Using global positioning system (GPS) observations of northeastern China and the southeast of the Russian Far East over the period 2012–2017, we derived an ITRF2014-referenced velocity field by fitting GPS time series with a functional model incorporating yearly and semiannual signals, linear trends, and offsets. We subsequently rotated the velocity field into a Eurasia-fixed velocity field and analyzed its spatial characteristics. Taking an improved multiscale spherical wavelet algorithm, we computed strain rate tensors and analyzed their spatial distribution at multiple scales. The derived Eurasia-referenced velocity field shows that northeastern China generally moved southeastward. Extensional deformation was identified at the Yilan–Yitong Fault (YYF) and the Dunhua–Mishan Fault (DMF), with negligible strike–slip rates. The principal strain rates were characterized by NE–SW compression and NW–SE extension. The dilation rates show compressional deformation in the southern segment of the YYF, northern end of the Nenjiang Fault (NJF), and southeast of the Russian Far East. We also investigated the impact of the 2011 Tohoku Mw
9.0 earthquake on the crustal deformation of northeastern China, generated by its post-seismic viscoelastic relaxation. The velocities generated by the post-seismic viscoelastic relaxation of the giant earthquake are generally orientated southeast, with magnitudes inversely proportional with the epicentral distances. The principal strain rates caused by the viscoelastic relaxation were also characterized by NW–SE stretching and NE–SW compression. The dilation rates show that compressional deformation appeared in the southern segment of the DMF and the YYF and southeast of the Russian Far East. Significant maximum shear rates were identified around the southern borderland between northeastern China and the southeast of the Russian Far East. Finally, we compared the multiple strain rates and the seismicity of northeastern China after the 2011 Tohoku earthquake. Our finding shows that the ML
≥ 4.0 earthquakes were mostly concentrated around the zones of high areal strain rates and shear rates at scales of 4 and 5, in particular, at the DMF and YYF fault zones.
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