Imaging active faulting in the western Taiwan Strait

Yifeng Zhang, Hao Kuo-Chen, Joaquina Alvarez-Marron, Dennis Brown, Andrew Tien Shun Lin, Zhizhao Xie, Xing Jin

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6 Scopus citations


Large, destructive historical earthquakes off the coast of China’s Fujian Province point to important tectonic activity in the western Taiwan Strait that, until recently, has received little attention. We present newly acquired reflection seismic data that is used to study the shallow crustal structure of the western Taiwan Strait. With these data we map the location of the Benhai fault for the first time, describe its upper crustal geometry and, in combination with seismicity and earthquake focal mechanisms, interpret its kinematics. These new data demonstrate that there is wide spread evidence of faulting that reaches the sea floor in the western Taiwan Strait, clearly indicating that the Benhai fault is active. Faults that cut up section from steep basin sidewalls to form flower structures or terraced sidewall fault zones, together with the fault and basin map pattern, are consistent with this fault zone being in the early developmental stages of a dextral strike-slip system. Earthquake focal mechanisms, although not definitive, support the model of an active dextral strike-slip fault system in the western Taiwan Strait.

Original languageEnglish
Article number3703
JournalScientific Reports
Issue number1
StatePublished - 1 Dec 2020


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