Active normal faults and submarine landslides in the Keelung Shelf off NE Taiwan

  • Author(s): Ching-Hui Tsai, Chi-Lo Huang, Shu-Kun Hsu, Wen-Bin Doo, Shiao-Shan Lin, Shiou-Ya Wang, Jing-Yi Lin, and Chin-Wei Liang
  • DOI: 10.3319/TAO.2017.07.02.01
  • Keywords: Submarine landslide Okinawa Trough Continental margin Keelung shelf break NE Taiwan
  • Citation: Tsai, C.-H., C.-L. Huang, S.-K. Hsu, W.-B. Doo, S.-S. Lin, S.-Y. Wang, J.-Y. Lin, and C.-W. Liang, 2018: Active normal faults and submarine landslides in the Keelung Shelf off NE Taiwan. Terr. Atmos. Ocean. Sci., 29, 31-38, doi: 10.3319/TAO.2017.07.02.01
  • The structural faults in the Keelung Shelf generally trend NE-SW
  • The basement of the Keelung Shelf has been folded and thrusted
  • The submarine landslides mainly occur near the shelf break

The westernmost Okinawa Trough back-arc basin is located to the north of the Ryukyu islands and is situated above the northward dipping Ryukyu subducted slab. In the northern continental margin of the Okinawa Trough, the continental slope between the Keelung Valley and the Mein-Hua Submarine Canyon shows a steep angle and future slope failures are expected. The question is how slope failures will proceed? A sudden deep-seated slump or landslide would probably cause local tsunami and hit northern coast of Taiwan. To understand the probable submarine landslides, we conducted multi-channel seismic reflection, sub-bottom profilers, and multi-beam bathymetry surveys off NE Taiwan. Two general trends of shallow crustal faults are observed. The NE-SW trending faults generally follow the main structural trend of the Taiwan mountain belt. These faults are products of inversion tectonics of reverse faults from the former collisional thrust faults to post-collisional normal faults. Another trend of roughly E-W faults is consistent with the current N-S extension of the southern Okinawa Trough. The fault offsets in the eastern portion of the study area are more pronounced. No obvious basal surface of sliding is found beneath the continental margin. We conclude that the movement of the submarine landslides in the Keelung Shelf off northeastern Taiwan could be in a spread type. The submarine landslides mainly occur in the continental slope area and it is more obvious in the east than in the west of the Keelung Shelf.


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