of which is the accelerated subduc-
tion erosionof the frontalregionof
thecontinentalmargin.
29, 3 / REVIEWS
OF GEOPHYSICS yonHueneandSchollGROWTHOF CONTINENTAL
CRUST 301

SUBDUCTED'

Jap
Trench

ERIMO SMT.
0 20 Km
t I
V.E. x 3

Figure 16. Junctureof the Japanand Kuril Trenches,viewed from the east in a perspective
diagramconstructed from Seabeamswathmappingover the continentalslopeand trenchregion
and conventionalbathymetrictechniques,i.e., data collectedonly directlybeneaththe surveying
vessel,over the shelf (see Figure 8 for location).The reentrantnorth of Erimo Seamountis an
erosionalscar or "cookie bite" in the lower landwardtrenchslope made by the passageof a
subductedseamount,whichpresentlyunderliesthe upliftedpart of the adjacentslope.Within the
reentrantare topographicblocksof slope-failuredebristhat contrastwith areasof flat-lying sea
floor underlainby the more fluidized debris of avalanchedeposits.Linear extensionfaults
parallelingtheKuril Trenchcut acrossErimoSeamountandthe adjacentseafloor.

Because theslopeof theinnertrenchwall is typicallyat a shouldered aside and remains on the trench wall, an
criticalangleof gravitationalstability[Nasuet al., 1980; importantfraction is thought to be missing, having
yon Huene and Culotta, 1989], the weakened material collapsedto the trench floor to be either accretedor
underlying thebulgeresponds to steepeningby failingin subducted.The mass-wastingmaterial either forms
gravity-drivenslides.As thetrailingflankof theseamount structurelessdebrispiles or, where sufficientlyfluidized,
movesbeneaththe slope,the thickenedwelt of fractured trenchaxis deposits.The formationof the reentrantin the
anddeformedrockpiled up overthecrestof the seamount wakeof the underthrusting seamountimpliesthatthe bulk
collapses downa descending slopetowardthetrenchfloor of both accumulationsare removed by subduction
[yonHueneandLallemand,1990]. processes.
Evidence that impacting seamountsacceleratethe Because a small accretionaryprism underlies the
removal of material from the front of the margin is landwardslopeof the JapanTrench,it seemslikely that
providedby theexistenceof reentrants,
"cookiebites,"or some of missing material is reaccretedand some is
scallops
alongthebaseof theinnertrenchwall (Figure16) introducedinto the sedimentsubductionprocess.But the
[LallemandandLe Pichon,1987;CollotandFisher, 1989; reentrantscarsaredeepenoughto reachthemargin'sinner
Ballance et al., 1989]. Reentrantsform where seamounts or core rock framework.Conceivably,farther landward,
have passedbeneath the landwardtrench slope. For the subcrustal passageof a seamountlocally elevatesthe
example,a largereentrantat thejunctureof theJapanand plate boundary (i.e., position of the decollement)and
Kuril trenchesmarks the point where a large seamount acceleratesbasal erosionof the margin'score buttressas
landward of Erimo Seamount has been completely well [Ballance et al., 1989].
subducted (Figures8 and 16) [Lallemandand Chamot- Alongnonaccreting marginsthe existenceof seamount-
Rooke, 1986, Yamazakiand Okamura, 1989]. Although impactscarsis strongevidencefor the localizedacceler-
some of the material of the reentrant is probably ated frontalerosionof the margin.For example,seamount
302 van HueneandScholl' GROWTH OF CONTINENTALCRUST 29, 3 / REVIEWSOF GEOPHYSICS

subductionappearsto haveremovedmostlyframework trendingseriesof largeseamounts andplateaulikeedifices


rockand slopedepositsfrom the landwardslopeof the that rise 2-3 km above a broadbathymetricswell. These
New HebridesTrench [Collar and Fisher, 1989]. Also, in structurescollide with the trench in a directionvirtually
the southwestern Pacific the collision of the Louisville orthogonal
to its northeast
strike.Seismicsections
appear
Ridgeat thenonaccretionary TongaTrenchis associatedto document that seamounts of the Louisville chain are
with a reentrant thatbitesdeeplyinto subductedvirtually in toro [Ballanceet al., 1989]. The
of largeproportions
thearcframeworkrocksof theTongaRidge.(Figure17). speedof collisionis exceptionallyfast, roughly 170
The collision zone of the Louisville Ridge and the km/m.y.andbecausethe strikeof the ridgeis obliqueto
TongaTrenchliesat the southern endof oneof Earth's that of the trench, the collision point moves even more
greatestdepressions,HorizonDeepat 10,800+m, anda rapidlysouthward (Figure17) [PelletierandLouat, 1989;
50-km-wideand 450-kin-longlandwarddeflectionin the Pelletier,1989;PelletierandDupont,1990].At theimpact
trenchaxis,Horizon-Deep bight(Figure17) [Fisher,1954; or collisionpoint,thetrenchhasbeenshallowedby nearly
Lonsdale, 1986; Ballance et al., 1989; Pelletier, 1989]. 4.5 km [Pointoiseet al., 1986], the consequences
of which
Near the trenchthe ridge is constructed of a northwest haspresumably beenrapiduplift,internaldeformation and

Samoa

23os

LQU

200--
5

170 km/my 2t. os

Horizon-Deep
Bighf
S. Fiji
Basin

DSDP
3oos
25os

265

t,0o:

