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Findings from JFAST

During IODP Exp.343 JFAST in 2012, we recovered a portion of the plate boundary materials and revealed that the very low shear stress can be attributed to the abundance of weak clay (smectite) and thermal pressurization effects, which can facilitate fault slip. Analysis of borehole breakouts revealed that the stress state one year after the Tohoku-oki earthquake was in a normal faulting regime consistent with coseismic fault weakening and nearly total stress drop. Temperature data from the observatory recovered the frictional heat signature of the 2011 Tohoku-oki earthquake indicating low coseismic friction.

Goals of JTRACK

However, some questions still remain: 1) What are the dominant fault zone structures, rock physical properties, and deformation and healing properties that control slip? 2) What is the current stress state in the rocks surrounding the fault zone? 3) How does fluid flow contribute to the stress state and mechanical behavior of the d├ęcollement?

To answer these questions, IODP Exp.405 plans to undertake a complete transect of the frontal prism and decollement in the zone of large slip, and undeformed materials on the incoming plate, collecting core samples, LWD, and observatory data.

IODP Exp. 405 JTRACK
Characterize the geologic composition and structure of the frontal prism, d├ęcollement, and subducted oceanic crust to determine how these materials and structures control fault mechanics or reveal evidence of past earthquakes and deformation.

Characterize the stress state within and around the fault zone that experienced large coseismic slip during the 2011 Tohoku-oki earthquake.

Characterize the hydrogeology of the plate boundary fault zone and frontal prism.