Stress-driven fluid flow controls long-term megathrust strength and deep accretionary dynamics
- Journal Article
Rights / licenseCreative Commons Attribution 4.0 International
The heterogeneity of frictional strength along the megathrust earthquake zone critically controls plate coupling and long-term subduction dynamics. However, the persistence and distribution of high-friction segments through space and time remain poorly constrained. Here, we show that accretion processes, such as tectonic underplating (i.e., basal accretion of material below the fore-arc region), can be used as a proxy to characterize the long-term frictional zonation of the subduction interface. We carry out numerical thermo-mechanical experiments, which predict a first-order control of tectonic-stress variations on fluid transport in deep fore-arc regions. Accordingly, positive feedback between fluid distribution and effective stress favours the stability of the interface frictional properties at Myr-scale which, in turn, controls the deep accretionary dynamics. We propose that the recognition of thick duplex structures resulting from successive underplating events over tens of Myr, allows for tracking subduction segments exhibiting an increasing frictional behaviour. Our numerical results help ascertain the long-term hydro-mechanical properties and distribution of coupling/decoupling segments of megathrust earthquake zones worldwide where active tectonic underplating is recognized. Show more
Journal / seriesScientific Reports
Pages / Article No.
PublisherNature Publishing Group
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