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A 6000-Year-Long Paleoseismologic Record of Earthquakes along the Xorkoli Section of the Altyn Tagh Fault, China

Jing Liu, Zhaode Yuan, Wei Wang, Ray J. Weldon, Michael E. Oskin, & Yanxiu Shao

Published August 1, 2018, SCEC Contribution #8241, 2018 SCEC Annual Meeting Poster #217

Long records of paleoearthquakes are essential for understanding earthquake recurrence behavior of active faults and for evaluating regional seismic hazard. However, paleoseismic data on the Altyn Tagh fault (ATF), one of the longest strike-slip fault in Asia, are scarce. We document a long paleoseismic record along the Xorkoli section of the central ATF. Eight and probably nine earthquakes are identified based on event evidence in the form of open fissures, folds, unconformities, and upward fault terminations, with modeled mean (95% confidence) ages of A.D. 1598 (1491-1741) yr (event A), A.D. 797 (676-926) yr (B), B.C. 668 (732-589) yr (C), B.C. 956 (1206-715) yr (D), B.C. 1301 (1369-1235) yr (E), B.C. 2105 (2233-1987) yr (F, probable), B.C. 2663 (2731-2601) yr (G), B.C. 2818 (2878-2742) yr (H), B.C. 3396 (3522-3205) yr (I). The mean recurrence interval is 620±410 years with a coefficient of variation (COV) of 0.67, indicating that earthquake recurrence is weakly periodic, with individual intervals ranging from as short as 150 years to as long as 1460 years. A global compilation of 35 strike-slip paleoseismic sites yields a similar average COV of 0.69. Synthesis of paleoseismic sites from the central ATF indicates that not all earthquakes ruptured to the eastern end of the Xorkoli section, within the Aksay restraining bend. Given that the 420-year elapsed time since the most recent event, well within a COV of mean interval, a large surface-rupturing earthquake could occur at any time along the central ATF.

Liu, J., Yuan, Z., Wang, W., Weldon, R. J., Oskin, M. E., & Shao, Y. (2018, 08). A 6000-Year-Long Paleoseismologic Record of Earthquakes along the Xorkoli Section of the Altyn Tagh Fault, China. Poster Presentation at 2018 SCEC Annual Meeting.

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