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Probing Coulomb stress triggering effects for a Mw > 6.0 earthquake sequence from 1997 to 2014 along the periphery of the Bayan Har block on the Tibetan Plateau

Lookup NU author(s): Professor Zhenhong Li



This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-NoDerivatives 4.0 International License (CC BY-NC-ND).


Recent years there have occurred eight strong earthquakes including the 1997 Manyi, 2001 Kokoxili, 2008 Yutian, 2008 Wenchuan, 2010 Yushu, 2013 Lushan, 2014 Kangding and 2014 Yutian earthquakes along the circumference of the Bayan Har block on the northern Tibetan Plateau. To systematically investigate the triggering effects among this strong earthquake sequence in such a not too long time span, we employ the Coulomb failure model to probe the stress evolution of the coseismic, postseismic and interseismic Coulomb stress changes aroused by this strong earthquake sequence. We use a stratified spherical postseismic relaxation model to compute postseismic Coulomb stress changes. We develop a spherical least-squares collocation model to calculate interseismic Coulomb stress changes. Our results indicate that only the 2013 Lushan earthquake is pronouncedly promoted by the combination of the coseismic and postseismic Coulomb stress changes, whereas all strong earthquakes are encouraged and four out of the seven strong earthquakes are apparently promoted by the overall Coulomb stress changes when additionally considering the interseimic Coulomb stress change. The 2008 Wenchuan earthquake is convincingly enhanced by the interseismic Coulomb stress change when the interseismic stress loading begins at the early phase of the earthquake cycle since we found that the interseismic Coulomb stress change brought it to the stress-triggering zone whereas previous studies showed that the surrounding historical earthquakes brought it to the stress shadow. Therefore, besides previous findings of the importance of the coseismic and postseismic Coulomb stress changes in triggering earthquakes in world-wide tectonic regions, our findings here indicate that the interseismic Coulomb stress change is plausibly also important for the occurrences of the intraplate earthquakes.

Publication metadata

Author(s): Wang J, Xu C, Freymueller JT, Li Z

Publication type: Article

Publication status: Published

Journal: Tectonophysics

Year: 2017

Volume: 694

Pages: 249-267

Print publication date: 02/01/2017

Online publication date: 14/11/2016

Acceptance date: 10/11/2016

Date deposited: 25/11/2016

ISSN (print): 0040-1951

Publisher: Elsevier BV


DOI: 10.1016/j.tecto.2016.11.009


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