Spatial variation of seismogenic depths of crustal earthquakes in the Taiwan region: Implications for seismic hazard assessment

Wen Nan Wu, Yin Tung Yen, Ya Ju Hsu, Yih Min Wu, Jing Yi Lin, Shu Kun Hsu

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

10 Scopus citations


This paper presents the first whole Taiwan-scale spatial variation of the seismogenic zone using a high-quality crustal seismicity catalog. The seismicity onset and cutoff depths (i.e., seismogenic depths) are determined by the earthquake depth–moment distribution and used to define the upper and lower boundaries of the seismogenic zone, respectively. Together with the published fault geometries and fault area–moment magnitude relations, the depth difference in the onset and cutoff depths (i.e., seismogenic thickness) is used as the fault width to determine the moment magnitudes of potential earthquakes for the major seismogenic faults. Results show that the largest (Mw7.9–8.0) potential earthquake may occur along the Changhua fault in western Taiwan, where the seismic risk is relatively high and seismic hazard mitigation should be a matter of urgent concern. In addition, the first-motion focal mechanism catalog is used to examine the relation between the seismogenic depths and earthquake source parameters. For crustal earthquakes (≤ 50 km), the shallowest onset and cutoff depths are observed for normal and strike-slip events, respectively. This observation is different from the prediction of the conventional continental-rheology model, which states that thrust events have the shallowest cutoff depth. Thus, a more sophisticated rheology model is necessary to explain our observed dependence of the seismogenic depths on faulting types. Meanwhile, for intermediate to large crustal (Mw ≥ 4; depth ≤ 50 km) earthquakes, thrust events tend to occur at the bottom region of the seismogenic zone, but normal and strike-slip events distribute at a large depth range.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)81-95
Number of pages15
StatePublished - 20 Jun 2017


  • Seismic hazard assessment
  • Seismogenic zone
  • Taiwan orogenic belt


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