Structure and composition of the plate-boundary slip zone for the 2011 Tohoku-Oki earthquake. Academic Article uri icon


  • The mechanics of great subduction earthquakes are influenced by the frictional properties, structure, and composition of the plate-boundary fault. We present observations of the structure and composition of the shallow source fault of the 2011 Tohoku-Oki earthquake and tsunami from boreholes drilled by the Integrated Ocean Drilling Program Expedition 343 and 343T. Logging-while-drilling and core-sample observations show a single major plate-boundary fault accommodated the large slip of the Tohoku-Oki earthquake rupture, as well as nearly all the cumulative interplate motion at the drill site. The localization of deformation onto a limited thickness (less than 5 meters) of pelagic clay is the defining characteristic of the shallow earthquake fault, suggesting that the pelagic clay may be a regionally important control on tsunamigenic earthquakes.

published proceedings

  • Science

altmetric score

  • 328.606

author list (cited authors)

  • Chester, F. M., Rowe, C., Ujiie, K., Kirkpatrick, J., Regalla, C., Remitti, F., ... Expedition 343 and 343T Scientists

citation count

  • 172

complete list of authors

  • Chester, Frederick M||Rowe, Christie||Ujiie, Kohtaro||Kirkpatrick, James||Regalla, Christine||Remitti, Francesca||Moore, J Casey||Toy, Virginia||Wolfson-Schwehr, Monica||Bose, Santanu||Kameda, Jun||Mori, James J||Brodsky, Emily E||Eguchi, Nobuhisa||Toczko, Sean

publication date

  • December 2013