Seismological monitoring on the 2003 Tokachi-oki earthquake, derived from off Kushiro permanent cabled OBSs and land-based observations
Japan Marine Science and Technology Center installed a cabled geophysical observatory system off Kushiro, Hokkaido Island in July 1999. This observatory system comprises three ocean bottom seismographs (OBSs), two tsunami gauges, and a geophysical/geochemical monitoring system. 4 years and 2 months after the installation, a megathrust earthquake (the 2003 Tokachi-Oki earthquake, 26th September in Japan Standard Time (JST), MJMA 8.0) occurred along a plate boundary underneath a forearc basin where the system is located. The system recorded clear unsaturated seismograms just at 28.6 km from the epicenter. This paper demonstrates advantages brought by the cabled observatory to record the megathrust earthquake showing how earthquake detectability is improved dramatically combining permanent OBS and land-based observations around the region, and importance of the in situ monitoring on the seismogenic zone. In the present study, processing OBSs and land-based network together, and comparing magnitudes of common observed earthquakes with national authorized network, event detection level improved down to M 1.5, which is much lower than the previously designed as down to M ̃ 2. Comparing detection level before and after installing OBSs, we found dramatic improvement of the earthquake detection level in the interesting region. Real-time continuous observations of microearthquakes since 1999 have brought us tremendous findings. First, a seismic quiescence started about 10 days before the 2003 Tokachi-Oki earthquake. Second, aftershock distribution is not uniform over the focal area and can be divided into several sub-regions, which might indicate an existence of several asperities. We think that the geophysical observations helped to understand the initiation process of the rupture of the 2003 Tokachi-Oki earthquake and that observations including seismological, geodynamic, hydrogeological, and the other multidisciplinary observations would provide a clue to future understanding of seismogenic processes at subduction zones.