Regionality of deep low-frequency earthquakes associated with subduction of the Philippine Sea plate along the Nankai Trough, southwest Japan

Shoichi Yoshioka, Mamiko Toda, Junichi Nakajima

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

34 Citations (Scopus)

Abstract

The Fukuoka District Meteorological Observatory recently logged three possible deep low-frequency earthquakes (LFEs) beneath eastern Kyushu, Japan, a region in which LFEs and low-frequency tremors have never before been identified. To assess these data, we analyzed band-pass filtered velocity seismograms and relocated LFEs and regular earthquakes using the double-difference method. The results strongly suggest that the three events were authentic LFEs, each at a depth of about 50 km. We also performed relocation analysis on LFEs recorded beneath the Kii Peninsula and found that these LFEs occurred near the northwest-dipping plate interface at depths of approximately 29-38 km. These results indicate that LFEs in southwest Japan occur near the upper surface of the subducting Philippine Sea (PHS) plate. To investigate the origin of regional differences in the occurrence frequency of LFEs in western Shikoku, the Kii Peninsula, and eastern Kyushu, we calculated temperature distributions associated with PHS plate subduction. Then, using the calculated thermal structures and a phase diagram of water dehydration for oceanic basalt, the water dehydration rate (wt.%/km), which was newly defined in this study, was determined to be 0.19, 0.12, and 0.08 in western Shikoku, the Kii Peninsula, and eastern Kyushu, respectively; that is, the region beneath eastern Kyushu has the lowest water dehydration rate value. Considering that the Kyushu-Palau Ridge that is subducting beneath eastern Kyushu is composed of tonalite, which is low in hydrous minerals, this finding suggests that the regionality may be related to the amount of water dehydration associated with subduction of the PHS plate and/or differences in LFE depths. Notable dehydration reactions take place beneath western Shikoku and the Kii Peninsula, where the depth ranges for dehydration estimated by thermal modeling agree well with those for the relocated LFEs. The temperature range in which LFEs occur in these regions is estimated to be 400-500 °C.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)189-198
Number of pages10
JournalEarth and Planetary Science Letters
Volume272
Issue number1-2
DOIs
Publication statusPublished - 2008 Jul 30

Keywords

  • dehydration
  • eastern Kyushu
  • low-frequency earthquakes
  • oceanic crust
  • relocation
  • temperature distribution

ASJC Scopus subject areas

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

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