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Uplift of the Longmen Shan range and the Wenchuan earthquake

Zhiqin Xu, Shaocheng Ji, Haibing Li, Liwei Hou, Xiaofang Fu and Zhihui Cai

Article (2008)

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The 12 May 2008 Wenchuan earthquake (M-s,=8.0) struck on the Longmen Shan foreland thrust zone. The event took place within the context of long-term uplift of the Longmen Shan range is a result of the extensive eastward-extrusion of crustal materials from the Tibetan plateau against the rheologically strong crust of the Sichuan Basin. The Longmen Shan range is characterized by a Pre-Sinian crystalline complex constrained by the Maoxian-Wenchuan-Kangding ductile detachment at the western margin and the Yingxiu-Beichuan-Luding ductile thrust at the eastern margin. The Longmen Shan uplift was initiated by intracontinental subduction between the Songpan-Ganzi terrane and the Yangtze block during the Pre-Cenozoic. The uplift rate was increased considerably by the collision between the Indian and Eurasian plates since similar to 50 Ma. The Wenchuan earthquake resulted in two major NE-striking coseismic ruptures (i.e., the similar to 275 km long Yingxiu-Beichuan-Qingchuan fault and the similar to 100 km long Anxian-Guanxian fault). Field investigations combined with focal solutions and seismic reflection profiles suggest that the coseismic ruptures are steeply dipping close-to-pure reverse or right reverse oblique slip faults in the similar to 15 km thick tipper crust. These faults are unfavorably oriented for frictional slip in the horizontally compressional regime, so that they need a long recurrence interval to accumulate the tectonic stress and fluid pressure to critically high levels for the formation of strong earthquakes at a given locality. It is also found that all the large earthquakes (M-s>7.0) occurred in the fault zones across which the horizontal movement velocities measured by the GPS are markedly low (<3 mm/yr). The faults, which constitute the northeastern fronts of the enlarging Tibetan plateau against the strong Sichuan Basin, Ala Shan and Ordos blocks, are very destructive, although their average recurrence intervals are generally long.

Uncontrolled Keywords

eastern; deformation; california; faults; tibet

Subjects: 4300 Geophysics > 4302 Seismology
Department: Department of Civil, Geological and Mining Engineering
Funders: China Geological Survey, CRSNG/NSERC
PolyPublie URL: https://publications.polymtl.ca/5179/
Journal Title: Episodes (vol. 31, no. 3)
Publisher: International Union of Geological Sciences
DOI: 10.18814/epiiugs/2008/v31i3/002
Official URL: https://doi.org/10.18814/epiiugs/2008/v31i3/002
Date Deposited: 18 Nov 2022 13:00
Last Modified: 05 Apr 2024 17:18
Cite in APA 7: Xu, Z., Ji, S., Li, H., Hou, L., Fu, X., & Cai, Z. (2008). Uplift of the Longmen Shan range and the Wenchuan earthquake. Episodes, 31(3), 291-301. https://doi.org/10.18814/epiiugs/2008/v31i3/002


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