Modern vertical deformation rates and mountain building in Taiwan from precise leveling and continuous GPS observations, 2000-2008

Kuo-En Ching, Meng Long Hsieh, Kaj M. Johnson, Kwo Hwa Chen, Ruey-Juin Rau, Ming Yang

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90 Citations (Scopus)


To characterize the present-day vertical displacement field in the active Taiwan orogenic belt, 1843 precise leveling and 199 continuous GPS measurements from 2000 to 2008 are collected and analyzed in this study. Vertical velocities derived from the leveling data are placed in a reference frame of the Chinese continental margin using continuous GPS observations at nearby sites. The leveling and GPS vertical velocities generally reveal a dome-shaped pattern with uplift of ∼0.2-18.5 mm/yr in the interior of the mountain range and subsidence on the flanks of the mountains and coastal plains. Modern uplift rates in the active fold and thrust belt are generally consistent with geologic uplift rates. However, present-day uplift rates in the Central Range are faster than the million-years-averaged exhumation rates. The modern subsidence rates are generally consistent with geologic rates, except for the rates in western coastal areas due to groundwater pumping. Present-day subsidence in the southern Central Range and northern Coastal Range is, however, inconsistent with long-term uplift, which may reflect interseismic elastic strain accumulation across faults. Present-day subsidence in northern Taiwan occurs in a region of postcollisional orogenic collapse. We model the present-day and geologic vertical velocities and published GPS horizontal velocity data across southern Taiwan using a 2-D lithospheric model. The model suggests a combined slip rate of 40 mm/yr on the frontal thrusts and 45 mm/yr on the Longitudinal Valley fault. The model requires an additional source of crustal thickening under the Central Range to match the observed present-day uplift rates.

Original languageEnglish
Article numberB08406
JournalJournal of Geophysical Research: Solid Earth
Issue number8
Publication statusPublished - 2011 Aug 1

All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

  • Geophysics
  • Geochemistry and Petrology
  • Earth and Planetary Sciences (miscellaneous)
  • Space and Planetary Science


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