Earthquake Science

, Volume 22, Issue 2, pp 119–128 | Cite as

The seismicity and tectonic stress field characteristics of the Longmenshan fault zone before the Wenchuan MS8.0 earthquake

Article

Abstract

The seismicity of Longmenshan fault zone and its vicinities before the 12 May 2008 Wenchuan MS8.0 earthquake is studied. Based on the digital seismic waveform data observed from regional seismic networks and mobile stations, the focal mechanism solutions are determined. Our analysis results show that the seismicities of Longmenshan fault zone before the 12 May 2008 Wenchuan earthquake were in stable state. No obvious phenomena of seismic activity intensifying appeared. According to focal mechanism solutions of some small earthquakes before the 12 May 2008 Wenchuan earthquake, the direction of principal compressive stress P-axis is WNW-ESE. The two hypocenter fault planes are NE-striking and NW-striking. The plane of NE direction is among N50°–70°E, the dip angles of fault planes are 60°–70° and it is very steep. The faultings of most earthquakes are dominantly characterized by dip-slip reverse and small part of faultings present strike-slip. The azimuths of principal compressive stress, the strikes of source fault planes and the dislocation types calculated from some small earthquakes before the 12 May 2008 Wenchuan earthquake are in accordance with that of the main shock. The average stress field of micro-rupture along the Longmenshan fault zone before the great earthquake is also consistent with that calculated from main shock. Zipingpu dam is located in the east side 20 km from the initial rupture area of the 12 May 2008 Wenchuan earthquake. The activity increment of small earthquakes in the Zipingpu dam is in the period of water discharging. The source parameter results of the small earthquakes which occurred near the initial rupture area of the 12 May 2008 Wenchuan earthquake indicate that the focal depths are 5 to 14 km and the source parameters are identical with that of earthquake.

Key words

Wenchuan earthquake Longmenshan fault zone focal mechanism solution tectonic stress field 

CLC number

P315.5 P315.72+

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Copyright information

© Seismological Society of China and Springer-Verlag GmbH 2009

Authors and Affiliations

  • Zhiwei Zhang
    • 1
    • 2
  • Wanzheng Cheng
    • 2
  • Xiang Ruan
    • 2
  • Peng Wu
    • 2
  1. 1.Lanzhou Institute of SeismologyChina Earthquake AdministrationLanzhouChina
  2. 2.Earthquake Administration of Sichuan ProvinceChengduChina

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