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Spatial Variation of In-Situ Stress Orientation Along the Hikurangi Subduction Margin: Insights from Borehole Image Logging
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  • Effat Behboudi,
  • David Daniel McNamara,
  • Ivan Lokmer,
  • Laura Wallace,
  • Demian M Saffer
Effat Behboudi
School of Earth Sciences

Corresponding Author:[email protected]

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David Daniel McNamara
University of Liverpool
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Ivan Lokmer
University College Dublin
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Laura Wallace
GNS Science
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Demian M Saffer
University of Texas at Austin
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Knowledge of the contemporary in-situ stress orientations in the Earth’s crust can improve our understanding of active crustal deformation, geodynamic processes, and seismicity in tectonically active regions such as the Hikurangi Subduction Margin (HSM), New Zealand. The HSM subduction interface is characterized by varying slip behavior along strike, which may be a manifestation of variation in the stress state and the mechanical strength of faults and their hanging walls, or, alternatively, these variations in seismic behavior may generate variation in the stress state in space and time. In this study, we analyze borehole image and oriented four-arm caliper logs acquired from thirteen boreholes along the HSM to present the first comprehensive stress orientation dataset within the HSM upper plate. Our results reveal a NE-SW SHmax orientation (parallel to the Hikurangi margin) within the central HSM (Hawke’s Bay region) which rotates to a WNW- ESE SHmax orientation (roughly perpendicular to the Hikurangi margin) in the southern HSM. This rotation of SHmax orientation spatially correlates with along-strike variations in subduction interface slip behavior, characterized by creep and/or shallow episodic slip events in the central HSM and interseismic locking in the southern HSM. Observed borehole SHmax orientations are largely parallel to maximum contraction directions derived from geodetic surface deformation measurements, suggesting that modern stress orientations may reflect contemporary elastic strain accumulation processes related to subduction megathrust locking.