Structural interpretation and physical property estimates based on COAST 2012 seismic reflection profiles offshore central Washington, Cascadia subduction zone
Friday, 19 December 2014
The Cascadia subduction zone has a history of large magnitude earthquakes, but a near-total lack of plate interface seismicity, making the updip limit of the seismogenic zone difficult to locate. In addition, the central Cascadia accretionary prism is characterized by an extremely low wedge taper angle, landward vergent initial thrusting, and a flat midslope terrace between the inner and outer wedges, unlike most other accretionary prisms (e.g. the Nankai Trough, Japan). The Cascadia Open Access Seismic Transect (COAST) lines were shot by R/V Marcus Langseth in July of 2012 off central Washington to image this subduction zone. Two trench-parallel and nine trench-perpendicular lines were collected. In this study, we present detailed seismic interpretation of both time- and depth-migrated stacked profiles, focused on elucidating the deposition and deformation of both pre- and syn-tectonic sediment in the trench and slope. Distribution and timing of sediments and their deformation is used to unravel the evolution of the wedge through time. Initially, interpretation of the time-sections is carried out to support the building of tomographic velocity models to aid in the pre-stack depth migration (PSDM) of selected lines. In turn, we use PSDM velocity models to estimate porosity and pore pressure conditions at the base of the wedge and across the basal plate interface décollement where possible, using established velocity-porosity transforms. Interpretation in this way incorporates both accurate structural relationships and robust porosity models to document wedge development and present-day stress state, in particular regions of potential overpressure. Results shed light on the origin and evolution of the mid-slope terrace and the low taper angle for the forearc wedge. This work may shed light ultimately on the position of the potential updip limit of the seismogenic zone beneath the wedge.