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Tectonics and sedimentation around Kashinosaki Knoll: A subducting basement high in the eastern Nankai Trough


*Department of Geology and Geophysics, 1680 East-West Road, University of Hawaii, Honolulu, HI 96822, USA (email:


Abstract  When seamounts and other topographic highs on an oceanic plate are subducted, they cause significant deformation of the overriding plate and may act as asperities deeper in the seismogenic zone. Kashinosaki Knoll (KK) is an isolated basement high of volcanic origin on the subducting Philippine Sea Plate that will soon be subducted at the eastern Nankai Trough. Seismic reflection imaging reveals a thick accumulation of sediments (∼1200 m) over and around the knoll. The lower portion of the sedimentary section has a package of high-amplitude, continuous reflections, interpreted as turbidites, that lap onto steep basement slopes but are parallel to the gentler basement slopes. Total sediment thickness on the western and northern slopes is approximately 40–50% more than on the summit and southeastern slopes of KK. These characteristics imply that the basal sedimentary section northwest of KK was deposited by infrequent high-energy turbidity currents, whereas the area southeast of KK was dominated by hemipelagic sedimentation over asymmetric basement relief. From the sediment structure and magnetic anomalies, we estimate that the knoll likely formed near the spreading center of the Shikoku Basin in the early Miocene. Its origin differs from that of nearby Zenisu Ridge, which is a piece of the Shikoku Basin crust uplifted along a thrust fault related to the collision of the Izu–Bonin arc and Honshu. KK has been carried into the margin of the Nankai Trough, and its high topography is deflecting Quaternary trench turbidites to the south. When KK collides with the accretionary prism in about 1 My, the associated variations in sediment type and thickness around the knoll will likely result in complex local variations in prism deformation.