Effective stress and pore pressure in the Nankai accretionary prism off the Muroto Peninsula, southwestern Japan

Takeshi Tsuji, Hidekazu Tokuyama, Patrizia Costa Pisani, Gregory Moore

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76 Citations (Scopus)


We developed a theoretical method for predicting effective stress and pore pressure based on rock physics model. We applied the method to reveal the pore pressure distribution within the Nankai accretionary prism off southwestern Japan and to investigate variations in pore pressure associated with evolution of the plate boundary décollement. From the crack aspect ratio spectrum estimated from laboratory and well-log data, we calculated a theoretical relationship between acoustic velocity and mean effective stress by using differential effective medium theory. By iteratively fitting the theoretically calculated velocity to the seismic velocities derived from 3D tomographic inversion, we estimated in situ mean effective stress within the accretionary prism. Pore pressure is then the difference between the effective stress and the confining stress. When we calculated pore pressure, we considered compressive state of stress in the accretionary prism. Our results confirm that pore fluid pressure is high within the subducting sedimentary sequence below the décollement; we determined a normalized pore pressure ratio (λ*) of 0.4-0.7. Abnormal pore pressures develop in the underthrust. sequence as a result of the increase in overburden load because of the thickened overlying prism and a low permeability barrier across the décollement. Overpressuring within the accreted sequence is initiated at the deformation front and proceeds landward. The increase in horizontal compaction within the accreted sequence may raise pore pressures within the accreted sequence, and the pore pressure (mean effective stress) contrast at the décollement becomes smaller landward of the deformation front.

Original languageEnglish
Article numberB11401
JournalJournal of Geophysical Research: Solid Earth
Issue number11
Publication statusPublished - Nov 4 2008
Externally publishedYes

All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

  • Geophysics
  • Geochemistry and Petrology
  • Earth and Planetary Sciences (miscellaneous)
  • Space and Planetary Science


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