Late Holocene coseismic uplift on the Hua-tung coast, eastern Taiwan: Evidence from mass mortality of intertidal organisms

Meng Long Hsieh, Ruey Juin Rau

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26 Citations (Scopus)


The evidence of coseismic uplift on the dynamic, wave-dominated Hua-tung coast fringing the active Coastal Range (eastern Taiwan) has been equivocal, due to complex controls by wave and terrestrial sediment over morphological and ecological systems of the coast. This study, by applying radiocarbon dating methods, demonstrates coseismic-uplift nature of the coast by finding synchronously killed intertidal organisms (mostly boring shell Jouannetia sp.) stranded at different sites of the coast with distinct physiographic characters. Based on these data, together with evidence from wave-cut notch sequences, two coseismic-uplift systems are recognized. One centers around the northern-middle part of the coast and yields events with uplift amounts of maximal 3-6 m and an average recurrence interval of at least several hundred years. The most recent activity of this system, influencing at least 70 km of coast, occurred at ~ 0.9 ka. The earthquake generating this event also triggered extensive landslides/debris flows in the region. Another system, exemplified by the uplift associated with the 2003 Cheng-kung earthquake, centers on the southern part of the coast and yields uplift of likely < 1 m every < 0.2 ky. Two pre-historic events of this system are identified as occurring at ~ 0.7 ka and ~ 1.1 ka. These two coseismic-uplift systems are consistent in position with two anticlinal structures defined by long-term uplift of the coast. However, the areas subjected to maximal coseismic uplift are located off where the climaxes of long-term uplift occur, implying that the latter areas have been uplifted mainly by aseismic and/or relatively frequent/small-magnitude coseismic motion.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)595-609
Number of pages15
Issue number3-4
Publication statusPublished - 2009 Sep 10

All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

  • Geophysics
  • Earth-Surface Processes


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