Mechanism of the 2011 tohoku-oki earthquake (Mw 9.0) and tsunami: Insight from seismic tomography

Zhouchuan Huang, Dapeng Zhao

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

41 Citations (Scopus)

Abstract

To clarify the generating mechanism of the 2011 Tohoku-oki earthquake (Mw 9.0) and the induced tsunami, we determined high-resolution tomographic images of the Northeast Japan forearc. Significant lateral variations of seismic velocity are visible in the megathrust zone, and most large interplate thrust earthquakes are found to occur in high-velocity (high-V) areas. These high-V zones may represent high-strength asperities at the plate interface where the subducting Pacific plate and the overriding Okhotsk plate are coupled strongly. A shallow high-V zone with large coseismic slip near the Japan Trench may account for the mainshock asperity of the 2011 Tohoku-oki earthquake. Because it is an isolated asperity surrounded by low-velocity patches, most stress on it was released in a short time and the plate interface became decoupled after the Mw 9.0 earthquake. Thus the overriding Okhotsk plate there was shot out toward the Japan Trench and caused the huge tsunami.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)160-168
Number of pages9
JournalJournal of Asian Earth Sciences
Volume70-71
DOIs
Publication statusPublished - 2013 Jan 1

Keywords

  • Asperity
  • Asperity
  • Megathrust zone
  • Megathrust zone
  • Northeast Japan
  • Northeast japan
  • Plate coupling
  • Plate coupling
  • Seismic tomography
  • Seismic tomography
  • Seismotectonics
  • Seismotectonics
  • Tohoku-oki earthquake
  • Tohoku-oki earthquake

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Geology
  • Earth-Surface Processes

Fingerprint Dive into the research topics of 'Mechanism of the 2011 tohoku-oki earthquake (Mw 9.0) and tsunami: Insight from seismic tomography'. Together they form a unique fingerprint.

Cite this