Mysteries of the Epicenter and Magnitude of China’s Mount Taishan Earthquake Solved

Volume 5, Issue 2, April 2021     |     PP. 17-41      |     PDF (2981 K)    |     Pub. Date: May 31, 2021
DOI: 10.54647/geosciences17111    93 Downloads     3853 Views  


TIAN Hongshui, School of Civil Engineering, Shandong Jianzhu University, Jinan, China
YANG Chuan-cheng, Earthquake Engineering Research Center of Shandong Province, Jinan, China
ZHANG Banghua, College of Surveying & Geo--informatics, Shandong Jianzhu University, Jinan, China
ZHANG Shenhe, School of Civil Engineering, Shandong Jianzhu University, Jinan, China

The Mount Taishan earthquake, which named after Mount Taishan, occurred in 1831 BCE. It was the earliest historical earthquake recorded by historical writing-materials in China. However, seismic geologists have been unable to find any seismic-geological records or traces of the historical earthquake in the Taishan area and its surroundings. The epicenter and magnitude of this earthquake have remained unsolved mysteries. Through seismic and geological investigation and research, authors identified seismic records with soft-sediment deformation structures from the Holocene Heituhu Formation(Q4H) of the limnetic facies with soft soil layers in the Anqiu area (about 200 km from Mount Taishan) of the Yishu fault zone in the middle segment of the Tan-Lu fault zone, including seismic subsidence syncline, pinch-and-swell structure, as well as co-seismic micro-fault, and so on. Seismic subsidence synclines and pinch-and-swell structures were outcomes of the obvious thixotropic deformation of silting soft soils triggered by a strong earthquake. The micro-faults were co-seismic micro-fractures that occurred at the same time as the former. In the seismic subsidence synclines, there are two-fold layers: the older black-gray layer of silty soft soil (average thickness 0.65 m), and the newer yellow-gray sandy clay layer (average thickness 0.45 m) in the fold core. The 14C dating sample was taken from the top of the black-gray layer of silty soft soil, and the mean value of the 14 C dating results was converted into the year of AD, which got the result is that the time of the formation of the soft soil was about 1887 BCE. However, the 1887 BCE was not the time of the earthquake, which should earliest occur the formation time of yellowish-gray sandy clay layer in the syncline core. According to the deposition rate of faulted lakes, it is estimated that the duration of sediment formation of the sand-clay layer with a thickness of 0.45 m was about 60 years. Accordingly, the earthquake recorded by the seismically deformed soil-layers occurred in 1827 BCE, which coincides with the occurrence time (1831 BCE) of the Mount Taishan earthquake as per historical records. Therefore, the epicenter of the Mount Taishan earthquake should lie in the Anqiu area. Based on the IX-degree seismic intensity corresponding to the obvious thixotropy of the saturated cohesive soil from simulated seismic tests, the magnitude of this historical earthquake is calculated to be Ms 7.0. Based on the seismic intensity attenuation model, the seismic intensity near Mount Taishan induced by the earthquake is calculated as VI degrees.

Mount Taishan earthquake, epicenter, Anqiu, magnitude, soft-sediment deformation structure, thixotropy, seismic subsidence

Cite this paper
TIAN Hongshui, YANG Chuan-cheng, ZHANG Banghua, ZHANG Shenhe, Mysteries of the Epicenter and Magnitude of China’s Mount Taishan Earthquake Solved , SCIREA Journal of Geosciences. Volume 5, Issue 2, April 2021 | PP. 17-41. 10.54647/geosciences17111


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