Surface rupture and hazard characteristics of the Wenchuan Ms 8.0 earthquake, Sichuan, China


Longmen Shan is located the special joint be-tween Tibetan Plateau inland in the west and Yangtze craton in the east. Consisting of a se-ries of parallel imbricated thrust, it develops, from the west to the east, the Maoxian- Wenchuan, Beichuan-Yingxiu and Pengxian- ﹡This research was supported by China National Natural Science Foundation grant 40841010, 40972083 and China National Science and Technology supporting Plan Foundation grant 2006BAC13B02-07, 2006BAC13B01-604. Guanxian faults. The Wenchuan earthquake is a thrust with strike-slip type, and thre surface ruptures are located on the Beichuan-Yingxiu fault zone and Pengxian-Guanxian fault zone. The surface rupture on the Beichuan-Yingxiu fault shows the thrust and dextral slip charac-teristic. The maximum vertical displacement of the surface rupture is about 10.3 m and the maxi-mum right-lateral displacement is about 5.85m. Though the vertical displacements and the hori-zontal displacements in the different segments have certain differences, as a whole, the ratio of the vertical displacement and the horizontal dis-placement is close to 1:1. The surface rupture on the Pengxian-Guanxian fault shows thrust and dextral characteristic. The rates of vertical dis-placements and the horizontal displacements ones on the most other segments are between 1:3 and 1:2. So the Beichuan- Yingxiu fault is a dextral-slip and thrust fault and the average ver-tical displacement is equal to the average hori-zontal displacement, while the Pengxian- Guan xian fault is thrust fault with a little dextral-slip component. The total intensity area above Ⅵ de-gree of the Wenchuan earthquake is about 333000 km2. The high earthquake intensity line stretches to N40-50°E along Longmen Shan tectonic belt. The rate of the long axis and the minor is betw- een 8:1 and 10:1. Three Ⅺ intensity regions are isolated in distribution. It presents a multipoint instantaneous characteristic of the rupture.

Share and Cite:

Zhou, R. , Li, Y. , Yan, L. , Lei, J. , Zhang, Y. , He, Y. , Chen, L. , Li, X. , Wang, S. , Ye, Y. , Liu, Y. , Kang, C. , Ge, T. , He, Q. and Huang, W. (2010) Surface rupture and hazard characteristics of the Wenchuan Ms 8.0 earthquake, Sichuan, China. Natural Science, 2, 160-174. doi: 10.4236/ns.2010.23026.

Conflicts of Interest

The authors declare no conflicts of interest.


