Science in China Series D: Earth Sciences

, Volume 50, Issue 3, pp 350-358

First online:

Earthquake-induced soft-sediment deformation structures in the Mesoproterozoic Wumishan Formation, North China, and their geologic implications

  • Zhang ChuanHeng Affiliated withState Key Laboratory of Geological Processes and Mineral Resources, China University of GeosciencesKey Laboratory of Lithospheric Tectonics and Lithoprobing Technology, Ministry of Education, China University of GeosciencesSchool of Geosciences and Resources, China University of Geosciences Email author 
  • , Wu ZhengJie Affiliated withSchool of Geosciences and Resources, China University of Geosciences
  • , Gao LinZhi Affiliated withInstitute of Geology, Chinese Academy of Geological Sciences
  • , Wang Wei Affiliated withSchool of Geosciences and Resources, China University of Geosciences
  • , Tian YanLin Affiliated withSchool of Geosciences and Resources, China University of Geosciences
  • , Ma Chao Affiliated withSchool of Geosciences and Resources, China University of Geosciences

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Soft-sediment structures are key to defining seismites. Two soft-sediment deformation horizons, bounded by undeformed carbonate strata, have been found in the Wumishan Formation in the Jumahe region, 175 km southwest of Beijing. One is in the lowest part of Wumishan Formation; and the other is in the uppermost part of Litho-member I. The soft-sediment structures in these two horizons fall into three categories: mould-and-sag structures, hydraulic shatterings and liquefaction dikes. The mould-and-sag structures are divided into two types: one developed in tidal-flat sediments, accompanied by many liquefaction-related structures and characterized by autochthonous post-earthquake sediments in sags, and the other type developed in deep-water environments, is not associated with liquefaction structures, and is overlain immediately by seismogenic tsunamites. The hydraulic shatterings are composed of pockets of fluidization conglomerate, sand intrusions, and syndepositional faults. The liquefaction dikes fall into two categories: hydraulic-fracturing dikes and lateral-spreading dikes. The former are steep, planar, and pinch out upwards. The latter are snake-like and characterized by no diapir-related drag structures in surrounding rocks. Examination of the attitudes and stratigraphic positions of these structures suggests that these soft-sediment structures are seismogenic, and consequently, are seismites. Most seismites in the Wumishan Formation are developed near the former western, margin fault of Yanliao rift. This occurrence suggests that they could be related to movements on this fault. Other geological implications are discussed.


Mesoproterozoic Wumishan Formation soft-sediment structures paleo-earthquakes seismites Yanliao rift