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《Chinese Journal of Geophysics》 2014-02
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Crustal rheology control on the mechanism of the earthquake generation at the Longmen Shan fault

LIU Chang;SHI Yao-Lin;ZHU Bo-Jing;CHENG Hui-Hong;YANG Xiao-Lin;Institute of Geophysics,School of Physics,Huazhong University of Science and Technology;Laboratoire de Géologie,CNRS-UMR8538,école Normale Supérieure;Laboratory of Computational Geodynamics,University of the Chinese Academy of Sciences;Earthquake Administration of Shaanxi Province;  
In the recent 5years the 2008 Mw7.9 Wenchuan earthquake and 2013 Mw6.6Lushan earthquake occurred in the Longmen Shan fault at the eastern margin of the Tibetan Plateau,where the crust convergence rate is low(~3mm/a).In previous researches it is shown the main shocks of these two earthquakes are located at the bottom of the upper crust of the Longmen Shan fault,and aftershocks mainly are located at the depth ranging from 5to 25km in the upper crust.It is also noted that earthquakes(Mw3)are densely recorded in the Tibetan Plateau side,while rarely in the Sichuan Basin.This study aims to explain the mechanism of the earthquake generation in the Longmen Shan fault,and the earthquakes spatial distribution in the Longmen Shan area through 3-D numerical modelling.Several finite element models based on different crustal rheology are set up with boundary conditions of steady compressional deformation rate constrained by GPS observations.We calculate the long term stress accumulation process in the different lithosphere models of the Longmen Shan area.Our results show that stress increases almost linearly with time in the brittle upper crust of the Longmen Shan fault during the interseismic period of several thousand years due to the crust shortening.Stress concentrates at the bottom of the brittle upper crust of the Longmen Shan fault.This stress concentration process is responsible for the earthquake generation at the Longmen Shan fault.The primary reason for the stress concentration is the large viscosity difference of the middle and lower crusts between the Tibetan Plateau and the Sichuan Basin.Spatially the stress accumulation rate in the upper crust of the eastern Tibetan Plateau is much higher than that of the Sichuan Basin.This stress rate spatial distribution helps to explain the earthquake spatial distribution that earthquakes(Mw3)are densely recorded in the eastern Tibetan Plateau,while rarely in the Sichuan Basin.Stress increases exponentially to a steady level in the ductile middle and lower crusts,where less aftershocks are recorded during the Wenchuan earthquake and Lushan earthquake.Our results support that the rheological structure of the lithosphere of Longmen Shan area is as following:brittle upper crust-ductile middle and lower crust(more ductile in the Tibetan Plateau than that in the Sichuan Basin)-ductile mantle lithosphere.
【Fund】: 国家科技支撑计划《地震分析预测若干实用技术研究》项目(2012BAK19B03-5);; 国土资源部深部探测项目(SinoProbe-07)资助
【CateGory Index】: P315
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