Bayesian inversion for finite fault earthquake source models - II: The 2011 great Tohoku-oki, Japan earthquake

S. E. Minson, M. Simons, J. L. Beck, F. Ortega, J. Jiang, S. E. Owen, A. W. Moore, A. Inbal, A. Sladen

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


We present a fully Bayesian inversion of kinematic rupture parameters for the 2011 Mw9 Tohoku-oki, Japan earthquake. Albeit computationally expensive, this approach to kinematic source modelling has the advantage of producing an ensemble of slip models that are consistent with physical a priori constraints, realistic data uncertainties, and realistic but simplistic uncertainties in the physics of the kinematic forward model, all without being biased by non-physical regularization constraints. Combining 1 Hz kinematic GPS, static GPS offsets, seafloor geodesy and near-field and far-field tsunami data into a massively parallel Monte Carlo simulation, we construct an ensemble of samples of the posterior probability density function describing the evolution of fault rupture.We find that most of the slip is concentrated in a depth range of 10-20 km from the trench, and that slip decreases towards the trench with significant displacements at the toe of wedge occurring in just a small region. Estimates of static stress drop and rupture velocity are ambiguous. Due to the spatial compactness of the fault rupture, the duration of the entire rupture was less than approximately 150 s.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)922-940
Number of pages19
JournalGeophysical Journal International
Issue number2
StatePublished - Jul 2014
Externally publishedYes


  • Computational seismology
  • Earthquake source observations
  • Inverse theory
  • Probability distributions


Dive into the research topics of 'Bayesian inversion for finite fault earthquake source models - II: The 2011 great Tohoku-oki, Japan earthquake'. Together they form a unique fingerprint.

Cite this