Chatham
Ioo Rise 176W 175 17t2W

Figure 17. (a) Index chartof the southwesternPacific,northof New Zealand(NZ), of the
Tonga-Kermadec Ridgeandtrenchsystem, and(b) itscollision
zonewiththeLouisvilleRidgeof
thePacificplate.Becausethetrendof therapidlyunderthrusting
LouisvilleRidgeis obliqueto that
of theTonga-Kermadec Ridge,thecollisionzonealongthelandwardtrenchslopemigrateseven
morerapidlysouthward. The Horizon-Deep bight,a tectonicreentrant
in theregionaltraceof the
trenchaxis,is thoughtto be primafacieevidencefor theeffectsof subduction
erosionenhanced
by
ridge-ridge
collision[Ballanceet al., 1989].
29, 3 / REVIEWS
OF GEOPHYSICS vonHueneandSchollGROWTHOF CONTINENTAL
CRUST 303

fracturingof the lower landwardtrenchslope,and the each sectorthe contemporaryor currentrate of sediment
sliding of oversteepened material into underthrustingsubductionis the product of the average orthogonal
grabens. Adjacentto theTongaTrench,thedimensions of convergence rate, the averagesolid-volumethicknessof
thesedepressionsareuncommonly large,3-5 km wideand the trench floor section,and the length of the sector.At
0.5-1.5 km deep [Lansdale,1986;Pelletierand Dupont, nonaccreting marginswe estimatethat the global average
1990]. The greatsize and lengthof the reentrantof the thicknessof the dominantly pelagic and hemipelagic
Horizon-Deep bightrecordnotonlyaccelerated subduction trenchfloor sectionis 0.4 km (rangefrom 0.2 to 0.6 km).
erosionbut theeffectsof therapidsouthward movementof UsingHamilton's[1976] porosity-versus-depth valuesfor
the collision zone [Ballance et al., 1989; Pelletier and thesesedimenttypesand the data of Howell and Murray
Dupont,1990].The lowerlandwardslopeis constructed[1986], we set the equivalentsolid-volumethicknessof
of basementrock exhibitinghigh acoustic subductedsediment at 0.24 km (see Tables 2). By
substantially
velocities [Schall et al., 1985]. Thus subductionerosion summingthe volume rates listed on Table 2 (see also
primarilyremovedarc frameworkrock at a rate at least Figure 5) we estimatethe contemporaryglobal rate of
40-50 km3/km/m.y.
aboveanyregional sediment
or background subduction
atnonaccreting
margins
is389x 10
rate. km3/m.y.,
or0.4km3/yr.
On the easternsideof the SouthPacifictheNazcaRidge Where accretionaryprismsform at type 1 margins,the
collideswith the Perumargin(Figure12). As previously thicknessof the underthrustingor subdecollementsection
noted,subductionof the ridge has acceleratedsubduction is commonlymorethan 1.0 km. But seismicdatameasur-
erosion [van Huene et al., 1988; van Huene and Lal- ing the thicknessof the sectionactuallybeing subducted
lemand, 1990]. Although the collision zone migrates (i.e., imagedpassingbeneaththe activebuttress)are sparse
slowlysouthward, it is nottrailedby anembayment
cutby [Bally,1983;vanHuene,1986].For all type 1 marginswe
frontalerosion.Unlike the sediment-starved
TongaTrench, therefore, use massbalance considerationsto estimate the
thePeruTrenchreceivessufficientsedimentto supportthe contemporaryvolume of sediment underthrustingthe
growth of a moderate-size prism, which actively accumulatingfrontal mass or that has been
accretionary
presumablyhas filled in the lower slope embayment subductedlandward of the active buttress(Figure 3a;
subsequent
to ridgesubduction. Table 2). By averagingthe data from the four best-
Fartherto thesouth,at 46S,theSouthChileRidge,a controlled margin sectors (Japan, Mexico, Peru, and
spreadingcenter that separatesthe south and central Alaska, includesAleutians)we estimatedearlier that about
sectorsof the Chile Trench(Figure 12), underthrusts
the 20% of the sedimententeringsubduction zonesfrontedby
Chile margin.A major cuspin the regionaltrendof the small- to medium-sizedprismsis frontally accretedand a
trench axis is coincident with the collision zone, which minimum of 80% is subducted.We supposethat these
migratesslowlynorthward[CandeandLeslie,1986].The partitioningfactorsareapplicableto similartype 1 margins
floor of the southernChile Trenchis underlainby a thick elsewhere.Over long periods of time the amount of
wedgeof terrigenous sediment, and,exceptin thevicinity material subductedat all accreting margins must be
of the collisionzone, the lower slopeis underlainby an adjustedfor higherNeogeneratesof oceanfloor sedimen-
accretionary pile [CandeandLeslie,1986].Theabsence of tation,a correctionthat tendsto lessenthe long-termrate at
thepile wherethe ridgeunderthrusts the marginis strong which sediment is subductedat type 1 margins (see
evidenceattestingto the efficacyof subduction erosionat below).
thiscollisionzone [Bangset al., 1989].Becausethe trench It can be presumedthat efficientaccretion(both frontal
floor is well nourishedby terrigenoussediment,rapid and underplating)takes place where large accretionary
growthof theaccretionary pile in thewakeof themigrat- prismshaveformed[Davis and Hyndman,1989]. Exam-
ing collisionzonehasin partlimitedthewidthandlength pies of theseprismsare found along the Sundamargin
of its trailingtectonicscar.As previouslynoted,seismic from Burma to Sumatra [Moore et al., 1980], the Makran
data imply that basal subductionerosionhas greatly marginof southernIran and Pakistan[White, 1982; White
thinnedthe margin'sframeworkof Mesozoicand older and Lauden, 1982], the Barbadosmargin of the Lesser
igneousandmetamorphic rock. Antilles [Westbrook et al., 1988; Mascle and Moore,
1990], the Manila margin of the Philippines[Lewis and
CONTEMPORARY QUANTITIES OF ACCRETEDAND Hayes, 1984; Hayes and Lewis, 1985], and the northern
SUBDUCTED SEDIMENT AND ASSOCIATED FLUIDS Cascadiamargin off Vancouver,British Columbia, and
northernWashington[Davisand Hyndman,1989;Snavely
Global Mass of Subducted and Accreted Sediment and Wells, 1991] (Figure5). Theselarge,activelygrowing
The globalrate of contemporary sedimentsubduction accretionarypiles are identified on Table 2 as type 1'
can be estimatedfrom the volume of trenchfloor sediment, margins.
that is, both ocean basin and axial trench deposits,that Although the internal structuresof large prism are
enterssubduction zonesbut is not frontallyaccreted(Table difficult to image seismically,massbalancecalculations
2). Presentnonaccreting or type 2 trenchsectorsborder require that for many of them volumetric growth is
roughly19,000linearkm of oceanmargin(Table2). For contributedby both frontal and underplatingaccretion
304 von Huene and Scholl: GROVV-rHOF CONTINENTAL CRUST 29, 3 / REVIEWSOF GEOPHYSICS

