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Journal Article

Megathrust locking encoded in subduction landscapes


Oryan,  Bar
External Organizations;

Olive,  Jean-Arthur
External Organizations;

Jolivet,  Romain
External Organizations;


Malatesta,  Luca C.
4.7 Earth Surface Process Modelling, 4.0 Geosystems, Departments, GFZ Publication Database, Deutsches GeoForschungsZentrum;

Gailleton,  Boris
External Organizations;

Bruhat,  Lucile
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Oryan, B., Olive, J.-A., Jolivet, R., Malatesta, L. C., Gailleton, B., Bruhat, L. (2024): Megathrust locking encoded in subduction landscapes. - Science Advances, 10, 17.

Cite as: https://gfzpublic.gfz-potsdam.de/pubman/item/item_5026042
Locked areas of subduction megathrusts are increasingly found to coincide with landscape features sculpted over hundreds of thousand years, yet the mechanisms that underlie such correlations remain elusive. We show that interseismic locking gradients induce increments of irreversible strain across the overriding plate manifested predominantly as distributed seismicity. Summing these increments over hundreds of earthquake cycles produces a spatially variable field of uplift representing the unbalance of co-, post-, and interseismic strain. This long-term uplift explains first-order geomorphological features of subduction zones such as the position of the continental erosive shelf break, the distribution of marine terraces and peninsulas, and the profile of forearc rivers. Inelastic yielding of the forearc thus encodes short-term locking patterns in subduction landscapes, hinting that megathrust locking is stable over multiple earthquake cycles and highlighting the role geomorphology can play in constraining Earth’s greatest source of seismic hazard.