Investigating the Milun Fault: The coseismic surface rupture zone of the 2018/02/06 ML 6.2 Hualien earthquake, Taiwan

  • Detailed measurements of coseismic deformation along the fault are presented
  • The slip declined and became more distributed towards south
  • The step-overs reflect the configurations of the subsurface architecture

On 6 February 2018, a ML 6.2 earthquake struck the east coast of Taiwan and caused more than 200 casualties in the Hualien area. The mainshock initiated at a shallow depth of 6.3 km and was accompanied by numbers of foreshocks and aftershocks. Coseismic ruptures widely occurred along the Milun Fault with various deformational structures and caused a variety of damage. Extensive field survey and drone-based images reveal the distribution of offsets and the characteristics of the surface ruptures. The major surface ruptures were mostly synthetic and antithetic Riedel shears interlinked by push-up moletracks or tensional fissures. The strike of the principal displacement zone evolved from northeast to northwest and defined a 7.5-km-long NS fault trace concave to the east. The vertical offset reached its maximum of 50 cm on the north segment and became insignificant toward south. Both on-fault single measurements and cumulative sinistral offsets estimated across the rupture zones showed the pattern of southward declining with the maximum offset of 77 cm in the north. The width of the damage zone increased from 1 - 20 m to maximum 270 m in the south where the overstepping segments occurred. The development of step-overs is significant in the south, especially in the downtown area where slip is distributed across a transpressional area. Overall, the distinct features of the coseismic ruptures reflect the complex near-surface geology along the Milun Fault and offer new insights for future hazard assessments of the Hualien area.

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