Splay fault branching from the Hikurangi subduction shear zone: Implications for slow slip and fluid flow
Prestack depth migration data across the Hikurangi margin, East Coast of the North Island, New Zealand, are used to derive subducting slab geometry, upper crustal structure, and seismic velocities resolved to ∼14 km depth. We investigate the potential relationship between the crustal architecture, fluid migration, and short-term geodetically determined slow slip events. The subduction interface is a shallow dipping thrust at <7 km depth near the trench and steps down to 14 km depth along an ∼18 km long ramp, beneath Porangahau Ridge. This apparent step in the décollement is associated with splay fault branching and coincides with a zone of maximum slip (90 mm) inferred on the subduction interface during slow slip events in June and July 2011. A low-velocity zone beneath the plate interface, updip of the plate interface ramp, is interpreted as fluid-rich overpressured sediments capped with a low permeability condensed layer of chalk and interbedded mudstones. Fluid-rich sediments have been imbricated by splay faults in a region that coincides with the step down in the décollement from the top of subducting sediments to the oceanic crust and contribute to spatial variation in frictional properties of the plate interface that may promote slow slip behavior in the region. Further, transient fluid migration along splay faults at Porangahau Ridge may signify stress changes during slow slip.
Source: doi: 10.1002/2016GC006563