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2016 Kumamoto earthquake sequence and its impact on earthquake science and hazard assessment

Edited by: Manabu Hashimoto, Martha Savage, Takuya Nishimura, Haruo Horikawa, Hiroyuki Tsutsumi

The Kumamoto earthquake sequence that started on 15th April, 2016 resulted in more than 60 fatalities and brought about serious damage to society. It is the first time that the seismic intensity of 7 (on the Japan Meteorological Agency scale) was recorded twice within two days, which unnerved the population in the affected areas and made the response difficult. The earthquakes occurred on known active faults where long-term probability was disseminated, but such complex activity was unexpected. This unique sequence will clearly have a significant impact on the field of earthquake science and related hazard assessment.

This special issue presents results obtained immediately after the event, focusing on multidisciplinary researches regarding the 2016 Kumamoto earthquake sequence, the relevant tectonics and associated phenomena.

Publication started: 14 July 2016
Publication finished: 24 July 2017


  1. Content type: Letter

    We present the results of relocating 17,544 hypocenters determined from data recorded during the 2016 Kumamoto Earthquake sequence, during the interval between April 14, 2016, and August 31, 2016. For this, w...

    Authors: Tomoko Elizabeth Yano and Makoto Matsubara

    Citation: Earth, Planets and Space 2017 69:74

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  2. Content type: Letter

    In this study, we estimated source process of the 2016 Kumamoto earthquake from strong-motion data by using the multiple-time window linear kinematic waveform inversion method to discuss generation of strong m...

    Authors: Kunikazu Yoshida, Ken Miyakoshi, Kazuhiro Somei and Kojiro Irikura

    Citation: Earth, Planets and Space 2017 69:64

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  3. Content type: Letter

    To evaluate local site effects in Kumamoto City, we installed six temporary seismic stations along a 6-km north–south survey line in the city immediately after the 2016 Kumamoto earthquake foreshock (Mj 6.4),...

    Authors: Seiji Tsuno, Masahiro Korenaga, Kyosuke Okamoto, Hiroaki Yamanaka, Kosuke Chimoto and Takeshi Matsushima

    Citation: Earth, Planets and Space 2017 69:37

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  4. Content type: Full paper

    This study investigates the missing data problem in the Japan Meteorological Agency catalog of the Kumamoto aftershock sequence, which occurred since April 15, 2016, in Japan. Based on the assumption that ear...

    Authors: Jiancang Zhuang, Yosihiko Ogata and Ting Wang

    Citation: Earth, Planets and Space 2017 69:36

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  5. Content type: Letter

    The ~30-km-long surface ruptures associated with the M w 7.0 (M j 7.3) earthquake at 01:25 JST on April 16 in Kumamoto Prefecture appeared along the previously mapp...

    Authors: Hideaki Goto, Hiroyuki Tsutsumi, Shinji Toda and Yasuhiro Kumahara

    Citation: Earth, Planets and Space 2017 69:26

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  6. Content type: Full paper

    In this study, the rupture process of the main shock of the Kumamoto earthquake, particularly the generation of strong ground motions in the frequency range relevant to structural damage, was investigated bas...

    Authors: Atsushi Nozu and Yosuke Nagasaka

    Citation: Earth, Planets and Space 2017 69:22

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  7. Content type: Letter

    The nationwide strong-motion seismograph network of K-NET and KiK-net in Japan successfully recorded the strong ground motions of the 2016 Kumamoto earthquake sequence, which show the several notable character...

    Authors: Wataru Suzuki, Shin Aoi, Takashi Kunugi, Hisahiko Kubo, Nobuyuki Morikawa, Hiromitsu Nakamura, Takeshi Kimura and Hiroyuki Fujiwara

    Citation: Earth, Planets and Space 2017 69:19

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  8. Content type: Full paper

    The 2016 Kumamoto earthquakes in Kyushu, Japan, started with a magnitude (M) 6.5 quake on April 14 on the Hinagu fault zone (FZ), followed by active seismicity including an M6.4 quake. Eventually, an M7.3 quake o...

