The Shanxi rift system is one of the most active intraplate tectonic zones in the North China Block, resulting in devastating seismicity. Since 1303, the rift has experienced fifteen Ms > 6.5 earthquakes. Aiming at a better understanding of Coulomb stress evolution and its relationship with the seismicity in the rift system, we investigated the Coulomb stress changes due to coseismic slip and post-seismic relaxation processes following strong earthquakes as well as the interseismic tectonic loading since the 1303 Hongdong Ms = 8.0 earthquake. Our calculation applies a specified regional medium model, takes the gravity effect into account and uses the fault geometry of the next event as the receiver fault in a given calculation. Our results show that nine out of 12Ms >6.5 earthquakes since the 1303 Hongdong earthquake and more than 82 per cent of small-medium instrumental events after the 1989 Datong-Yanggao Ms = 6.1 earthquake fall into the total stress increased areas. Our results also reveal the different roles of the coseismic, post-seismic and interseismic Coulomb stress changes in the earthquake triggering process in the Shanxi rift system. In a short period after a strong event, the stress field changes are dominated by coseismic Coulomb stress due to sudden slip of the ruptured fault, while in the long term, the stress field is mainly dominated by the accumulation of interseismic tectonic loading. Post-seismic stress changes play an important role by further modifying the distribution of stress and therefore cannot be ignored. Based on the current stress status in the Shanxi rift system, the Linfen basin, southern and northern Taiyuan basin, Xinding basin and the north part of the rift system are identified as the most likely locations of large events in the future. The results of this study can provide important clues for the further understanding of seismic hazard in the Shanxi rift system and thus help guiding earthquake risk mitigation efforts in the future.
Li, B., Sørensen, M. B., & Atakan, K. (2015). Coulomb stress evolution in the Shanxi rift system, North China, since 1303 associated with coseismic, post-seismic and interseismic deformation. Geophysical Journal International, 203(3), 1642–1664. https://doi.org/10.1093/gji/ggv384