Temporal variation of tectonic tremor activity in southern Taiwan around the 2010 ML6.4 Jiashian earthquake

Kevin Chao, Zhigang Peng, Ya Ju Hsu, Kazushige Obara, Chunquan Wu, Kuo En Ching, Suzan van der Lee, Hsin Chieh Pu, Peih Lin Leu, Aaron Wech

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

17 Citations (Scopus)


Deep tectonic tremor, which is extremely sensitive to small stress variations, could be used to monitor fault zone processes during large earthquake cycles and aseismic processes before large earthquakes. In this study, we develop an algorithm for the automatic detection and location of tectonic tremor beneath the southern Central Range of Taiwan and examine the spatiotemporal relationship between tremor and the 4 March 2010 ML6.4 Jiashian earthquake, located about 20 km from active tremor sources. We find that tremor in this region has a relatively short duration, short recurrence time, and no consistent correlation with surface GPS data. We find a short-term increase in the tremor rate 19 days before the Jiashian main shock, and around the time when the tremor rate began to rise one GPS station recorded a flip in its direction of motion. We hypothesize that tremor is driven by a slow-slip event that preceded the occurrence of the shallower Jiashian main shock, even though the inferred slip is too small to be observed by all GPS stations. Our study shows that tectonic tremor may reflect stress variation during the prenucleation process of a nearby earthquake.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)5417-5434
Number of pages18
JournalJournal of Geophysical Research: Solid Earth
Issue number7
Publication statusPublished - 2017 Jul

All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

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


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