Slip distribution of the 2011 Tohoku earthquake derived from joint inversion of GPS, InSAR and seafloor GPS/acoustic measurements

Chisheng Wang, Xiaoli Ding, Xinjian Shan, Lei Zhang, Mi Jiang

Research output: Journal article publicationJournal articleAcademic researchpeer-review

25 Citations (Scopus)


We invert the fault slips of 2011 Mw 9.0 Tohoku earthquake with constraints from GPS, InSAR and seafloor GPS/acoustic measurements. The seismogenic fault geometry is constructed according to slab contours of Japan Trench. Steepest Descent method and Laplacian smoothing are used to solve slip distribution and regularize the solution. We firstly take GPS displacement in two postseismic periods, the first 8h right after mainshock from 5:55 to 14:00 UTC and the 13days from 12 March 2011 to 25 March 2011, to solve for the postseismic slips. The solved postseismic slips are adopted to remove postseismic signal in InSAR and seafloor observation. In order to estimate the effect of postseismic correction and contribution from different geodetic datasets, we invert several coseismic slips with constraints from GPS (Model 1), corrected InSAR (Model 2), combination of GPS and corrected seafloor measurements (Model 3), combination of GPS and corrected InSAR and seafloor measurements (Model 4), and combination of GPS and initial InSAR and seafloor measurements (Model 5). From the comparison of these slip models, we find combined datasets could give more slip details, which is closer to a joint inversion result constrained from both seismic and geodetic datasets (Koketsu et al., 2011). RMSE of seafloor measurements has dropped about 4cm after applying postseismic correction. We consider the Model 4, which combines three datasets and takes postseismic correction, to be the preferred solution among all the estimated models. It suggests a maximum slip of 49.87m, located at a depth of 5km around the epicenter, and has a geodetic moment of 3.14×1022Nm (Mw 8.96) by assuming a shear modulus of 4×1010Pa.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)128-136
Number of pages9
JournalJournal of Asian Earth Sciences
Publication statusPublished - 5 Sept 2012


  • Fault slip
  • Joint inversion
  • Tohoku earthquake

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Geology
  • Earth-Surface Processes


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