Extreme hydrothermal conditions at an active plate-bounding fault

Rupert Sutherland, John Townend, Virginia G. Toy, Phaedra Upton, Jamie Coussens, Michael Allen, Laura-May Baratin, Nicolas Barth, Leeza Becroft, Carolin Boese, Austin Boles, Carolyn Boulton, Neil G. R. Broderick, Lucie Janku-Capova, Brett M. Carpenter, Bernard Celerier, Calum Chamberlain, Alan Cooper, Ashley Coutts, Simon C. Cox & 45 others Lisa Craw, Mai-Linh Doan, Jennifer Eccles, Dan Faulkner, Jason Grieve, Julia Grochowski, Anton Gulley, Arthur Hartog, Jamie Howarth, Katrina Jacobs, Tamara Jeppson, Naoki Kato, Steven Keys, Martina Kirilova, Yusuke Kometani, Rob Langridge, Weiren Lin, Timothy Little, Adrienn Lukacs, Deirdre Mallyon, Elisabetta Mariani, Cecile Massiot, Loren Mathewson, Ben Melosh, Catriona Dorothy Menzies, Jo Moore, Luiz Morales, Chance Morgan, Hiroshi Mori, Andre Niemeijer, Osamu Nishikawa, Dave Prior, Katrina Sauer, Martha Savage, Anja M. Schleicher, Doug R. Schmitt, Norio Shigematsu, Sam Taylor-Offord, Damon A. H. Teagle, Harold Tobin, Robert Valdez, Konrad Weaver, Thomas Wiersberg, Jack Williams, Martin Zimmer

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

36 Citations (Scopus)

Abstract

Temperature and fluid pressure conditions control rock deformation and mineralization on geological faults, and hence the distribution of earthquakes1. Typical intraplate continental crust has hydrostatic fluid pressure and a near-surface thermal gradient of 31 ± 15 degrees Celsius per kilometre2,3. At temperatures above 300–450 degrees Celsius, usually found at depths greater than 10–15 kilometres, the intra-crystalline plasticity of quartz and feldspar relieves stress by aseismic creep and earthquakes are infrequent. Hydrothermal conditions control the stability of mineral phases and hence frictional–mechanical processes associated with earthquake rupture cycles, but there are few temperature and fluid pressure data from active plate-bounding faults. Here we report results from a borehole drilled into the upper part of the Alpine Fault, which is late in its cycle of stress accumulation and expected to rupture in a magnitude 8 earthquake in the coming decades4,5. The borehole (depth 893 metres) revealed a pore fluid pressure gradient exceeding 9 ± 1 per cent above hydrostatic levels and an average geothermal gradient of 125 ± 55 degrees Celsius per kilometre within the hanging wall of the fault. These extreme hydrothermal conditions result from rapid fault movement, which transports rock and heat from depth, and topographically driven fluid movement that concentrates heat into valleys. Shear heating may occur within the fault but is not required to explain our observations. Our data and models show that highly anomalous fluid pressure and temperature gradients in the upper part of the seismogenic zone can be created by positive feedbacks between processes of fault slip, rock fracturing and alteration, and landscape development at plate-bounding faults.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)137-140
Number of pages4
JournalNature
Volume546
Early online date17 May 2017
DOIs
Publication statusPublished - 1 Jun 2017

Fingerprint

fluid pressure
pressure gradient
borehole
rock
earthquake
earthquake rupture
temperature
hydrostatic pressure
geothermal gradient
fault slip
hanging wall
hydrostatics
temperature gradient
pore pressure
creep
continental crust
plasticity
feldspar
rupture
mineralization

Cite this

Sutherland, R., Townend, J., Toy, V. G., Upton, P., Coussens, J., Allen, M., ... Zimmer, M. (2017). Extreme hydrothermal conditions at an active plate-bounding fault. Nature, 546, 137-140. https://doi.org/10.1038/nature22355

