The P-wave velocity structure of the upper crust beneath a profile ranging from Niikappu to Samani in the southwestern foot of the Hidaka Mountains, Hokkaido, Japan was obtained through analysis of refraction and wide-angle reflection data. The mountains are characterized by high seismicity and a large gravity anomaly. The present profile crosses the source region of the 1982 Urakawa-oki earthquake (Ms 6.8). The length of the profile is 66 km striking northwest and southeast. Along the profile, 64 vertical geophones were set up and 5 shot points were chosen. For each shot, a 400-600 kg charge of dynamite was detonated. The studied area is composed of four major geological belts: Neogene sedimentary rocks, the Kamuikotan belt, the Yezo Group, and the Hidaka belt. The measurement line crosses these geological trend at an oblique angle. The structure obtained is characterized by remarkable velocity variations in the lateral direction and reflects the surface geological characteristics. A thin, high-velocity layer (HVL) was found between low-velocity materials in the central part of the profile, beneath the Kamuikotan Metamorphic Belt, at a depth ranging from 0.5 to 6 km, overthrusting toward the west on the low-velocity materials consisting of Neogene sedimentary rocks, and forming gentle folds. Outlines of the velocity structure of the Hidaka Mountains yielded by other studies have shown a large-scale overthrust structure associated with the collision of the Outer Kurile and the Outer North Honshu Arcs. The shallow velocity structure inferred by the present study showed a similar (although small scale) overthrust structure. The obtained structure shows that the composite tectonic force, comprising westward movement of the Outer Kurile Arc and northward movement of the Outer Northern Honshu Arc, plays an important role in the evolution of the tectonic features of the crust and upper mantle in a wide depth range beneath the Hidaka Mountains.
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