The area of the Chon-Aksu and Kichi-Aksu grabens abounds in seismic deformation produced by historic and prehistoric events, among which the great Kemin (Kebin) earthquake of 1911, with a magnitude of Ms ≈ 8 and a shaking intensity of I0 = 10–11, generated by the Aksu fault. Trenching across a fault scarp of the 1911 event has revealed signatures of reverse slip resulted from another earthquake that occurred about 3000 years ago. Traces of a large event at ~12,700 yr BP appear in sediments of a tectonically dammed lake. The trenching results, along with radiocarbon dating and published evidence, show the Late Pleistocene–Holocene history of the Aksu fault to comprise prolonged quiescence periods separated by large earthquakes or earthquake clusters at 19,500–20,000, 12,700, 4000–3000, and <850 yr BP (including the 1911 Kemin shock).

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