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Mixed brittle and viscous strain localisation in pelagic sediments seaward of the Hikurangi margin, New Zealand

Leah, Harold, Fagereng, Åke ORCID:, Meneghini, Francesca, Morgan, Julia K., Savage, Heather M., Wang, Maomao, Bell, Rebecca E. and Ikari, Matt J. 2020. Mixed brittle and viscous strain localisation in pelagic sediments seaward of the Hikurangi margin, New Zealand. Tectonics 39 (8) , e2019TC005965. 10.1029/2019TC005965

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Calcareous‐pelagic input sediments are present at several subduction zones and deform differently to their siliciclastic counterparts. We investigate deformation in calcareous‐pelagic sediments drilled ~20 km seaward of the Hikurangi megathrust toe at Site U1520 during IODP Expeditions 372 and 375. Clusters of normal faults and subhorizontal stylolites in the sediments indicate both brittle faulting and viscous pressure solution operated at <850 m below sea floor. Stylolite frequency and vertical shortening estimated using stylolite mass loss, porosity change, and distribution increase with carbonate content. We then use U1520 borehole data to constrain a P‐T‐t history for the sediments, and apply an experimentally‐derived pressure solution model to compare with strains calculated from stylolites. Modelled strains fail to replicate stylolite‐hosted strain distribution or magnitude, but comparison shows porosity, composition, and grain‐scale effects in diffusivity and mass transfer pathway width likely exert a strong influence on pressure solution localisation and strain rate. Stylolite and fault clusters concentrate clay in these sediments, creating weak volumes of clay within carbonates, that may localise slip where the plate interface intersects the carbonates at <5 km depth. Plate interface slip character and rheology will be influenced by the deformation of intermixed phyllosilicates and calcite, occurring by variably‐stable frictional slip and pressure solution of calcite. Pressure solution of calcite is therefore important at the shallow plate interface, waning at the base of the slow‐slipping zone because calcite solubility is low at temperatures > 150°C where frictional (possibly seismic) slip likely predominates.

Item Type: Article
Date Type: Publication
Status: Published
Schools: Earth and Environmental Sciences
Publisher: American Geophysical Union (AGU) / Wiley
ISSN: 0278-7407
Funders: NERC
Date of First Compliant Deposit: 3 August 2020
Date of Acceptance: 12 July 2020
Last Modified: 05 May 2023 09:36

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