Upper and middle crustal deformation of an arc - Arc collision across Hokkaido, Japan, inferred from seismic refraction/wide-angle reflection experiments

Takaya Iwasaki, Keiji Adachi, Takeo Moriya, Hiroki Miyamachi, Takeshi Matsushima, Kaoru Miyashita, Testsuya Takeda, Takaaki Taira, Tomoaki Yamada, Kazuo Ohtake

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The Hidaka Collision Zone (HCZ), central Hokkaido, Japan, is a good target for studies of crustal evolution and deformation processes associated with an arc-arc collision. The collision of the Kuril Arc (KA) with the Northeast Japan Arc (NJA), which started in the middle Miocene, is considered to be a controlling factor for the formation of the Hidaka Mountains, the westward obduction of middle/lower crustal rocks of the KA (the Hidaka Metamorphic Belt (HMB)) and the development of the foreland fold-and-thrust belt on the NJA side. The "Hokkaido Transect" project undertaken from 1998 to 2000 was a multidisciplinary effort intended to reveal structural heterogeneity across this collision zone by integrated geophysical/geological research including seismic refraction/reflection surveys and earthquake observations. An E-W trending 227 km-long refraction/wide-angle reflection profile found a complicated structural variation from the KA to the NJA across the HCZ. In the east of the HCZ, the hinterland region is covered with 4-4.5 km thick highly undulated Neogene sedimentary layers, beneath which two eastward dipping reflectors were imaged in a depth range of 10-25 km, probably representing the layer boundaries of the obducting middle/lower crust of the KA. The HMB crops out on the westward extension of these reflectors with relatively high Vp (>6.0 km/s) and Vp/Vs (>1.80) consistent with middle/lower crustal rocks. Beneath these reflectors, more flat and westward dipping reflector sequences are situated at the 25-27 km depth, forming a wedge-like geometry. This distribution pattern indicates that the KA crust has been delaminated into more than two segments under our profile. In the western part of the transect, the structure of the fold-and-thrust belt is characterized by a very thick (5-8 km) sedimentary package with a velocity of 2.5-4.8 km/s. This package exhibits one or two velocity reversals in Paleogene sedimentary layers, probably formed by imbrication associated with the collision process. From the horizontal distribution of these velocity reversals and other geophysical/geological data, the rate of crustal shortening in this area is estimated to be greater than 3-4 mm/year, which corresponds to 40-50% of the total convergence rate between the NJA and the Eurasian Plate. This means that the fold-and-thrust belt west of the HCZ is absorbing a large amount of crustal deformation associated with plate interaction across Hokkaido Island.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)59-73
Number of pages15
Issue number1-4 SPEC. ISS.
Publication statusPublished - Sept 13 2004

All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

  • Geophysics
  • Earth-Surface Processes


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