Open Access

A block-fault model for deformation of the Japanese Islands derived from continuous GPS observation

  • Manabu Hashimoto1Email author,
  • Shin’ichi Miyazaki2 and
  • David D. Jackson3
Earth, Planets and Space201452:BF03352337

DOI: 10.1186/BF03352337

Received: 3 February 2000

Accepted: 9 August 2000

Published: 24 June 2014


We interpret the continuous GPS data for the Japanese islands from 1996 to 1999 using the model of Hashimoto and Jackson (1993). In this model crustal deformation is represented by a combination of rigid block motions and deformation due to slip deficits along the fault-bounding blocks. Hashimoto and Jackson used 19 blocks, 104 faults, and geodetic data spanning 100 years. In the present work we assume the same fault and block geometry, and we use only the continuous GPS data. Compared to the previous study, the motions of the major blocks are a bit larger: 107 ± 8 mm/yr for the Pacific plate, 47 ± 2 mm/yr for the Philippine Sea plate, and 24 ± 2 mm/yr for the Izu block, all relative to the Amurian plate. The estimated slip directions on active inland faults are now more consistent with geological estimates. Slip deficit rates exceed 10 mm/yr along the Itoigawa-Shizuoka Tectonic Line, Shinanogawa Seismic Zone, Atotsugawa fault, Hanaori fault, Arima-Takatsuki Tectonic Line, Rokko faults, Median Tectonic Line, and southern boundary of the Beppu-Shimabara graben. Some interplate faults along the Japan and Kurile trenches have slip deficit rates larger than 100 mm/yr, although postseismic deformation from the 1994 Far Off Sanriku earthquake may contaminate these estimates. An interplate fault off Kyushu has a negative slip deficit, possibly due to post-seismic movements from the 1996 events in Hyuganada.