A Paleoseismic Record Spanning 2-Myr Reveals Episodic Late Pliocene Deformation in the Western Qaidam Basin, NE Tibet

Yin Lu* (Corresponding Author), Shmuel Marco, Nadav Wetzler, Xiaomin Fang, G. Ian Alsop, Aurélia Hubert-Ferrari

*Corresponding author for this work

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Abstract

The western Qaidam Basin, NE Tibet contains numerous NW-SE-trending thrusts that extend over a distance of ?300 km along the Altyn Tagh Fault and north of the Kunlun Range. However, little is known about the long-term seismo-tectonic evolution of this active thrust zone due to the absence of an extended paleoseismic record. We present a 2-Myr-long disturbance record established from a core drilled on the crest of a thrust-cored anticline. Based on detailed sedimentological analysis, the disturbances (micro-faults, soft-sediment deformation, slumps, and detachment surfaces) are interpreted as paleoearthquake/tectonic indicators. The core records five seismite clusters which occurred at 3.6-3.5, 3.4-3.2, 3.15-3.1, 3.0-2.9, and 2.8-2.75 Ma. This suggests the rate of tectonic strain accommodated by the folds and thrusts in the region varies and thus reveals episodic local deformation. During the clusters, regional deformation is concentrated more in the fold-and-thrust system than along regional major strike-slip faults.
Original languageEnglish
Article numbere2020GL090530
Number of pages12
JournalGeophysical Research Letters
Volume48
Issue number5
Early online date8 Mar 2021
DOIs
Publication statusPublished - 16 Mar 2021

Keywords

  • paleoseismology
  • regional deformation
  • seismites
  • seismo-tectonic evolution
  • slump
  • soft-sediment deformation
  • Geophysics
  • General Earth and Planetary Sciences

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