pure and applied geophysics

, Volume 154, Issue 3–4, pp 467–483 | Cite as

Sources of Tsunami and Tsunamigenic Earthquakes in Subduction Zones

  • K. Satake
  • Y. Tanioka


—We classified tsunamigenic earthquakes in subduction zones into three types earth quakes at the plate interface (typical interplate events), earthquakes at the outer rise, within the subducting slab or overlying crust (intraplate events), and "tsunami earthquakes" that generate considerably larger tsunamis than expected from seismic waves. The depth range of a typical interplate earthquake source is 10–40km, controlled by temperature and other geological parameters. The slip distribution varies both with depth and along-strike. Recent examples show very different temporal change of slip distribution in the Aleutians and the Japan trench. The tsunamigenic coseismic slip of the 1957 Aleutian earthquake was concentrated on an asperity located in the western half of an aftershock zone 1200km long. This asperity ruptured again in the 1986 Andreanof Islands and 1996 Delarof Islands earthquakes. By contrast, the source of the 1994 Sanriku-oki earthquake corresponds to the low slip region of the previous interplate event, the 1968 Tokachi-oki earthquake. Tsunamis from intraplate earthquakes within the subducting slab can be at least as large as those from interplate earthquakes; tsunami hazard assessments must include such events. Similarity in macroseismic data from two southern Kuril earthquakes illustrates difficulty in distinguishing interplate and slab events on the basis of historical data such as felt reports and tsunami heights. Most moment release of tsunami earthquakes occurs in a narrow region near the trench, and the concentrated slip is responsible for the large tsunami. Numerical modeling of the 1996 Peru earthquake confirms this model, which has been proposed for other tsunami earthquakes, including 1896 Sanriku, 1946 Aleutian and 1992 Nicaragua.

Key words: Tsunami, subduction zones, interplate earthquakes, intraplate earthquakes, tsunami earthquakes. 


Unable to display preview. Download preview PDF.

Unable to display preview. Download preview PDF.

Copyright information

© Birkhäuser Verlag Basel, 1999

Authors and Affiliations

  • K. Satake
    • 1
  • Y. Tanioka
    • 2
  1. 1.Geological Survey of Japan, Tsukuba 305-8567, Japan. E-mail: satake@gsj.go.jpJP
  2. 2.Meteorological Research Institute, Tsukuba 305-0052, Japan. E-mail: ytanioka@mri-jma.go.jpJP

Personalised recommendations