We predict pressure and stress from porosity in the Nankai accretionary prism with a critical state soil model that describes porosity as a function of mean stress and maximum shear stress, and assumes Coulomb failure within the wedge and uniaxial burial beneath it. At Ocean Drilling Program Sites 1174 and 808, we find that pore pressure in the prism supports 70% to 90% of the overburden (λu = 0.7 to 0.9), for a range of assumed friction angles (5–30°). The prism pore pressure is equal to or greater than that in the underthrust sediments even though the porosity is lower within the prism. The high pore pressures lead to a mechanically weak wedge that supports low maximum shear stress, and this in turn requires very low basal traction to remain consistent with the observed narrowly tapered wedge geometry. We estimate the décollement friction coefficient (μb) to be ~0.08–0.38 (ϕb ′ = 4.6°–21°). Our approach defines a pathway to predict pressure in a wide range of environments from readily observed quantities (e.g., porosity and seismic velocity). Pressure and stress control the form of the Earth's collisional continental margins and play a key role in its greatest earthquakes. However, heretofore, there has been no systematic approach to relate material state (e.g., porosity), pore pressure, and stress in these systems.
All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes
- Geochemistry and Petrology
- Earth and Planetary Sciences (miscellaneous)
- Space and Planetary Science