Acta Seismologica Sinica

, Volume 13, Issue 5, pp 516–524 | Cite as

Dynamic features of the Tianshan orogen deduced from satellitic gravity data

  • Lou Hai 
  • Wang Chun-yong 
  • Wang Fei 


The latest geopotential model, EGM96, was employed to compute the free-air gravity anomaly, geoidal separation, the average density anomalies of the crust and the uppermost mantle, and the distribution pattern of the viscous stress exerted by mantle convection over Xinjiang and its neighboring areas. Based on these results and other data, we try to interpret the geodynamical features of the Tianshan orogen. Our research suggests that the Tianshan orogen is in a tectonic setting of compressive settling, driven by mantle convection. Under the effect of the compressive stress field, asymmetric in north-south direction, the Tianshan orogen upheaved quickly. The center of compressive stress field is in the south of the Tianshan, and the characteristic of stress field is favorable for the view point that the Tarim plat subducts beneath the Tianshan. The southern margin of the Juggar basin and the northern margin of the Tarim basin are two areas where the crust is of mass deficiency. We attribute the mass deficiency to the fact that the crust, in both the north and the south of the Tianshan is bent downwards under the compressive stress. Our research also indicates that the density distribution patterns in the deep of the eastern Tianshan are different from those in the middle and western Tianshan. It may be explained as the results from the east-west oriented distinction of the mantle convection.

Key words

geopotential model geoidal separation viscous stress pattern mantle convection 

CLC number



Unable to display preview. Download preview PDF.

Unable to display preview. Download preview PDF.


  1. Bowin C. 1986. Depth estimates from ratios of gravity geoid and gradient anomalies [J]. Geophysics, 51(1): 123–136.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  2. CHEN Guo-ying, SONG Zhong-he, AN Chang-qiang, et al. 1995. 3D S-wave velocity structure of crust and upper mantle in the northern China and its adjacent areas [J]. Acta Geophyica Sinica, 38(3): 321–328 (in Chinese).Google Scholar
  3. Coblentz David D, Mike S, Randall M R. 1995. The origins of the intraplate stress field in continental Australia [J]. Earth Planet Sci Lett, 133: 299–309.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  4. FANG Jian. 1994. The calculation of density anomalies inside the earth: using satellitic gravity data [J]. Progress in Geophysics, 9(3): 60–65 (in Chinese).Google Scholar
  5. FU Rong-shan. 1983. Depth of the earth gravity anomaly source [J]. Crustal Deformation & Earthquake, 7(4): 19–23 (in Chinese).Google Scholar
  6. FU Rong-shan, CHANG Xiao-hua, HUANG Jian-hua. 1994. The dynamics of continental lithosphere and small scale convection in the upper mantle [A]. In: CHEN Yun-tai, KAN Rong-ju, TENG Ji-wen eds. Advances in Solid Earth Geophysics in China [C]. Beijing: Ocean Press, 169–179 (in Chinese).Google Scholar
  7. Kaula W M. 1972. Global gravity and tectonics [A]. In: Eugene C R ed. The Nature of the Solid Earth [M]. USA: McGraw-Hill Inc, 385–405.Google Scholar
  8. Lemoine F C, Smith D E, Kunz L, et al. 1996. The development of the NASA GSFC and NIMA joint geopotential model [A]. Proceeding Paper of the International Symposium on Gravity, Geoid and Marine Geodesy (GRAGEOMAR 1996) [C]. Tokyo, Japan, 102–114.Google Scholar
  9. LIU H S. 1977. Convection pattern and stress system under the African plate [J]. Phys Earth Plant Inter, 15: 60–68.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  10. LIU H S, Chang E S, Wyatt G H. 1976. Small-scale mantle convection system and stress field under the Pacific plate [J]. Phys Earth Planet Inter, 13: 212–217.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  11. Runcorn S K. 1967. Flow in the mantle inferred from the low degree harmonics of the geopotential [J]. Geophys J R astr Soc, 14: 375–384.Google Scholar
  12. XIE Xin-sheng. 1999. Mechanical analysis of fold in compressive belt and its significance to earthquakes [J]. Acta Seismologica Sinica, 12(3): 306–313.Google Scholar
  13. XU Xi-wei, DENG Qi-dong, ZHANG Pei-zhen, et al. 1992. Deformation of river terraces across the Manas-Houerguos reverse fault and fold zone and its neotectonic implication in Xinjiang [A]. In: Editorial board of Research on Active Fault eds. Research on Active Fault (2) [C]. Beijing: Seismological Press, 117–127 (in Chinese).Google Scholar
  14. YANG Xiao-ping, DENG Qi-dong, FENG Xian-yue, et al. 1996. Research on geometry, kinematics of Tugulu active reverse fault-fold [A]. In: Editorial board of Research on Active Fault eds. Research on Active Fault (5) [C]. Beijing: Seismological Press, 42–53 (in Chinese).Google Scholar
  15. ZHANG Chi-jun, CAO Hua-sheng, LUO Shao-cong. 1988. Investigation of anomaly density in lithosphere by using the ground gravity data and satellite observations [J]. Acta Geophysica Sinica, 31(6): 664–671 (in Chinese).Google Scholar
  16. ZHANG Ji-sheng. 1997. Deep structure research using satellitic gravity and magnetic data [A]. In: ZHANG Bijg-tao, HONG Da-wei, WU Xuan-zhi eds. Modern Methods for the Investigation of the Lithosphere [C]. Beijing: Atomic Press, 103–112 (in Chinese).Google Scholar
  17. ZHOU Guo-fan, ZHANG Jian. 1994. Research for evolutional trend of tectonics of Qinghai-Tibet plateau by using characters of satellitic gravity field [A]. In: Geophysical Society of China eds. Annual of the Chinese Geophysical Society 1994 [C]. Beijing: Seismological Press, 81 (in Chinese).Google Scholar

Copyright information

© Acta Seismologica Sinica 2000

Authors and Affiliations

  • Lou Hai 
    • 1
  • Wang Chun-yong 
    • 1
  • Wang Fei 
    • 1
  1. 1.Institute of GeophysicsChina Seismological BureauBeijingChina

Personalised recommendations