Archaeoseismological Study of Prehistoric Earthquakes in Anhui Province, China and Adjacent Areas

Thursday, 18 December 2014
Daquan Yao1, X. Shen1, X. Gong2, W. Wu2, Z. Hu3, H. Zheng1, A. Chen1, P. Zhao1 and Y. Yang1, (1)Anhui Earthquake Administration, Hefei, Anhui, China, (2)Anhui Province Institute of Cultural Relic and Archaeology, Hefei,Anhui, China, (3)University of West Florida, Pensacola, FL, United States
Damaging earthquakes on faults typically recur at intervals of centuries to millennia but the seismographs that record them have only been around for about hundred years. Complete records of earthquakes of Ms5 or above for Anhui Province of China and its adjacent areas began in 1336 and most previous records were lost. To reduce the hazard from earthquakes we need a longer record of them than can be provided from such instruments. Archaeoseismological evidence has the potential to determine earthquake activity over millennial time spans, especially when integrated with historical documents and geological evidence. In recent years, taking advantage of large-scale civil excavations, our research team including earthquake and archaeological scientists have cataloged, identified, and analyzed deformation relics of the late-Quaternary period, especially the Neolithic Age. Prehistoric earthquake traces were found in the cultural layers of the Western Zhou Dynasty and the Spring and Autumn Period in Southwest Anhui, the late Dawenkou cultural period in North Anhui, and the Eastern Zhou in South Henan. Along the segment of the Tanlu Fault Zone on the border of Jiangsu-Anhui Provinces, several rapid deformation events mainly in the form of oblique translational thrust had occurred since Late Pleistocene, which was confirmed by microscopic studies. The research findings have partly filled the gap of earthquake records in the area and enriched research methodologies in archaeology, prehistoric earthquakes and earthquake prediction.

The project was sponsored by China Earthquake Science Special Research Funding Program (#201308012)