Activity Report of the National Committee for
Seismology and Physics of the Earth’s Interior
Mitsuhiro MATSU’URA Chair of the National Committee for Seismology and Physics of the Earth’s Interior
n the last four years (2003-2007) there have been major organizational changes and significant progress in seismology and physics of the Earth’s interior in Japan.
Changes in Organization
The 18th term (2000-2003) of the Committee for Seismology and Physics of the Earth’s Interior, Science Council of Japan, expired in September 2003. The 19th term of the Committee started in October 2003, and Mitsuhiro Matsu’ura (Professor, University of Tokyo) was elected as the Chair. The 19th term of the Committee terminated in September 2005 with the sweeping reform of the Science Council of Japan. Under the new Science Council of Japan, the National Committee for Geodesy and Geophysics (the National Committee for IUGG) and the IUGG-related subcommittees, including the National Committee for Seismology and Physics of the Earth’s Interior (the National Committee for IASPEI), were established in 2006; Mitsuhiro Matsu’ura was elected as the Chair of the National Committee for IASPEI. In 2006 the Seismological Society of Japan (SSJ) also established the IASPEI Subcommittee to support the activity of the National Committee for IASPEI. In 2005, on the other hand, the Japan Geoscience Union (JGSU) was established to unify almost all Earth science-related societies in Japan. The Seismological Society of Japan joined in JGSU as a member society.
Contribution to Activities of ASC
The National Committee for IASPEI and the Seismological Society of Japan first delegated Kazuro Hirahara (Professor, Nagoya University) as a national representative to the 5th General Assembly of Asian Seismological Commission (ASC) held on October 18-21, 2004 in Yerevan, Armenia,. The President of ASC nominated Kazuro Hirahara as a Bureau member of ASC. At the 6th General Assembly of ASC held on November 7-10, 2006, in Bangkok, Thailand, Japan was nominated as the host country for the 8th General Assembly of ASC to be held in 2008. In January 2007 the National Committee for IASPEI and the Seismological Society of Japan formed the Local Organizing Committee for the 8th General Assembly of ASC in Japan.
National Earthquake Prediction Research Project
The first phase (1999-2003) of the national project for earthquake prediction research finished in March 2004 with great progress in basic understanding for the physical process and tectonic environment of earthquake generation. The second phase (2004-2008) of the earthquake prediction research project started in April 2004. The main subjects in the second phase are the observational study for better understanding of the crustal activities associated with the entire process of earthquake generation cycles and the development of a predictive simulation system for earthquake generation. In the last four years the concept of strength asperity as a unit of earthquake rupture has been established. A prototype of the predictive simulation system for earthquake generation cycles at plate interfaces in and around Japan has been developed.
Seismic Activity in and around Japan
In the period of 2003-2006, seven large earthquakes occurred in and around Japan. On September 26, 2003 a M8.0 earthquake (the 2003 Tokachi-oki earthquake) occurred in Hokkaido (the northern part of Japan). On September 7, 2004 a M7.4 earthquake (the 2004 off Kii Peninsula earthquake) occurred in the Tonankai region (the southwestern part of Japan). On October 23, 2004 a M6.8 inland earthquake (the 2004 Niigata-ken Chuetsu earthquake) occurred in the Chubu region (the central part of Japan). On March 20, 2005 a M7.0 intraplate earthquake (the 2005 west off Fukuoka-ken earthquake) occurred in Kyushu (the western part of Japan). On August 16 a M7.2 earthquake (the 2005 off Miyagi-ken