Anomalously high porosity in subduction inputs to the Nankai Trough (SW Japan) potentially caused by volcanic ash and pumice

Author(s): Huepers, A.; Ikari, M.; Underwood, M.; Kopf, A.
Author Affiliation(s): Primary:
Center for Marine Environmental Research, Bremen, Germany
University of Missouri-Columbia, United States
Volume Title: AGU 2013 fall meeting
Source: American Geophysical Union Fall Meeting, Vol.2013; American Geophysical Union 2013 fall meeting, San Francisco, CA, Dec. 9-13, 2013. Publisher: American Geophysical Union, Washington, DC, United States
Note: In English
Summary: At convergent margins, the sedimentary section seaward of the trench on the subducting oceanic lithosphere provides the source material for accretionary prisms and eventually becomes the host rock of the plate boundary megathrust. The mechanical properties of the sediments seaward of the subduction zone have therefore a first order control on subduction zone forearc mechanics and hydrogeology. At the Nankai Trough (SW Japan) the majority of sediment approaching the subduction zone is clay-rich. Scientific drilling expeditions in the framework of the Ocean Drilling Program (ODP) and the Integrated Ocean Drilling Program (IODP) have revealed an anomalous zone of high porosity in a major lithologic unit known as the Upper Shikoku Basin facies (USB), which is associated with elevated volcanic ash content and high amounts of silica in the interstitial water. The existence of the high porosity zone has previously been associated with advanced silica cementation, driven by the dual diagenetic transition of opal-A to opal-CT, and opal-CT to quartz. However, temperature estimates from recent drilling expeditions offshore the Kii peninsula reveal different in situ temperatures at the proposed diagenetic boundary in the Shikoku Basin. Furthermore, laboratory measurements using core samples from the USB show that cohesive strength is not elevated in the high porosity zone, suggesting that a process other than cementation may be responsible. The USB sediment is characterized by abundant volcanic ash and pumice, therefore the high porosity zone in the USB may be closely linked to the mechanical behavior of this phase. We conducted consolidation tests in the range 0.1 to 8 MPa effective vertical stress on artificial ash-smectite and pumice-smectite mixtures, as well as intact and remolded natural samples from the IODP Sites C0011 and C0012 to investigate the role of the volcanic constituent on porosity loss with progressive burial. Our results show that both remolded and intact natural samples have high porosities of up to ∼71 to 75% at a vertical effective stress of 0.1 MPa, which decreases to 39 to 49% at 8 MPa vertical effective stress. The behavior of the remolded samples is in good accordance with compiled in-situ porosity vs. depth profiles from the high porosity zone. This suggests that cementation is not the cause for the anomalously high porosity. The consolidation tests on the artificial samples document that pure ash and pumice samples are highly resistant to consolidation. Between 0.1 to 8 MPa vertical effective stress, the porosity decreases from 51 to 47% for the ash sample and 60% to 46% for the pumice sample. The higher initial porosity in the pumice may be explained by a porous internal grain structure that allows storage of additional water. Mixtures with smectite are characterized by higher compressibility and higher porosity. For a mixture of 80% smectite and 20% pumice the porosity decreases from 65% to 39%, similar to that of the natural samples. Our results suggest that the high porosity zone is caused by the bulk mechanical behavior of pumice in the USB.
Year of Publication: 2013
Research Program: IODP Integrated Ocean Drilling Program
Key Words: 07 Marine Geology and Oceanography; IODP Site C0011; IODP Site C0012; Integrated Ocean Drilling Program; Marine sediments; NanTroSEIZE; Nankai Trough; North Pacific; Northwest Pacific; Pacific Ocean; Porosity; Sediments; Shikoku Basin; Subduction zones; West Pacific
Coordinates: N324453 N324453 E1365501 E1365501
N324944 N324945 E1365256 E1365254
Record ID: 2015031171
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