Seismic slip propagation to the updip end of plate boundary subduction interface faults: Vitrinite reflectance geothermometry on Integrated Ocean Drilling Program NanTro SEIZE cores
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Seismic faulting along subduction-type plate boundaries plays a fundamental role in tsunami genesis. During the Integrated Ocean Drilling Program (IODP) Nankai Trough Seismogenic Zone Experiment (NanTro SEIZE) Stage 1, the updip ends of plate boundary subduction faults were drilled and cored in the Nankai Trough (offshore Japan), where repeated large earthquakes and tsunamis have occurred, including the A.D. 1944 Tonankai (Mw = 8.1) earthquake. Samples were obtained from the frontal thrust, which connects the deep plate boundary to the seafloor at the toe of the accretionary wedge, and from a megasplay fault that branches from the plate boundary dcollement. The toe of the accretionary wedge has classically been considered aseismic, but vitrinite reflectance geothermometry reveals that the two examined fault zones underwent localized temperatures of more than 380 C. This suggests that frictional heating occurred along these two fault zones, and implies that coseismic slip must have propagated at least one time to the updip end of the megasplay fault and to the toe of the accretionary wedge. 2011 Geological Society of America.