    Authors: K. Z. Nanjo and A. Yoshida

    Citation: Earth, Planets and Space 2017 69:13

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  9. Content type: Letter

    By applying conventional cross-track InSAR and multiple-aperture InSAR (MAI) techniques with ALOS-2 SAR data to foreshocks of the 2016 Kumamoto earthquake, ground displacement fields in range (line-of-sight) a...

    Authors: Tomokazu Kobayashi

    Citation: Earth, Planets and Space 2017 69:7

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  10. Content type: Letter

    The M JMA 7.3 Kumamoto earthquake that occurred at 1:25 JST on April 16, 2016, not only triggered aftershocks in the vicinity of the epicenter, but also triggered earthquakes that were 50...

    Authors: Koki Aizawa, Hisafumi Asaue, Katsuaki Koike, Shinichi Takakura, Mitsuru Utsugi, Hiroyuki Inoue, Ryokei Yoshimura, Ken’ichi Yamazaki, Shintaro Komatsu, Makoto Uyeshima, Takao Koyama, Wataru Kanda, Taro Shiotani, Nobuo Matsushima, Maki Hata, Tohru Yoshinaga…

    Citation: Earth, Planets and Space 2017 69:4

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  11. Content type: Letter

    To understand the cause of heavy structural damage during the mainshock (on April 16, 2016) of the 2016 Kumamoto earthquake sequence, we carried out a field survey from April 29 through May 1, 2016, in Mashiki...

    Authors: Hiroshi Kawase, Shinichi Matsushima, Fumiaki Nagashima, Baoyintu and Kenichi Nakano

    Citation: Earth, Planets and Space 2017 69:3

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  12. Content type: Full paper

    A two-stage scaling relationship of the source parameters for crustal earthquakes in Japan has previously been constructed, in which source parameters obtained from the results of waveform inversion of strong ...

    Authors: Kojiro Irikura, Ken Miyakoshi, Katsuhiro Kamae, Kunikazu Yoshida, Kazuhiro Somei, Susumu Kurahashi and Hiroe Miyake

    Citation: Earth, Planets and Space 2017 69:10

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  13. Content type: Letter

    We resolve the density structure of a possible magma reservoir beneath Aso, an active volcano on Kyushu Island, Japan, by inverting gravity data. In the context of the resolved structure, we discuss the relati...

    Authors: Ayumu Miyakawa, Tatsuya Sumita, Yasukuni Okubo, Ryo Okuwaki, Makoto Otsubo, Shimpei Uesawa and Yuji Yagi

    Citation: Earth, Planets and Space 2016 68:208

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  14. Content type: Letter

    High-amplitude seismic waves from the Mw 7.0 Kumamoto earthquake of April 16, 2016, triggered another large earthquake 80 km to the NE roughly 30 s later. The source was located at shallow depths beneath the Y...

    Authors: Masatoshi Miyazawa

    Citation: Earth, Planets and Space 2016 68:205

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  15. Content type: Full paper

    At the 2016 Kumamoto earthquake, surface ruptures were observed not only along the Futagawa fault, where main ruptures occurred, but also along the Hinagu fault. To estimate the slip distribution on these faul...

    Authors: Yukitoshi Fukahata and Manabu Hashimoto

    Citation: Earth, Planets and Space 2016 68:204

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  16. Content type: Letter

    Shallow S-wave velocity V S profiles were estimated for 26 temporary strong motion observation sites surrounding the epicenters of a sequence of the 2016 Kumamoto earthquake. The microtrem...

    Authors: Kosuke Chimoto, Hiroaki Yamanaka, Seiji Tsuno, Hiroe Miyake and Nobuyuki Yamada

    Citation: Earth, Planets and Space 2016 68:206

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  17. Content type: Full paper

    The 2016 Kumamoto earthquake (Kumamoto earthquake sequence) is an extremely high-seismicity event that has been occurring across Kumamoto and Oita Prefectures in Japan since April 14, 2016 (JST). The earthquak...

    Authors: Yuki Kodera, Jun Saitou, Naoki Hayashimoto, Shimpei Adachi, Masahiko Morimoto, Yuji Nishimae and Mitsuyuki Hoshiba

    Citation: Earth, Planets and Space 2016 68:202

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  18. Content type: Letter

    An earthquake of JMA magnitude 6.5 (first event) hit Kumamoto Prefecture, Japan, at 21:26 JST, April 14, 2016. Subsequently, an earthquake of JMA magnitude 7.3 (second event) hit Kumamoto and Oita Prefectures...

