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Structure and Fate of Subducting Slabs - 1st Edition - ISBN: 9780124398603, 9780080924212

Structure and Fate of Subducting Slabs

1st Edition

Author: Thorne Lay
Paperback ISBN: 9780124398603
eBook ISBN: 9780080924212
Imprint: Academic Press
Published Date: 8th January 1997
Page Count: 185
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This book is a paperback reprint of Advances in Geophysics, Volume 35 (1994, Academic Press). It provides an overview of the dramatic progress made in illuminating the properties of deep slabs and the surrounding mantle since the introduction of the plate tectonics model to the earth sciences more than 25 years ago. The thermal and chemical characteristics of the subducted lithosphere are determined through thermal and petrological modeling, with seismological observations providing critical constraints on model parameters. Down-wellings of the oceanic lithosphere play a critical role in plate tectonics by recycling to the mantle material that has risen at mid-ocean ridges and cooled at the earth's surface. To assist future efforts in developing detailed thermal and petrological models of oceanic lithosphere down-wellings, this volume includes a comprehensive review of seismological observations and models. A range of seismological procedures are considered, from travel time constraints on seismic velocity anomalies in the subducting lithospheric slabs, to wave conversions and reflections off internal and external slab boundaries. An extensive reference list will be useful to earth science researchers and seismological specialists as a directory to most of the critical literature on slab structure.

Key Features

  • Provides a comprehensive, chronological summary of seismological studies of slab structure
  • Reviews 25-year history of progress in the field
  • Distills the many contributions that provide a foundation for mastering the roots of the ideas and observations underlying todays paradigms
  • Includes an extensive bibliography
  • Effectively organized for course presentation


Undergraduates in geophysics, graduate students, and academics involved with seismology, earthquake geology, and tectonics.

Table of Contents

T. Lay, Preface. Seismological Constraints on the Velocity Structure and Fate of Subducting Lithospheric Slabs: 25 Years of Progress. Introduction: Slabs and Mantle Convection. How Seismology Provides Information about Slabs. Earthquakes in Slabs. General Characterization of Slab and Wedge Structures: First-Order Slab Anomalies. Guided Waves. Wedge Structure. Thermal and Mechanical Models. Travel Time Pattern Constraints on Slab Velocity Structure:Relative Travel Time Patterns and Raytracing Analyses. Residual Sphere Modeling. Tomographical Imaging of Slab Velocity Structure. Northwest Pacific. Southwest Pacific. South America, Central America, and the Caribbean. Cascadia, Aleutians, and Alaska. Mediterranean and Hindu Kush. Slab Boundaries: Converted and Reflected Phases: Slab Seismicity and Double Benioff Zones. Constraints on Slab Boundaries and Internal Structure. Seismic Imaging of Phase Boundaries in Slabs. Focusing, Multipathing, and Diffraction Effects of Slab Structure: Short-Period Defocusing and Multipathing Effects. Long-Period Defocusing and Diffraction Effects. Future Directions in Slab Imaging. Summary. References. Subject Index.


No. of pages:
© Academic Press 1994
8th January 1997
Academic Press
Paperback ISBN:
eBook ISBN:

About the Author

Thorne Lay

Affiliations and Expertise

University of Santa Cruz, CA


"What Structure and Fate of Subducting Slabs does well is provide the most comprehensive summary available of the seismological literature on the structure of suducting slabs...This is a landmark work and the best review of its kind available. All geophysicists seriously interested in subduction and mantle processes should consider having a copy on their shelves." --CLIFF FROHLICH, Institute for Geophysics, University of Texas at Austin

"Thorne [Lay] keeps the book focused on the 'structure' of subducting slabs and gives a very complete summary of the studies until the early 1990's...I think it is an excellent review of progress to date...on the structure of subducted slabs." --DR. KEN CREAGER, University of Washington

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