Eighty-six new acoustic survey lines along and across the Japan Trench revealed active sediment creep deformation on a deep-sea terrace at water depths of 400–1200 m in an area of arcuate-shaped depressions that are probably associated with tectonic erosion. The most active region of creep is located on the top at the surface of the depression south of 38° N. The area of creep deformation is characterized by arcuate-shaped topographic lineaments with active folds and active normal faults stepping down trenchward. In contrast to the southern region, normal faults at the top of the depression north of 38° N cut a sedimentary sequence (Unit 1) that is acoustically transparent with continuous weak reflectors, and this is covered by the undeformed layered sediment sequence of Unit 2. Unit 2 corresponds to the period of rising sea level that extended from the latest Pleistocene to the early Holocene (14–6 ka). Thus, creep is ongoing at the top of the depression south of 38° N in the surface layer, whereas it stopped north of the depression between 14 and 6 ka. These observations might indicate that the active region jumped from north to south due to probably retrogressive sliding.

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