A two-way interaction between the Hainan plume and the Manila subduction zone

Catherine Anne Marie Dominique Meriaux, Joao Casal Duarte, Wouter Pieter Schellart, Anne-Sophie Meriaux

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The interaction between mantle plumes and subducting slabs is well accepted, but the influence of slabs on plumes has more often been portrayed than the reverse. Here we present three-dimensional upper mantle laboratory models in which a compositional plume rises underneath a subducting plate. Slab/plume buoyancy flux ratios ranged between 7 and 18. The models exhibit a two-way interaction. While the plume conduit increasingly tilts away from the trench as a result of slab rollback-induced toroidal mantle flow, the slab subduction rate decreases as a function of the amount of plume buoyancy opposing that of the slab, which gets subducted beneath the slab. We propose that our models apply to the Hainan/Manila system and explain the recently imaged tilt of the Hainan plume by the Manila slab-induced mantle return flow. The Hainan plume could lessen the Manila subduction rate from 8Ma into the future.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)5796-5802
Number of pages7
JournalGeophysical Research Letters
Issue number14
Publication statusPublished - 2015


  • analogue modeling
  • mantle plumes
  • subduction

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