Modeling of Long-Period Ground Motions in the Nankai Subduction Zone: Model Simulation Using the Accretionary Prism Derived from Oceanfloor Local S-Wave Velocity Structures

  • Shunsuke Takemura
  • Hisahiko Kubo
  • Takashi Tonegawa
  • Tatsuhiko Saito
  • Katsuhiko Shiomi


The accretionary prism in the subduction zone, which consists of thick low-velocity oceanic sediments, significantly affects the propagation of seismic waves for shallow, offshore earthquakes, including large interplate earthquakes. In order to simulate long-period (> 5 s) ground motions in the Nankai subduction zone, we constructed a three-dimensional (3D) seismic velocity structure model of the accretionary prism by interpolation/extrapolation of local S-wave velocity structures beneath 46 oceanfloor seismic stations (DONET), which are deployed just above the accretionary prism off the southern Kii and eastern Shikoku regions. We modeled local S-wave velocity structures using a simple two-parameter depth-varying velocity function. To investigate the effects of the accretionary prism on ground and seafloor motions, we conducted numerical simulations of seismic wave propagation for three local earthquakes that occurred in southwestern Japan. The simulations reasonably reproduced the observed seismograms, not only for the period ranges of the moment tensor inversion (~ 50 s), but also for the strong, long-period ground motions in the sedimentary basins (~ 5 s), especially in the region where DONET stations are densely deployed. Since depth-varying, local S-wave structures significantly improve the reproducibility of long-period ground motions, our modeling procedure is useful for modeling long-period ground motions of local and regional offshore subduction zone earthquakes.


Long-period ground motion Surface wave accretionary prism Nankai subduction zone finite-difference method simulation 



F-net, Hi-net, and DONET waveform data and F-net MT solutions are available via the website of the National Research Institute for Earth Science and Disaster Resilience, Japan ( The frequency response of the short-period Hi-net sensors with a natural frequency of 1 Hz was corrected using the program of Maeda et al. (2011) via Dr. Maeda’s GitHub page ( Bathymetric data were obtained from ETOPO1 (Amante and Eakins 2009). Generic Mapping Tools (Wessel et al. 2013) and Seismic Analysis Code (SAC; Hellfrich et al. 2013) were used to create figures and conduct signal processing, respectively. The FDM simulations of seismic wave propagation were conducted on the Earth Simulator of the Japan Agency for Marine-Earth Science and Technology. This study was supported by the Tokyo Marine Kagami Memorial Foundation, a Grant-in-Aid for Seismology, the Grants-in-Aid program of the Japan Society for the Promotion of Science (#17K14382), and by a collaborative research program of the Earthquake Research Institute, the University of Tokyo (#2015-B-01). We also thank two anonymous reviewers and the Editor Dr. B. Edwards for careful reviewing and constructive comments, which have helped improve the manuscript.

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© Springer Nature Switzerland AG 2018

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.National Research Institute for Earth Science and Disaster ResilienceTsukubaJapan
  2. 2.Japan Agency for Marine-Earth Science and TechnologyYokohamaJapan

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