Evidence for mass transport deposits at the IODP JFAST-site in the Japan trench

Hiske G. Fink, Michael Strasser, Miriam Römer, Martin Kölling, Ken Ikehara, Toshiya Kanamatsu, Dominik Dinten, Arata Kioka, Toshiya Fujiwara, Kiichiro Kawamura, Shuichi Kodaira, Gerold Wefer

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1 Citation (Scopus)


Several studies indicate that the 2011 Tohoku-Oki earthquake (Mw 9.0) off the Pacific coast of Japan has induced slip to the trench and triggered landslides in the Japan Trench. In order to better understand these processes, detailed mapping and shallow-coring landslides at the trench as well as Integrated Ocean Drilling Program (IODP) deep drilling to recover the plate boundary décollement (Japan Trench Fast Earthquake Drilling Project, JFAST) have been conducted. In this study we report sediment core data from the rapid response R/V SONNE cruise (SO219A) to the Japan Trench, evidencing a Mass Transport Deposit (MTD) in the uppermost section later drilled at this JFAST-site during IODP Expedition 343. A 8.7 m long gravity core (GeoB16423-1) recovered from ∼7,000 m water depth reveals a 8 m sequence of semi-consolidated mud clast breccias embedded in a distorted chaotic sediment matrix. The MTD is covered by a thin veneer of 50 cm hemipelagic, bioturbated diatomaceous mud. This stratigraphic boundary can be clearly distinguished by using physical properties data from Multi Sensor Core Logging and from fall-cone penetrometer shear strength measurements. The geochemical analysis of the pore-water shows undisturbed linear profiles measured from the seafloor downcore across the stratigraphic contact between overlying younger background-sediment and MTD below. This indicates that the investigated section has not been affected by a recent sediment destabilization in the course of the giant Tohoku-Oki earthquake event. Instead, we report an older landslide which occurred between 700 and 10,000 years ago, implying that submarine mass movements are dominant processes along the Japan Trench. However, they occur on local sites and not during each megathrust earthquake.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)33-43
Number of pages11
JournalAdvances in Natural and Technological Hazards Research
Publication statusPublished - 2014
Externally publishedYes

All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

  • Global and Planetary Change
  • Geography, Planning and Development
  • Economic Geology
  • Computers in Earth Sciences
  • Management, Monitoring, Policy and Law


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