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Strong ground motion recorded by high-rate sampling GPS at the closest site to the 2003 Tokachi-oki earthquake


The Mw 8.1 earthquake occurred on September 25, 2003, off the southeast coast of Hokkaido, Japan. Since 2000 we have conducted high-rate sampling GPS measurements and precise gravity surveys in Erimo Peninsula, the closest site to the source region of the 2003 event. Strong ground motion recorded by GPS at the point of Erimo Peninsula, located just above the second asperity of the earthquake, shows two major pulses as large as about 56 cm on the EW component. Displacements obtained from the integration of accelerograms very close to our GPS site are consistent with each other, showing the absolute displacement field generated by the magnitude 8-class earthquake. Synthetic seismogram from a similar fault model by Yamanaka and Kikuchi (2003) would predict the amplitude of the second pulse to be about one half of that observed. Synthetic NS component from the GSI fault model (2003) is not consistent with our observations both on amplitude and polarity. The amplitude of ground motions detected by our GPS observation is more than one order larger than the noise level of the GPS survey, so this discrepancy is not due to insufficient GPS observation. We rather think that this suggests that our observations closest to the earthquake would give an insight into the detail of the source processes of the earthquake, which cannot be resolved from observations away from the source region. Static deformation at the point of Erimo Peninsula is consistent with the GSI fault model but not with the Yamanaka and Kikuchi model. The static analysis of our GPS measurement evidently describes the continuous post-seismic deformation as well as the co-seismic displacement in the source region until November.


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Correspondence to Junji Koyama.

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Koyama, J., Shestakov, N.V. & Honda, R. Strong ground motion recorded by high-rate sampling GPS at the closest site to the 2003 Tokachi-oki earthquake. Earth Planet Sp 56, 383–387 (2004).

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Key words

  • Strong ground motion
  • high-rate sampling GPS
  • Tokachi-oki earthquake