Stress field in the 2008 Iwate-Miyagi earthquake (M7.2) area

Zhouchuan Huang, Dapeng Zhao, Liangshu Wang

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20 Citations (Scopus)


We determined the focal mechanism solutions (FMS) of 191 crustal earthquakes as well as the stress tensor in the source area of the 2008 Iwate-Miyagi earthquake (2008 IMEQ, M7.2) that occurred in the central portion of northeast (NE) Japan. The FMS and the stress tensors were determined by using both 1-D and 3-D velocity models, which exhibit almost the same results. The differences caused by the use of 1-D and 3-D models can be neglected when compared with the differences due to the different methods, which indicates that the FMS and the stress tensor determined with a 1-D model are accurate enough to study the crustal stress field in the study region. The obtained P axis (σ1) trends WNW-ESE subhorizontally, and the T axis (σ3) is oriented subvertically in a NNE-SSW belt perpendicular to σ1. The σ1 orientation is consistent with the motion of the Pacific plate relative to NE Japan, which indicates that the plate boundary forces dominate the intraplate stress regime. Both temporal and spatial variations of the stress field in the IMEQ source area are detected, which may be induced by the stress rotation accompanying the main shock and its aftershocks. The seismogenic faults in the study area are estimated to be very weak, which argues against the concept of strong crust. The faults may be weakened by the high-temperature magma and the fluids in the lower crust and uppermost mantle that intrude upward into the shallower crust.

Original languageEnglish
Article numberQ06006
JournalGeochemistry, Geophysics, Geosystems
Issue number6
Publication statusPublished - 2011 Jun 1


  • 3-D velocity model
  • arc magma and fluids
  • focal mechanism solution
  • plate boundary forces
  • stress rotation
  • stress tensor inversion

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Geophysics
  • Geochemistry and Petrology


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