Geology of the Yap Trench: new observations from a transect near 10°N from manned submersible Jiaolong

<p>This paper describes the petrology and geochemistry of rocks from the Yap Trench acquired by three dives of the Jiaolong research submarine. Combining the geophysical data and submersible observations, this paper describes the geomorphology, shallow structures, and sedimentology of the Yap Trench and further discusses the tectonics and activities of this region. Two obvious slope breaks are found on the landward slope, and horsts and grabens with small fault offsets are observed in the ocean-ward slope of the trench. Peridotites sampled from the Yap Trench inner wall are highly depleted subduction-related mantle residues. Volcanic rocks in the northern segment of the trench have subduction-related characteristics that Yap fore-arc rocks underwent metasomatism during Cenozoic subduction. The rocks with remarkable lithologic difference from lithospheric mantle and upper crust sampled in the break slopes suggest that the slope break area may represent a lithologic boundary or transition zone. The landward slope of the Yap Trench was removed by subduction erosion as a result of collision with the Caroline Ridge. The bending of the down-going plate caused normal faults, horsts, and grabens with little or no sediments indicating that the Caroline Ridge is subducting beneath the Yap arc along the trench even though the convergence rate is very slow.</p>