Temporal stress changes caused by earthquakes: A review

Journal of Geophysical Research B: Solid Earth
By:  and 



Earthquakes can change the stress field in the Earth’s lithosphere as they relieve and redistribute stress. Earthquake-induced stress changes have been observed as temporal rotations of the principal stress axes following major earthquakes in a variety of tectonic settings. The stress changes due to the 2011 Mw9.0 Tohoku-Oki, Japan, earthquake were particularly well documented. Earthquake stress rotations can inform our understanding of earthquake physics, most notably addressing the long-standing problem of whether the Earth’s crust at plate boundaries is “strong” or “weak.” Many of the observed stress rotations, including that due to the Tohoku-Oki earthquake, indicate near-complete stress drop in the mainshock. This implies low background differential stress, on the order of earthquake stress drop, supporting the weak crust model. Earthquake stress rotations can also be used to address other important geophysical questions, such as the level of crustal stress heterogeneity and the mechanisms of postseismic stress reloading. The quantitative interpretation of stress rotations is evolving from those based on simple analytical methods to those based on more sophisticated numerical modeling that can capture the spatial-temporal complexity of the earthquake stress changes.
Publication type Article
Publication Subtype Journal Article
Title Temporal stress changes caused by earthquakes: A review
Series title Journal of Geophysical Research B: Solid Earth
DOI 10.1002/2017JB014617
Volume 123
Issue 2
Year Published 2018
Language English
Publisher American Geophysical Union
Contributing office(s) Earthquake Science Center
Description 16 p.
First page 1350
Last page 1365
Country Japan
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