pure and applied geophysics

, Volume 122, Issue 6, pp 848–862 | Cite as

A sequence of seismic activity in the Kanto area precursory to the 1923 Kanto earthquake

  • Mitiyasu Ohnaka


The Kanto earthquake (M=7.9) that occurred along the Sagami Trough in the Sagami Bay on 1 September 1923 was one of the most disastrous earthquakes in Japanese history. The Kanto area includes Metropolitan Tokyo and Yokohama which are densely populated, and hence it has been a matter of great concern, from the viewpoints of earthquake prediction and disaster prevention, whether or not the 1923 Kanto earthquake was preceded by precursory seismicity. A study using the most complete lists of earthquakes catalogued recently by Utsu and the Japan Meteorological Agency reveals that seismic activity in the Kanto area was appreciably higher before and after the Kanto earthquake, and that the Kanto earthquake was preceded by a sequence of anomalous seismic activity, quiescence, and foreshocks. Such higher activity before and after the Kanto earthquake is contrasted with low seismicity during the recent 30-year period. A model is proposed to explain the precursory seismic activity, subsequent quiescence, and foreshocks for the Kanto earthquake. In the model, the transition from precursory seismic activity to quiescence is ascribed to time-dependent fracture due to stress-aided corrosion. Foreshocks are related to an acceleration of premonitory slip shortly before the mainshock slip.

Key words

Precursory seismicity quiescence premonitory slip delayed fracture stress corrosion 


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Copyright information

© Birkhäuser Verlag 1985

Authors and Affiliations

  • Mitiyasu Ohnaka
    • 1
  1. 1.Earthquake Reasearch InstituteUniversity of TokyoTokyoJapan

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