Paleostress analysis of a subduction zone megasplay fault - An example from the Nobeoka Thrust, Japan
Friday, 19 December 2014
The megasplay faults in subduction zones, branching from plate boundary thrusts, are thought to have a potential to generate earthquakes and accompany tsunamis. Paleo-splay faults exposed on land often preserve clear deformation features of the seismogenic zone and provide information on the fault mechanisms at depth. One of the important information that can be obtained from exhumed faults is paleo-stress field. Here we investigated the Nobeoka Thrust, a fossilized megasplay fault in the Shimanto Belt in Kyushu, which consists of phyllite and sandstone-shale mélanges that have experienced maximum burial temperatures of ~250 -320°C, [Kondo et al., 2005, Tectonics 24.6(2005)]. Kondo et al. (2005) described two orientations of slickensides from the outcrop, suggesting the existence of flexural gentle fold in kilometer scale. The paleo-stress fields preserved in the Nobeoka Thrust is likely to represent multiple stages occurring during burial and uplift, enabling the reconstruction of fault motions along the fault. In this study, we analyzed paleo-stress from slip vectors on small faults observed in the drilled cores of the Nobeoka Thrust obtained from scientific drilling performed in 2011. Small faults are expected to be less-reactivated and their population is much larger than that of large faults, providing high statistical reliability. Multiple inverse method [MIM; Yamaji, 2000, Journal of Structural Geology, 22, 441–452] was applied to the small faults. K-means clustering [Otsubo et al. , 2006, Journal of Structural Geology, 28, 991–997] was applied to stress tensors detected by the MIM for estimating optimal solutions. The results reveal stress solution of four directions existing throughout the drilled range. The stress solution is applied to faults distributed among different lithology, and therefore the paleo-stress is thought to have acted on the whole cores. By drawing the stress polygon from the direction of the stress solution and the stress rate, we estimate the stress state of the Nobeoka Thrust and discuss potential insights to the fault stress evolution of megasplay fault in a subduction zone.