The 2000 Nemuro-Hanto-Oki earthquake (Mw6.8) occurred in the southwestern part of the Kuril Trench. The hypocenter was located close to the aftershock region of the great 1994 Kuril earthquake (Mw8.3), named "the 1994 Hokkaido-Toho-Oki earthquake" by the Japan Meteorological Agency, for which the fault plane is still in debate. Analysis of the 2000 event provides a clue to resolve the fault plane issue for the 1994 event. The hypocenters of the 2000 main shock and aftershocks are determined using arrival times from a combination of nearby inland and submarine seismic networks with an improved azimuthal coverage. They clearly show that the 2000 event was an intraslab event occurring on a shallow-dipping fault plane between 55 and 65 km in depth. The well-focused aftershock distribution of the 2000 event, the relative location of the 1994 event with respect to the 2000 event, and the similarity between their focal mechanisms strongly suggest that the faulting of the great 1994 earthquake also occurred on a shallow-dipping fault plane in the subducting slab. The recent hypocenter distribution around the 1994 aftershock region also supports this result. Large intraslab earthquakes occuring to the southeast of Hokkaido may occur due to a strong coupling on the plate boundary, which generates relatively large stress field within the subducting Pacific plate.
Additional publication details
The 2000 Nemuro-Hanto-Oki earthquake, off eastern Hokkaido, Japan, and the high intraslab seismic activity in the southwestern Kuril Trench