Faulting and Mud Volcano Eruptions Inside of the Coastal Range During the 2003 Mw = 6.8 Chengkung Earthquake in Eastern Taiwan

  • Author(s): Guo-Jang Jiang, Jacques Angelier, Jian-Cheng Lee, Hao-Tsu Chu, Jyr-Ching Hu, and Chung-Hsiang Mu
  • DOI: 10.3319/TAO.2011.04.22.01(TT)
  • Keywords: Mud volcano, LVF, Coastal Range, Chengkung earthquake, Taiwan



Field investigations following the 2003 Mw = 6.8 Chengkung earthquake in eastern Taiwan revealed some interesting observations of surface geological processes closely related to the co-seismic deformation. We discovered that the Tama Fault, which is about 15 km east of the causative Chihshang Fault, underwent shortening of about 15.5 mm locally in 2001 - 2006, particularly during the 2003 earthquake. This shows that ESE-WNW compression affects the upper crust of the Coastal Range and produces significant shortening in addition to that of the major Chihshang Fault. On the hanging wall of the Chihshang Fault, we also found vigorous activities of the two major mud volcanoes during the main shock, lasting several days. To the north, the Luoshan Mud Volcano, a large mud basin, erupted noisily with water and gases during the earthquake. To the south, in the Leikunghuo Mud Volcano, two sets of fractures, one aligned with the N16¢XE right-lateral fault and the other with the N80¢XE left-lateral fault, occurred during the earthquake. This conjugate system revealed a strike-slip stress regime with NE-SW compression and NW-SE extension. We interpret it to be the result of local stress permutation rather than regional tectonic stress. We conclude that deformation did occur inside of the Coastal Range, especially during the co-seismic event. Therefore, a better understanding of the internal deformation of the Coastal Range is an important target for future studies, particularly across three mapped faults: the Yungfeng, Tuluanshan and Tama faults. We also want to draw attention to the stress analysis in the mud volcanoes area, where the local stress perturbation plays an important role.

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