The variations of long time period slow slip events along the Ryukyu subduction zone

Friday, 19 December 2014: 11:50 AM
Yoko TAOLIN Tu and Kosuke Heki, Hokkaido University, Sapporo, Japan
Slow slip events (SSEs) are a type of slow earthquakes that can be observed with Global Positioning System (GPS) networks in the world. Those events are detected on intensely coupled plate boundaries such as Cascadia subduction zone (Dragert et al., 2001), western North America, Mexico (Kostoglodov et al., 2003), Alaska (Ohta et al., 2007) and Tokai and Boso areas (Ozawa et al., 2002, 2003), central Japan and are considered to have relations to large subduction thrust earthquakes. However, in southwestern Ryukyu trench where most of researchers believe that it should be a decoupled plate boundary, SSEs recur regularly and are located at a patch that is as deep as 20 to 40 km (Heki and Kataoka, 2008). For comprehending the characteristics and time variations of SSEs in this area, the GEONET GPS data of 16 years are used in this study. During 1997 to 2014, more than thirty SSEs are identified near Hateruma Island, Ryukyu. The average recurrence interval is calculated to be 6.3 months and release seismic moment is Mw 6.6 on average. However, the values of recurrence interval are not invariable. From 1997 to 2002, interval period of SSEs is 7.5 months, but during 2002 to 2008, the interval period decreases suddenly to 5.5 months. After 2008, the value restores to 7.2 months again. Furthermore, the slip amount of SSEs in this area varies with time. From 1997 to 2002, the slip is 9.5 cm/year; and during 2002 to 2008, the value slightly increases to 10.5 cm/year. However, in 2008 to 2013, the slip drops to 6.6 cm/year, but accord to the trend of cumulative slip, the slip value would increase in 2014. Considering these data, we find the slip values increase conspicuously in 2002 and 2013. Coincidentally, one Mw 7.1 thrust earthquake occurred in 2002 and earthquake swarm activity started in the Okinawa trough approximately 50km north of the SSE patch. In 2013, another earthquake swarm activity occurred in nearly the same area as the 2002 activity. This suggests that the slip amount varies due to the earthquake swarm activities in Okinawa trough; the external stress perturbations such as magma injection and the Mw 7.1 earthquake could accelerate the slip amount of SSEs.