Earth Planets Space, Vol. 56 (No. 8), pp. xxix-xli, 2004Research News
Graduate School of Environmental Studies, Nagoya University, Furo-cho, Chikusa-ku, Nagoya 464-8602, Japan
(Received February 4, 2004; Revised May 6, 2004; Accepted May 24, 2004)
The dense continuous GPS network of Japan, now called GEONET, has been operated since 1994 by the Geographical Survey Institute. GEONET provides precise daily coordinates of all the stations, with which displacement rates and strain rates are calculated nationwide. Various characteristics of tectonic deformation in the Japanese Islands have been revealed. GEONET is also quite useful in earthquake studies, precisely detecting co-seismic, post-seismic, and inter-seismic deformation signals. These observations are utilized to infer physical processes at earthquake sources. Slow slip events on plate boundaries have been found from GPS data. Such slow events provide an important constraint on the mechanism of faulting. On the other hand, there has been no success in detecting pre-seismic deformation. Lack of a precursory signal before the 2003 Tokachi-Oki (M8.0) earthquake has posed a serious question to short-term earthquake prediction. GEONET enables a good linkage between monitoring and modeling studies, opening a possibility of practical data assimilation. For further contribution to earthquake studies, it is necessary to continue GEONET with high traceability on the details in observation and analysis.
Key words: GEONET, GPS, crustal deformation, the Japanese Islands.