Mud volcano possibly linked to seismogenic faults in the Kumano Basin, Nankai Trough, Japan

Abstract

We investigated a mud volcano (MV) in a fault zone located at the southern edge of the Kumano Basin, the largest forearc basin along the Nankai Trough. Existing seismic sections show a truncated bottom-simulating reflection by a conduit below a topographic high, indicating the presence of an MV. New shipboard acoustic observations show that the fluid may be seeping through the seafloor, which in turn indicates that there are sufficient fluids for larger scale fluid migration in this area. Autonomous underwater vehicle-based high resolution acoustic observations and pH measurements indicate that soft sediment covers most of the MV and surrounding seafloor and that mud and small amounts of “high-backscattered materials” are sprinkled within the crater and around the MV. The MV type is different from those in the landward part of the Kumano Basin: the southern MV is smaller in size, has a steeper slope angle than the those in the northern Kumano Basin, and is located in a fault zone. The characteristics of this 14th Kumano Basin MV suggest that it is an expression of the larger scale fluid and sediment migration along the southern edge of the Kumano Basin, which may provide information regarding fluid and sediment migration along fault systems in the Nankai Trough accretionary prism.

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Data availability

The original dataset is available via https://doi.org/10.17596/0001663.

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Acknowledgements

We are grateful to Dr. Toshiyuki Yokota (AIST) for many constructive suggestions and assistance in constructing the framework for this paper. We gratefully acknowledge the permission from JAMSTEC to use the acoustic data. We express our appreciation to Captain Y. Nakamura, AUV commander Mr. A. Ishikawa, AUV-Urashima’s operation team and R/V Yokosuka’s crew, for their dedicated work, overcoming the strong Kuroshio currents, at times over ~4 knots. We also appreciate Prof. Kazuhiro Tanaka (Yamaguchi Univ.) for providing helpful comments on MV studies. The Generic Mapping Tools software was used to execute some bathymetric maps (Wessel and Smith 1998). The data used in this paper were obtained and processed when the senior author was employed by JAMSTEC. This research was supported by JSPS KAKENHI Grant Number JP16J40210. The development of the glass electrode pH sensor was supported by MEXT, grant title “Development of new tools for the seafloor resource explorations”.

Funding

Funding was provided by JSPS (Japan Society of the Promotion of Science) KAKENHI Grant Number JP16J40210 and MEXT (Ministry of Economy, Trade and Industry), grant title “Development of new tools for the seafloor resource explorations”.

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MA main author, organized the research cruise, acoustic data processing, drawing, and discussion. GFM Seismic data processing, drawing, descriptions, discussions, editing. KK designed the research cruise, interpretation of acoustic and seismic data, and discussion. TN pH measurement sensor development and data processing.

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Correspondence to Miho Asada.

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Asada, M., Moore, G.F., Kawamura, K. et al. Mud volcano possibly linked to seismogenic faults in the Kumano Basin, Nankai Trough, Japan. Mar Geophys Res 42, 4 (2021). https://doi.org/10.1007/s11001-020-09425-7

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Keywords

  • Nankai Trough
  • Mud volcano
  • Kumano Basin Edge Fault Zone
  • Seismogenic zone
  • Fluid and sediment migration