Open Access

Fine structure of aftershock distribution of the 1997 Northwestern Kagoshima Earthquakes with a three-dimensional velocity model

  • Hiroki Miyamachi1Email author,
  • Kazuhiro Iwakiri1,
  • Hiroshi Yakiwara1,
  • Kazuhiko Goto1 and
  • Toshiki Kakuta1
Earth, Planets and Space201451:BF03352227

DOI: 10.1186/BF03352227

Received: 4 September 1998

Accepted: 6 February 1999

Published: 6 June 2014


In 1997, two earthquakes (M6.5 and M6.3) occurred in the northwestern part of Kagoshima Prefecture, Japan. We carried out temporary seismic observation to obtain the detailed aftershock distribution. We constructed a 3-D P wave velocity model by inverting the travel times of aftershocks observed at 14 seismic stations in and around the focal area and relocated more than 14,000 aftershocks with the 3-D velocity model.

The general features of the aftershock distribution are as follows: (1) Aftershocks of the first main shock (M6.5) are distributed with a strike of nearly E-W (N100°E) in a vertical plane with a horizontal length of 21 km and a depth range of 2 to 9 km; (2) The second main shock (M6.3) has an ‘L’-shaped aftershock distribution: one plane strikes nearly E-W, which is parallel to the aftershock zone of the first main shock, and the other is a conjugate plane; (3) An obvious seismicity gap of about 3 km wide is found between the aftershock zones striking E-W for the first and second main shocks; (4) The aftershock activities are generally low around the hypocenters of the two main shocks. Our results show that most of aftershocks occurred not in high or low velocity zones, but in intermediate velocity areas. Several vertical linear distributions of aftershocks are also confirmed in the two focal zones striking E-W. These peculiar distributions suggest that the aftershock activity is affected by the underground structural boundaries.