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Kamide Lecture

Kamide Lecture - SE

Tohoku University

Thu- 01 Aug, 11:30am-12pm
Nicoll 2, Level 3

"Heterogeneities in Stress and Strength in Tohoku and its Relationship with Earthquake Sequences Triggered by the 2011 M9 Tohoku-Oki Earthquake"

Inland Tohoku has been recognized as being under the WNW-ESE compressional stress state before the 2011 M9 Tohoku-Oki earthquake. Earthquakes that occurred there were characterized by reverse faulting with compressional axis oriented almost WNW-ESE direction. The Tohoku-Oki earthquake reduced this WNW-ESE compressional stress and, therefore, should have suppressed the earthquake occurrence. However, several intensive earthquake sequences were triggered in inland Tohoku. In this study, we investigated the triggering mechanism of these remote earthquake sequences in the stress shadow based on the detailed distribution of stress orientations newly determined from pre-mainshock focal mechanism data. The spatial distribution of stress orientations shows that there exist some regions with anomalous stress fields even before the Tohoku-Oki earthquake on the spatial scale of a few tens of kilometers. This spatial heterogeneity in stress field suggests that the differential stress magnitude in inland Tohoku is low (a few tens of MPa). Locations of the earthquake clusters tend to correspond to regions where the principal stress axis orientations of the pre-mainshock period are similar to those of the static stress change by the Tohoku-Oki earthquake. This observation suggests that these earthquake sequences were triggered by local increase in differential stress due to the static stress change. However, a few swarm sequences occurred in central Tohoku with delays ranging from a few days to few weeks after the Tohoku-Oki earthquake despite the reduction in differential stress. These sequences have notable characteristics including upward migration of hypocenters. Such features are similar to the fluid-injection induced seismicity. The source regions of these swarms are located near the ancient caldera structures and geological boundaries. The swarm activities were probably triggered by the upward fluid movement along such pre-existing structures. These observations demonstrate that information about the temporal evolutions of both stress and frictional strength is necessary to understand the triggering mechanism of earthquakes.

Dr. Keisuke Yoshida is an assistant professor in the Graduate School of Science at Tohoku University in Japan. He received his Ph.D. from the Graduate School of Science at Tohoku University in Japan in 2014 and worked as a postdoctoral research fellow in NIED (National Research Institute for Earth Science and Disaster Resilience) prior to joining Tohoku University in September, 2016. His main research interest is to understand the earthquake occurrence in terms of the evolution of stress and frictional strength in the Earth. He has been tackling various problems of induced seismicity triggered by the 2011 M9 Tohoku-Oki earthquake, and demonstrating the importance of improving the understanding of the heterogeneity of stress and frictional strength to understand earthquake occurrences.