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    Solid earth sciences

    Estimate of the contraction rate of central Japan through the deformation of the Philippine Sea slab

    Fukahata Y

    Philippine Sea slab, central Japan, contraction rate, strain rate

    (a) Depth contour of the Philippine Sea (PHS) slab. Blue, green, red, and purple lines were situated along the Nankai Trough (grey line) at 3, 4, 5, and 6 Ma, respectively. (b) Depth profile of the PHS slab along the colored lines. (c) Contraction amount of the PHS slab along the colored lines. The difference between the contraction amounts of adjacent lines gives the contraction rate in recent 1 Ma.

    The Philippine Sea (PHS) slab is severely deformed beneath central Japan, but it is subject to little deformation before the subduction along the Nankai Trough. Thus, it is considered that the currently observed deformation of the PHS slab has been formed only after the subduction along the Nankai Trough. This study estimates the contraction rate of the PHS slab along segments roughly parallel to the Nankai Trough, assuming that the configuration of the PHS slab is stationary in time in the coordinate system fixed to the overriding plate. Results show that the contraction rate is small beneath most parts of Shikoku (≤ 0.3 mm/year) and the offshore fore-arc (≤ 0.6 mm/year), while it increases from the Pacific coastal region (3–6 mm/year) to the inland region (approximately 20 mm/year) beneath central Japan. Considering various error sources, the strain rate is estimated to be about 4–7 × 10−8/year beneath the inland region of central Japan, although it could be reduced by about 20% if the PHS slab has a tear beneath the Kii Strait. Due to the geographical concordance of the deformation between the PHS slab and the upper crust above the slab, the contraction rate of the PHS slab could be used as a proxy to provide an independent estimate of the crustal deformation rate of central Japan over the long term, which is slower than the geodetic estimate while faster than the geologic one.