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Keywords:

  • Nankai Trough;
  • submarine mass movements;
  • submarine landslides;
  • IODP;
  • 3-D seismic;
  • tectonostratigraphic evolution

Multiple lines of evidence exist for a range of sediment mass movement processes within the shallow megasplay fault zone (MSFZ) area and the adjacent slope basin in the outer fore arc of the Nankai subduction zone, Japan. Diagnostic features observed in three-dimensional reflection seismic data and in cores of the Integrated Ocean Drilling Program (IODP) document a multifarious mass movement history spanning ∼2.87 million years. Various modes and scales of sediment remobilization can be related to the different morphotectonic settings in which they occurred. From this evidence, we decipher the tectonic control on slumping and mass transport deposition in the Nankai fore arc. Three periods of intensified mass wasting coincided with pulses of enhanced activity on the splay fault: (1) an initial phase of juvenile out-of-sequence thrusting ∼1.95 to 1.7 Ma, (2) a reactivation phase between ∼1.55 and 1.24 Ma, and (3) at about 1 Ma, during a phase of uplift of the fore-arc high and motion along the MSFZ. We suggest that slope oversteepening, extensional stress regimes, and lateral transmission of fluid overpressures may have preconditioned the slope sediments to fail. Individual mass-wasting events may have been triggered by dynamic loading from earthquake waves and/or transient pulses of pore pressure along the splay fault. Overall, our results provide insights into the complicated interplay between tectonic and submarine mass movement processes. We demonstrate that detailed knowledge about the spatial and temporal distribution of submarine mass movements can be integrated into a holistic reconstruction of tectonostratigraphic evolution of accretionary margins.