Stratigraphic Signatures of Forearc Basin Formation Mechanisms

Wednesday, 17 December 2014
Utsav Mannu1, Kosuke Ueda2, Taras Gerya1, Sean Willett1 and Michael Strasser1, (1)ETH Swiss Federal Institute of Technology Zurich, Zurich, Switzerland, (2)ETH Zurich, Z├╝rich, Switzerland
Forearc basins are loci of active sedimentation above the landward portion of accretionary prisms. Although these basins typically remain separated from the frontal prism by a forearc high, their evolution has a significant impact on the structure and deformation of the entire wedge. Formation of forearc basins has been proposed as a consequence of changes in wedge stability due to an increase of slab dip in subduction zones. Another hypothesis attributes this to higher hinterland sedimentation, which causes the rear of the wedge to stabilize and eventually develop a forearc basin. Basin stratigraphic architecture, revealed by high-resolution reflection seismic data and borehole data allows interpretation of structural development of the accretionary prism and associated basins with the goal of determining the underlying driving mechanism(s) of basin formation.

In this study we supplement data interpretation with thermo-mechanical numerical models including high-resolution isochronal surface tracking to visualize the developing stratigraphy of basins that develop in subduction zone and wedge dynamic models. We use a dynamic 2D thermo mechanical model incorporating surface processes, strain weakening and sediment subduction. The model is a modification of I2VIS model, which is based on conservative, fully staggered finite differences and a non-diffusive marker- in-cell technique capable of modelling mantle convection. In the model different driving mechanisms for basin formation can be explored. Stratigraphic simulations obtained by isochronal surface tracking are compared to reflection pattern and stratigraphy of seismic and borehole data, respectively. Initial results from a model roughly representing the Nankai Trough Subduction Zone offshore Japan are compared to available seismic and Integrated Ocean Drilling (IODP) data. A calibrated model predicting forearc basin stratigraphy will be used to discern the underlying process of basins formation and wedge dynamics.