Anelastic deformation in the lower crust and its implications for tectonic dynamics in Kyushu, Southwest Japan

Yuhei Yuasa, Satoshi Matsumoto

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


Most of the seismicity in inland Kyushu, southwest Japan occur in the localized intraplate shear zones which are Beppu-Shimabara Graben (BSG) and left-lateral shear zone (LSZ). One of the largest fault systems in Japan (Median Tectonic Line—MTL), and subduction zone of the Philippine Sea Plate also exist near Kyushu. These suggest that the island arc, such as Kyushu has a complex deformation process. This study estimated the anelastic strain rate in the lower crust and the interplate coupling rate via inversion analysis using Global Navigation Satellite System data to elucidate the seismotectonics. Deformation in the lower crust and interplate coupling were modeled by cuboid volumetric sources and a back slip model, respectively. To stabilize the solution, a L2 regularization constraint was applied to the anelastic strain rate. Further, constraints on direction and smoothing to the slip deficit rate were applied. These strength of the constraints were determined via the minimum value of the Akaike Bayesian information criterion. The analyses showed that the anelastic strain rate of the BSG and LSZ was ∼0.6 ×10−6 yr−1, and BSG was related to MTL activity. The findings also suggest that this anelastic deformation in the lower crust created a stress concentration zone in the upper crust of BSG and LSZ, with a stress change rate of ∼6–10 kPa·yr−1. The value is consistent with the stress drop and recurrence interval of regional earthquakes, suggesting that the seismicity around BSG and LSZ is strongly influenced by anelastic deformation in the lower crust. It is also suggested that BSG and LSZ development is influenced by slab rollback, and a subducting ridge. Lastly, a comparison between the deviatoric stress field estimated using focal mechanisms and the anelastic strain rate suggests the existence of a shear zone consisting of weak faults south of BSG.

Original languageEnglish
Article number229674
Publication statusPublished - Jan 5 2023

All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

  • Geophysics
  • Earth-Surface Processes


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