Analogue and numerical modelling of accretionary prisms with a décollement in sediments
Yasuhiro Yamada, Kei Baba, Toshifumi Matsuoka, 2006. "Analogue and numerical modelling of accretionary prisms with a décollement in sediments", Analogue and Numerical Modelling of Crustal-Scale Processes, S. J. H. Buiter, G. Schreurs
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Active accretionary prisms at subduction margins generally include a horizontal detachment, décollement, within the sedimentary pile. The décollement, and its extension to undeformed regions (i.e., proto-décollement), corresponds to a layer of high fluid pressure. The deformation of the prisms, including such an anomalous layer, can be modelled and examined using analogue experiments and numerical simulations. Both these methods approximate the material under deformation as an assembly of partides (grains). The décollement layer is found to be best modelled by intercalating a layer with smaller internal frictional coefficient than the surrounding materials corresponding to the sediments. Our analogue experiments with dry sand and microglass beads reproduce structural geometry similar to that of interpreted seismic profiles at the toe of the prisms. Thrust faults originate from the horizontal beads layer and propagate upward with a constant angle of about 30°. Each of the fault bends produces a series of minor back thrusts. A particle image velocimetry (PIV) analysis revealed that the fault activity is characterized by intermittent reactivation and segmentation. The numerical simulations based on the distinct element method (DEM) were performed with similar kinematic settings and material properties as the analogue experiments. The numerical simulation results not only reproduce similar geometries as in the analogue experiments, but also show that the particle assembly experiences temporai variations in the deformation velocity and stress field as deformation propagates. This might be related to stick-slip motion of the frictional fault surfaces, which is a common feature of faulting during accretionary processes at subduction margins.
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The crust of the Earth records the deformational processes of the inner Earth and the influence of the overlying atmosphere. The state of the Earth’s crust at any time is therefore the result of internal and external processes, which occur on different time and spatial scales. In recent years important steps forward in the understanding of such complex processes have been made by integrating theory and observations with experimental and computer models. This volume presents state-of-the-art analogue and numerical models of processes that alter the Earth’s crust. It shows the application of models in a broad range of geological problems with careful documentation of the modelling approach used. This volume contains contributions on analogue and numerical sandbox models, models of orogenic processes, models of sedimentary basins, models of surface processes and deformation, and models of faults and fluid flow.