Chinese Science Bulletin

, Volume 57, Issue 16, pp 1990–1997 | Cite as

Static slip model of the M w 9.0 Tohoku (Japan) earthquake: Results from joint inversion of terrestrial GPS data and seafloor GPS/acoustic data

  • FaQi DiaoEmail author
  • Xiong Xiong
  • Yong Zheng
Open Access
Article Geophysics


Based on co-seismic displacements recorded by terrestrial GPS stations and seafloor GPS/acoustic stations, the static slip model of the 2011 M w 9.0 Tohoku earthquake was determined by inverting the data using a layered earth model. According to a priori information, the rupture surface was modeled with a geometry that is close to the actual rupture, in which the fault dip angle increases with depth and the fault strike varies with the trend of the trench. As shown by the results inferred from the joint inversion, the “geodetic” moment is 3.68 × 1022 N m, corresponding to M w 9.01, and the maximum slip is positioned at a depth of 13.5 km with a slip magnitude of 45.8 m. Rupture asperities with slip exceeding 10 m are mainly distributed from 39.6 to 36.97°N, over a length of almost 240 km along the trench. The slip was mostly concentrated at depths shallower than 40 km, up-dip of the hypocenter. “Checkerboard” tests reveal that a joint inversion of multiple datasets can resolve the slip distribution better than an inversion with terrestrial GPS data only—especially when aiming to resolve slip at shallow depths. Thus, the joint inversion results obtained by this work may provide a more reliable slip model than the results of other studies that are only derived from terrestrial GPS data or seismic waveform data.


Mw 9.0 Tohoku earthquake static slip model terrestrial GPS data seafloor GPS/acoustic data curved rupture surface 


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Copyright information

© The Author(s) 2012

Open AccessThis article is distributed under the terms of the Creative Commons Attribution 2.0 International License (, which permits unrestricted use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, provided the original work is properly cited.

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.State Key Laboratory of Geodesy and Earth’s Dyanmics, Institute of Geodesy and GeophysicsChinese Academy of SciencesWuhanChina

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