Migrating tremor off southern Kyushu as evidence for slow slip of a shallow subduction interface

Y. Yamashita, H. Yakiwara, Y. Asano, H. Shimizu, K. Uchida, S. Hirano, K. Umakoshi, H. Miyamachi, M. Nakamoto, M. Fukui, M. Kamizono, H. Kanehara, T. Yamada, M. Shinohara, K. Obara


Science 8 May 2015: Vol. 348 no. 6235 pp. 676-679  DOI: 10.1126/science.aaa4242

Abstract: Detection of shallow slow earthquakes offers insight into the near-trench part of the subduction interface, an important region in the development of great earthquake ruptures and tsunami generation. Ocean-bottom monitoring of offshore seismicity off southern Kyushu, Japan, recorded a complete episode of low-frequency tremor, lasting for 1 month, that was associated with very-low-frequency earthquake (VLFE) activity in the shallow plate interface. The shallow tremor episode exhibited two migration modes reminiscent of deep tremor down-dip of the seismogenic zone in some other subduction zones: a large-scale slower propagation mode and a rapid reversal mode. These similarities in migration properties and the association with VLFEs strongly suggest that both the shallow and deep tremor and VLFE may be triggered by the migration of episodic slow slip events.