The 1932 Ms 7.6 earthquake struck the active Changma fault in the NE Tibetan Plateau, and produced a distinct surface rupture along the fault zone. However, the segmentation and termination of the surface rupture zone are still unclear. In this paper, the active tectonic analyses of multiple satellite images complemented by field investigations present the 120-km-long surface rupture zone, which can be divided into five discrete first-order segments, ranging from 14.4 to 39.56 km in length, linked by step-overs. Our results also indicate that the 1932 rupture zone could jump across step-overs 0.3–4.5 km long and 2.2–5.4 km wide in map view, but was terminated by a 6.3-km-wide restraining step-over at the eastern end. The left-lateral slip rates along the mid-eastern and easternmost segments of the Changma fault are 3.43 ± 0.5 mm/yr and 4.49 ± 0.5 mm/yr since 7–9 ka, respectively. The proposed tectonic models suggest that the slip rates on the Changma fault are similar to the slip rate on the eastern segment of the Altyn Tagh fault system near the junction point with the Changma fault. These results imply that the Changma fault plays a leading role in the slip partitioning of the easternmost segment of the Altyn Tagh fault system.

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