Total Vertical Offset for the Beichuan Fault (Longmen Shan, Sichuan, China) Deduced from Metamorphic Minerals
Abstract:The paradox of high topography but low convergence rates in the Longmen Shan mountain belt, at the eastern margin of Tibetan plateau (Sichuan, China) leaded to an underestimation of the seismic hazard prior to the Wenchuan earthquake Mw 7.9 (2008). The rupture affected the crustal Beichuan fault, with both thrusting and dextral slide slip components. This fault is responsible for the exhumation of the basement over Triassic sediments. Several paleoseismological studies have well constrained the Quaternary activity of this fault, and thermochronological data show a rapid exhumation starting from Oligocene. The total offset of the Beichuan fault remains unknown.
Samples collected in the hanging wall of the Beichuan fault, yield stable white mica, chlorite, epidote and quartz. Chemical and thermobarometric analyses of metamorphic minerals yield metamorphic peak conditions at 300±50°C and 7-8 kbar. Such P,T conditions suggest burial to 18-20 km depth, and represent the maximum vertical offset of the Beichuan fault. Comparison of results from distant sampled sites along the Beichuan fault reveals the spatial continuity of this offset along the Beichuan fault.
The attainment of peak pressure conditions will be dated using in-situ laser ablation 40Ar/39Ar dating of the metamorphic micas. This will help constrain the onset of Beichuan fault activation, which corresponds to the onset of thick skin deformation in the Longmen Shan.
[CW1]I deleted all this stuff below because I thought it was too much information for a conference abstract – but you do have space to put it back.