Pure and Applied Geophysics

, Volume 171, Issue 10, pp 2555–2568 | Cite as

Slip-Weakening Models of the 2011 Tohoku-Oki Earthquake and Constraints on Stress Drop and Fracture Energy

  • Yihe HuangEmail author
  • Jean-Paul Ampuero
  • Hiroo Kanamori


We present 2D dynamic rupture models of the 2011 Tohoku-Oki earthquake based on linear slip-weakening friction. We use different types of available observations to constrain our model parameters. The distribution of stress drop is determined by the final slip distribution from slip inversions. As three groups of along-dip slip distribution are suggested by different slip inversions, we present three slip-weakening models. In each model, we assume uniform critical slip distance eastward from the hypocenter, but several asperities with smaller critical slip distance westward from the hypocenter. The values of critical slip distance are constrained by the ratio of deep to shallow high-frequency slip-rate power inferred from back projection source imaging. Our slip-weakening models are consistent with the final slip, slip rate, rupture velocity and high-frequency power ratio inferred for this earthquake. The average static stress drop calculated from the models is in the range of 4.5–7 MPa, though large spatial variations of static stress drop exist. To prevent high-frequency radiation in the region eastward from the hypocenter, the fracture energy needed there is in the order of 10 MJ/m2, and the average up-dip rupture speed cannot exceed 2 km/s. The radiation efficiency calculated from our models is higher than that inferred from seismic data, suggesting the role of additional dissipation processes. We find that the structure of the subduction wedge contributes significantly to the up-dip rupture propagation and the resulting large slip at shallow depth.


Tohoku-Oki earthquake dynamic rupture model stress drop fracture energy energy partitioning subduction wedge 



This work was supported by NSF grants EAR-0944288 and EAR-1015704, the Gordon and Betty Moore Foundation, the Japan Nuclear Energy Safety Organization (JNES) and SCEC (funded by NSF EAR-0106924 and USGS 02HQAG0008 cooperative agreements).


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Copyright information

© Springer Basel 2013

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Division of Geological and Planetary SciencesCalifornia Institute of TechnologyPasadenaUSA

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