Double-sided subduction with contrasting polarities beneath the Pamir-Hindu Kush: Evidence from focal mechanism solutions and stress field inversion

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China University of Geosciences

The Pamir-Hindu Kush region at the western end of the Himalayan-Tibet orogen is one of the most active regions on the globe with strong seismicity and deformation and provides a window to evaluate conti-nental collision linked to two intra-continental subduction zones with different polarities. The seismicity and seismic tomography data show a steep northward subducting slab beneath the Hindu Kush and southward subducting slab under the Pamir. Here, we collect seismic catalogue with 3988 earthquake events to compute seismicity images and waveform data from 926 earthquake events to invert focal mechanism solutions and stress field with a view to characterize the subducting slabs under the Pamir-Hindu Kush region. Our results define two distinct seismic zones: a steep one beneath the Hindu Kush and a broad one beneath the Pamir. Deep and intermediate-depth earthquakes are mainly distributed in the Hindu Kush region which is controlled by thrust faulting, whereas the Pamir is domi-nated by strike-slip stress regime with shallow and intermediate-depth earthquakes. The area where the maximum principal stress axis is vertical in the southern Pamir corresponds to the location of a high-conductivity low-velocity region that contributes to the seismogenic processes in this region. We inter-pret the two distinct seismic zones to represent a double-sided subduction system where the Hindu Kush zone represents the northward subduction of the Indian plate, and the Pamir zone shows southward sub-duction of the Eurasian plate. A transition fault is inferred in the region between the Hindu Kush and the Pamir which regulates the opposing directions of motion of the Indian and Eurasian plates. ?? 2022 China University of Geosciences (Beijing) and Peking University. Production and hosting by Elsevier B.V. This is an open access article under the CC BY-NC-ND license ( licenses/by-nc-nd/4.0/).

Pamir-Hindu Kush, Seismicity, Stress field, Double-sided subduction, Low-velocity body