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Distribution of Liquefaction Sites and Coastal Alluvium in Japan

  • Toshihiko SugaiEmail author
  • Keita Honda
Chapter

Abstract

In the Tohoku and Kanto regions, the 2011 off the Pacific coast of Tohoku Earthquake (2011 Tohoku earthquake) caused widespread sediment liquefaction along more than 600 km of the Pacific coast facing the Japan Trench. Liquefaction sites tended to be concentrated in reclaimed lands on the north side of Tokyo Bay, especially in sandy fill overlying thick alluvium, and along large rivers in alluvial lowlands. In Japan, alluvial deposits along the lower reaches of rivers often form coastal prisms (CPs) between the river profiles of the present and the last glacial. A basal gravel body (BG) generally forms the lower boundary of the CP. Within a thick CP, the period and duration of seismic shear waves (S-waves) are lengthened, and multiple S-wave reflections from the BG and the slow S-wave velocity increase the internal water pressure, leading to liquefaction of sand layers in the CP. The distributions of both liquefaction induced by the 2011 Tohoku earthquake and historic liquefaction sites correspond closely to the distribution of thick CP deposits. Large subduction-zone earthquakes have repeatedly caused liquefaction within CPs greater than 30 m thick, with liquefaction occurring as far inland as the upstream edge of the CP. In the long CPs in the Kanto region, along the Kinu, Ara, and Naka (Furutone) rivers, liquefaction induced by the 2011 Tohoku earthquake was particularly widespread. Mega-earthquakes can also cause liquefaction in sediment-filled basins inland of the CPs; the Tohoku earthquake liquefied the thick late Quaternary alluvium in the Koriyama and Aizu-Wakamatsu basins.

Keywords

Alluvial plain Coastal prism Basal gravel Liquefaction Kanto Plain Subduction-zone earthquakes 

Notes

Acknowledgments

This study was supported in part by Japan Society for the Promotion of Science grants-in-aid for Scientific Research (A 2424011, B2628207). We would like to thank Tokyo Geographical Society for permission to reproduce in part for Figs. 5.3, 5.5, and 5.6.

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Copyright information

© Springer International Publishing Switzerland 2016

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Graduate School of Frontier SciencesThe University of TokyoKashiwa, ChibaJapan
  2. 2.Musashi High School and Junior High SchoolTokyoJapan

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