[1] Burchfiel, B.C., Chen, Z., Liu, Y. and Royden, L.H. (1995) Tectonics of the longmen shan and adjacent regions. International Geology Review, 37, 661-735.
[2] Kirby, E., Whipple, K.X., Tang, W. and Chen, Z. (2003) Distribution of active rock uplift along the eastern margin of the tibetan plateau:Inferences from bedrock channel longitudinal profiles. Rnal geophysical research, 108(B4), 2217.
[3] Li, Y., Zhou, R.J., Alexander, L., Densmore, L.A., et al. (2006) Continental dynamic processes and geological response in the eastern margin of the Qinghai-Tibet plateau [A]. Geological Publishing House, Beijing, 1-134 (in Chinese).
[4] Zhou, R.J., Li, Y., Alexander, L., Densmore, A.L., Michael, A., Ellis, M.A., He, Y.L., Li, Y.Z. and Li, X.G. (2007) Active tectonics of the longmen shan region on the eastern margin of the Tibetan plateau [J]. ACTA Geologica Sinica, 81(4), 593-604.
[5] Densmore, A.L., Ellis, M.A., Li, Y., Zhou, R.J., Hancock, G.S. and Richardson, N.J. (2007) Active tectonics of the Beichuan and Pengguan faults at the eastern margin of the Tibetan Plateau. Tectonics, TC4005.
[6] Xu, Z.Q., Hou, L.W., and Wang, Z.X. (1992) The orogenic process of Songpan-Ganzi orogenic belt in China. Geology Press, Beijing.
[7] Chen, S.F., Deng, Q.D., Zhao, X.L., Wilson, C.J.L., Dirks, P., Luo, Z.L. and Liu, S.Y. (1994) Deformational characteristics evoloutionary history, and deformation mechanism of the middle Longmenshan thrust-nappes and related tectonics. Seismology and Geology, 16(4), 404-421.
[8] Li, Y., Zeng, Y.F. and Yi, H.S. (1995) Sedimentary record and tectonic evolution of Longman Shan foreland basin. Chengdu University of Science and Technology Press [A], Chengdu, 1-9 (in Chinese).
[9] Avouac, J.P. and Tapponnier, P. (1993) Kinematic model of active deformation in Central-Asia. Geophysical Research Letters, 20, 895-898.
[10] Zhang, P.Z., Sheng, Z.K., Wang, M., Gan, W.J., Br?gmann, R., Monlar, P., Wang, Q., Niu, Z.J., Sun, J.Z., Wu, J.C., Sun, H.R. and You, X.Z. (2004) Continuous deformation of the Tibetan Plateau from global posi- tioning system data. Geology, 32, 809-812.
[11] England, P.C. and Molnar, P. (1990) Right-lateral shear and rotation as the explanation for strike-slip faulting in eastern Tibet. Nature, 344, 140-142.
[12] Zhou, R.J., Li, Y., Densmore, A.L., Ellis, M.A., He, Y,L., Wang, F.L. and Li, X.G. (2006) Active tectonics of the eastern margin of the Tibet plateau. Journal of Mineral Petrol, 26(2), 40-51.
[13] Li, Y., Huang, R.Q., Zhou, R.J., Densmore, A.L, Yan, L., Zhang, Y., Nicholas, R., Dong, S.L., Michael, A., Ellis, He, Y.L., Chen, H, Qiao, B.C. and Ma, B.L. (2009) The surface rupture of the Xiaoyudong fault in the Wenchuan Earthquake and its geological significance, Longmen Shan, Sichuan, China. Quaternary Sciences, 29(3), 506-516.
[14] Xu, X.W., Wen, X.Z., Ye, J.Q., Ma, B.Q., Chen, J., Zhou, R.J., He, H.L., Tian, Q.J., He, Y.L., Wang, Z.C., Sun, Z.M., Feng, X.J., Yu, G.H., Chen, L.C., Chen, G.H., Yu, S.N., Ran, Y.K., Li, X.G., Li, C.X. and An, Y.F. (2008) The Ms8.0 Wenchuan Earthquake surface ruptures and its seismogenic structure. Seismology and Geology, 30(3), 597-629.
[15] Liu, J., Zhang, Z.H., Wen, Li., Sun, J., Xing, X.C., Hu, G.Y., Xu, Q., Paul, T.E., Zeng, L.S., Ding, L. and Liu, Y.L. (2008) The Ms8.0 Wenchuan Earthquake. Co- seisimic surface rupture and its tectonic implication- an out-of -sequence thrusting event with partitioned on multiple faults. Acta Geologica Sinica, 82(12), 1707- 1722.
