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Title: Earthquake slip surfaces identified by biomarker thermal maturity within the 2011 Tohoku-Oki earthquake fault zone

Extreme slip at shallow depths on subduction zone faults is a primary contributor to tsunami generation by earthquakes. Improving earthquake and tsunami risk assessment requires understanding the material and structural conditions that favor earthquake propagation to the trench. We use new biomarker thermal maturity indicators to identify seismic faults in drill core recovered from the Japan Trench subduction zone, which hosted 50 m of shallow slip during theMw9.1 2011 Tohoku-Oki earthquake. Our results show that multiple faults have hosted earthquakes with displacement ≥ 10 m, and each could have hosted many great earthquakes, illustrating an extensive history of great earthquake seismicity that caused large shallow slip. We find that lithologic contrasts in frictional properties do not necessarily determine the likelihood of large shallow slip or seismic hazard.

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Publication Date:
Journal Name:
Nature Communications
Nature Publishing Group
Sponsoring Org:
National Science Foundation
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