Extreme hydrothermal conditions at an active plate-bounding fault. / Sutherland, Rupert; Townend, John; Toy, Virginia G.; Upton, Phaedra; Coussens, Jamie; Allen, Michael ; Baratin, Laura-May; Barth, Nicolas; Becroft, Leeza; Boese, Carolin; Boles, Austin; Boulton, Carolyn; Broderick, Neil G. R.; Janku-Capova, Lucie; Carpenter, Brett M.; Celerier, Bernard; Chamberlain, Calum; Cooper, Alan; Coutts, Ashley; Cox, Simon C.; Craw, Lisa; Doan, Mai-Linh; Eccles, Jennifer; Faulkner, Dan; Grieve, Jason; Grochowski, Julia; Gulley, Anton; Hartog, Arthur; Howarth, Jamie; Jacobs, Katrina; Jeppson, Tamara; Kato, Naoki; Keys, Steven; Kirilova, Martina; Kometani, Yusuke; Langridge, Rob; Lin, Weiren; Little, Timothy; Lukacs, Adrienn; Mallyon, Deirdre; Mariani, Elisabetta; Massiot, Cecile; Mathewson, Loren; Melosh, Ben; Menzies, Catriona Dorothy; Moore, Jo; Morales, Luiz; Morgan, Chance; Mori, Hiroshi; Niemeijer, Andre; Nishikawa, Osamu; Prior, Dave; Sauer, Katrina; Savage, Martha; Schleicher, Anja M.; Schmitt, Doug R.; Shigematsu, Norio; Taylor-Offord, Sam; Teagle, Damon A. H.; Tobin, Harold; Valdez, Robert; Weaver, Konrad; Wiersberg, Thomas; Williams, Jack; Zimmer, Martin.

In: Nature, Vol. 546, 01.06.2017, p. 137-140.

