Suboceanic earthquake location and seismic structure in the Kanto district, central Japan

Zhi Wang, Dapeng Zhao

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

35 Citations (Scopus)


We present a combined method, using sP depth-phase data and double-difference arrival times, to determine the precise hypocenter locations of earthquakes that occur under the Pacific Ocean outside of the area covered by the land-based seismic network. We assess the effectiveness of the combined method using a data set of P- and S-wave arrival times and sP depth phase from suboceanic earthquakes recorded by both land-based seismic stations and offshore seismic stations (OFS). The hypocenters of the offshore earthquakes relocated using the combined method are consistent with those determined using the standard location method and OFS data. The differences in the hypocenters relocated by the two methods are less than 4 km. We applied the method to the subduction region that underlies the Kanto district, central Japan, and located a large number of earthquakes that occurred beneath the Pacific Ocean. We then determined the detailed 3D seismic velocity structure by inverting a large number of arrival times of P- and S-waves and sP depth phase from the relocated earthquakes in the study region. High-velocity anomalies related to the cold subducting Pacific slab and low-velocity anomalies related to the hot mantle wedge are clearly imaged. Beneath active volcanoes, low-velocity zones are visible from the surface to a depth of 100 km, reflecting fluids released by dehydration of the subducting Pacific slab. Strong lateral heterogeneities are revealed on the upper boundary of the Pacific slab beneath the forearc region. The low-velocity areas under the offshore region are associated with low seismicity and weak interplate coupling. A low-velocity layer is imaged along the upper boundary of the Philippine Sea slab in the northern part of Kanto district, which may reflect dehydration of the slab. Our tomographic images indicate that the overlaying Philippine Sea plate has effects on the spatial distribution of active volcanoes related to the subducting Pacific slab in the study region.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)789-803
Number of pages15
JournalEarth and Planetary Science Letters
Issue number3-4
Publication statusPublished - 2006 Jan 31
Externally publishedYes


  • Double-difference travel times
  • Hypocenter location
  • SP depth phase
  • Seismic tomography

ASJC Scopus subject areas

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


Dive into the research topics of 'Suboceanic earthquake location and seismic structure in the Kanto district, central Japan'. Together they form a unique fingerprint.

Cite this