[Platt et al., 1985; Platt, 1986, Ladd et al., 1990]. For material,or be transported
on theoceanicplateuntilthey
example,at the Makranprismit canbe inferredfrom mass are absorbed into uppermantlerocks(see,for example,
balance considerationsthat the relative proportionsof Peacock[1990]).
frontally accretedto subductedsediment(most of which First-orderestimatesof the volumeof fluids expelled
underplatesthe prism) is roughly 1:2 [Platt et al., 1985]. from the frontallyaccretedmasscan be basedon the data
At the northernBarbadosmargin, drilling and seismic in Table 2 and somesimplifyingassumptions. Accreted
informationcompiledby Brown et al. [1990] and Mascle materialdewaters asthickening of theaccretionarywedge
and Moore [1990] establishthat during the past 2 m.y. loadsthe underlyingsedimentandcausesexpulsionof its
approximately30% of the incomingsectionwas frontally fluids;theresultingporosityprofilelooksmoreor lesslike
accretedand70% is eitherunderthrusting the frontalprism thatshownin Figure6. As thesizeof theprismincreases,
or has been subducted landward of the active buttress. the porosityprofile shifts upwardthroughthe accreted
Although we recognizethat perhapslitfie underplating sectionproportionalto its growth.We assumethat in the
occurs within the large Vancouver prism [Davis and prismtheporositydecreases to 10%at a depthof 3.5 km,
Hyndman, 1989], within-section decollements are changing little belowthislevel (Figure6). Oncethefrontal
prominent structuresof most other large accretionary accretionary body becomessufficientlylarge so that its
masses.For the large accretionaryprisms we adopt a porosityprofile extendsdownwardto the 10% end of the
partitioningfactor of 30% frontal accretionversus70% gradient,the position of the gradientshifts upward
sediment subduction. equivalentto the additionof new trenchsediment.Under
The combinedlengthof all sectorsof accretingor type 1 conditionsof a constantgradient shift the additionof
margins is approximately 24,500 km (Table 2). The sediment andfluid to theprismresultsin an expulsion of
contemporary subductionratefor eachsectoris theproduct fluid equivalentto the added volume. Thus the rate at
of the sector'saverage orthogonalconvergentrate, the whichpore fluid is expelledfrom frontalaccretionary
subduction partitioningfactorappliedto the thicknessof massesapproximatesthe rate at which fluid is incor-
thetrenchfloor section,andthelengthof thesector.Using porated,less10%.
the appropriateporosity-depthcurve of Figure 6, the Similarapproaches can be takento estimatethe volume
measured thickness of the trench floor section is first of fluids expelledfrom subductedsediment,which either
shrunk to its zero porosity or solid-volumethickness. underplates or bypassestheprism.Subductedsedimentand
Summingthe ratesfor eachsectorgivesa contemporary containedfluid travel below the prism from its front to
global rateof 1138x 103km3/m.y., or,inrounded figures,depthsexceedingabout10 km wherehydratedmetamor-
1.1km3/yr (0.7fortype1margins withsmallerprisms, 0.4 phic mineralsof the greenschists and in particularthe
for type 1' or large-prismmargins;Table 2). Combining high-pressureblueschistsfacies form. As sedimentand
thisrate with that for the nonaccreting
or type 2 margins fluids move in a conveyorbelt fashion along the
(1.1 + 0.40; Table2), providesa contemporary globalrate subductionchannel, a constant amount of fluid will be
ofsediment
subduction
of1.5km/yr. expelled.For sediment thatdeeplyunderplates theprismor
Correspondingly,the total solid-volume mass of themargin'srockframework,thevolumeexpelledwill be
sedimentfrontallyaccretedat all formsof type 1 margins equalto that associatedwith this subductedsedimentless
is0.4km/yr. Wepresent observations below thatthebulk an estimated3% tied up in the growthof metamorphic
of the subductedsediment is stored as underplated minerals. But somesubducted sediment will underplate
the
sedimentin the part of the accretionaryprism lying prismat higherstructural positions andmostlikelyretain
betweenits activeandcorebuttresses (Figures3a and 3c). pore fluids at about the 10% level. Becausewe cannot
The estimatedmassof the underplatedmaterialbooststhe easilydistinguish therelativequantitiesof thesesubducted
total volume of offscrapedsedimentstoredat accreting masses,we assumean averageretentionof 5% fluid for the
margins
to0.9km/yr. totalmassof sedimentsubducted
at all formsof type 1
margins.Similarly,we assigna 5% retentionto themassof
Global Volume of Fluids porefluidssubducted
at nonaccreting
marginsor type2
Sediment that enters the subduction zone contains a margins.
porosity-equivalent volume of interstitialfluids. As the On the basis of the data assembled in Table 2 the total
accretedsedimentis thickenedby thrust faulting and volumeof fluid enteringsubductionzonesis closeto 1.0
folding, fluids are squeezedfrom the sedimentinterstices km3/yr.Therateoffluidexpulsion isthefrontally accreted
and returned to the ocean basin. Fluids associated with volume
less10%,or0.1km3/yr,
andthevolume
subducted
underthrustsedimenthave been observedto vent by less
5%,or0.8km/yr.
Thecombined
volumes
ofexpelled
channelizedflow seawardalong the decollement[Mascle fluidsis thus0.9km3/yr.
Thisvolume
is similar
to that
andMoore,1990],to discharge a moredistributed
wayvia estimatedby Working Group 3 during the Second
manyfractureswithin overlyingrock framework[Carson Conferenceon ScientificOcean drilling (COSOD II,
et al., 1982], dischargewith upwelling massesof 1987).Our simplisticassumptionof steadystatetectonism
subductionchannelsediment[Cloos and Shreve, 1988a], and fluid expulsionis in keepingwith the difficultyof
combinechemicallyor mineralogically
with surrounding estimating fluidrecyclingfromothersources, particularly
29, 3 / REVIEWSOF GEOPHYSICS von Huene and Scholl GROWTH OF CONTINENTAL CRUST 305

