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Published June 17, 2011 | Supplemental Material
Journal Article Open

The 2011 Magnitude 9.0 Tohoku-Oki Earthquake: Mosaicking the Megathrust from Seconds to Centuries


Geophysical observations from the 2011 moment magnitude (M_w) 9.0 Tohoku-Oki, Japan earthquake allow exploration of a rare large event along a subduction megathrust. Models for this event indicate that the distribution of coseismic fault slip exceeded 50 meters in places. Sources of high-frequency seismic waves delineate the edges of the deepest portions of coseismic slip and do not simply correlate with the locations of peak slip. Relative to the M_w 8.8 2010 Maule, Chile earthquake, the Tohoku-Oki earthquake was deficient in high-frequency seismic radiation-a difference that we attribute to its relatively shallow depth. Estimates of total fault slip and surface secular strain accumulation on millennial time scales suggest the need to consider the potential for a future large earthquake just south of this event.

Additional Information

© 2011 American Association for the Advancement of Science. Received for publication 8 April 2011. Accepted for publication 11 May 2011. Supported in part by the Gordon and Betty Moore Foundation. M.S. and S.E.M. are supported by NSF grant CDI-0941374; J.P.A. and L.S.M. are supported by NSF grant EAR-1015704 and the Southern California Earthquake Center, which is funded by NSF Cooperative Agreement EAR-0106924 and USGS Cooperative Agreement 02HQAG0008. A portion of the research was carried out at the Jet Propulsion Laboratory (JPL), California Institute of Technology, under a contract with the National Aeronautics and Space Administration and funded through the internal Research and Technology Development program. We acknowledge the Geospatial Information Authority (GSI) of Japan for kindly providing all the GEONET RINEX data. Raw RINEX data are available directly from GSI. Processed GPS time series are provided through the ARIA project. We thank T. Ito for providing the interseismic velocity estimates used in Fig. 4. This paper is Caltech Tectonics Observatory contribution 165 and Caltech Seismological Laboratory contribution 10059.

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