    Authors: Yoshiya Hata, Masaaki Yabe, Akira Kasai, Hiroshi Matsuzaki, Yoshikazu Takahashi and Mitsuyoshi Akiyama

    Citation: Earth, Planets and Space 2016 68:199

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  19. Content type: Letter

    We have conducted observation of earthquake ground motion due to aftershocks of the 2016 Kumamoto earthquake at 26 temporary stations in damaged areas of Kumamoto city, Mashiki town, Nishihara village and Mina...

    Authors: Hiroaki Yamanaka, Kosuke Chimoto, Hiroe Miyake, Seiji Tsuno and Nobuyuki Yamada

    Citation: Earth, Planets and Space 2016 68:197

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  20. Content type: Letter

    The 2016 Kumamoto earthquake sequence started with a M J (Japan Meteorological Agency magnitude) 6.5 event on April 14, and culminated in a M J 7.3 event on April 1...

    Authors: Yoshiki Shirahama, Masayuki Yoshimi, Yasuo Awata, Tadashi Maruyama, Takashi Azuma, Yukari Miyashita, Hiroshi Mori, Kazutoshi Imanishi, Naoto Takeda, Tadafumi Ochi, Makoto Otsubo, Daisuke Asahina and Ayumu Miyakawa

    Citation: Earth, Planets and Space 2016 68:191

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  21. Content type: Full paper

    We estimate high-frequency (4–20 Hz) energy release due to the 2016 Kumamoto, Japan, earthquake sequence, within a time period from April 14 to 26 through envelope inversion analysis applied to the Hi-net cont...

    Authors: Kaoru Sawazaki, Hisashi Nakahara and Katsuhiko Shiomi

    Citation: Earth, Planets and Space 2016 68:183

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  22. Content type: Full paper

    An MJMA6.5 earthquake (foreshock) and MJMA7.3 earthquake (mainshock) struck Kumamoto Prefecture on April 14, 2016, and April 16, 2016. To evaluate the effect of crustal deformation due to the earthquake on the As...

    Authors: Taku Ozawa, Eisuke Fujita and Hideki Ueda

    Citation: Earth, Planets and Space 2016 68:186

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  23. Content type: Full paper

    We report precursory seismic patterns prior to the 2016 Kumamoto earthquakes, as measured by four different methods based on changes in seismicity that can be used for earthquake forecasting: the b-value method, ...

    Authors: Kazuyoshi Z. Nanjo, Jun Izutsu, Yoshiaki Orihara, Nobuhiro Furuse, Shoho Togo, Hidetoshi Nitta, Tomohiro Okada, Rika Tanaka, Masashi Kamogawa and Toshiyasu Nagao

    Citation: Earth, Planets and Space 2016 68:187

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  24. Content type: Frontier letter

    An ENE-trending ~30-km-long surface rupture emerged during the Mw = 7.0 16 April 2016 Kumamoto earthquake along the previously mapped Futagawa and northern Hinagu faults. This included a previously unknown 5-k...

    Authors: Shinji Toda, Heitaro Kaneda, Shinsuke Okada, Daisuke Ishimura and Zoë K. Mildon

    Citation: Earth, Planets and Space 2016 68:188

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  25. Content type: Letter

    The 2016 Kumamoto–Oita earthquake sequence involving three large events (M w ≥ 6) in the central Kyushu Island, southwest Japan, activated seismicities in two volcanic areas with unusual a...

    Authors: Takahiko Uchide, Haruo Horikawa, Misato Nakai, Reiken Matsushita, Norio Shigematsu, Ryosuke Ando and Kazutoshi Imanishi

    Citation: Earth, Planets and Space 2016 68:180

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  26. Content type: Letter

    The 2016 Kumamoto earthquakes, including an Mw-7 right-lateral earthquake on April 15 (UTC), occurred along faults within the Beppu−Shimabara graben in central Kyushu, Japan. Previous studies showed that the g...