from mineral transformationas sedimentand igneous changesand major convergentmargin tectonism have
oceancrestis metamorphosed and also from fluids in the combinedduring the past 35 m.y. to irregularly but
upperpart of the underthrusting
igneousslab.Our rough progressively
increasethe supplyof terrigenoussediment
estimate of expelled pore fluids from accreted and to the ocean basins seaward of trenches [Davies et al.,
subductedsedimentis probablysignificantlysupplemented 1977; Worsleyand Davies, 1979; Southhamand Hay,
by volumesfromtheseothersources. 1981;Sloan,1985;Hay et al., 1988].The magnitudeof the
changewasfromanunusual
globallowof0.5g/cm2/103yr
LONG-TERM SUBDUCTION RATES OF intheearlyOligocene
toabout
2.5g/cm:/10ayr
justpriorto
TERRESTRIAL MATERIAL the onsetof late Cenozoicglaciationand thenceto nearly
4.0g/crn2/103yr
[Sloan,
1985;
W.W.Hay,personal
commu-
Long-Term
Rateof SedimentSubduction nication,1990].The averageNeogenerate is roughly2
The contemporary
volumeof sedimentsubducted g/cm2/103yr
yearly [SouthhamandHay,1981; Hayetal., [1988].
at convergent
margins
(1.5km3/yr,
Table2) is probablyGlaciationthereforeaugmentedan establishedtrend of
higher than that typical of most of Cenozoictime and increasing terrigenousdeposition that beganin the early
arguablythat typicalof the pastseveralhundredm.y. We Oligocene.
recognizedearlier that the trenchsectionsof many type 1 Otheruncertaintiesfurtherhinderestimating theaverage
or accretingmarginsare probablyoverly thick becauseof long-term thicknessof type 1 trench sectionsbased on
glaciallyelevatedratesof deep-seaterrigenous sedimenta- existing sections.These include the circumstancethat
tion. Preglacialaxial fills havebeenseverelydeformedor oceanbasinterrigenous inputis in partregulatedby trench
subducted thusaffordinglittle basisfor reconstructing
their axis overflowtherebyprecludinga directrelationbetween
former thicknesses. Referringas a guideto ratesof ocean trenchandoceanbasinratesof sedimentation. In recogni-
floor terrigenoussedimentation tabulatedby Southamand tion of the uncertaintyinvolved,and in an attemptto avoid
Hay [1981],Sloan[1985],andHay et al. [1988],we earlier overestimatingthe long-termrate of sedimentsubduction
estimatedthat prior to 2.5 Ma the thicknessof the trench at type 1 margins,we halve the thicknessof the modem
sectionwas about one half that of the contemporaryor trenchsectionas was donein Table 1. The long-termrate
glacial-agethickness(Table 1). of sedimentsubduction at type 1 marginsis thussetat 0.55
For the purpose of estimatinga long-term rate of km3/yr, which isonehalfthecontemporary ratelistedin
sedimentsubduction,applying the 50% reductionmay be Table 2.
an overcorrection.For example, many modem trench Thelong-termsubduction rateof thedominantly pelagic
sectorsare thicklysedimented as muchfor the reasonthat sedimentat type 2 marginsshouldbe little different than
they are nourishedby rivers draining rapidly elevating themodem rate,0.4km3/yr. Combining thisratewiththe
mountainranges,for example,the trenchesborderingthe trench-thickness-corrected ratefor type 1 marginsyieldsa
Sundra,Makran, Manila, and Alaska-Aleutianregions,as global long-term rate of sediment subductionof 1.0
by the effectsof glaciation.Elevationof the rangesis in km3/yr.
responseto convergentmargin tectonism,in particular
where masses of continental crust are colliding (for How Good Are the Estimates?
example,Himalaya,Taiwan,Gulf of Alaskaregions).It is How well are the estimated volumes of subducted
instructiveto realize that 70% of the sedimentdischarged sediment constrained?Roughly 40% of the world's
by rivers to oceanbasinsis from two regionsof intense margins are nonaccretionary,and at these margins,
tectonicuplift linked to the collisionsof India and Asia, sedimentsubductionis very efficient. Uncertaintiesof the
and more diffusely,of Australiaand Indonesia[Milliman subductedvolume at these margins reflect inaccurate
and Meade, 1983;Dickinson,1988;Meade, 1991]. Owing assessments of orthogonalconvergence rates,and of the
substantiallyto the India collisioneventalone,nearly28% averagethicknessof the incomingblanketof oceanfloor
of all ocean basin terrigenoussedimentresides in the pelagicsedimentand sedimentdepositedalongthe trench
Indian Ocean, the smallest of the three major oceans axis. In consideration of these factors our estimate of the
[Howell and Murray, 1986], and the supplyof terrestrial contemporary volumeof sedimentsubductionat type 2
debris needed to sustain the growth of the large marginare probablyno better than _+20%of the total 0.4
accretionaryprismsof the Makran and Andaman-Sunda km3/yr noted.
trench systemshas thus been maintainedat high levels Data used to estimate the proportionsof sediment
sinceat leastthe earlyNeogene[Curray and Moore, 1971; frontallyaccretedand subducted at all formsof type 1
Beaudryand Moore, 1985; Copelandand Harrison, 1990]. marginsare besetby the samemeasurement inaccuracies,
Thereforemany type 1 trenchsectorsprobablysustained and, in particular,by the assumption that duringmostof
thick axial wedgesbefore the sedimentation enhancing Cenozoictime the averagethicknessof the incoming
effects of glacially induced oscillating sea levels and sectionwas only one half that presentlyenteringthese
heightenedcontinentalerosion. subductionzones. In constructingTable 1 we noted
In additionto directly supplyingclasticsedimentto the variabilities of_+20%in calculating proportions of frontally
trench axis the consequencesof both global climatic accreted versus subducted sediment that arose from
306 von Huene and Scholl: GROWTH OF CONTINENTAL CRUST 29, 3 / REVIEWSOF GEOPHYSICS

