Distribution of stress state in the Nankai subduction zone, southwest Japan and a comparison with Japan Trench

Weiren Lin, Timothy B. Byrne, Masataka Kinoshita, Lisa C. McNeill, Chandong Chang, Jonathan C. Lewis, Yuzuru Yamamoto, Demian M. Saffer, J. Casey Moore, Hung Yu Wu, Takeshi Tsuji, Yasuhiro Yamada, Marianne Conin, Saneatsu Saito, Takatoshi Ito, Harold J. Tobin, Gaku Kimura, Kyuichi Kanagawa, Juichiro Ashi, Michael B. UnderwoodToshiya Kanamatsu

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

39 Scopus citations


To better understand the distribution of three dimensional stress states in the Nankai subduction zone, southwest Japan, we review various stress-related investigations carried out in the first and second stage expeditions of the Nankai Trough Seismogenic Zone Experiment (NanTroSEIZE) by the Integrated Ocean Drilling Program (IODP) and compile the stress data. Overall, the maximum principal stress σ1 in the shallower levels (<~1 km) is vertical from near the center of forearc basin to near the trench and; the maximum horizontal stress SHmax (interpreted to be the intermediate principal stress σ2) is generally parallel to the plate convergence vector. The exception to this generalization occurs along the shelf edge of the Nankai margin where SHmax is along strike rather than parallel to the plate convergence vector. Reorientation of the principal stresses at deeper levels (e.g., >~ 1 km below seafloor or in underlying accretionary prism) with σ1 becoming horizontal is also suggested at all deeper drilling sites. We also make a comparison of the stress state in the hanging wall of the frontal plate-interface between Site C0006 in the Nankai and Site C0019 in the Japan Trench subduction zone drilled after the 2011 Mw 9.0 Tohoku-Oki earthquake. In the Japan Trench, a comparison between stress state before and after the 2011 mega-earthquake shows that the stress changed from compression before the earthquake to extension after the earthquake. As a result of the comparison between the Nankai Trough and Japan Trench, a similar current stress state with trench parallel extension was recognized at both C0006 and C0019 sites. Hypothetically, this may indicate that in Nankai Trough it is still in an early stage of the interseismic cycle of a great earthquake which occurs on the décollement and propagates to the toe (around site C0006).

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)120-130
Number of pages11
StatePublished - Dec 5 2016

All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

  • Geophysics
  • Earth-Surface Processes


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