Japan Median Tectonic Line

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Red line represents Median Tectonic Line. Pink shaded region is Fossa Magna, bounded by the Itoigawa-Shizuoka Tectonic Line (western blue line).

Japan Median Tectonic Line (中央構造線 Chūō Kōzō Sen?), also Median Tectonic Line (MTL), is Japan's longest fault system.[1][2] The MTL begins near Ibaraki Prefecture, where it connects with the Itoigawa-Shizuoka Tectonic Line (ISTL) and the Fossa Magna. It runs parallel to Japan's volcanic arc, passing through central Honshū to near Nagoya, through Mikawa Bay, then through the Inland Sea from the Kii Channel and Naruto Strait to Shikoku along the Sadamisaki Peninsula and the Bungo Channel and Hōyo Strait to Kyūshū.[2]

The sense of motion on the MTL is right-lateral strike-slip, at a rate of about 5–10 mm/yr.[3] This sense of motion is consistent with the direction of oblique convergence at the Nankai Trough. The rate of motion on the MTL is much less than the rate of convergence at the plate boundary, making it difficult to distinguish the motion on the MTL from interseismic elastic straining in GPS data.[4]

Notable Earthquakes[edit]

The Great Hanshin earthquake occurred on the Nojima Fault, a branch of the MTL. Approximately 6,434 people lost their lives; about 4,600 of them were from Kobe.[5] It caused approximately ten trillion yen ($100 billion) in damage, 2.5% of Japan's GDP at the time.


There is a museum dedicated to the tectonic line in Minami-Alps, Yamanashi.[6]


  1. ^ "中央構造線" [Japan Median Tectonic Line (MTL)]. Dijitaru Daijisen (in Japanese). Tokyo: Shogakukan. 2012. OCLC 56431036. Retrieved 2012-09-21. 
  2. ^ a b "中央構造線" [Japan Median Tectonic Line]. Nihon Daihyakka Zensho (Nipponika) (in Japanese). Tokyo: Shogakukan. 2012. OCLC 153301537. Retrieved 2012-09-21. 
  3. ^ Okada, A., On the Quaternary faulting along the Median Tectonic Line, in Median Tectonic Line (in Japanese with English abstract), edited by R. Sugiyama, pp. 49-86, Tokai Univ. Press, Tokyo, 1973.
  4. ^ Miyazaki, S. and Heki, K. (2001) Crustal velocity field of southwest Japan: Subduction and arc-arc collision, Journal of Geophysical Research,vo. 106, no. B3.
  5. ^ Kobe City FIRE Bureau (2006-01-17). "被害の状況". 阪神・淡路大震災. On the Site in Japanese of Kobe City FIRE Bureau. Archived from the original on 14 April 2008. Retrieved 2008-05-25. 
  6. ^ You are very welcome to the Oshika museum of Japan Median Tectonic Line.