structuraldifferencesalong variousparts of the margin. km3/yrdifference


requires
on average
the bypass
Errors arising from the conversionof time-baseseismic subductionof a 100-m-thick (solid-volume) section of
reflectiondata to depthin metersis also in the rangeof axial deposits.The thinnessof this sectionsupportsour
_+10%at the median depths considered.Although it is conjecturethat our long-termratesof sedimentsubduction
difficult to accuratelyquantify,we feel thatan errorbar of andbypassingareconservative or low-endestimates.
at least _+25% is applicable to our long-term rate of
sediment
subduction
(1.0km3/yr)
thatincludes
calculations
Long-Term
Ratesof Subduction
Erosion
for bothtype 1 andtype2 margins. As described, measuredsubsidence alongtheJapanand
Elsewherebelow we estimatethat the long-termrate at
which subducted
Peru margins requires
sedimentbypassestheprism-accretionary 20 m.y. at therespective
subduction erosion durinthepast
ratesof 55 and 30 km/m.y. per
process is 0.7 km3/yr.It is instructive
to compare this kilometer of trench (Figure 11) [von Huene and Lal-
lemand,1990].Acceptingthattheporosityof themargin's
figure
with
km3/yrthe
average
one
of/ay
met
(potentiallyal.[1988],
0.4
ashighas0.5 3/yr),based onthe rock framework, which off Japan is known to include
massof sedimentin the deepoceanbasinsthat subduction sedimentary rocks,is approximately10% yieldsa conser-
vativelyestimatedsolid-fractionvolumeof erodedrock of
removes fromtheglobal store ofsediment aproximately
each 180 m.y. The difference(0.2-0.3 km/yr) reflects 50and25km3/km/m.y. perkilometer oftrench.
principally the fact that our higher estimate includes The Andean margin of northern Chile has been a
subductionof axial turbiditedepositsat both type 1 and sediment-starvedor type 2 margin during much of
type 2 trenches.These rapidly depositedmassesare not Cenozoictime.Rutland[1971] notesthat sincethe early
includedin the Hay et al. [1988] figure. At the present Jurassic the axis of arc volcanism in northern Chile has
global average orthogonal convergencerate of ap- progressivelyshiftedinland more than 200 km and that
proximately65 km/m.y. (Table 2), resolutionof the 0.3 thisshiftmostlikely recordsthelandwardmigrationof the

71 70 69 68 67 66
I

o f
I I
Miocene-Holocene
Coast Magmatic Arc ARG-1
CHI-3 Figure 18. Plot of radiometricages
40 CHI-6 and samplinglocalitiesof arc ig-
neousrocksfrom coastalrangesof
CHI-2
i + CHI-4
CHI-8 Late-Cretaceous-Paleogene
& Magmatic
Arc dilleraOrientalof the Andes(fig-
northern Chile eastward to the Cor-

ure adaptedwith permissionfrom


80

Ma
CHI-5
+!
CHI-1

Mid-Cretaceous
Magmatic
Arc
Andriessenand Reutter, 1991]).
Demonstrated eastward shift of the
locus of arc magmatismis com-
monly cited as evidence for the
subduction-erosion-c aused east-
120 ward truncation of the landward
slopeof the Chile Trenchduring
the past 160-180 m.y. [see Rut-
Jurassic-Early Cretaceous
MagmaticArc
land, 1971; Scholl et al., 1977;
Mpodozisand Ramos,1990; Stern,

tCHi_7
160
]99].
0 100 Km
I I

200 I I I I I

71 70 69 68 67 66
, ' i"'

!i'!":'"
CHI
_2
CHI-4
?.: .}'.:i.Atacama
ntofagasta
,/ '
.... :
::..: ::.Salar
de

I .._.-?CHI-8bnl-o
:.....x..._
..:. / Salar
de
--;:::
24
[:;.CHI-7 CHI-3
\CHI-5 ..... /]/! : iCauchri
San
Antonio
I ,- I ! !
29, 3 / REVIEWS
OF GEOPHYSICS von HueneandScholl GROWTH OF CONTINENTALCRUST 307

trenchaxisin response to subducfionerosion.Applyingthe estimatedtotal net amount of erosionalong 4500 km of


