Report

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

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Science  19 May 2011:
1206731
DOI: 10.1126/science.1206731

Abstract

Geophysical observations from the 2011 Mw 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 m 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 Mw 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.