The fractal geometry of the surface ruptures of the 1999 Chi-Chi earthquake, Taiwan

Young Fo Chang, Chien Chih Chen, Chieh Yu Liang

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11 Scopus citations


The 1999 September 20 Chi-Chi earthquake is the largest seismic event which occurred in the island during the twentieth century. Available seismic data relative to this earthquake are of high quality, and surface ruptures identified as features associated to the Chelungpu fault can be clearly observed at the surface and precisely mapped. We calculated the fractal dimension (D) and b value of Gutenberg-Richter law for 6-month aftershocks of the Chi-Chi earthquake for the fault area, and find that the surface ruptures exhibit self-similar geometry only within specific ruler intervals. The D values of the surface ruptures reflect the fault slip and geometry at depth. More importantly, the small-size aftershocks seem more likely to occur within high D value and high b value areas, whereas small D value and small b value areas have a high potential for medium- and large-size aftershocks.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)170-174
Number of pages5
JournalGeophysical Journal International
Issue number1
StatePublished - Jul 2007


  • B value
  • Fractal dimension
  • Rupture


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