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

Sutherland, R, Townend, J, Toy, VG, Upton, P, Coussens, J, Allen, M, Baratin, L-M, Barth, N, Becroft, L, Boese, C, Boles, A, Boulton, C, Broderick, NGR, Janku-Capova, L, Carpenter, BM, Celerier, B, Chamberlain, C, Cooper, A, Coutts, A, Cox, SC, Craw, L, Doan, M-L, Eccles, J, Faulkner, D, Grieve, J, Grochowski, J, Gulley, A, Hartog, A, Howarth, J, Jacobs, K, Jeppson, T, Kato, N, Keys, S, Kirilova, M, Kometani, Y, Langridge, R, Lin, W, Little, T, Lukacs, A, Mallyon, D, Mariani, E, Massiot, C, Mathewson, L, Melosh, B, Menzies, CD, Moore, J, Morales, L, Morgan, C, Mori, H, Niemeijer, A, Nishikawa, O, Prior, D, Sauer, K, Savage, M, Schleicher, AM, Schmitt, DR, Shigematsu, N, Taylor-Offord, S, Teagle, DAH, Tobin, H, Valdez, R, Weaver, K, Wiersberg, T, Williams, J & Zimmer, M 2017, 'Extreme hydrothermal conditions at an active plate-bounding fault', Nature, vol. 546, pp. 137-140. https://doi.org/10.1038/nature22355
Sutherland R, Townend J, Toy VG, Upton P, Coussens J, Allen M et al. Extreme hydrothermal conditions at an active plate-bounding fault. Nature. 2017 Jun 1;546:137-140. https://doi.org/10.1038/nature22355
Sutherland, Rupert ; Townend, John ; Toy, Virginia G. ; Upton, Phaedra ; Coussens, Jamie ; Allen, Michael ; Baratin, Laura-May ; Barth, Nicolas ; Becroft, Leeza ; Boese, Carolin ; Boles, Austin ; Boulton, Carolyn ; Broderick, Neil G. R. ; Janku-Capova, Lucie ; Carpenter, Brett M. ; Celerier, Bernard ; Chamberlain, Calum ; Cooper, Alan ; Coutts, Ashley ; Cox, Simon C. ; Craw, Lisa ; Doan, Mai-Linh ; Eccles, Jennifer ; Faulkner, Dan ; Grieve, Jason ; Grochowski, Julia ; Gulley, Anton ; Hartog, Arthur ; Howarth, Jamie ; Jacobs, Katrina ; Jeppson, Tamara ; Kato, Naoki ; Keys, Steven ; Kirilova, Martina ; Kometani, Yusuke ; Langridge, Rob ; Lin, Weiren ; Little, Timothy ; Lukacs, Adrienn ; Mallyon, Deirdre ; Mariani, Elisabetta ; Massiot, Cecile ; Mathewson, Loren ; Melosh, Ben ; Menzies, Catriona Dorothy ; Moore, Jo ; Morales, Luiz ; Morgan, Chance ; Mori, Hiroshi ; Niemeijer, Andre ; Nishikawa, Osamu ; Prior, Dave ; Sauer, Katrina ; Savage, Martha ; Schleicher, Anja M. ; Schmitt, Doug R. ; Shigematsu, Norio ; Taylor-Offord, Sam ; Teagle, Damon A. H. ; Tobin, Harold ; Valdez, Robert ; Weaver, Konrad ; Wiersberg, Thomas ; Williams, Jack ; Zimmer, Martin. / Extreme hydrothermal conditions at an active plate-bounding fault. In: Nature. 2017 ; Vol. 546. pp. 137-140.
@article{0891ae73b015481e8d8231429b06ce83,
title = "Extreme hydrothermal conditions at an active plate-bounding fault",
abstract = "Temperature and fluid pressure conditions control rock deformation and mineralization on geological faults, and hence the distribution of earthquakes1. Typical intraplate continental crust has hydrostatic fluid pressure and a near-surface thermal gradient of 31 ± 15 degrees Celsius per kilometre2,3. At temperatures above 300–450 degrees Celsius, usually found at depths greater than 10–15 kilometres, the intra-crystalline plasticity of quartz and feldspar relieves stress by aseismic creep and earthquakes are infrequent. Hydrothermal conditions control the stability of mineral phases and hence frictional–mechanical processes associated with earthquake rupture cycles, but there are few temperature and fluid pressure data from active plate-bounding faults. Here we report results from a borehole drilled into the upper part of the Alpine Fault, which is late in its cycle of stress accumulation and expected to rupture in a magnitude 8 earthquake in the coming decades4,5. The borehole (depth 893 metres) revealed a pore fluid pressure gradient exceeding 9 ± 1 per cent above hydrostatic levels and an average geothermal gradient of 125 ± 55 degrees Celsius per kilometre within the hanging wall of the fault. These extreme hydrothermal conditions result from rapid fault movement, which transports rock and heat from depth, and topographically driven fluid movement that concentrates heat into valleys. Shear heating may occur within the fault but is not required to explain our observations. Our data and models show that highly anomalous fluid pressure and temperature gradients in the upper part of the seismogenic zone can be created by positive feedbacks between processes of fault slip, rock fracturing and alteration, and landscape development at plate-bounding faults.",
author = "Rupert Sutherland and John Townend and Toy, {Virginia G.} and Phaedra Upton and Jamie Coussens and Michael Allen and Laura-May Baratin and Nicolas Barth and Leeza Becroft and Carolin Boese and Austin Boles and Carolyn Boulton and Broderick, {Neil G. R.} and Lucie Janku-Capova and Carpenter, {Brett M.} and Bernard Celerier and Calum Chamberlain and Alan Cooper and Ashley Coutts and Cox, {Simon C.} and Lisa Craw and Mai-Linh Doan and Jennifer Eccles and Dan Faulkner and Jason Grieve and Julia Grochowski and Anton Gulley and Arthur Hartog and Jamie Howarth and Katrina Jacobs and Tamara Jeppson and Naoki Kato and Steven Keys and Martina Kirilova and Yusuke Kometani and Rob Langridge and Weiren Lin and Timothy Little and Adrienn Lukacs and Deirdre Mallyon and Elisabetta Mariani and Cecile Massiot and Loren Mathewson and Ben Melosh and Menzies, {Catriona Dorothy} and Jo Moore and Luiz Morales and Chance Morgan and Hiroshi Mori and Andre Niemeijer and Osamu Nishikawa and Dave Prior and Katrina Sauer and Martha Savage and Schleicher, {Anja M.} and Schmitt, {Doug R.} and Norio Shigematsu and Sam Taylor-Offord and Teagle, {Damon A. H.} and Harold Tobin and Robert Valdez and Konrad Weaver and Thomas Wiersberg and Jack Williams and Martin Zimmer",
note = "We thank the Friend family for land access and the Westland community for support; Schlumberger for assistance with optical fibre technology; A. Benson, R. Conze, R. Marx, B. Pooley, A. Pyne and S. Yeo for engineering and site support; the CNRS University of Montpellier wireline logging group of P. Pezard, G. Henry, O. Nitsch and J. Paris; Arnold Contracting; Eco Drilling; and Webster Drilling. Funding was provided by the International Continental Scientific Drilling Program (ICDP), the NZ Marsden Fund, GNS Science, Victoria University of Wellington, University of Otago, the NZ Ministry for Business Innovation and Employment, NERC grants NE/J022128/1 and NE/J024449/1, the Netherlands Organization for Scientific Research VIDI grant 854.12.011 and the ERC starting grant SEISMIC 335915. ICDP provided expert review, staff training and technical guidance.",
year = "2017",
month = "6",
day = "1",
doi = "10.1038/nature22355",
language = "English",
volume = "546",
pages = "137--140",
journal = "Nature",
issn = "0028-0836",
publisher = "Nature Publishing Group",

