A boundary of stress-field orientation in northwestern area of the Kanto plain

Monday, 15 December 2014
Tomoko Elizabeth Yano, Tetsuya Takeda and Katsuhiko Shiomi, NIED National Research Institute for Earth Science and Disaster Prevention, Tsukuba, Japan
There is a boundary where pressure and tension axes dramatically change by almost at the right angles around northwestern area of the Kanto plain (north of Tokyo), reported by Suzuki (1989). Since 2013, we have launched Japan Unified High-resolution Relocated Catalog for Earthquakes (JUICE) project. The relocation method using the Double-Difference method (Waldhauser and Ellsworth, 2000) provided the high-resolution earthquake catalog, which enabled to further evaluate active faults (e.g. seismogenic layer thickness, or slip tendency direction etc.) In this presentation, we revisit the previous mystery regarding to the stress-field orientation boundary in northwestern Kanto plain by looking at much more and high-resolution data available than before.

The stress axis boundary runs at particularly close (about 5 km north and parallel direction) to the Fukaya fault, which caused the M6.9 Western Saitama earthquake in 1931 occurred at very shallow depth, involving severe damages and many casualties in Kanto region. The high-resolution catalog clearly showed the majority of pressure (P-axis) and tension stress axis (T-axis) lie about 150˚ and 60˚ in the north of the stress axis boundary, while both the axes change into about 45˚ and 150˚ in the south of this boundary, respectively. In fact, both P- and T- axis, by crossing the boundary, suddenly changes about 90˚. The focal mechanism around this area dominated by the strike and thrust and both mechanisms seem to be randomly co-existing. Yet, depth distribution pattern changes abruptly across the boundary. The depth distribution pattern of north part of the boundary seems more confined than the southern part.

We discuss the sharp stress discontinuity by two main perspectives. The first focuses on the effect due to local structure, such as possibly the buried Median tectonic line and/or ancient failed rift formed while the Sea of Japan had opened. The second focuses on the tectonic force due to complicated subduction of two oceanic plates, the Philippine Sea plate and Pacific plate, beneath the North American plate in this Kanto region.