We investigated the effect on accretionary wedge structure of increased shear stress, which describes the frictional sliding resistance along a decollement arising from an increase in material friction or reduction in pore pressure. To clarify the nature of the effect, we performed numerical simulations using two models: a Stable Friction model and an Increased Friction model. The Stable Friction model produced a low-angle, smooth, surface slope and an in-sequence thrust, whereas the Increased Friction model produced a break in surface slope (scarp) and an out-of-sequence thrust (OST) that cuts through the thrust sheet. The OST formed via the connection of segments of two adjacent thrusts, and its formation resulted in a change in the thickening mode of the wedge from thrust-sheet rotation and back-thrust activity to underplating. This contrast in thickening mode between the landward high-friction zone and seaward low-friction zone resulted in the formation of a clear break in slope, as the landward zone is steeper than the seaward zone, consistent with critical taper theory. The subduction of a basement slice or seamount can produce similar structures arising from an increase in resistance to basal shear sliding. However the distinctive structures arising in an accretionary wedge as a result of increased shear sliding resistance include a flat basal plane and absence of slope-failure sediments beneath the OST. These structural features are observed in accretionary wedges of the Nankai Trough off Muroto (Japan), the Sunda Strait, and the Barbados Ridge.
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