We investigated the effect on accretionary wedge structure of increased shear stress, which describes the frictional sliding resistance along a decollement arising from an increase in material friction or reduction in pore pressure. To clarify the nature of the effect, we performed numerical simulations using two models: a Stable Friction model and an Increased Friction model. The Stable Friction model produced a low-angle, smooth, surface slope and an in-sequence thrust, whereas the Increased Friction model produced a break in surface slope (scarp) and an out-of-sequence thrust (OST) that cuts through the thrust sheet. The OST formed via the connection of segments of two adjacent thrusts, and its formation resulted in a change in the thickening mode of the wedge from thrust-sheet rotation and back-thrust activity to underplating. This contrast in thickening mode between the landward high-friction zone and seaward low-friction zone resulted in the formation of a clear break in slope, as the landward zone is steeper than the seaward zone, consistent with critical taper theory. The subduction of a basement slice or seamount can produce similar structures arising from an increase in resistance to basal shear sliding. However the distinctive structures arising in an accretionary wedge as a result of increased shear sliding resistance include a flat basal plane and absence of slope-failure sediments beneath the OST. These structural features are observed in accretionary wedges of the Nankai Trough off Muroto (Japan), the Sunda Strait, and the Barbados Ridge.
All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes
- Earth-Surface Processes