A Low Velocity Zone along the Chaochou Fault in Southern Taiwan: Seismic Image Revealed by a Linear Seismic Array

  • Author(s): Hsin-Chieh Pu, Cheng-Horng Lin, Kuo-Liang Wen, Tao-Ming Chang, Yih-Hsiung Yeh, and Wen-Yen Chang
  • DOI:


  • Keywords: Chaochou fault, Linear seismic array, Fault zone, Incidence angles



The Chaochou fault is one of the major boundary faults in southern Taiwan where strong convergence has taken place between the Eurasian and Philippine Sea plates. The surface fault trace between the Pingtung plain and the Central Range follows a nearly N-S direction and stretches to 80 km in length. In order to examine the subsurface structures along the Chaochou fault, a linear seismic array with 14 short-period stations was deployed across the fault to record seismic data between August and December 2001. Detailed examination of seismic data generated by 10 local earthquakes and recorded by the linear array has shown that the incidence angles of the first P-waves recorded by several seismic stations at the fault zone were significantly larger than those located farther away from the fault zone. This difference might reflect the lateral variation of velocity structures across the Chaochou fault. Further examination of ray-paths of seismic wave propagation indicates that a low-velocity zone along the Chaochou fault is needed to explain the significant change in incidence angles across the fault zone. Although we do not have adequate information to calculate the exact geometry of the fault zone well, the variation in incidence angles across the fault can be explained by the existence of a low-velocity zone that is about 3 km in width on the surface and extends downward to a depth of 5 km. The low-velocity zone along the Chaochou fault might imply that the fault system consists of several splay faults on the hanging wall in the Central Range.

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