Mapping Stress and Structure From Subducting Slab to Magmatic Rift: Crustal Seismic Anisotropy of the North Island, New Zealand

© 2019. American Geophysical Union. All Rights Reserved. We use crustal seismic anisotropy measurements in the North Island, New Zealand, to examine structures and stress within the Taupō Volcanic Zone, the Taranaki Volcanic Lineament, the subducting Hikurangi slab, and the Hikurangi forearc. Results in the Taranaki region are consistent with NW-SE oriented extension yet suggest that the Taranaki volcanic lineament may be controlled by a deep-rooted, inherited crustal structure. In the central Taupō Volcanic Zone anisotropy fast orientations are predominantly controlled by continental rifting. However at Taupō and Okataina volcanoes, fast orientations are highly variable and radial to the calderas suggesting the influence of magma reservoirs in the seismogenic crust (≤15 km depth). The subducting Hikurangi slab has a predominant trench-parallel fast orientation, reflecting the pervasive presence of plate-bending faults, yet changing orientations at depths ≥120 km beneath the central North Island may be relics from previous subduction configurations. Finally, results from the southern Hikurangi forearc show that the orientation of stresses there is consistent with those in the underlying subducting slab. In contrast, the northern Hikurangi forearc is pervasively fractured and is undergoing E-W compression, oblique to the stress field in the subducting slab. The north-south variation in fore-arc stress is likely related to differing subduction-interface coupling. Across the varying tectonic regimes of the North Island our study highlights that large-scale tectonic forces tend to dictate the orientation of stress and structures within the crust, although more localized features (plate coupling, magma reservoirs, and inherited crustal structures) can strongly influence surface magmatism and the crustal stress field.