samereasoning,Mpodozisand Ramos[1990] indicatean Peruand centraland northernChile (Figure 18) contribule
eastwardretreat of the Mesozoic trenchbeginningat the 0.13 kma/yraloneto the solidvolumeof terrestrial
latitude
of Conception
(38S)andincreasing
to 300kmat materialthatis subcrustally
subducted.
the northernChileanborder(Figure18). An eastwardshift Evidencewas previouslycited that subductionerosion
fromthepositionof theMesozoicmagmaticarcto thelate operatesat convergentmarginsotherthanJapan,Peru and
Cenozoic arc is also documented in Peru [McKee and Chile [Hussong and Uyeda, 1982; Bloomer, 1983;
Noble, 1990]. North of the Nazca Ridge the contemporary Bloomer and Fisher, 1987, 1988; Ballance et al., 1988].
arc is inactive,but the upperMiocenearc, exposedin the Most are sediment-starved margins with little if any
Andes, indicatesa similar eastwardmigration since the accretionand marginsfrontedby small-to-medium sized
Cretaceous. Part of the Cretaceous arc is inferred off the accretionary
prisms,manyof whicharegeologicallyyoung
coastof centralPeru [Thornburg,1985] where it projects if not ephemeralbodies[Schollet al., 1987; Moore et al.,
fromonshoreexposures ridgealongtheedge 1986]. As true of southern Chile, information from these
to a basement
of the shelf. Although an eastwardmigration of the margins is insufficientto determine long-term rates of
continentalmarginis indicatednorthof Peru, the lateral subductionerosion (see, for example, Ballance et al.
migrationof large continentalblockssincethe Mesozoic [19891).
precludes a simplelinkageof eastwardmigrationto Recognizing the large short-fall in well-constrained
subduction erosion. erosionrates,we explorethe possibleglobalmagnitudeof
In northernChiletheearlyJurassic arcbetween 22 and subduction erosionapplyingan assumed averagelong-term
27S latitudeis approximately
180 Ma old (see, for rateof30kma/km/m.y.
Forexample,
if therateisapplied
example,Naranjo et al. [1986],Rogersand Hawkesworth to the length of sediment-starved or type 2 trenches
[1989], andAndriessenandReutter,[1991]. Averagingthe (-19,000 km; table 2), the global rate of erosionis 0.6
widthof the wedgeshapedareaof retreatindicatesthatan km3/yr.If subduction
erosionalsoaffectsthe ap-
average eastward directed truncationof the margin proximately16,000 km of marginsborderedby prismsof
proceeded at a rateof about1 km/m.y.Ascribingeastward small-to-medium
width,
thenanadditional
0.5kma/yr
can
trench migration mostly to subductionerosion and be addedfor a globaltotalof 1.1km3/yr.
Subduction
presumingthat during the past 180 m.y. the crustal erosionmay alsohaveoperatedintermittentlywherelarge
geometryof the South Americanmargin has remained accretionaryprismshave accumulated,but we have little
much the same, then for each kilometer of margin informationbearingon that possibility.The consequences
approximately
7000km3 of rockhavebeenremovedof these various scenarios for the total amount of terrestrial
(crustalthicknessof 38-km x 185-km averagedistanceof crusterodedby subductionare summarizedin Table 3.
retreat).
Dewey ndWindley [1981]alsocalculate
amass
lossof 7000 km/km for this margin.Assuminga porosity TABLE 3. Global Long-Term Rate of Subcrustally
of 10%, the correspondingaveragerate of subduction Subducted Terrestrial Material
erosion
during
thepast180m.y.is35km3/yr.
Calculating
Subduct ion Erosion
somewhatdifferently, but drawing on the same basic
observations,Stern [ 1991] reckonsthat subductionerosion At Type2 or Type1 Margins
Subducted Nonaccreting With Small-to
may have proceededat more than twice this rate and, Sediment Margins Medium-Sized
Prisms Total,
km$/yr
periodically,at morethan10 times.
The rate of erosion since Mesozoic time for the Scenario 1

Peruvianmarginalsegmentestimatedfrom the eastward 0.7 0.6 0.0 1.3


Scenario 2
shift of the arc (averagecrustal thicknessof 38-km x 0.7 0.6 0.5 1.8
200-kmretreat)
indicates
erosion
at a solid-volume
rateof
30km3/m.y.
along
each
kilometer
ofthemargin.
Thisrate Rateinkm3/yr.
is higher than that estimatedfor the past 20 m.y. (25
km3/m.y.
) byvonHuene
andLallemand
[1990],which
indicatesthat the minimum estimatefrom their margin
reconstructionis indeedlow, or it may indicatemorerapid SOME COMMENTS ON SUBCRUSTALLY
erosionin pre-Neogenetime. However, in view of the SUBDUCTED TERRESTRIAL MATERIAL AND THE
uncertainties involved in all these estimates, we assume a GROWTH OF CONTINENTAL CRUST
conservative
long-term
rateof 30 kma/m.y.
for each
kilometer along the Peruvian and northern Chilean Althoughoceanmargintectonismis a highly effective
margins.The higherratesrecordedalongtheJapanmargin, processin laterallymovingandassembling existingbodies
where the Louisville Ridge intersectswith the Tonga of crustal material, these terrane-shufflingprocesses
Trench,and along the Peruvianmarginduringsubduction neitheradd nor subtractfrom the global massof terrestrial
of the Nazca Ridge, are peak rates more typical of crust(i.e., continentsplus islandarcs; see, for example,
acceleratederosionratescausedby crustalcollision.The Coneyet al. [1980], Jarrad [1986b], Howell [1989a], and
308 von Huene and Scholl: GROWTH OF CONTINENTAL CRUST 29, 3 / REVIEWSOF GEOPHYSICS

