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Interplate Coupling in the Kanto District, Central Japan, and the Boso Peninsula Silent Earthquake in May 1996

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— I studied crustal deformation in the Kanto district, central Japan, based on continuous GPS data. Horizontal as well as vertical displacement rate demonstrate significant interaction between the landward Kanto block and the Philippine Sea plate. Although the subduction effect of the Pacific plate is not apparent, it is reasonable to consider the entire Kanto district is displaced westward due to the interaction with the Pacific plate. The GPS velocity data were inverted to estimate the slip deficit distribution on the Sagami Trough subduction zone. The result delineates a strongly coupled region on the plate interface, part of which corresponds to the 1923 Kanto earthquake. The strongly coupled region is located shallower than 20 km. In addition, the plate interaction is laterally heterogeneous even in the same depth range, implying thermal structure is not the only factor controlling interplate coupling. The GPS data also detected a silent earthquake event on the interface of the Philippine Sea slab east of the Boso Peninsula in the middle of May, 1996. The silent rupture propagated over a 50 km * 50 km wide area during about a week. The maximum slip was approximately 50 mm and the released seismic moment was 4.7*1018Nm (M w 6.4). There was a small seismicity triggered by this silent event. The silent slip was located in the peripheral of the strongly coupled area, suggesting that frictional properties and/or stress conditions are inhomogeneous on the plate boundary interface.

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Correspondence to Takeshi Sagiya.

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Acknowledgements I express sincere thanks to ACES for the travel support to attend the 3rd ACES workshop. I am also grateful to the GPS group of GSI for their operation and maintenance of GEONET, and Shinzaburo Ozawa for a preprint.

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Sagiya, T. Interplate Coupling in the Kanto District, Central Japan, and the Boso Peninsula Silent Earthquake in May 1996. Pure appl. geophys. 161, 2327–2342 (2004).

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