The Impact of a Very Weak and Thin Upper Asthenosphere on Subduction Motions

R. Carluccio, B. Kaus, F. A. Capitanio, L. N. Moresi

Research output: Contribution to journalArticleResearchpeer-review

2 Citations (Scopus)


Recent geophysical observations report the presence of a very weak and thin upper asthenosphere underneath subducting oceanic plates at convergent margins. Along these margins, trench migrations are significantly slower than plate convergence rates. We use numerical models to assess the role of a weak upper asthenospheric layer on plate and trench motions. We show that the presence of this layer alone can enhance an advancing trend for the motion of the plate and hamper trench retreat. This mechanism provides a novel and alternative explanation for the slow rates of trench migration and fast-moving plates observed globally at natural subduction zones.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)11893-11905
Number of pages13
JournalGeophysical Research Letters
Issue number21
Publication statusPublished - 16 Nov 2019


  • asthenosphere
  • numerical modeling
  • oceanic lithosphere
  • plate motion
  • subduction zone processes

Cite this