Late Quaternary tectonic activity and shortening rate of the Beiluntai fault zone in the South Tianshan, Xinjiang, NW China

  • Yuan Yao
  • He-Ping Song
  • Jian-Bo Chen
  • Shuai Li
  • Hai-Liang Jia
Original Paper


The Beiluntai fault is a Holocene active fault and is the boundary fault between the South Tianshan and Tarim Basin. Since the Late Quaternary, the continuous activities of the Beiluntai fault have caused dislocation, deformation, and fold uplift of multi-phase alluvial geomorphologic surfaces. Using a high-precision differential global positioning system, we measured the fault scarp morphology of multi-phase geomorphologic surfaces in the Akeaiken and Zhuanchang sections of the Beiluntai fault. Via large-scale active fault mapping, we found that the Akeaiken section is dominated by thrusting, while the Zhuanchang section is dominated by fold uplift. We obtained the ages of the different phases of the geomorphologic surfaces (Fan4, Fan3b, Fan3c, and Fan2) using the optically stimulated luminescence dating method. We found that since the formation of the Fan4 geomorphologic surface, the crustal shortening rate (approximately 2.4 mm/a) of the Akeaiken section has remained basically constant. However, the crustal shortening rate of the Zhuanchang section in the south–north direction (1.43–1.81 mm/a) during the Late Quaternary was significantly less than that in the Akeaiken section, suggesting that the crustal shortening rate in the south–north direction of the Beiluntai fault zone decreases from west to east. A comprehensive comparison of the South Tianshan piedmont thrust-and-fold belt system also showed that the crustal shortening rate decreases from west to east.


Tianshan Beiluntai fault zone Thrust deformation Fold deformation Late Quaternary 



This study was supported by Science for Earthquake Resilience (XH17042Y), the National Science Foundation of China (41672208), the special funds from the China Earthquake Administration for active fault mapping “1:50000 geological mapping project in the eastern section of Beiluntai fault,” and the Key project of Institute of Engineering Mechanics “Earthquake Disaster Scenario Construction of large- and medium-size city” (2017QJGJ02).


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Copyright information

© Saudi Society for Geosciences 2018

Authors and Affiliations

  • Yuan Yao
    • 1
  • He-Ping Song
    • 1
  • Jian-Bo Chen
    • 1
  • Shuai Li
    • 1
  • Hai-Liang Jia
    • 2
  1. 1.Earthquake Agency of Xinjiang Uygur Autonomous RegionXinjiangChina
  2. 2.School of Architecture and Civil EngineeringXi’an University of Science and TechnologyXi’anChina

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