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Recent seismic reflection data across the Japan Trench show that frontal accretion involves offscraping sediments on top of horsts and scooping-up sediment from grabens. However, seismic profiling does not illuminate the structure within the accretionary prism, and thus the processes of accretion and prism growth are unknown. Key data from scientific drilling at Integrated Ocean Drilling Program Site C0019 that penetrated the prism in the region of large displacement during the 2011 Tohoku earthquake support a model in which frontal accretion occurs by imbricate thrusting, folding, and stacking of thrust sheets that are composed of semicoherent-sediment strata. Using palinspastic...

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