Prehistoric seismicity-induced liquefaction along the western segment of the strike-slip Kunlun fault, northern Tibet
Aiming Lin, Jianming Guo, 2009. "Prehistoric seismicity-induced liquefaction along the western segment of the strike-slip Kunlun fault, northern Tibet", Palaeoseismology: Historical and Prehistorical Records of Earthquake Ground Effects for Seismic Hazard Assessment, K. Reicherter, A. M. Michetti, P. G. Silva
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The 2001 Mw 7.8 Kunlun earthquake occurred in northern Tibet, and produced a 450-km-long surface rupture zone along the western segment of the strike-slip Kunlun fault. There are, however, no historic or instrumental records of large earthquakes in this fault segment. Field investigations of liquefaction structures and radiocarbon dating results reveal that at least three large earthquakes, including the 2001 earthquake, occurred in the western segment of the Kunlun fault during the past seven to nine centuries. Liquefaction structures formed in alluvial deposits composed of sand-gravel yielding 14C ages of 679–901 yr bp are observed on the current stream channel which is sinistrally offset 75–82 m, including 3–6 m displacement produced by the 2001 event. On the basis of the field investigations and 14C dating results, we conclude that the liquefaction structures and subsequent faulting events were caused by at least two large earthquakes of M>7 prior to the 2001 earthquake and the average recurrence interval of large earthquakes is estimated to be about 400 years in the late Holocene.
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Palaeoseismology: Historical and Prehistorical Records of Earthquake Ground Effects for Seismic Hazard Assessment
Given the tremendous toll in human lives and attendant economic losses, it is appropriate that scientists are working hard to understand better earthquakes, with the aim of forecasting and, ultimately, predicting them.
In the last decades increasing attention has been paid to the coseismic effects on the natural environment, creating a solid base of empirical data for the estimation of source parameters of strong earthquakes based on geological observations. The recently introduced INQUA scale (Environmental Seismic Intensity–ESI 2007 Scale) of macroseismic intensity clearly shows how the systematic study of earthquake surface faulting, coseismic liquefaction, tsunami deposits and other primary and secondary ground effects can be integrated with “traditional” seismological and tectonic information to provide a better understanding of the seismicity level of an area and the associated hazards. At the moment this is the only scientific means of equating the seismic records to the seismic cycle time-spans extending the seismic catalogues even to tens of thousands of years, improving future seismic hazard analyses.
This Special Publication covers some of the latest multidisciplinary work undertaken to achieve that aim. Eighteen papers from research groups from all continents address a wide range of topics related both to palaeoseismological studies and assessment of macroseismic intensity based only on the natural phenomena associated with an earthquake.