Activity of Small Repeating Earthquakes along Izu-Bonin and Ryukyu Trenches

Thursday, 18 December 2014
Kota Hibino1, Toru Matsuzawa2, Naoki Uchida1, Wataru Nakamura3 and Takeshi Matsushima4, (1)Tohoku University, Sendai, Japan, (2)Tohoku Univ, Grad Schl Sci, Sendai, Japan, (3)Tohoku University, Sendai-Shi, Japan, (4)Kyushu University, Fukuoka, Japan
There are several subduction systems near the Japanese islands. The 2011 Mw9.0 Tohoku-oki megathrust earthquake occurred at the NE Japan (Tohoku) subduction zone. We have revealed a complementary relation between the slip areas for huge earthquakes and small repeating earthquakes (REs) in Tohoku. Investigations of REs in these subduction zones and the comparison with Tohoku area are important for revealing generation mechanism of megathrust earthquakes.

Our target areas are Izu-Bonin and Ryukyu subduction zones, which appear to generate no large interplate earthquake. To investigate coupling of plate boundary in these regions, we estimated spatial distribution of slip rate by using REs. We use seismograms from the High Sensitivity Seismograph Network (Hi-net), Full Range Seismograph Network of Japan (F-net), and permanent seismic stations of Japan Meteorological Agency (JMA), Tohoku University, University of Tokyo, and Kagoshima University from 8 May 2003 (Izu-Bonin) and 14 July 2005 (Ryukyu) to 31 December 2012 to detect REs along the two trenches, by using similarity of seismograms. We mainly follow the procedure adopted in Uchida and Matsuzawa (2013) that studied REs in Tohoku area to compare our results with the REs in Tohoku.

We find that the RE distribution along the Ryukyu trench shows two bands parallel to the trench axis. This feature is similar to the pattern in Tohoku where relatively large earthquakes occur between the bands. Along the Izu-Bonin trench, on the other hand, we find much fewer REs than in Tohoku or Ryukyu subduction zones and only one along-trench RE band, which corresponds to the area where the subducting Pacific plate contacts with the crust of the Philippine Sea plate. We also estimate average slip rate and coupling coefficient by using an empirical relationship between seismic moment and slip for REs (Nadeau and Johnson, 1998) and relative plate motion model. As a result, we find interplate slip rate in the deeper band is higher than shallower one along the Ryukyu trench suggesting larger locking along the shallower band. This feature is also similar to the pattern in the NE Japan. Our results indicate that the Ryukyu subduction zone is very similar to the NE Japan subduction zone, while the Izu-Bonin subduction zone appears to be different from the other two zones according to the RE analyses.