Subduction of a wedge-shaped Philippine Sea plate beneath Kanto, central Japan, estimated from converted waves and small repeating earthquakes

Naoki Uchida, Toru Matsuzawa, Junichi Nakajima, Akira Hasegawa

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

33 Citations (Scopus)

Abstract

We estimate the configuration of the Philippine Sea plate (PHS) subducted beneath Kanto to understand the seismotectonics in the Tokyo metropolitan area. In addition to small repeating earthquakes that delineate both the upper and lower boundaries of the PHS, previously unrecognized converted waves at its upper boundary from lower-boundary repeater sources provide a new constraint on the position of the boundary. The results from 794 S-to-P and 212 P-to-S converted waves together with ∼200 repeater locations show that (1) the PHS has a wedge-like shape, decreasing in thickness from 50 km beneath Tokyo to zero at its northeastern limit, and (2) the PHS is relatively flat in the eastern part of Kanto and bends upward near its northeastern limit. From the fact that the PHS in the Izu-Bonin forearc also has a similar wedge-like shape, we infer that its shape was formed before its subduction. On the other hand, the relatively flat PHS at its northeastern limit and its upward bend are probably a consequence of ongoing deformation from an interaction with the underlying thick Pacific plate (PAC). The history of the PHS as a forearc before subduction and its contact with the PAC after subduction suggests that the temperature of this part of the PHS is colder than other regions, which probably causes anomalously deep seismicity on the PHS in Kanto. Colder PHS temperatures imply that the source regions of large earthquakes may extend deeper than expected, an important fact when assessing the locations of disastrous earthquakes for Tokyo.

Original languageEnglish
Article numberB07309
JournalJournal of Geophysical Research: Solid Earth
Volume115
Issue number7
DOIs
Publication statusPublished - 2010 Jul 1

ASJC Scopus subject areas

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

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