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Analyses of consolidation state, fabrics and physical properties were conducted on rock samples from the Plio-Pleistocene Boso forearc basin, central Japan. Consolidation tests identified that the trend in consolidation yield stress was systematically 8 MPa smaller than expected for the overburden from the sediment thickness of the Kazusa Group. An excess fluid pressure interval was also identified in the lower part of the basin fill, where several large-scale (several kilometres in length and several tens of metres thick) mass-transport deposits (MTDs) are intercalated. This interval is characterized by high porosity and small consolidation yield stresses, indicating that consolidation had been retarded by the excess fluid pressure. The estimated excess fluid pressure was c. 5–7 MPa. In addition, outcrop-scale fluidization and minor liquefaction features were identified within and below the high fluid pressure interval. The excess fluid pressure reduced the effective stress in the Boso forearc basin and, subsequently, the stability of the slope, allowing small tectonic events to generate submarine landslides. Therefore, the formation of these large-scale MTDs was probably related to the excess fluid-pressure generation.

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