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Deep slow-slip events promote seismicity in northeastern Japan megathrust

Khoshmanesh, Mostafa and Shirzaei, Manoochehr and Uchida, Naoki (2020) Deep slow-slip events promote seismicity in northeastern Japan megathrust. Earth and Planetary Science Letters, 540 . Art. No. 116261. ISSN 0012-821X. doi:10.1016/j.epsl.2020.116261.

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The sliding movement between oceanic and crustal plates in subduction zones is accommodated through both earthquakes and quasi-static or transient aseismic slip. On northeastern Japan megathrust, aseismic transients, known as slow-slip events, are suggested to precede and trigger major earthquakes in their immediate surroundings. However, the geodetic evidence for these episodic slow-slip events, as well as their link to the seismicity on neighboring locked segments of the megathrust, is missing. Here, we combine the on-shore geodetic data set with seismic observations during the interseismic period of 1996–2003 and demonstrate that episodic slow-slip events are prevalent across the down-dip portion (∼30–70 km depth) of the megathrust and the associated stress changes modulate the seismicity rate on the neighboring seismogenic zone. Consequently, small- to moderate-size earthquakes are periodically triggered, whose interaction through a domino effect might occasionally lead to major earthquakes. This observation has a profound impact on the estimation of seismic hazard in the region, introducing a new triggering mechanism that acts across the megathrust to the extent that has not been acknowledged before.

Item Type:Article
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URLURL TypeDescription
Khoshmanesh, Mostafa0000-0001-8724-5737
Shirzaei, Manoochehr0000-0003-0086-3722
Uchida, Naoki0000-0002-4220-9625
Additional Information:© 2020 The Author(s). Published by Elsevier B.V. This is an open access article under the CC BY-NC-ND license ( Received 13 July 2019, Revised 24 March 2020, Accepted 2 April 2020, Available online 27 April 2020. The authors are grateful to Felipe Aron and other reviewers for their comments and suggestions, which helped to improve the manuscript. We also thank S. Ozawa for sharing the GPS data. The Japan Meteorological Agency (JMA) earthquake catalog used in this study is available at, subject to the policies of the JMA; Funding: This study was funded by National Science Foundation grants EAR-1357079 and EAR-1735630, NASA Earth and Space Fellowship No. 80NSSC17K0371, and JSPS KAKENHI grant 16H06473 and 15K05260. The authors declare that they have no known competing financial interests or personal relationships that could have appeared to influence the work reported in this paper.
Funding AgencyGrant Number
NASA Earth and Space Science Fellowship80NSSC17K0371
Japan Society for the Promotion of Science (JSPS)16H06473
Japan Society for the Promotion of Science (JSPS)15K05260
Subject Keywords:slow-slip events; kinematic modeling; earthquake triggering; Japan subduction zone; repeating earthquakes; GPS
Record Number:CaltechAUTHORS:20200427-131231988
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Official Citation:Mostafa Khoshmanesh, Manoochehr Shirzaei, Naoki Uchida, Deep slow-slip events promote seismicity in northeastern Japan megathrust, Earth and Planetary Science Letters, Volume 540, 2020, 116261, ISSN 0012-821X, (
Usage Policy:No commercial reproduction, distribution, display or performance rights in this work are provided.
ID Code:102810
Deposited By: Tony Diaz
Deposited On:27 Apr 2020 20:53
Last Modified:16 Nov 2021 18:15

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