The active Chihshang fault in the southern segment of longitudinal valley of eastern Taiwan is part of the suture boundary between the Eurasia plate and the Philippine Sea plate. Radon anomalies in groundwater were recorded prior to three major earthquakes-(1) 2003 Mw = 6.8 Chengkung, (2) 2006 Mw = 6.1 Taitung, and (3) 2008 Mw = 5.4 Antung. The epicenters were located 24, 52, and 13 km, respectively, from the radon-monitoring well (D1) in the Antung hot spring about 3 km southeast of the Chihshang fault. Prior to the three major earthquakes, radon decreased from background levels of 787 ± 42, 762 ± 57, and 700 ± 57 pCi/L to minima of 326 ± 9, 371 ± 9, and 480 ± 43 pCi/L, respectively. Based on the radon volatilization model and the rock dilatancy model, this paper correlates the observed radon minima with local earthquake magnitude and crust strain. The correlation is a useful means of forecasting local disastrous earthquakes in the southern segment of longitudinal valley of eastern Taiwan.
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