Beck [1983, 1986]). New or juvenile continentalcrustis Althoughthe bypassingfigures for the large prisms
formedby mantle-sourced igneousactivity.Many authors rangewidely (nil to perhaps20%), we currentlysuppose
emphasizethat the dominant mechanismsupplying thatat least10% (+50%) of the incomingsectionbypasses
juvenile crust is arc magmatism,assistedby lesser theseaccretionarybodies.We recognizethe large uncer-
contributionsfrom hotspot volcanism,intracontinental taintyassociated with this estimate,but traceelementand
volcanismandmagmaticunderplating, andtheaccretionof isotopicgeochemistryof the arc volcanic rocks of the
slabs of oceanic crust (see, for example, Kay [1980], Lesser Antilles are convincing evidence that sediment
Thorpeet al. [1981],ReymerandSchubert [1984,1986], bypassingoccursat the massiveBarbadosPrism [White
Arndt and Goldstein [1989], Klemperer [1989], and and Dupre, 1986; Bouyseeet al., 1990], and, therefore,
RogersandHawkesworth[1989]).But, as we notedin our possiblyat otherlargeaccretionarybodiesas well. Because
introductory comments, terrestrialmaterialcanpotentially large prisms constituteonly about 20% of convergent
be lostat convergentmargins. margins,andconvergence ratesat themare typicallyslow
Terrestrialmaterialthat is removedfrom the upperplate (-30 km/m.y.; Table 2), adoptinga 10% bypassrate adds
by subduction erosion,or oceanicsedimentthatbypasses less than0.03km3/yr totheglobal volume ofsubcrustally
the prismand underthrusts the margin'srock framework, subductedsediment,a figure that has little effect on the
can be tectonicallytransportedto greatdepths(>15 km or amountof terrestrialmaterialpotentiallyrecycledto the
more). Material transportedbeneaththe margin's rock mantle.
framework is referred to in this paper as subcrustally By applyingthe corresponding bypasspercentages to
subductedmatter.At type 2 margins,where long-lasting the long-term rate at which oceanic sediment enters
prismsdo not form, virtually all of the volumeof sub- subruction zones(i.e.,100%of0.4km3/yr atnonaccreting
ductedsedimentis availablefor transportto deepsubcrus- margins,and, correctedfor high Neogenesedimentation,
tal levels. At type 1 margins,however,large massesof 65%of 0.4 km3/yr at accreting margins withsmall-to-
subductedsediment underplatethe prism between its medium prisms,and10%of 0.3km3/yr at largeprisms,
active and core buttresses.But rough estimatescan be Table2), the globalrate at which sedimentis subcmstally
made of the portionof the incomingoceanfloor section subducted is 0.7km3/yr. Tothismass mustbeadded the
that is retainedin the accretionaryprism and that which globalvolumeof materialprovidedby subductionerosion,
bypasses it to reachsubcrustal levels. estimatedto rangefrom a minimumof 0.6 to as muchas
For example,wheresmall-to-medium sizedprismsfront 1.1km3/yr. In Table3 wethusshow twoscenarios forthe
type 1 margins,we estimatefrom seismicdata and the volume of subcrustallysubductedterrestrialmaterial, 1.3
massbalancecalculationsof Table 1 that roughly 65% and1.8kmS/yr. Themeanof thisrange, 1.6kmS/yr, is
(+20%) of the incomingsectionbypassestheseprisms. regradedasa conservative estimateof thelong-termrateat
Because only about 20% is stored in the frontal whichterrestrialmatteris subcrustallysubducted.
accretionarymass, an additional 15% must nourishthe Threefatesawait subcmstallysubducted materialit can
prism's volumetric growth by underplatingprocesses either (1) underplatethe baseof continentalor island-arc
(Figure3a). Bypassingat largeprismsis apparentlymuch crustalrocks,(2) enterthe mantleand recycleto the crest
less.Massbalancefiguresprovidedby Platt et al. [1985] via processesof arc magmatism,or (3) be entrainedinto
for the Makranprismindicatethatduringthe past 13 m.y. mantlecirculation.Insofaras the net growthof continental
approximately30% of the incomingsectionwas usedto crust is concerned, a critical issue is the amount of
build the frontal prism, 60% underplatedthe prism, and subducted terrestrial matter that is not returned to the crust
potentially 10% bypassedthe prism. For the Barbados but absorbedinto the mantle [Karig and Kay, 1981;
region of the LesserAntilles, massbalancecalculations Armstrong,1971, 1981; Thorpeet al., 1981;Reymerand
based on the seismic sectionsof Westbrooket al. [1988] Schubert, 1984; Ashwal, 1989; Warren, 1989; Albarede,
and Ladd et al. [1990] and regionalinformationconcern- 1989].
ing the time-averagethicknessof the incomingsection The occurrence in youngvolcanicrocksof cosmogeni-
[Moore et al., 1990] indicatethat bypassingof the 50-to callyformed Beis "smoking gun"evidence that,as
55- m.y.-old accretionaryprism rangesfrom effectively Coats [1962] surmised, oceanic sediment travels at least
zero to as much as severaltensof percent.Similarly,for 200 km landwardof the trenchand to depthsof 100 km
the Vancouverprism of British Columbia,massbalance [Brownet al., 1982; Tera et al., 1986; Morris et at., 1990].
numbers support a bypassingfigureofvirtually nil[Davis Despitethis fact, the traceelementand isotopiccomposi-
and Hyndman,1989] to as muchas 30% of the incoming tion of arc magmaticrocks disclosesthat their mass is
section(our calculations).The variability for this prism overwhelmingly suppliedby the meltingof mantlerock
arises from the range in average porosity that can be and only a few percent is contributedby subducted
assignedto the accretionaryprism,differentestimatesof terrestrialmaterial (see, for example,Kay [1980], Gill
the averagethicknessof the incomingsectionduringthe [1981], and Stern, [1991].
42 m.y. history of prism growth, and differencesin Evidencehasalsobeenrecognizedthat somesubducted
interpretationof the seismicrecords[seealsoCalvert and terrestrial material is reattached to continental and
Clowes,[1990]). island-arccrest by underplatingprocesses. For example,
29, 3 / REVIEWSOF GEOPHYSICS von Huene and Scholl GROWTH OF CONTINENTAL CRUST 309

seamountsunderplatedat a depth of 20 km have been underplating processes.Also removedto subcrustal depths


