A STUDY REVIEW ON CHARACTERISTICS OF SEISMIC ACTIVITY OF ACTIVE-TECTONIC BLOCK BOUNDARIES IN MAINLAND CHINA
- SHAO Zhi-gang, FENG Wei, WANG Peng, YIN Xiao-fei
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More than 80 percent of strong earthquakes(M≥7.0)occur in active-tectonic block boundaries in mainland China, and 95 percent of strong earthquake disasters also occur in these boundaries. In recent years, all strong earthquakes(M≥7.0)happened in active-tectonic block boundaries. For instance, 8 strong earthquakes(M≥7.0)occurred on the eastern, western, southern and northern boundaries of the Bayan Har block since 1997. In order to carry out the earthquake prediction research better, especially for the long-term earthquake prediction, the active-tectonic block boundaries have gradually become the key research objects of seismo-geology, geophysics, geodesy and other disciplines. This paper reviews the research results related to seismic activities in mainland China, as well as the main existing recognitions and problems as follows: 1)Most studies on seismic activities in active-tectonic block boundaries still remain at the statistical analysis level at present. However, the analysis of their working foundations or actual working conditions can help investigate deeply the seismic activities in the active-tectonic block boundaries; 2)Seismic strain release rates are determined by tectonic movement rates in active-tectonic block boundaries. Analysis of relations between seismic strain release rates and tectonic movement rates in mainland China shows that the tectonic movement rates in active-tectonic block boundaries of the eastern region are relatively slow, and the seismic strain release rates are with the smaller values too; the tectonic movement rates in active-tectonic block boundaries of the western region reveal higher values, and their seismic strain rates are larger than that of the eastern region. Earthquake recurrence periods of all 26 active-tectonic block boundaries are presented, and the reciprocals of recurrence periods represent high and low frequency of seismic activities. The research results point out that the tectonic movement rates and the reciprocals of recurrence periods for most faults in active-tectonic block boundaries exhibit linear relations. But due to the complexities of fault systems in active tectonic block boundaries, several faults obviously deviate from the linear relationship, and the relations between average earthquake recurrence periods and tectonic movement rates show larger uncertainties. The major reason is attributed to the differences existing in the results of the current earthquake recurrence studies. Furthermore, faults in active-tectonic boundaries exhibit complexities in many aspects, including different movement rates among various segments of the same fault and a certain active-tectonic block boundary contains some parallel faults with the same earthquake magnitude level. Consequently, complexities of these fault systems need to be further explored; 3)seismic activity processes in active-tectonic block boundaries present obvious regional characteristics. Active-tectonic block boundaries of the eastern mainland China except the western edge of Ordos block possess clustering features which indicate that due to the relatively low rate of crustal deformation in these areas, a long-time span is needed for fault stress-strain accumulation to show earthquake cluster activities. In addition, active-tectonic block boundaries in specific areas with low fault stress-strain accumulation rates also show seismic clustering properties, such as the clustering characteristics of strong seismic activities in Longmenshan fault zone, where a series of strong earthquakes have occurred successively, including the 2008 M8.0 Wenchuan, the 2013 M7.0 Lushan and the 2017 M7.0 Jiuzhaigou earthquakes. The north central regions of Qinghai-Tibet Plateau, regarded as the second-grade active-tectonic block boundaries, are the concentration areas of large-scale strike-slip faults in mainland China, and most of seismicity sequences show quasi-period features. Besides, most regions around the first-grade active-tectonic block boundary of Qinghai-Tibet Plateau display Poisson seismic processes. On one hand, it is still necessary to investigate the physical mechanisms and dynamics of regional structures, on the other hand, most of the active-tectonic block boundaries can be considered as fault systems. However, seismic activities involved in fault systems have the characteristic of in situ recurrence of strong earthquakes in main fault segments, the possibilities of cascading rupturing for adjacent fault segments, and space-time evolution characteristics of strong earthquakes in fault systems. 4)The dynamic environment of strong earthquakes in mainland China is characterized by “layering vertically and blocking horizontally”. With the progresses in the studies of geophysics, geochemistry, geodesy, seismology and geology, the physical models of different time/space scales have guiding significance for the interpretations of preparation and occurrence of continental strong earthquakes under the active-tectonic block frame. However, since the movement and deformation of the active-tectonic blocks contain not only the rigid motion and the horizontal differences of physical properties of crust-mantle medium are universal, there is still need for improving the understanding of the dynamic processes of continental strong earthquakes. So it is necessary to conduct in-depth studies on the physical mechanism of strong earthquake preparation process under the framework of active-tectonic block theory and establish various foundation models which are similar to seismic source physical models in California of the United States, and then provide technological scientific support for earthquake prevention and disaster mitigation. Through all kinds of studies of the physical mechanisms for space-time evolution of continental strong earthquakes, it can not only promote the transition of the study of seismic activities from statistics to physics, but also persistently push the development of active-tectonic block theory.