Concentration of strain in a marginal rift zone of the Japan backarc during post-rift compression
Wednesday, 16 December 2015
Poster Hall (Moscone South)
Late Cenozoic deformation zones in Japan may be divided into two types: (1) arc-arc collision zones like those of Izu and the Hokkaido axial zone, and (2) reactivated back-arc marginal rift (BMR) systems. A BMR develops during a secondary rifting event that follows the opening of a back-arc basin. It forms close to the volcanic front and distant from the spreading center of the basin. In Japan, a BMR system developed along the Sea of Japan coast following the opening of the Japan Sea. The BMR appears to be the weakest, most deformable part of the arc back-arc system. When active rifting in the marginal basins ended, thermal subsidence, and then mechanical subsidence related to the onset of a compressional stress regime, allowed deposition of up to 5 km of post-rift, deep-marine to fluvial sedimentation. Continued compression produced fault-related folds in the post-rift sediments, in thin-skin style deformation. Shortening reached a maximum in the BMR system compared to other parts of the back-arc, suggesting that it is the weakest part of the entire system. We examined the structure of the BMR system using active source seismic investigation and earthquake tomography. The velocity structure beneath the marginal rift basin shows higher P-wave velocity in the upper mantle/lower crust which suggests significant mafic intrusion and thinning of the upper continental crust. The syn-rift mafic intrusive forms a convex shape, and the boundary between the pre-rift crust and the mafic intrusive dips outward. In the post-rift compressional stress regime, the boundary of the mafic body reactivated as a reverse fault, forming a large-scale wedge thrust and causing further subsidence of the rift basin. The driver of the intense shortening event along the Sea of Japan coast in SW Japan was the arrival of a buoyant young (15 Ma) Shikoku basin at the Nankai Trough. Subduction stalled and the backarc was compressed. As the buoyant basin cooled, subduction resumed, and the rate of shortening in the marginal rift decreased. The Izu collision zone provides another example of BMR deformation where a BMR zone that formed behind the Izu-Bonin arc was strongly deformed during collision, creating an asymmetric structure around the Izu-Bonin indenter. Localization of intense deformation in the BMR zone again suggests it is the weakest part of the system.