}

TY - JOUR

T1 - Extreme hydrothermal conditions at an active plate-bounding fault

AU - Sutherland, Rupert

AU - Townend, John

AU - Toy, Virginia G.

AU - Upton, Phaedra

AU - Coussens, Jamie

AU - Allen, Michael

AU - Baratin, Laura-May

AU - Barth, Nicolas

AU - Becroft, Leeza

AU - Boese, Carolin

AU - Boles, Austin

AU - Boulton, Carolyn

AU - Broderick, Neil G. R.

AU - Janku-Capova, Lucie

AU - Carpenter, Brett M.

AU - Celerier, Bernard

AU - Chamberlain, Calum

AU - Cooper, Alan

AU - Coutts, Ashley

AU - Cox, Simon C.

AU - Craw, Lisa

AU - Doan, Mai-Linh

AU - Eccles, Jennifer

AU - Faulkner, Dan

AU - Grieve, Jason

AU - Grochowski, Julia

AU - Gulley, Anton

AU - Hartog, Arthur

AU - Howarth, Jamie

AU - Jacobs, Katrina

AU - Jeppson, Tamara

AU - Kato, Naoki

AU - Keys, Steven

AU - Kirilova, Martina

AU - Kometani, Yusuke

AU - Langridge, Rob

AU - Lin, Weiren

AU - Little, Timothy

AU - Lukacs, Adrienn

AU - Mallyon, Deirdre

AU - Mariani, Elisabetta

AU - Massiot, Cecile

AU - Mathewson, Loren

AU - Melosh, Ben

AU - Menzies, Catriona Dorothy

AU - Moore, Jo

AU - Morales, Luiz

AU - Morgan, Chance

AU - Mori, Hiroshi

AU - Niemeijer, Andre

AU - Nishikawa, Osamu

AU - Prior, Dave

AU - Sauer, Katrina

AU - Savage, Martha

AU - Schleicher, Anja M.

AU - Schmitt, Doug R.

AU - Shigematsu, Norio

AU - Taylor-Offord, Sam

AU - Teagle, Damon A. H.

