A Caltech Library Service

A detailed source model for the M_w9.0 Tohoku-Oki earthquake reconciling geodesy, seismology, and tsunami records

Bletery, Quentin and Sladen, Anthony and Delouis, Bertrand and Vallée, Martin and Nocquet, Jean-Mathieu and Rolland, Lucie and Jiang, Junle (2014) A detailed source model for the M_w9.0 Tohoku-Oki earthquake reconciling geodesy, seismology, and tsunami records. Journal of Geophysical Research. Solid Earth, 119 (10). pp. 7636-7653. ISSN 2169-9313.

[img] PDF - Published Version
See Usage Policy.


Use this Persistent URL to link to this item:


The 11 March 2011 M_w9.0 Tohoku-Oki earthquake was recorded by an exceptionally large amount of diverse data offering a unique opportunity to investigate the details of this major megathrust rupture. Many studies have taken advantage of the very dense Japanese onland strong motion, broadband, and continuous GPS networks in this sense. But resolution tests and the variability in the proposed solutions have highlighted the difficulty to uniquely resolve the slip distribution from these networks, relatively distant from the source region, and with limited azimuthal coverage. In this context, we present a finite fault slip joint inversion including an extended amount of complementary data (teleseismic, strong motion, high-rate GPS, static GPS, seafloor geodesy, and tsunami records) in an attempt to reconcile them into a single better resolved model. The inversion reveals a patchy slip distribution with large slip (up to 64 m) mostly located updip of the hypocenter and near the trench. We observe that most slip is imaged in a region where almost no earthquake was recorded before the main shock and around which intense interplate seismicity is observed afterward. At a smaller scale, the largest slip pattern is imaged just updip of an important normal fault coseismically activated. This normal fault has been shown to be the mark of very low dynamic friction allowing extremely large slip to propagate up to the free surface. The spatial relationship between this normal fault and our slip distribution strengthens its key role in the rupture process of the Tohoku-Oki earthquake.

Item Type:Article
Related URLs:
URLURL TypeDescription
Bletery, Quentin0000-0002-9796-5487
Sladen, Anthony0000-0003-4126-0020
Delouis, Bertrand0000-0003-1147-5872
Vallée, Martin0000-0001-8049-4634
Jiang, Junle0000-0002-8796-5846
Additional Information:© 2014 American Geophysical Union. Received 9 May 2014; Accepted 31 AUG 2014; Accepted article online 6 September 2014; Published online 2 October 2014. In this paper we used static GPS data from the ARIA team at JPL/Caltech ( ARIA,version0.3), 1 Hz GPS data from the GEONET network of the Geospatial Information Authority (GSI) of Japan, strong motion records from the Japanese network K-NET NIED data center (, teleseismic data from the Incorporated Research Institutions for Seismology (IRIS) data center, DART data from the NOAA National Geophysical Data Center (http://ngdc.noaa. gov/hazard/dart/2011honshudart.html), GPS buoys data given by the NOWPHAS system (, and CABLES data from the JAMSTEC cabled observatories website ( Earthquakes catalogs supporting Figures 5a and 5c were provided by the United States Geological Survey (USGS) ( and by the Japan Meteorological Agency (JMA) (on request). We used the SciPy algorithm of kernel-density estimate ( for the calculation of the aftershock density in Figure 5c. Data supporting Figures 5b, 6b, and 6c were kindly provided by A. Kato, D. Zhao, and Z. Huang. This work was partly supported by the ANR project TO-EOS, the French Ministry of Research and Education, the University of Nice Sophia-Antipolis (UNS), and the Centre National de la Recherche Scientifique (CNRS). We thank the UNS Centre de Calculs interactifs for computing time on its cluster (CICADA). We very much thank P. Bosser and F. Fund for their contribution in HRGPS data processing and Y. Yamazaki for providing his code (NEOWAVE) and for his valuable comments. We also thank K. Koketsu, H. Miyake, L. Rivera, N. Cubas, and Jean-Paul Ampuero for their valuable comments on this work.
Funding AgencyGrant Number
Agence Nationale pour la Recherche (ANR)UNSPECIFIED
Ministère de l’Enseignement supérieur, de la Recherche et de l'InnovationUNSPECIFIED
University of Nice Sophia-Antipolis (UNS)UNSPECIFIED
Centre National de la Recherche Scientifique (CNRS)UNSPECIFIED
Subject Keywords:Tohoku; earthquake; source; joint inversion; slip model
Issue or Number:10
Record Number:CaltechAUTHORS:20150107-093054038
Persistent URL:
Official Citation:Bletery, Q., A. Sladen, B. Delouis, M. Vallée, J.-M. Nocquet, L. Rolland, and J. Jiang (2014), A detailed source model for the Mw9.0 Tohoku-Oki earthquake reconciling geodesy, seismology, and tsunami records, J. Geophys. Res. Solid Earth, 119, 7636–7653, doi:10.1002/2014JB011261.
Usage Policy:No commercial reproduction, distribution, display or performance rights in this work are provided.
ID Code:53258
Deposited By: Jason Perez
Deposited On:08 Jan 2015 20:13
Last Modified:09 Mar 2020 13:19

Repository Staff Only: item control page