To examine the change in stress between before and after the Tohoku-oki Mw9.0 earthquake, we performed stress measurements after the earthquake in the Kamaishi mine in Iwate prefecture in northern Japan, located near the northern termination of the mainshock rupture, following previous measurements before the earthquake in the same mine. The results showed that the magnitudes of the three-dimensional principal stresses and the vertical stress drastically increased after the mainshock and, at 1 year after the earthquake, were more than double those before the earthquake. The principal stress magnitudes then decreased with time and returned to almost pre-earthquake levels at about 3 years after the earthquake. These changes can be interpreted in terms of coseismic rupture of the mainshock and the occurrence of aftershocks in the Sanriku-oki low-seismicity region (SLSR), where the Kamaishi mine is located. The drastic increase in stress suggests that the SLSR may act as a barrier to further rupture propagation.
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