It is conventionally believed that magma generation beneath the volcanic arc is triggered by the infiltration of fluids or melts derived from the subducted slab. However, recently geochemical analyses argue the arc magma may be formed by mélange diapirs that are physically mixed by sediment, altered oceanic crust, fluids, and mantle above the subducted slab. Further numerical modeling predicts that the mantle wedge diapirs have significant seismic velocity anomalies, even though these have not been observed yet. Here we show that unambiguously later P-waves scattered from some obstacles in the mantle wedge are well recorded at a dense seismic array (Formosa Array) in northern Taiwan. It is the first detection of seismic scattering obstacles in the mantle wedge. Although the exact shape and size of the scattered obstacles are not well constrained by the arrival-times of the later P-waves, the first order approximation of several spheres with radius of ~ 1 km provides a plausible interpretation. Since these obstacles were located just beneath the magma reservoirs around depths between 60 and 95 km, we conclude they may be mantle wedge diapirs that are likely associated with magma generation beneath active volcanoes.
Lin, C. H., M. H. Shih and Y. C. Lai, (2021), Mantle wedge diapirs detected by a dense seismic array in Northern Taiwan, Scientific Reports 11(1)