We mapped the amplitude of the Nankai Trough subduction thrust seismic reflection from the trench into the seismogenic zone with three-dimensional seismic reflection data. The décollement thrust forms within the lithologically homogeneous Lower Shikoku Basin facies along an initially nonreflective interface. The reflection develops from a porosity contrast between accreted and underthrust sedimentary material because of accretionary wedge consolidation and rapid loading and delayed consolidation of the underthrust section. A décollement-amplitude map shows a significant decline from high amplitudes at the trench to barely detectable levels 25–30 km landward. Three other observations coincide with the amplitude decline: (1) the décollement initially steps down to deeper stratigraphic levels, (2) the wedge taper increases dramatically, and (3) the thrust becomes seismogenic. The amplitude decline and the coincident décollement and accretionary- wedge tectonic and seismogenic behavior are attributed to the loss of fluids and potentially loss of excess fluid pressures downdip along the subduction thrust.

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