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  • Letter
  • Open Access

The 2004 sequence of triggered earthquakes off the Kii peninsula, Japan

Earth, Planets and Space201457:BF03352569

  • Received: 4 December 2004
  • Accepted: 5 April 2005
  • Published:


We examine the spatial and temporal relationships of the sequence of strong earthquakes that occurred off the Kii Peninsula, Japan, on 5 September 2004. The first event (Mj 7.1) occurred at 10:07:08 (UTC) on a northward dipping plane within the subducting Philippine Sea plate. From 10:16 to 14:47 the seismicity shows a group of earthquakes (Mj 3.2 to 4.8) 35 km to the east which are regarded as foreshocks to the second large earthquake. At 14:57:17, a Mw 6.1 strike-slip event occurred on a northwest trending plane. Some 14 seconds later, a large (Mj 7.4) thrust earthquake started 4.2 km southeast of the initial epicenter of the second earthquake. This largest earthquake is thought to have occurred on a southward dipping plane with the strike in an east-southeastly direction. Using the geometry of faults determined in this study, calculations of the Coulomb failure function show that simple static stress changes do not provide a good explanation for the triggering of the subsequent earthquakes.

Key words

  • Kii Peninsula
  • Nankai Trough
  • slip distribution
  • static stress
  • triggering
  • foreshocks