2003 年 56 巻 2 号 p. 213-229
We review recent studies on spatial distribution of asperities, and space-time variations of aseismic slips deduced from analyses of strong ground motions, displacement rates, continuous crustal deformations, and repeated microearthquakes in the Sanriku-oki region along the Japan trench. These various analyses suggest a possible scenario about occurrence of large earthquakes; asperities, which are defined as areas of large slips at earthquakes, repeatedly break when the stresses at asperities are loaded and reach to their strengths by aseismic slips occurring in the surrounding regions. If this scenario is the case and we estimate the strength, extent of asperities, and space-time variations of aseismic slips around the asperities, we will be able to forecast occurrence of large earthquakes to some extent. Moreover, we will be able to simulate the whole subduction process including seismic cycles along a subducting plate boundary if we find a conclusive constitutive law of frictional slip and succeed in estimating detailed distribution of the frictional parameters on the plate boundary. Although loading and generation mechanisms of intraplate earthquakes might not be the same as the interplate ones, the slow slips along the fault surface must play an important role for their generation.