[16] Chen, G.H., Xu, X.W., Zheng, R.Z., Yu, G.H., Li, F., Li, C.X., Wen, X.Z., He, Y.L., Ye, Y.Q., Chen, X.C. and Wang, Z.C. (2008) Quantitative analysis of the co-seismic surface rupture of the 2008 Ms8.0 Wenchuan Earthquake, Sichuan China along the Beichuan-Yingxiu fault. Se- ismology and Geology, 30(3), 723-738.
[17] Li, Y., Zhou, R.J., Dong, Densmore, A.L., Yan, L., Zhang, Y., Richardson, N., Dong, S.L., Ellis, M.A., He, Y.L., Chen, H., Qiao, B.C. and Ma, B.L. (2008) Surface rupture, thrusting and strike-slipping in Wenchuan earthquake of Sichuan, China. Journal of Chengdu University of Technology, 35(4), 404-413.
[18] Li, Y., Zhou. R.J., Densmore, A.L., Yan, L., Zhang, Y., Richardson, N., Dong, S.L., Ellis, M.A., He, Y.L. Chen, H., Qiao, B.C. and Ma, B.L. (2008) Surface Rupture and Deformation of the YingxiuBeichuan Fault by the Wenchuan Earthquake. Acta Geologica Sinica, 82(12), 1688-1706.
[19] Li, Y., Zhou, R.J., Densmore, A.L., Yan, L., Zhang, Y.,. Richardson, N., Dong, S.L., Ellis, M.A. He, Y.L., Chen, H., Qiao, B.C., and Ma, B.L. (2009) Geological back- ground of Longmen Shan seismic belt and surface ruptures in Wenchuan Earthquake. Journal of Engineering Geology, 17(1), 3-18.
[20] Li, Y., Zhou, R.J., Densmore, A.L. Yan, L., Zhang, Y., Richardson, N., Dong, S.L., Ellis, M.A., He, Y.L., Chen, H., Qiao, B.C. and Ma, B.L. (2009) Active tectonics and surface rupture of the Pengxian-Guanxian Fault, Long- menshan, Sichuan, China. Quaternary Sciences, 29(3), 405-417.
[21] Li, H.B., Fu, X.F., Woerd, J.V.D., Si, J.L.,Wang, Z.X., Hou, L.W., Qiu, Z.L., Li, N., Wu, F.Y. and Xu, Z.Q. (2008) Co-seisimic surface rupture and dextral-slip oblique thrusting of Ms8.0 Wenchuan Earthquake. Acta Geologica Sinica, 82(12), 1623-1643.
[22] Fu, B.H., Shi, P.L., Wang, P., Li, Q., Kong, P. and Deng, G.D. (2009) Geometry and kinematics of the 2008 Wenchuan earthquake surface ruptures around the Qushan Town of Beichuan County, Sichuan: Implications for mitigation of seismic and geologic disasters. Chinese Journal of Geophysics, 52(2), 485-495.
[23] Ran, Y.K., Chen, L.C., Chen, G.H., Yin, J.H., Chen, J., Gong, H.L., Shi, X. and Li, C.X. (2008) Primary analyses of in-situ recurrence of large earthquake along seismogenic fault of the Ms8.0 Wenchuan Earthquake. Seismology and Geology, 30(3), 630-634.
[24] Tang, R.C. and Han, W.B., Ed. (1993) Active Faults and Earthquakes in Sichuan Province. Seismological Press, Beijing, 368.
[25] Chen, G.G., Ji, F.J., Zhou, R.J., Xu, J., Zhou, B.G., Li, X.G. and Ye, Y.Q. (2007) Primary research of activity segmentation of Longmenshan fault zone since later quaternary. Seismology and Geology, 29(3), 657-673.
[26] State Bureau of Quality and Technical Supervision. (2001) National Standard of the People’s Republic of China. Seismic grouond motion parameter zonation map of China [A].1-2 (in Chinese).
[27] Ministry of Housing and Urban-Rural Development of the People’s Republic of China, General Administration of Quality Supervision, Inspection and Quarantine of the People’s Repubilic of China. (2001) National Standard of the People’s Republic of China. Code for Seismic Design of Buildings [A]. China Architecture & Building Press, Beijing, 17 (in Chinese).
[28] Xie, Y.S. and Cai, M.B. (1983) Compilation of historical data of earthquakes in China (the first volume) [A]. Sci-ence Press, Beijing, 105-107 (in Chinese).

Copyright © 2021 by authors and Scientific Research Publishing Inc.

Creative Commons License

This work and the related PDF file are licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 International License.