The fold‐and‐thrust belt along the northern margin of the Qaidam basin is a typical active tectonic belt located in the northeast Tibetan Plateau. This belt is at a high risk of strong earthquakes with magnitudes larger than 6, as shown by multiple recorded events during 1962–2009. The lack of detailed late Quaternary surficial faulting data and systematic seismotectonic studies has posed difficulties in properly assessing the seismic risks and understanding the ongoing geodynamics in this region. In this study, we mapped the geomorphic features and fault traces from high‐resolution satellite images and field investigations of the Tuosuhu‐Maoniushan fault (TMF). Field photogrammetry was conducted to obtain deformation measurements using a DJI M300 real‐time kinematic (RTK) drone. The TMF displaces the Holocene and late Pleistocene alluvial terraces in the eastern Qaidam basin. This fault dips to the south in the west and central segments (as a boundary of the Denan depression) and to the north in the eastern segment along the piedmont of the Maoniushan Mountains. The vertical slip rate is estimated to be 0.37 ± 0.08 mm/yr, which is similar to that of the active southern Zongwulongshan fault. By integrating our investigations with the previously published studies on deep structures and Cenozoic geology of the region, we propose a deep‐seated thrust model for the seismotectonics of the northern margin of the Qaidam basin. The Aimunike, Tuosuhu‐Maoniushan, southern Zongwulongshan, and Zongwulong faults, along with many folds, form an active compressional zone. The complex across‐strike structures and along‐strike segmentation could facilitate the release of strain through earthquakes of magnitude 6–7 in this broad seismotectonics belt, rather than through strong surface‐rupturing events resulting from a single mature large fault.

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