** Progress in Earth and Planetary Science is the official journal of the Japan Geoscience Union, published in collaboration with its 50 society members.

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    • Progress in Earth and Planetary Science
    • Progress in Earth and Planetary Science
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    • Progress in Earth and Planetary Science
    Progress in Earth and Planetary Science

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    Solid earth sciences

    Temporal changes in the internal stresses and pore pressures in a large-scale submarine mass transport deposit

    Otsubo M, Naruse H, Miyakawa A

    Stress, Meso-scale fault, Mass transport, Debris flow, Landslide, Subduction zone

    Left: Schematic diagram of the transport, depositional processes and internal stress changes of a mass flow, interpreted from the coastal outcrop. Right: Temporal changes in horizontal maximum compressional stresses and pore fluid pressure ratio in a MTD in the Akkeshi Formation.

    We examined the temporal changes in the internal stresses and pore fluid pressures of a submarine mass transport deposit (MTD) in the Akkeshi Formation of the Upper Cretaceous–Paleocene Nemuro Group, eastern Hokkaido Island, Japan. We first analyzed previous paleostress field results from meso-scale faults in the MTD blocks, which indicated two phases during the evolution of the debris flow: phase I, radial spreading of the flow body during downslope movement; phase II, the flow body underwent compression during deposition on the basin plain. We also estimated the pore fluid pressure ratio from the fault orientation distribution. There was a large increase in the pore fluid pressure ratio during the transition from phase I to phase II that continued to rise during the initial stage of phase II and then decreased in its latter stages, whereas the maximum horizontal compressive stress increased throughout phase II. This variation in pore fluid pressure relates to the dynamics and evolution of the debris flow, where the clasts in the central part of the flow were supported by the excess pore pressure due to the compression of the debris flow as the flow head decelerated. Although pore fluid pressure plays a critical role in the dynamics of debris flows, there was no previous methodology to quantify both the stress fields and pore fluid pressures in large debris flows and their resultant MTDs. Our results implemented for outcrop studies imply that meso-scale faults in MTDs can provide clues to better understand these paleoflow mechanisms.