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.
- analogue modeling
- mantle plumes