VP/VS ratio and shear-wave splitting in the Nankai Trough seismogenic zone: Insights into effective stress, pore pressure, and sediment consolidation

Takeshi Tsuji, Jack Dvorkin, Gary Mavko, Norimitsu Nakata, Toshifumi Matsuoka, Ayako Nakanishi, Shuichi Kodaira, Osamu Nishizawa

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56 Citations (Scopus)


To estimate variation of stress state and sediment consolidation in the Nankai plate subduction zone off southwest Japan, we measured the P-wave to S-wave velocity ratio (VP/VS) and S-wave splitting along the seismic line extending from the trench to the seismogenic zone. For this purpose, we used active-source seismic data recorded by multicomponent ocean bottom seismometers (OBS). Because it is difficult to identify the PS-converted reflection waveforms for each of the geological boundaries in this deep offshore region, we focused on the more easily identified PPS-refracted waveforms that register the conversion of the up-going P-waves to S-waves at the igneous crust surface. We estimated the average VP/VS ratio within the sedimentary section by using the time lag between the P-refracted waves and PPS-converted waves. This VP/VS ratio changes abruptly at the trough axis (i.e., the deformation front of the accretionary prism) arguably because of compaction associated with the accretion process. We observed relatively high VP/VS around the seismogenic megasplay fault, which may partially indicate the abnormal pore pressure and intensive fractures associated with the fault. To estimate the stress-induced fracture orientation and stress magnitude, we computed the fast S-wave polarization direction and estimated S-wave velocity anisotropy by applying the crosscorrelation method to the PPS-converted waves. To improve signal-to-noise ratio of the waveform for S-wave splitting analysis, we stacked PPS-converted waveforms on receiver gather. These anisotropic characteristics change at the seismogenic megasplay fault: the fast polarization direction is nearly parallel to the subduction direction seaward of the megasplay fault and is perpendicular to the subduction direction landward of the megasplay fault. This velocity anisotropy is especially strong around the megasplay fault. These results imply that the preferred fracture orientation, as well as the principal stress orientation, is oblique to the direction of plate subduction near the megasplay fault.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)WA71-WA82
Issue number3
Publication statusPublished - May 2011
Externally publishedYes

All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

  • Geochemistry and Petrology
  • Geophysics


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