Significant foreshock activities of M>7.5 earthquakes in the Kuril subduction zone

Tuesday, 16 December 2014
Tomoya Harada1, Sayoko Yokoi2 and Kenji Satake2, (1)Interfaculty Initiative for Information Studies & Earthquake Research Institute, University of Tokyo, Tokyo, Japan, (2)Earthquake Research Institute, University of Tokyo, Tokyo, Japan
In the Kuril subduction zone, some M>7.5 earthquakes are accompanied by significant foreshock activities, providing a good opportunity to understand the characteristics of foreshocks for large interplate events such as occur along the Japan Trench and Nankai Trough etc. Some preliminary results from our examination of the foreshock sequences are as follows. Relocated foreshocks tend to migrate with time toward the trench axis. Foreshock distributions of the interplate earthquakes do not overlap with the large coseismic slips (asperities) of the mainshocks. Foreshocks of the 2007 northern Kuril outer-rise event, however, were distributed on the entire rupture area. Foreshock sequences seem to be limited in the regions where the background seismicity rates are relatively high. The foreshock activities were found in the examination of the space-time pattern of M>7 events along the northern Japan to Kuril trench since 1913 (e.g. Harada, Satake, and Ishibashi, 2011:AGU, 2012:AOGS). The large earthquakes preceded by active foreshock sequences are: the 2006 (M8.3), 2007 (M8.1) offshore Simushir earthquakes, the 1963 (M8.5), 1991 (M7.6), 1995 (M7.9) offshore Urup events, the 1978 (M7.8) offshore Iturup events, the 1969 (M8.2) offshore Shikotan event. In contrast, M>7.5 interplate earthquakes offshore Hokkaido (1952 (M8.1), 1973 (M7.8), 2003 (M8.1)) and intraslab earthquakes (1958 (M8.3), 1978 (M7.8), 1993 (M7.6), 1994 (M8.3)) had few or no foreshocks.

 In the examination of the active foreshocks, we relocated foreshocks by the Modified JHD method (Hurukawa, 1995), compared relocated foreshock areas with mainshock coseismic slip distributions estimated by the teleseismic body-wave inversion (Kikuchi and Kanamori, 2003), and examined the relation between active foreshock sequences and regional background seismicity.

 This study was supported by the MEXT’s “New disaster mitigation research project on Mega thrust earthquakes around Nankai/Ryukyu subduction zones”.