Complex microseismic activity and depth-dependent stress field changes in Wakayama, southwestern Japan

Sumire Maeda, Toru Matsuzawa, Shinji Toda, Keisuke Yoshida, Hiroshi Katao

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

5 Citations (Scopus)


Abstract: We examined the spatial relationship between seismicity and upper crustal structure in the Wakayama region, northwestern Kii Peninsula, Japan, by investigating microearthquake focal mechanisms and the local stress field. The focal mechanisms of most events studied fall into three categories: (1) normal faulting with N–S-oriented T-axes mainly occurring at shallow depths, (2) reverse faulting with E–W-oriented P-axes dominating at intermediate depths, and (3) strike-slip faulting with N–S-oriented T-axes and E–W-oriented P-axes mainly seen at greater depths. The stress field varies with depth: the shallow part is characterized by a strike-slip-type stress regime with N–S tension and E–W compression, while the deep part is characterized by an E–W compressional stress regime consistent with reverse faulting. The depth-dependent stress regime can be explained by thermal stress caused by a heat source, as expected from geophysical observations. Geologic faults, acting as weak planes, might contribute to generate shallow normal fault-type and deeper strike-slip fault-type microearthquakes. Graphical Abstract: [Figure not available: see fulltext.].

Original languageEnglish
Article number21
Journalearth, planets and space
Issue number1
Publication statusPublished - 2018 Dec 1


  • Fluid
  • Geological structure
  • Heat source
  • Heterogeneous structure
  • Microearthquake
  • Stress field

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Geology
  • Space and Planetary Science


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