    Authors: Kazuma Mochizuki and Yuta Mitsui

    Citation: Earth, Planets and Space 2016 68:177

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  27. Content type: Letter

    The 2016 Kumamoto earthquake sequence was a rare event worldwide in that the surface ruptures associated with the largest foreshock (Mj 6.5) of 21:26 (JST), 14 April ruptured again during the mainshock (Mj 7.3...

    Authors: Nobuhiko Sugito, Hideaki Goto, Yasuhiro Kumahara, Hiroyuki Tsutsumi, Takashi Nakata, Kyoko Kagohara, Nobuhisa Matsuta and Haruka Yoshida

    Citation: Earth, Planets and Space 2016 68:170

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  28. Content type: Letter

    Series of earthquakes including three M w > 6 earthquakes occurred in Kumamoto prefecture in the middle of the Kyushu island, Japan. In order to reveal the associated crustal deformation s...

    Authors: Yuji Himematsu and Masato Furuya

    Citation: Earth, Planets and Space 2016 68:169

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    The Erratum to this article has been published in Earth, Planets and Space 2016 68:196

  29. Content type: Letter

    We analyze Bouguer anomalies in/around the focal region of the 2016 Kumamoto earthquake to examine features, such as continuity, segmentation and faulting type, of the active fault zones related to the earthqu...

    Authors: Nayuta Matsumoto, Hiramatsu Yoshihiro and Akihiro Sawada

    Citation: Earth, Planets and Space 2016 68:167

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    The Erratum to this article has been published in Earth, Planets and Space 2017 69:47

  30. Content type: Full paper

    The MJMA7.3 Kumamoto earthquake occurred on April 16, 2016, in the western part of Kyushu, at a depth of 12 km, on an active strike-slip fault. Here, we report on a relatively widespread activation of small remot...

    Authors: Bogdan Enescu, Kengo Shimojo, Anca Opris and Yuji Yagi

    Citation: Earth, Planets and Space 2016 68:165

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  31. Content type: Letter

    The detailed source rupture process of the M 7.3 event (April 16, 2016, 01:25, JST) of the 2016 Kumamoto, Japan, earthquakes was derived from strong-motion waveforms using multiple-time-window linear waveform inv...

    Authors: Hisahiko Kubo, Wataru Suzuki, Shin Aoi and Haruko Sekiguchi

    Citation: Earth, Planets and Space 2016 68:161

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  32. Content type: Full Paper

    We constructed and analyzed the ground surface displacement associated with the 2016 Kumamoto earthquake sequence using satellite radar interferometry images of the Advanced Land Observing Satellite 2. The ra...

    Authors: Satoshi Fujiwara, Hiroshi Yarai, Tomokazu Kobayashi, Yu Morishita, Takayuki Nakano, Basara Miyahara, Hiroyuki Nakai, Yuji Miura, Haruka Ueshiba, Yasuaki Kakiage and Hiroshi Une

    Citation: Earth, Planets and Space 2016 68:160

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  33. Content type: Letter

    We estimated the dip distribution of Oita–Kumamoto Tectonic Line located in central Kyushu, Japan, by using the dip of the maximum eigenvector of the gravity gradient tensor. A series of earthquakes in Kumamo...

    Authors: Shigekazu Kusumoto

    Citation: Earth, Planets and Space 2016 68:153

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  34. Content type: Frontier letter

    The 2016 Kumamoto earthquake sequence started with an MJMA 6.5 foreshock occurring along the northern part of the Hinagu fault, central Kyushu, Japan, and the MJMA 7.3 mainshock occurred just 28 h after the fores...

    Authors: Kimiyuki Asano and Tomotaka Iwata

    Citation: Earth, Planets and Space 2016 68:147

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  35. Content type: Frontier letter

    We constructed the rupture process model for the 2016 Kumamoto, Japan, earthquake from broadband teleseismic body waveforms (P-waves) by using a novel waveform inversion method that takes into account the unce...

    Authors: Yuji Yagi, Ryo Okuwaki, Bogdan Enescu, Amato Kasahara, Ayumu Miyakawa and Makoto Otsubo

    Citation: Earth, Planets and Space 2016 68:118

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