Skip to main content

Moho and Philippine Sea plate structure beneath central Honshu Island, Japan, from teleseismic receiver functions


We used teleseismic P waves recorded by the J-array, the Hi-net and a temporal local seismic network to investigate the three-dimensional topography of the Moho and the Philippine Sea plate beneath central Honshu Island, Japan. An image of the subsurface discontinuities beneath the region, derived from receiver function analysis, depicts the Philippine Sea plate dipping toward the north with complex local curvatures. The Moho is clearly detected in the northern part of the area studied, and its depth increases to the center of the island. Receiver functions from the stations adjacent to the Itoigawa-Shizuoka tectonic line indicate the step-like topography of the Moho directly beneath this tectonic line.


  1. Aoki, H., T. Tada, Y. Sasaki, T. Ooida, I. Muramatsu, H. Shimamura, and I. Furuya, Crustal structure in the profile across Central Japan as derived from explosion seismic observations, J. Phys. Earth, 20, 197–223, 1972.

    Article  Google Scholar 

  2. Gurrola, H., J. B. Minster, and T. Owens, The use of velocity spectrum for stacking receiver functions and imaging upper mantle discontinuities, Geophys. J. Int., 117, 427–440, 1994.

    Article  Google Scholar 

  3. Iidaka, T., T. Iwasaki, T. Takeda, T. Moriya, I. Kumakawa, E. Kurashimo, T. Kawamura, F. Yamazaki, K. Koike, and G. Aoki, Configuration of subducting Philippine Sea plate and crustal structure in the central Japan region, Geophys. Res. Lett., 30, doi:10.1029/2002GL016517, 2003.

  4. Ikami, A., T. Yoshii, S. Kubota, Y. Sakai, A. Hasemi, T. Moriya, H. Miyamachi, R. S. Matsu’ura, and K. Wada, A seismic-refraction profile in and around Nagano Prefecture, central Japan, J. Phys. Earth, 34, 457–474, 1986.

    Article  Google Scholar 

  5. Ishida, M., Geometry and relative motion of the Philippine Sea Plate and Pacific Plate beneath the Kanto-Tokai district, Japan, J. Geophys. Res., 97, 489–513, 1992.

    Article  Google Scholar 

  6. Kennett, B. L. N. and E. R. Engdahl, Traveltimes for global earthquake location and phase identification, Geophys. J. Int., 105, 429–465, 1991.

    Article  Google Scholar 

  7. Niitsuma, S., N. Niitsuma, and K. Saito, Evolution of the Komiji Syncline in the North Fossa Magna, central Japan: Paleomagnetic and K-Ar age insights, The Island Arc, 12, 310–323, 2003.

    Article  Google Scholar 

  8. Ogawa, Y., S. Takakura, and Y. Honkura, Resistivity structure across Itoigawa-Shizuoka tectonic line and its implications for concentrated deformation, Earth Planets Space, 54, 1115–1120, 2002.

    Article  Google Scholar 

  9. Owens, T. J., G. Zandt, and S. R. Taylor, Seismic evidence for an ancient rift beneath the Cumberland Plateau, Tennessee: A detailed analysis of broadband teleseismic P wave-forms, J. Geophys. Res., 89, 7783–7795, 1984.

    Article  Google Scholar 

  10. Sagiya, T., T. Nishimura, Y. Iio, and T. Tada, Crustal deformation around the northern and central Itoigawa-Shizuoka Tectonic Line, Earth Planets Space, 54, 1059–1063, 2002.

    Article  Google Scholar 

  11. Sekiguchi, S., A new configuration and an aseismic slab of the descending Philippine Sea plate revealed by seismic tomography, Tectonophysics, 341, 19–32, 2001.

    Article  Google Scholar 

  12. Shiomi, K., H. Sato, K. Obara, and M. Ohtake, Configuration of subducting Philippine Sea plate beneath southwest Japan revealed from receiver function analysis based on the multivariate autoregressive model, J. Geophys. Res., 109, B04308, doi:10.1029/2003JB002774, 2004.

    Google Scholar 

  13. Yamazaki, F., T. Ooida, and H. Aoki, Subduction of Philippine Sea Plate beneath the Tokai area, central Japan, J. Earth Sci. Nagoya Univ., 36, 15–26, 1989.

    Google Scholar 

  14. Yoshimoto, K., H. Fujisawa, T. Okada, N. Umino, A. Hasegawa, K. Obara, H. Tsukahara, S. Okamoto, T. Kawanaka, H. Sato, H. Sato, and M. Ohtake, Seismic observation for investigating deep crustal structure around the Itoigawa-Shizuoka tectonic line, Program and Abstracts of the SSJ Fall Meeting 2002, C22, 2002 (in Japanese).

  15. Zhao, D., S. Horiuchi, and A. Hasegawa, Seismic velocity structure of the crust beneath the Japan Islands, Tectonophysics, 212, 289–301, 1992.

    Article  Google Scholar 

Download references

Author information



Corresponding author

Correspondence to Kazuo Yoshimoto.

Rights and permissions

Reprints and Permissions

About this article

Verify currency and authenticity via CrossMark

Cite this article

Yoshimoto, K., Fujisawa, H., Okada, T. et al. Moho and Philippine Sea plate structure beneath central Honshu Island, Japan, from teleseismic receiver functions. Earth Planet Sp 56, 1271–1277 (2004).

Download citation

Key words

  • Moho
  • Philippine Sea plate
  • Itoigawa-Shizuoka tectonic line
  • median tectonic line
  • receiver function