3-D dynamic rupture simulations of the 2016 Kumamoto, Japan, earthquake 4. Seismology

Yumi Urata, Keisuke Yoshida, Eiichi Fukuyama, Hisahiko Kubo

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8 Citations (Scopus)


Using 3-D dynamic rupture simulations, we investigated the 2016 Mw7.1 Kumamoto, Japan, earthquake to elucidate why and how the rupture of the main shock propagated successfully, assuming a complicated fault geometry estimated on the basis of the distributions of the aftershocks. The Mw7.1 main shock occurred along the Futagawa and Hinagu faults. Within 28 h before the main shock, three M6-class foreshocks occurred. Their hypocenters were located along the Hinagu and Futagawa faults, and their focal mechanisms were similar to that of the main shock. Therefore, an extensive stress shadow should have been generated on the fault plane of the main shock. First, we estimated the geometry of the fault planes of the three foreshocks as well as that of the main shock based on the temporal evolution of the relocated aftershock hypocenters. We then evaluated the static stress changes on the main shock fault plane that were due to the occurrence of the three foreshocks, assuming elliptical cracks with constant stress drops on the estimated fault planes. The obtained static stress change distribution indicated that Coulomb failure stress change (ΔCFS) was positive just below the hypocenter of the main shock, while the ΔCFS in the shallow region above the hypocenter was negative. Therefore, these foreshocks could encourage the initiation of the main shock rupture and could hinder the propagation of the rupture toward the shallow region. Finally, we conducted 3-D dynamic rupture simulations of the main shock using the initial stress distribution, which was the sum of the static stress changes caused by these foreshocks and the regional stress field. Assuming a slip-weakening law with uniform friction parameters, we computed 3-D dynamic rupture by varying the friction parameters and the values of the principal stresses. We obtained feasible parameter ranges that could reproduce the characteristic features of the main shock rupture revealed by seismic waveform analyses. We also observed that the free surface encouraged the slip evolution of the main shock.

Original languageEnglish
Article number150
JournalEarth, Planets and Space
Issue number1
Publication statusPublished - 2017 Dec 1


  • Dynamic rupture propagation
  • Foreshocks
  • Numerical simulation
  • The 2016 Kumamoto earthquake


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