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Localized fluid discharge by tensile cracking during the post-seismic period in subduction zones

August 3, 2020

It is thought that extensional structures (extensional cracks and normal faults) generated during the post-seismic period create fluid pathways that enhance the drainage of the subducting plate interface, thus reducing the pore pressure and increasing fault strength. However, it remains to be elucidated how much pore fluid pressure decreases by the extension crack formation. Here we examined i) the pore fluid pressure decrease, and ii) the degree fault strength recovery by the extension crack formation during the post-seismic period by analyzing extension quartz veins exposed around the Nobeoka Thrust, southwestern Japan. The Nobeoka Trust is an on-land analog of the modern splay fault at shallow depths (~8 km) in the Nankai Trough. The poro-elastic model of extensional quartz vein formation indicates that the formation of extensional cracks only releases up to ~7–8% of the total pore fluid pressure at ~8 km depth. The pore pressure around the Nobeoka Thrust was close to lithostatic pressure during the entire seismic cycle. The estimated effective frictional coefficient along the Nobeoka Thrust after this small fluid-loss by the extensional crack formation does not exceed 0.15. Hence, the pore fluid pressure reduction due to the post-seismic extensional cracks contributes little to increase the fault strength of the megasplay fault.

Publication Year 2020
Title Localized fluid discharge by tensile cracking during the post-seismic period in subduction zones
DOI 10.1038/s41598-020-68418-z
Authors Makoto Otsubo, Jeanne L. Hardebeck, Ayumu Miyakawa, Asuka Yamaguchi, Gaku Kimura
Publication Type Article
Publication Subtype Journal Article
Series Title Scientific Reports
Index ID 70211864
Record Source USGS Publications Warehouse
USGS Organization Earthquake Science Center