New seismogenic source and deep structures revealed by the 1999 Chia-yi earthquake sequence in southwestern Taiwan

Yue Gau Chen, Yu Ting Kuo, Yih Min Wu, Hsiung Lin Chen, Chien Hsin Chang, Ron Yu Chen, Po Wen Lo, Kuo En Ching, Jian Cheng Lee

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10 Citations (Scopus)


In a tectonically active setting large earthquakes are always threats; however, they may also be useful in elucidating the subsurface geology. Instrumentally recorded seismicity is, therefore, widely utilized to extend our knowledge into the deeper crust, especially where basement is involved. It is because the earthquakes are triggered by underground stress changes that usually corresponding to the framework of geological structures. Hidden faults, therefore, can be recognized and their extension as well as orientation can be estimated. Both above are of relevance for assessment on seismic hazard of a region, since the active faults are supposed to be re-activated and cause large earthquakes. In this study, we analysed the 1999 October 22 earthquake sequence that occurred in southwestern Taiwan. Two major seismicity clusters were identified with spatial distribution between depths of 10 and 16 km. One cluster is nearly vertical and striking 032°, corresponding to the strike-slip Meishan fault (MSF) that generated the 1906 surface rupture. Another cluster strikes 190° and dips 64° to the west, which is interpreted as west-vergent reverse fault, in contrast to previous expectation of east vergence. Our analysis of the focal solutions of all the larger earthquakes in the 1999 sequence with the 3-D distribution of all the earthquakes over the period 1990-2004 allows us reinterpret the structural framework and suggest previously unreognized seismogenic sources in this area. We accordingly suggest: (1) multiple detachment faults are present in southwestern Taiwan coastal plain and (2) additional seismogenic sources consist of tear faults and backthrust faults in addition to sources associated with west-vergent fold-and-thrust belt.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)1049-1054
Number of pages6
JournalGeophysical Journal International
Issue number3
Publication statusPublished - 2008 Mar

All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

  • Geophysics
  • Geochemistry and Petrology


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