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

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    Progress in Earth and Planetary Science

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    Solid earth sciences


    Fault model of the 2012 doublet earthquake, near the up-dip end of the 2011 Tohoku-Oki earthquake, based on a near-field tsunami: implications for intraplate stress state

    Kubota T, Hino R, Inazu D, Suzuki S

    Ocean bottom pressure gauge, Doublet earthquake, Intraplate earthquake, 2011 Tohoku-Oki earthquake, Bending stress, Fault modeling

    Schematic representation of the temporal variation of the stress profile in the incoming oceanic plate off the Miyagi. The bottom of the shallow normal-faulting layer (blue), underlain by the deep reverse-faulting layer (red), was deepened due to the 2011 Tohoku Earthquake.

    On December 7, 2012, an earthquake occurred within the Pacific Plate near the Japan Trench, which was composed of deep reverse- and shallow normal-faulting subevents (Mw 7.2 and 7.1, respectively) with a time interval of ~10 s. It had been known that the stress state within the plate was characterized by shallow tensile and deep horizontal compressional stresses due to the bending of the plate (bending stress). This study estimates the fault model of the doublet earthquake utilizing tsunami, teleseismic, and aftershock data and discusses the stress state within the incoming plate and spatiotemporal changes seen in it after the 2011 Tohoku-Oki earthquake. We obtained the vertical extents of the fault planes of deep and shallow subevents as ~45–70 km and ~5 (the seafloor)–35 km, respectively. The down-dip edge of the shallow normal-faulting seismic zone (~30–35 km) deepened significantly compared to what it was in 2007 (~25 km). However, a quantitative comparison of the brittle strength and bending stress suggested that the change in stress after the Tohoku-Oki earthquake was too small to deepen the down-dip end of the seismicity by ~10 km. To explain the seismicity that occurred at a depth of ~30–35 km, the frictional coefficient in the normal-faulting depth range required would have had to be ~0.07 ≤ μ ≤ ~0.2, which is significantly smaller than the typical friction coefficient. This suggests the infiltration of pore fluid along the bending faults, down to ~30–35 km. It is considered that the plate had already yielded to a depth of ~35 km before 2011 and that the seismicity of the area was reactivated by the increase in stress from the Tohoku-Oki earthquake.