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Natural Hazards and Earth System Sciences An interactive open-access journal of the European Geosciences Union
https://doi.org/10.5194/nhess-2017-381
© Author(s) 2017. This work is distributed under
the Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 License.
Research article
23 Nov 2017
Review status
This discussion paper is a preprint. It is a manuscript under review for the journal Natural Hazards and Earth System Sciences (NHESS).
Tree-ring response to the 1995 Mw 7.2 Kobe earthquake, southwest Japan
Sujian Lin1 and Aiming Lin2 1Department of Bilological Science, Faculty of Life and Environmental Science, Shimane University, Matsue 690-0823, Japan
2Department of Geophysics, Graduate School of Science Kyoto University, Kyoto 606-8502, Japan
Abstract. The 1995 Mw 7.2 Kobe earthquake produced an ~ 18 km-long surface rupture zone with a maximum right-lateral displacement of ~ 1.8 m along the pre-existing active Nojima Fault in southwest Japan. Field investigations showed that the co-seismic surface ruptures caused severe damage to trees, some of which survived the disaster during the past twenty years along the co-seismic fault scarp. Analysis of tree-rings from the trunk of a 46-year-old Beech tree (Fagus crenata Blume) revealed that the tree was cracked by earthquake-induced damage and that the tree-rings grown during the five-year period after the 1995 earthquake become sharply narrower in width compared to those grown before the earthquake. Our findings indicate that the earthquake damaged trees along the co-seismic fault scarp and hindered the growth of tree-rings by severing the roots. Thus, the results support the idea that older trees growing along or around fault zones can be used for identifying seismic fault events and for dendrochronological studies related to geomorphological processes.

Citation: Lin, S. and Lin, A.: Tree-ring response to the 1995 Mw 7.2 Kobe earthquake, southwest Japan, Nat. Hazards Earth Syst. Sci. Discuss., https://doi.org/10.5194/nhess-2017-381, in review, 2017.
Sujian Lin and Aiming Lin
Sujian Lin and Aiming Lin
Sujian Lin and Aiming Lin

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Short summary
Analysis of tree-rings revealed that the tree was cracked by earthquake-induced damage and that the tree-rings grown during the five-year period after the 1995 earthquake become sharply narrower in width compared to those grown before the earthquake. Our finding confirms the idea that (1) a large earthquake can affect tree-ring growth along the co-seismic deformation zone around the seismogenic fault zone and (2) tree-rings can be used as valid indicators of natural events such as earthquakes.
Analysis of tree-rings revealed that the tree was cracked by earthquake-induced damage and that...
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