Deformation of the Northwestern Okhotsk Plate: How is it happening?
- 1Albert-Ludwigs-Universität Freiburg, Geologisches Institut, Albertstr. 23b, 79104, Freiburg i. Br., Germany
- 2Dept. Geol. Sci., Michigan State University, East Lansing, MI 48824-1115, USA
Abstract. The Eurasia (EU) – North America (NA) plate boundary zone across Northeast Asia still presents many open questions within the plate tectonic paradigm. Constraining the geometry and number of plates or microplates present in the plate boundary zone is especially difficult because of the location of the EU-NA euler pole close to or even upon the EU-NA boundary. One of the major challenges remains the geometry of the Okhotsk plate (OK). whose northwestern portion terminates on the EU-OK-NA triple junction and is thus caught and compressed between converging EU and NA. We suggest that this leads to a coherent and understandable large scale deformation pattern of mostly northwest-southeast trending strike-slip faults which split Northwest OK into several extruding slivers. When the fault geometry is analysed together with space geodetic and focal mechanism data it suggests a central block which is extruding faster bordered east and west by progressively slower extruding blocks until the OK plate boundary faults are encountered. Taking into account elastic loading from both the intra-OK faults and the OK-Pacific (PA) boundary reconciles geodetic motions with geologic slip rates on at least the OK-NA boundary which corresponds to the Ulakhan fault.