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Open Journal of Earthquake Research

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Tohoku Earthquake and Tsunami (Japan : 2011), Earthquake prediction, Faults (Geology), Strains and stresses, Elastic rebound theory


The purpose of this paper is to compare the strain energy released due to elastic rebound of the crust from the tragic 2011 9.0 Mw Tōhoku earthquake in Japan with the observed radiated seismic energy. The strain energy was calculated by analyzing coseismic displacements of 1024 GPS stations of the Japanese GEONET network. The value of energy released from the analysis is 1.75 × 1017 J, which is of the same order of magnitude as the USGS-observed radiated seismic energy of 1.9 × 1017 Nm (J). The strain energy method is independent of seismic methods for determining the energy released during a large earthquake. The analysis shows that although the energy release is concentrated in the epicentral region, about 12% of the total energy was released throughout the Japanese islands at distances greater than 500 km west of the epicenter. Our results also show that outside the epicentral region, the strain-energy was concentrated along known tectonic zones throughout Japan.


Copyright © 2013 Kenneth M. Cruikshank, Curt D. Peterson. This is an open access article distributed under the Creative Commons Attribution License, which permits unrestricted use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, provided the original work is properly cited.



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