identifiedin field exposures[Maruyamaand Liou, 1989], is materialtectonicallyerodedfrom the upperplate.Noted
and acousticimaging has debatablylocatedunderplated below are estimatedvolumetricrates of the companion
massesof oceaniccrustand sedimentat depthsof 15-30 processesof sedimentsubductionand subductionerosion
km [Yorath et al., 1985; Yorath, 1987; Green et al., 1986; andsomeconsiderations of theirgeologicimplications.
Clowes et al., 1987; Mooney and Brocher, 1987; Trehu 1. We estimate that the total solid-volume mass of ocean
and Wheeler,1987; Hyndman,1988; Fisher et al., 1989; floor sediment(ocean basin and trench axis deposits)
Klemperer,1989;Plafker et al., 1989;Wolf andLevander, presently entering the approximately 43,500 km of
1989].Relativelylargemassesof subcrustally underplated convergent
margins
subduction
zones is1.9km/yr.
Ofthis
material are associated,in particular, with continental volume,
0.9km3/yr
(-50%)is retained
andtectonically
collisionzones[Le Pichon, 1982;Platt, 1986]. But, to gain piled into an accretionary
prismby frontalandunderplat-
a global perspective,consider the consequencesof ingmechanisms,
and1.0km3/yr
(-50%)bypasses
the
underplatingmuchof the deeplysubducted material.At a entireprism-formingprocess.
potential
subcrustal
transport
rateof1.6km3/yr
theflowof 2. Processes of subduction accretion form small-to-
terrestrial matter landward of that part of the buttress medium-sized(5-40 km in width) accretionaryprismsat
thinned bybasal erosionisapproximately 35km3/m.y. for approximately16,300 km of accretingor type 1 ocean
eachkilometerof trench(presently-43,500 kin). At this margins.We estimatedthat about20% of the incoming
rate, a new 200-kin-wide, 40-km-thick sector of crust of sedimentis offscrapedabovea detachment or decollement
metamorphicrock with a high-pressure formativehistory surfaceto form a frontal accretionarymass, and the
would be built in less than 200 m.y. Because surface remaining 80% is subductedbelow and landward of the
exposuresof these rocks are globally small, seemingly margin'sactive buttress,which is the leadingedge of
only a relativelysmall fractionof subcrustallysubducted structurallyconsolidatedolder accretionarymaterial.The
terrestrial matter deeply underplates continental and total solid-volume mass of sediment subducted at the
island-arc crust [Irwin and Coleman, 1972; Ernst, 1988; active
buttress
is0.7km3/yr.
Peacock, 1990]. Conversely,the lower crustal depth of 3. Largeaccretionarymassesborderabout8200 km of
underplatingtendsto minimizesurfaceexposures of these accretingmargins,at whichwe infer that70 percent,or 0.4
rocks. km3/yr,
issubducted
landward
oftheactive
buttress.
Thus
If much of the terrestrialmaterial is accordinglynot the totalamountof sedimentSubducted
at type 1 margins
returned to the crust as arc igneous or subcrustally (both
atsmall
andlarge
prism)
isatleast1.1km3/yr.
underplatedmetamorphicrock, then a main repositoryfor 4. Over several million years, little net accretionof
deeplysubducted materialmustbe the mantle.Reymerand oceanfloor sedimentoccursalongnonaccreting or type2
Schubert[1984] estimatethat during the past 600 m.y. or margins,which sumabout 19,000 km in length.At these
so the additionof juvenile igneousrocksto the terrestrial marginsan averagesolid-volumelayer of ocean basin
crust
hasaveraged
about
1.65km3/yr.
Incomparison
tothe deposits0.24 km thickis subducted at theleadingedgeof
potentialratesof subcrustalsubductionlisted in Table 3 the frameworkof basement-type rocksconstructing the
(1.3-1.8km3/yr)
it canbeargued
thatlittlenetcontinental
landward
trenchslope.The globalsediment
subduction
growth has occurredduring at least the past 100-200 rate is thus equal to the incomingrate, which is 0.40
million years.This conclusion comfortsmodelscallingfor km3/yr.
Combined
withsediment
subduction
at type1
an effective crust mantle exchangeof trace elementand margins, the contemporaryglobal rate of sediment
isotopicmaterial(see,for example,DePaolo [1983, 1988] subductionat the seawardposition of the buttressis
and Veizer and Jansen[1985], and in particularthose therefore
1.5km3/yr.
requiring little or no net growth of the terrestrialmass 5. Becauseocean margin tectonismand cycles of
during the latter part of Earth's history as proposedby continentalglaciationhavemore-or-less steadilyincreased
Armstrong [1981] and Allegre [1982]. Alternatively, ratesof terrigenousoceanfloor sedimentation duringthe
duringthis time the rate of additionof juvenile crustmay past30 m.y.,thecontemporary thicknessof thedominantly
havebeenhigherthancommonlyestimated,as considered terrigenoussediment enteringthesubduction zonesof type
likely by Albarede[1989] andhintedat by studiesof older 1 marginsis perhapstwice that typical of the Cenozoic.
crustalmasses[Reymerand Schubert,1986]. Applyingthiscorrectionto the contemporary thickness of
incomingsediments to accretionary
prisms,the long-term
rate of sedimentsubduction at type 1 marginsfalls from
SUMMING REMARKS 1.1tO0.55km3/yr.
Thelong-term
rateofglobal
sediment
subducfionat all margins is thus estimatedto be 1.0
Geologicaland geophysicalinformationreviewed in km3/yr.
this papersupportthe notionthat abouthalf of oceanfloor 6. Of particularinterestis the long-termrate at which
sedimentarriving at convergentocean margins is sub- incoming sedimentis deeply subductedand does not
ductedand doesnot contributeto the volumetricgrowthof contributeto the volumetricgrowthof an accretionary
an accretionaryprism througheither frontal or subsurface prism.Mass balancecalculationsallow us to estimatethat
310 von Huene and Scholl: GROWTH OF CONTINENTAL CRUST 29, 3/REVIEWS OF GEOPHYSICS

ACKNOWLEDGMENTS. The authors wish to thank


100% of the incomingsectionis subcrustally
subducted
at
type 2 margins,65% at type 1 marginswith small to additional readers of the original manuscript who provided
mediumprisms,andpossiblyas little as 10%wherelarge welcomed guidance concerning the scientific content and
relevanceof its messagewereDavid Howell andStevenLewis.
prismshaveformed.The corresponding
long-termrateof
M. Neugebauerwasthe editorresponsible for thispaper.She
byp3ass
orsubcrustally
km/yr.
subducted
ocean
sediment
is0.7 thanks Mark Cloos and Robert Kay for their assistancein
evaluatingits technicalcontentand an anonymousreferee for
7. Much of the bypasssedimentsubductedat type 1 assistance
in evaluationof its readabilityacrossdisciplines.
marginsis silty and sandyclasticdepositsof telTigenous
origin,andbypasssedimentsubducted at type2 marginsis
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