High probability of successive occurrence of Nankai megathrust earthquakes

Yo Fukushima, Tomoaki Nishikawa, Yasuyuki Kano

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Great earthquakes along the Nankai megathrust in south-western Japan feature in the top priority list of Japan’s disaster management agenda. In May 2019, an alert system was incepted to issue public warnings when the probability of an earthquake occurrence along the Nankai megathrust became higher than usual. One of the cases that trigger the issuance of public warnings is when a great earthquake occurred and another one of the same scale is anticipated within a short period of time. Although such “twin ruptures” have occurred multiple times along the Nankai megathrust, the quantification of the probability of such twin ruptures has never been attempted. Based on global statistics and local earthquake occurrence history, we estimated the probability of a successive occurrence of two M8 or larger earthquakes within 3 years globally and along the Nankai megathrust to be 5.0–18% and 4.3–96%, respectively. The timing of the second earthquake followed the Omori–Utsu law in global statistics, which allowed the estimation of the probability for the successive occurrence of Nankai megathrust earthquakes in arbitrary time frames. The predicted probability for the one-week timeframe was 100–3600-fold higher than that of the norm, endorsing the necessity for the warning scheme.

Original languageEnglish
Article number63
JournalScientific reports
Issue number1
Publication statusPublished - 2023 Dec

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • General


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