Abstract

To provide a detailed record of a relatively rare thrust surface rupture and examine its active tectonic implications, we have conducted field mapping of the surface rupture associated with the 2005 Mw 7.6 Kashmir earthquake. Despite the difficulty arising from massive earthquake-induced landslides along the surface rupture, we found that typical pressure ridges and warps extend northwestward for a distance of ∼70 km, with a northeast-side-up vertical separation of up to ∼7 m. Neither the main frontal thrust nor the main boundary thrust is responsible for the earthquake, but three active faults or fault segments within the Sub-Himalaya, collectively called the Balakot–Bagh fault, compose the causative fault. Although the fault exhibits substantial geomorphic expression of repeated similar surface ruptures, only a part of it had been mapped as active before the earthquake. The location of the hypocenter suggests that the rupture was initiated at a deep portion of the northern–central segment boundary and propagated bilaterally to eventually break all three segments. Our obtained surface rupture traces and the along-strike-slip distribution are both in good agreement with results of prompt analyses of satellite images, indicating that space geodesy can greatly aid in time-consuming field mapping of surface ruptures. Assuming that the extensive fill terrace in the meizoseismal area was abandoned during 10–30 ka, we tentatively estimate the earthquake recurrence interval and shortening rate on the Balakot–Bagh fault to be 1000–3300 yr and 1.4–4.1 mm/yr, respectively. These estimates indicate that the Balakot–Bagh fault is not a main player of Himalayan contraction accommodation. graphic Selected field photographs and ArcGIS files of the mapped surface rupture traces and measured vertical separations are available in the electronic supplement to this article.

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