Pure and Applied Geophysics

, Volume 166, Issue 10, pp 1853–1884

Spatio-temporal Slip, and Stress Level on the Faults within the Western Foothills of Taiwan: Implications for Fault Frictional Properties


    • Institute of Earth Sciences
    • Division of Geological and Planetary SciencesCalifornia Institute of Technology
  • Jean-Philippe Avouac
    • Division of Geological and Planetary SciencesCalifornia Institute of Technology
  • Shui-Beih Yu
    • Institute of Earth Sciences
  • Chien-Hsin Chang
    • Central Weather Bureau
  • Yih-Min Wu
    • Department of GeosciencesNational Taiwan University
  • Jochen Woessner
    • Division of Geological and Planetary SciencesCalifornia Institute of Technology
    • Swiss Seismological Service, ETH Zürich

DOI: 10.1007/s00024-009-0510-5

Cite this article as:
Hsu, Y., Avouac, J., Yu, S. et al. Pure appl. geophys. (2009) 166: 1853. doi:10.1007/s00024-009-0510-5


We use preseismic, coseismic, and postseismic GPS data of the 1999 Chi-Chi earthquake to infer spatio-temporal variation of fault slip and frictional behavior on the Chelungpu fault. The geodetic data shows that coseismic slip during the Chi-Chi earthquake occurred within a patch that was locked in the period preceding the earthquake, and that afterslip occurred dominantly downdip from the ruptured area. To first-order, the observed pattern and the temporal evolution of afterslip is consistent with models of the seismic cycle based on rate-and-state friction. Comparison with the distribution of temperature on the fault derived from thermo-kinematic modeling shows that aseismic slip becomes dominant where temperature is estimated to exceed 200° at depth. This inference is consistent with the temperature induced transition from velocity-weakening to velocity-strengthening friction that is observed in laboratory experiments on quartzo-feldspathic rocks. The time evolution of afterslip is consistent with afterslip being governed by velocity-strengthening frictional sliding. The dependency of friction, μ, on the sliding velocity, V, is estimated to be \({{\partial \mu }/{\partial \, {\rm ln}\, V}} = 8 \times 10^{ - 3}\). We report an azimuthal difference of about 10–20° between preseismic and postseismic GPS velocities, which we interpret to reflect the very low shear stress on the creeping portion of the décollement beneath the Central Range, of the order of 1–3 MPa, implying a very low friction of about 0.01. This study highlights the importance of temperature and pore pressure in determining fault frictional sliding.


The Chi-Chi earthquakefault frictionfault rheologystressfault slip distribution

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© Birkhäuser Verlag, Basel 2009