Emergence and disappearance of interplate repeating earthquakes following the 2011 M9.0 Tohoku-oki earthquake: Slip behavior transition between seismic and aseismic depending on the loading rate

Norishige Hatakeyama, Naoki Uchida, Toru Matsuzawa, Wataru Nakamura

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

13 Citations (Scopus)

Abstract

We investigated spatiotemporal change in the interplate seismic activity following the 2011 Tohoku-oki earthquake (M9.0) in the region where interseismic interplate coupling was relatively weak and large postseismic slip was observed. We classified earthquakes by their focal mechanisms to identify the interplate events and conducted hypocenter relocation to examine the detailed spatiotemporal distribution of interplate earthquakes in the mostly creeping area. The results show that many interplate earthquakes, including M ~ 6 events, emerged immediately after the Tohoku-oki earthquake in areas where very few interplate earthquakes had been observed in the 88 previous years. The emergent earthquakes include repeating sequences, and the extremely long quiescence of small to moderate earthquakes before the Tohoku-oki earthquake suggests that the source areas for the post-M9 events slipped aseismically during the quiescence. The repeaters' magnitudes decayed over time following the Tohoku-oki earthquake and some sequences disappeared within a year. The emergence of interplate earthquakes suggests that areas where aseismic slip had been dominant before the Tohoku-oki earthquake started to cause seismic slip after the earthquake, probably due to the increased loading rate from the afterslip. The magnitude decrease and disappearance of repeaters can be interpreted as shrinkage in seismic areas around the repeaters' sources as the loading rate decreased due to the afterslip decay over time. These observations suggest that changes in the loading rate can cause slip behavior transition between seismic and aseismic. This indicates that such loading-rate-dependent slip behavior plays an important role in the spatiotemporal distribution of earthquakes in interplate seismogenic zones.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)5160-5180
Number of pages21
JournalJournal of Geophysical Research: Solid Earth
Volume122
Issue number7
DOIs
Publication statusPublished - 2017 Jul

Keywords

  • Tohoku-oki earthquake
  • conditional stability
  • interplate earthquakes
  • postseismic slip
  • repeating earthquake
  • seismicity change

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Geophysics
  • Geochemistry and Petrology
  • Earth and Planetary Sciences (miscellaneous)
  • Space and Planetary Science

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