Doo, W.-B., H. Kuo-Chen, D. Brown, C.-L. Lo, S.-K. Hsu, and Y.-S. Huang (2016), Serpentinization of the fore-arc mantle along the Taiwan arc-continent collision of the northern Manila subduction zone inferred from gravity modeling, Tectonophysics, 691, Part B, 282-289, doi: http://dx.doi.org/10.1016/j.tecto.2016.10.019.
Serpentinized peridotite in the fore-arc has been observed in a number of subduction zones, including the northern Manila subduction zone which terminates northward in the Taiwan arc-continent collision. How this zone of serpentinization changes northward from the subduction of thinned continental lithosphere to full arc-continent collision in the Taiwan orogeny is not well known. In this paper we present 2-D gravity modeling along three P-wave (Vp) transects across the Taiwan orogeny. Two of these transects were collected with ocean-bottom seismometers. These two transects provide good constraints on the velocity structure to the west of, and on land, southern Taiwan. Conversion of Vp to density in this area allows us to model the gravity anomaly with very little misfit. Along the subduction zone, however, the velocity models are poorly constrained in the upper mantle, where an anomalous density unit has to be used in order to model the short wavelength gravity anomaly in this area. A third transect across central Taiwan that is derived from the TAIGER local tomography data, provides good control on the crust and upper mantle Vp structure that we use to place provide density constraints for modeling the gravity anomaly in this part of the collision zone. In order to model the short wavelength gravity anomaly across the Longitudinal Valley and the southern Longitudinal trough, an anomalous density block is required beneath the fore-arc region. We interpret that the source of this anomalous density material could be serpentinized fore-arc mantle, similar to what is interpreted for the northern Manila subduction zone farther south. Water released from the subduction of the extended crust of the continental margin results in the serpentinization of the fore-arc area and may be driving the uplifting of the high-pressure rocks.