Folding earthquakes are a popular area of research in convergent orogenic belts because they can cause destruction without an obvious surface offset. The Ms 6.5 Pishan earthquake (Ms represents Richter magnitude scale), which occurred in the western Kunlun piedmont, Northwest Tibetan Plateau, caused significant property losses. Based on surface deformation data combined with earthquake relocation results, structural geology, and seismic reflection profiles, we determined that the Pishan blind thrust anticline is a seismogenic structure. The surface deformation caused by this earthquake was dominated by layer folding and surface uplift, which generated tensional ground fissures at the surface. Therefore, we suggest that the Ms 6.5 Pishan earthquake was a folding event. The Pishan earthquake only ruptured part of the Pishan anticline, and the main locked part between the Tekilik fault and the Pishan anticline did not rupture. This area of the western Kunlun range front may have significant seismic risk.

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