AU - Tobin, Harold

AU - Valdez, Robert

AU - Weaver, Konrad

AU - Wiersberg, Thomas

AU - Williams, Jack

AU - Zimmer, Martin

N1 - We thank the Friend family for land access and the Westland community for support; Schlumberger for assistance with optical fibre technology; A. Benson, R. Conze, R. Marx, B. Pooley, A. Pyne and S. Yeo for engineering and site support; the CNRS University of Montpellier wireline logging group of P. Pezard, G. Henry, O. Nitsch and J. Paris; Arnold Contracting; Eco Drilling; and Webster Drilling. Funding was provided by the International Continental Scientific Drilling Program (ICDP), the NZ Marsden Fund, GNS Science, Victoria University of Wellington, University of Otago, the NZ Ministry for Business Innovation and Employment, NERC grants NE/J022128/1 and NE/J024449/1, the Netherlands Organization for Scientific Research VIDI grant 854.12.011 and the ERC starting grant SEISMIC 335915. ICDP provided expert review, staff training and technical guidance.

PY - 2017/6/1

Y1 - 2017/6/1

N2 - Temperature and fluid pressure conditions control rock deformation and mineralization on geological faults, and hence the distribution of earthquakes1. Typical intraplate continental crust has hydrostatic fluid pressure and a near-surface thermal gradient of 31 ± 15 degrees Celsius per kilometre2,3. At temperatures above 300–450 degrees Celsius, usually found at depths greater than 10–15 kilometres, the intra-crystalline plasticity of quartz and feldspar relieves stress by aseismic creep and earthquakes are infrequent. Hydrothermal conditions control the stability of mineral phases and hence frictional–mechanical processes associated with earthquake rupture cycles, but there are few temperature and fluid pressure data from active plate-bounding faults. Here we report results from a borehole drilled into the upper part of the Alpine Fault, which is late in its cycle of stress accumulation and expected to rupture in a magnitude 8 earthquake in the coming decades4,5. The borehole (depth 893 metres) revealed a pore fluid pressure gradient exceeding 9 ± 1 per cent above hydrostatic levels and an average geothermal gradient of 125 ± 55 degrees Celsius per kilometre within the hanging wall of the fault. These extreme hydrothermal conditions result from rapid fault movement, which transports rock and heat from depth, and topographically driven fluid movement that concentrates heat into valleys. Shear heating may occur within the fault but is not required to explain our observations. Our data and models show that highly anomalous fluid pressure and temperature gradients in the upper part of the seismogenic zone can be created by positive feedbacks between processes of fault slip, rock fracturing and alteration, and landscape development at plate-bounding faults.

AB - Temperature and fluid pressure conditions control rock deformation and mineralization on geological faults, and hence the distribution of earthquakes1. Typical intraplate continental crust has hydrostatic fluid pressure and a near-surface thermal gradient of 31 ± 15 degrees Celsius per kilometre2,3. At temperatures above 300–450 degrees Celsius, usually found at depths greater than 10–15 kilometres, the intra-crystalline plasticity of quartz and feldspar relieves stress by aseismic creep and earthquakes are infrequent. Hydrothermal conditions control the stability of mineral phases and hence frictional–mechanical processes associated with earthquake rupture cycles, but there are few temperature and fluid pressure data from active plate-bounding faults. Here we report results from a borehole drilled into the upper part of the Alpine Fault, which is late in its cycle of stress accumulation and expected to rupture in a magnitude 8 earthquake in the coming decades4,5. The borehole (depth 893 metres) revealed a pore fluid pressure gradient exceeding 9 ± 1 per cent above hydrostatic levels and an average geothermal gradient of 125 ± 55 degrees Celsius per kilometre within the hanging wall of the fault. These extreme hydrothermal conditions result from rapid fault movement, which transports rock and heat from depth, and topographically driven fluid movement that concentrates heat into valleys. Shear heating may occur within the fault but is not required to explain our observations. Our data and models show that highly anomalous fluid pressure and temperature gradients in the upper part of the seismogenic zone can be created by positive feedbacks between processes of fault slip, rock fracturing and alteration, and landscape development at plate-bounding faults.

UR - https://eprints.soton.ac.uk/410547/

U2 - 10.1038/nature22355

DO - 10.1038/nature22355

M3 - Article

VL - 546

SP - 137

EP - 140

JO - Nature

JF - Nature

SN - 0028-0836

ER -