The Lesser Antilles subduction zone is an extreme case of the subduction of old (~ 90 m.y.) lithosphere at a slow (~ 2 cm/y) convergence rate. Focal mechanisms of the largest earthquakes in the area have been obtained using body and surface wave data. During the time period (1950-1978) studied the subduction seismicity appears to represent primarily intraplate rather than interplate deformation. All three large (magnitude seven) earthquakes were from intraplate normal faults; no large thrust faulting earthquakes and few small ones occurred. These observations suggest that the plate boundary is largely decoupled, that subduction is at least partially aseismic, and that the downgoing slab is in a state of extension.
ASJC Scopus subject areas
- Earth-Surface Processes