Open Access

Strain accumulation in and around Ou Backbone Range, northeastern Japan as observed by a dense GPS network

  • Satoshi Miura1Email author,
  • Toshiya Sato1,
  • Kenji Tachibana1,
  • Yoshimi Satake1 and
  • Akira Hasegawa1
Earth, Planets and Space201454:BF03353304

Received: 31 December 2001

Accepted: 14 May 2002

Published: 26 June 2014


A dense GPS network was established in 1997 around Ou Backbone Range (OBR), northeastern Japan, by deploying 28 continuous GPS stations to complement the sparse portion of GEONET operated by the Geographical Survey Institute of Japan. The aim of the network is to investigate the present surface deformation and understand the relationship between earthquake occurrence and the deformation process of the island-arc crust. Our GPS data are analyzed using a precise point positioning strategy of GIPSY/OASIS-II. Results of GEONET in daily SINEX files have been supplied by the GSI. Producing grid data of horizontal velocities and taking spatial derivatives, we derived a map of strain rate distribution. The results show that the region between 38.8° and 39.8°N in the OBR experiences notable concentration of east-west contraction. The region coincides with the area of active seismicity, including the focal areas of large earthquakes occurring in 1896 (M7.2), 1900 (M7.0), 1962 (M6.5), 1970 (M6.2), and 1998 (M6.1). Observed strain is larger than can be explained by the total moment release of earthquakes that occurred in the same period as this study. Possible sources of strain concentration may be viscoelastic deformation due to large earthquakes and/or aseismic slip along the deeper extension of the active faults.