Stress State in the Largest Displacement Area of the 2011 Tohoku-Oki Earthquake

See allHide authors and affiliations

Science  08 Feb 2013:
Vol. 339, Issue 6120, pp. 687-690
DOI: 10.1126/science.1229379

You are currently viewing the editor's summary.

View Full Text

Log in to view the full text

Log in through your institution

Log in through your institution

Stressed Out

Large seismic events such as the 2011 magnitude 9.0 Tohoku-Oki earthquake can have profound effects not just on the severity of ground motion and tsunami generation, but also on the overall state of the crust in the surrounding regions. Lin et al. (p. 687) analyzed the stress 1 year after the Tohoku-Oki earthquake and compared it with the estimated stress state before the earthquake. In situ resistivity images were analyzed from three boreholes drilled into the crust across the plate interface where the earthquake occurred. Stress values indicate a nearly complete drop in stress following the earthquake such that the type of faulting above the plate boundary has changed substantially. These findings are consistent with observations that the sea floor moved nearly 50 meters during the earthquake.