This study revisits the mechanism of the 1923 Ms = 7.9 Kanto earthquake in Japan. We derive a new source model and use it to assess quantitative and qualitative aspects of the accommodation of plate motion in the Kanto region. We use a new geodetic data set that consists of displacements from leveling and angle changes from triangulation measurements obtained in surveys between 1883 and 1927. Two unique aspects of our analysis are the inclusion of a large number of second-order triangulation measurements and the application of a correction to remove interseismic deformation. The geometry of the fault planes is adopted from a recent seismic reflection study of the Kanto region. We evaluate the minimum complexity necessary in the model to fit the data optimally. Our final uniform-slip elastic dislocation model consists of two adjacent ???20?? dipping low-angle planes accommodating reverse dextral slip of 6.0 in on the larger, eastern plane and 9.5 m on the smaller, western plane with azimuths of 163?? and 121??, respectively. The earthquake was located in the Sagami trough, where the Philippine Sea plate subducts under Honshu. Compared to the highly oblique angle of plate convergence, the coseismic slip on the large fault plane has a more orthogonal orientation to the strike of the plate boundary, suggesting that slip partitioning plays a role in accommodation of plate motion. What other structure is involved in the partitioning is unclear. Uplift records of marine coastal terraces in Sagami Bay document 7500 years of earthquake activity and predict average recurrence intervals of 400 years for events with vertical displacement profiles similar to those of the 1923 earthquake. This means that the average slip deficit per recurrence interval is ???50% of the relative plate convergence. These findings of plate motion partitioning and slip deficit lead us to suggest that instead of a simple recurrence model with characteristic earthquakes, additional mechanisms are necessary to describe the accommodation of deformation in the Kanto region. So far, obvious candidates for these alternative mechanisms have not been discovered. Copyright 2006 by the American Geophysical Union.
Additional Publication Details
The 1923 Kanto earthquake reevaluated using a newly augmented geodetic data set