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Open Access

Off-fault aftershocks of the 2005 West Off Fukuoka Prefecture Earthquake: Reactivation of a structural boundary?

Earth, Planets and Space200658:BF03351918

Received: 10 August 2005

Accepted: 7 December 2005

Published: 27 January 2006


After the occurrence of the 20 March 2005 West Off Fukuoka Prefecture Earthquake (Mj 7.0), off-fault aftershocks occurred in and around Hakata bay adjacent to the main fault of the earthquake. The locations of the activity seem to coincide with the Ishido-Uminonakamichi fault (I-U fault), which is a structural boundary and not considered as an active fault. In order to elucidate relations between these off-fault aftershocks and the I-U fault, we determine the double-difference earthquake locations and focal mechanism solutions. Results of the present study show that the off-fault aftershocks are aligned in a sense of left-lateral faulting striking 120° from the north and in that of their conjugate right-lateral fault structures striking 30? from the north. Comparing the trends of these aligned structures with the orientation of the I-U fault, we conclude that earthquakes in and around the Hakata bay occurred along these aligned structures, not along a fault plane inferred from the surface trace of the I-U fault. The analysis of Coulomb failure stress due to the mainshock also supports this conclusion. Stress tensor inversion shows that the stress field in and around the Hakata bay is characterized by a strike-slip faulting. The angles between the fault trends and the maximum principal stress suggest that the aligned structures found in this study are favorably oriented, while the fault plane inferred from the surface trace of the I-U fault is unfavorably oriented.

Key words

2005West Off Fukuoka Prefecture Earthquakeoff-fault aftershocksIshido-Uminonakamichi faultfocal mechanism solutionsdouble-difference locationstress field