Micro-geomorphology Surveying and Analysis of Xiadian Fault Scarp, China

Thursday, 18 December 2014
Rui Ding, Institute of Crustal Dynamics, China Earthquake Administration, Beijing, China
Historic records and field investigations reveal that the Mw 8.0 Sanhe-Pinggu (China) earthquake of 1679 produced a 10 to 18 km-long surface rupture zone, with dominantly dip-slip accompanied by a right-lateral component along the Xiadian fault, resulting in extensive damage throughout north China. The fault scarp that was coursed by the co-seismic ruptures from Dongliuhetun to Pangezhang is about 1 to 3 meters high, and the biggest vertical displacement locates in Pangezhuang, it is easily to be seen in the flat alluvial plain. But the 10 to 18 km-long surface rupture couldn’t match the Mw 8.0 earthquake scale. After more than 300 years land leveling, the fault scarps in the meizoseismal zone which is farmland are retreat at different degree, some small scarps are becoming disappeared, so it is hard to identify by visual observation in the field investigations.

The meizoseismal zone is located in the alluvial plain of the Chaobai river and Jiyun river, and the fault is perpendicular to the river. It is easy to distinguish fault scarps from erosion scarps. Land leveling just changes the slope of the fault scarp, but it can’t eliminate the height difference between two side of the fault. So it is possible to recover the location and height of the fault scarp by using Digital Elevation Model (DEM) analysis and landform surveying which is constrained by 3D centimeter-precision RTK GPS surveying method in large scale crossing the fault zone.

On the base of the high-precision DEM landform analysis, we carried out 15 GPS surveying lines which extends at least 10km for each crossing the meizoseismal zone. Our findings demonstrate that 1) we recover the complete rupture zone of the Sanhe-Pinggu earthquake in 1679, and survey the co-seismic displacement at 15 sites; 2) we conform that the Xiadian fault scarp is consist of three branches with left stepping. Height of the scarp is from 0.5 to 4.0 meters, and the total length of the scarp is at least 50km; 3) Combined with the analysis of offset strata of the trench, we conform that the middle segment of the fault scarp is made by 1679 earthquake; 4) The fault scarp strikes along with the Ju river at the northeast segment of the Xiadian fault which course the asymmetrical valley geomorphology.