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Geosciences Journal

, Volume 22, Issue 6, pp 871–880 | Cite as

Paleoseismological implications of liquefaction-induced structures caused by the 2017 Pohang Earthquake

  • Yong Sik Gihm
  • Sung Won Kim
  • Kyoungtae Ko
  • Jin-Hyuck Choi
  • Hankyung Bae
  • Paul S. Hong
  • Yuyoung Lee
  • Hoil Lee
  • Kwangmin Jin
  • Sung-ja Choi
  • Jin Cheul Kim
  • Min Seok Choi
  • Seung Ryeol Lee
Letter

Abstract

During and shortly after the 2017 Pohang Earthquake (Mw 5.4), sand blows were observed around the epicenter for the first time since the beginning of instrumental seismic recording in South Korea. We carried out field surveys plus satellite and drone imagery analyses, resulting in observation of approximately 600 sand blows on Quaternary sediment cover in this area. Most were observed within 3 km of the epicenter, with the farthest being 15 km away. In order to investigate the ground’s susceptibility to liquefaction, we conducted a trench study of a 30 m-long sand blow in a rice field 1 km from the earthquake epicenter. The physical characteristics of the liquified sediments (grain size, impermeable barriers, saturation, and low overburden pressure) closely matched the optimum ground conditions for liquefaction. Additionally, we found a series of soft sediment deformation structures (SSDSs) within the trench walls, such as load structures and water-escaped structures. The latter were vertically connected to sand blows on the surface, reflecting seismogenic liquefaction involving subsurface deformation during sand blow formation. This genetic linkage suggests that SSDS research would be useful for identifying prehistoric damage-inducing earthquakes (Mw > 5.0) in South Korea because SSDSs have a lower formation threshold and higher preservational potential than geomorphic markers formed by surface ruptures. Thus, future combined studies of Quaternary surface faults and SSDSs are required to provide reliable paleoseismological information in Korea.

Key words

sand blows load structures water-escaped structures Quaternary soft sediment deformation structures 

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Copyright information

© The Association of Korean Geoscience Societies and Springer-Verlag GmbH Germany, part of Springer Nature 2018

Authors and Affiliations

  • Yong Sik Gihm
    • 1
  • Sung Won Kim
    • 1
  • Kyoungtae Ko
    • 2
  • Jin-Hyuck Choi
    • 1
  • Hankyung Bae
    • 1
  • Paul S. Hong
    • 1
  • Yuyoung Lee
    • 1
  • Hoil Lee
    • 3
  • Kwangmin Jin
    • 2
  • Sung-ja Choi
    • 4
  • Jin Cheul Kim
    • 3
  • Min Seok Choi
    • 5
  • Seung Ryeol Lee
    • 1
  1. 1.Geology DivisionKorea Institute of Geoscience and Mineral ResourcesDaejeonRepublic of Korea
  2. 2.Climate Change Mitigation and Sustainability DivisionKorea Institute of Geoscience and Mineral ResourcesDaejeonRepublic of Korea
  3. 3.Geologic Environment DivisionKorea Institute of Geoscience and Mineral ResourcesDaejeonRepublic of Korea
  4. 4.Geoscience and Technology Dissemination DivisionKorea Institute of Geoscience and Mineral ResourcesDaejeonRepublic of Korea
  5. 5.Department of Geological SciencePusan National UniversityBusanRepublic of Korea

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