Seismic study of the Ulleung Basin crust and its implications for the opening of the East Sea

탄성파 탐사를 통해 본 울릉분지의 지각특성과 동해형성에 있어서의 의미

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The Ulleung Basin (Tsushima Basin) in the southwestern East Sea (Japan Sea) is floored by a crust whose affinity is not known whether oceanic or thinned continental. This ambiguity resulted in unconstrained mechanisms of basin evolution. The present work attempts to define the nature of the crust of the Ulleung Basin and its tectonic evolution using seismic wide-angle reflection and refraction data recorded on ocean bottom seismometers (OBSs). Although the thickness of (10 km) of the crust is greater than typical oceanic crust, tau-p analysis of OBS data and forward modeling by 2-D ray tracing suggest that it is oceanic in character: (1) the crust consists of laterally consistent upper and lower layers that are typical of oceanic layers 2 and 3 in seismic velocity and gradient distribution and (2) layer 2C, the transition between layer 2 and layer 3 in oceanic crust, is manifested by a continuous velocity increase from 5.7 to 6.3 km/s over the thickness interval of about 1 km between the upper and lower layers. Therefore it is not likely that the Ulleung Basin was formed by the crustal extension of the southwestern Japan Arc where crustal structure is typically continental. Instead, the thickness of the crust and its velocity structure suggest that the Ulleung Basin was formed by seafloor spreading in a region of hotter than normal mantle surrounding a distant mantle plume, not directly above the core of the plume. It seems that the mantle plume was located in northeast China. This suggestion is consistent with geochemical data that indicate the influence of a mantle plume on the production of volcanic rocks in and around the Ulleung Basin. Thus we propose that the opening models of the southwestern East Sea should incorporate seafloor spreading and the influence of a mantle plume rather than the extension of the crust of the Japan Arc.


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