SEISMOLOGY AND GEOLOGY ›› 2023, Vol. 45 ›› Issue (2): 355-376.DOI: 10.3969/j.issn.0253-4967.2023.02.004

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ZUO Yu-qi(), YANG Hai-bo, YANG Xiao-ping*(), ZHAN Yan, LI An, SUN Xiang-yu, HU Zong-kai   

  1. State Key Laboratory of Earthquake Dynamic, Institute of Geology, China Earthquake Administration, Beijing 100029, China
  • Revised:2023-01-20 Online:2023-04-20 Published:2023-05-18


左玉琦(), 杨海波, 杨晓平*(), 詹艳, 李安, 孙翔宇, 胡宗凯   

  1. 中国地震局地质研究所, 地震动力学国家重点实验室, 北京 100029
  • 通讯作者: *杨晓平, 男, 1962年生, 研究员, 主要研究方向为活动构造及地震危险性评价, E-mail:
  • 作者简介:左玉琦, 男, 1996年生, 2018年于湖南师范大学获地理科学专业学士学位, 现为中国地震局地质研究所构造地质学专业在读硕士研究生, 研究方向为活动构造与构造地貌, E-mail:
  • 基金资助:


The southern Alashan block is located at the crustal front of the northern Tibetan plateau. It was initially considered as a relatively stable area with weak tectonic activity. In recent years, an increasing number of studies have shown that the Alashan block has undergone significant tectonic deformation since the Cenozoic. Multiple active faults with a horse-tail distribution are developed in the southern margin of the Alashan block. However, there is still controversy over the tectonic deformation patterns of these active faults. One view is that the fault system in the southern margin of Alashan is the result of the eastward extension of the Altyn Tagh Fault and belongs to the tail structure of the strike-slip fault. Another view is that the fault system in the southern Alashan block is the result of the revival of the pre-existing fault caused by the northward compression and thrust of the Tibetan plateau. Therefore, deciphering fault’s kinematics and slip rates since the late Quaternary in the southern Alashan block is crucial to understand the tectonic deformation pattern of the block and its response to Tibet’s northward growth. In this paper, combined with interpretations of remote sensing images and field investigations, we documented the Quaternary activity of the Beida Shan Fault, one of the major faults in the southern Alashan block, along the segment developed in Quaternary alluvium.

The Beida Shan Fault is a sinistral strike-slip fault with paralleled north and south branches that displaced the late Quaternary alluvial fans and terraces, forming offset gullies and fault scarps. According to the geometric distribution characteristics, activity and the landforms along the fault, we divided the fault into three segments: the Langwa Shan segment, the northern branch of the Jiapiquan Shan segment, and the southern branch of the Jiapiquan Shan segment. The fault is east-west trending, and the offset geomorphic features along the fault reveal that there are differences in the activity of different segments. The Langwa Shan segment is 10km long and developed at the junction of bedrock and alluvial fan. The fault trace is straight, and a series of gullies and ridges offset by the fault indicate that it is a sinistral strike-slip fault. The Jiapiquan Shan segment is 35km long and divided into two parallel north and south branches with a spacing of about 1.5km. The north branch fault strikes NE on the east side of Langwa Shan and has an angle of about 30° with the south branch fault. After extending about 2km to the northeast direction and entering the north side of Dahong Shan, the fault turns to the EW direction and is parallel to the south branch fault. It is distributed along the boundary between the bedrock and the alluvial fan with the south or north fault scarps and the secondary branch faults. To the east, the north branch fault is developed in bedrock, which is mainly characterized by offset gullies and ridges. The southern branch fault offset multi-stage alluvial fan, forming fault scarps of different heights and left-lateral offset gullies of different scales, and the exposed fault profiles show high angle reverse faults, which dip south or north, indicating that this segment is sinistral strike-slip.

Based on the 1.5m resolution DEM data obtained from UAV-SfM, we measured the horizontal displacement of fault landforms using the LaDiCaoZ software developed by Zielke et al.(2012) on the MATLAB platform. Combined with field survey data, we obtained the left-lateral horizontal displacements of 70 sites along the Beida Shan Fault. The sinistral offset of~1m is not included in slip distribution statistics due to limitations of the quantity and data accuracy. Statistical analysis of the displacements reveals that the left-lateral displacements along the fault are concentrated between 3m to 20m, with the majority in two pronounced peaks at 5.3m and 10.1m. The 5.3m peak contains the most data points, with 17 displacements data, accounting for 24% of the total, while the 10.1m peak contains 6 data points, accounting for 9% of the total. This indicates that the Beida Shan Fault has experienced multiple seismic events involving the displacement and rupture of stratigraphic layers on the surface.

An~8km-long surface rupture is discovered on the south fault branch, and it is represented by of fault scarps and of tens of centimeters 1~2m left-lateral displacement of small gullies. Fresh surface rupture and left-lateral offset gullies indicate the latest fault activity. Using the previously dated alluvial fan ages in Taohuala Shan, ~30km south of the Beida Shan, we calculated the late Pleistocene sinistral slip rate of 0.3~0.6mm/a along the Beida Shan Fault, which is consistent with the slip rate of the Taohuala Shan Fault estimated by Yu et al.(2017). Compared with the fault slip rate accommodated in the Hexi Corridor area and regional GPS rates, the southern Alashan block plays a significant role in absorbing deformation in response to the northern Tibetan growth.

Key words: northward growth of the Tibetan plateau, left-lateral strike-slip, Quaternary activity, southern Alashan block, Beida Shan Fault


阿拉善地块南缘地处青藏高原东北缘地壳扩展前锋带的北侧, 对该地区活动断裂晚第四纪的运动性质、滑动速率等开展研究, 有助于理解阿拉善地块的晚第四纪构造变形特征及其对青藏高原向N扩展的响应。文中结合遥感影像解译与野外地质地貌考察, 对阿拉善地块南缘的北大山断裂进行了分段和活动性研究。结果表明, 北大山断裂左旋走滑断错晚第四纪洪积扇和阶地等地貌, 形成显著的位错阶地坎、冲沟以及断层陡坎。通过对断错地貌线等标志的测量、复原、统计分析等, 发现断裂的地貌位移值分布于3~20m, 发育新鲜断层自由面的断层陡坎和左旋错动的纹沟指示了断层的最新一次活动。基于同期洪积扇年龄估算得到北大山断裂晚更新世以来的左旋滑动速率为0.3~0.6mm/a。北大山断裂的运动学特征与区域NE向应力场一致, 可能受到了青藏高原NE向扩展的影响。

关键词: 高原扩展, 左旋走滑, 晚第四纪活动, 阿拉善南缘, 北大山断裂

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