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

    >>Japan Geoscience Union

    >>Links to 50 society members

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

    Gallery View of PEPS Articles

    Research

    Solid earth sciences

    Thermal-maturity structures in an accretionary wedge by a numerical simulation

    Miyakawa A, Kinoshita M, Hamada Y, Otsubo M

    Accretionary wedge, Thermal-maturity structure, vitrinite reflectance, Out-of-sequence thrust, numerical simulation.

    Schematic of an accretionary wedge with two main sediment flow pathways: (a) a shallow and low thermal-maturity pathway and a deep high thermal-maturity path and (b) vertical profiles of vitrinite reflectance in an accretionary wedge. The steps in vitrinite reflectance across the fault are associated with fault formation and reactivation, as depicted with arrows in II and V.

    This study investigates the thermal maturity structure of the accretionary wedge along with the thermal history of sediments during wedge formation using a numerical simulation. The thermal maturity, which is described in terms of vitrinite reflectance, is determined using the temperature and duration of exposure based on the particle trajectories within the accretionary wedge. This study revealed the variability in the thermal maturity even though sediments are observed to originate at an identical initial depth and thermal conditions. We propose two end-member pathways of sediment movement in the accretionary wedge during wedge growth: a shallow, low thermal maturity pathway and a deep, high thermal maturity pathway. These shallow path sediments, which move into the shallow portion of the wedge during wedge growth through accretion, rarely experience high temperatures; therefore, their thermal maturity is low. However, the sediments subducted in the deep portion of the wedge experience high temperatures and obtain high thermal maturity as a function of the deep high thermal maturity pathway. Simultaneously, a geological deformation event, such as faulting, defines the steps of thermal maturity. The small step of thermal maturity is formed by the frontal thrusting and can be preserved as a function of the shallow low thermal maturity pathway. However, the step is overprinted and is observed to disappear through the deep high thermal maturity pathway. The large step of thermal maturity is formed by long-term displacement along an out-of-sequence thrust (OOST) in the deep portion of the wedge.