- Open Access
Estimation of slip parameters associated with frictional heating during the 1999 Taiwan Chi-Chi earthquake by vitrinite reflectance geothermometry
© Maekawa et al.; licensee Springer. 2014
- Received: 19 November 2013
- Accepted: 17 April 2014
- Published: 1 May 2014
To estimate the slip parameters and understand the fault lubrication mechanism during the 1999 Taiwan Chi-Chi earthquake, we applied vitrinite reflectance geothermometry to samples retrieved from the Chelungpu fault. We found a marked reflectance anomaly of 1.30% ± 0.21% in the primary slip zone of the earthquake, whereas the reflectances in the surrounding deformed and host rocks were 0.45% to 0.77%. By applying a kinetic model of vitrinite thermal maturation together with a one-dimensional heat and thermal diffusion equation, we determined the shear stress and peak temperature in the slip zone during the earthquake to be 1.00 ± 0.04 MPa and 626°C ± 25°C, respectively. Taking into account the probable overestimation of the temperature owing to a mechanochemically enhanced reaction or flash heating at grain contacts, this temperature should be considered an upper limit. The lower limit was previously constrained to 400°C by studies of fluid-mobile trace-element concentrations and magnetic minerals. Therefore, we inferred that the peak temperature during the Chi-Chi earthquake was 400°C to 626°C, corresponding to an apparent friction coefficient of 0.01 to 0.06. Such low friction and the previous evidence of a high-temperature fluid suggest that thermal pressurization likely contributed to dynamic weakening during the Chi-Chi earthquake.
- Carbonaceous material
- Thermal maturation
- Fault friction
- Chelungpu fault
The 1999 Taiwan Chi-Chi earthquake (Mw 7.6) exhibited spatially heterogeneous slip behavior. The largest ground velocity and displacement (up to 3 m · s−1 and 8 m, respectively) were recorded at the northern end of the Chelungpu fault, whereas the level of high-frequency radiation was lower at the northern end rather than at the southern end (Shin and Teng 2001). Ma et al. (2003) attributed the seismological characteristics to a slip mechanism involving elastohydrodynamic lubrication, inferring that increased pressure of viscous gouge widened the gap between the fault surfaces, thereby reducing the contact areas of asperities and decreasing the levels of high-frequency radiation and friction. Andrews (2005) proposed a thermal pressurization mechanism, in which fluid pressure generated by shear-related heating reduced the fault strength during seismic slip.
Determination of the peak temperature during slip is crucial to identify the faulting mechanism during an earthquake, because thermal pressurization (as well as melt lubrication) is promoted by frictional heating on the fault. Comprehensive mineralogical, geochemical, and magnetic analyses of Hole B core samples have been performed, and some temperature information during the Chi-Chi earthquake has been obtained. Ikehara et al. (2007) reported that the inorganic carbon content of the fault gouge was low, and attributed the low value to thermal decomposition of carbonate minerals. A chemical kinetic evaluation based on the Arrhenius equation of the thermal decomposition reaction induced by earthquake slip estimated the temperature reached in response to frictional heating during the Chi-Chi earthquake to be 868°C (Hirono et al. 2007b). Marked geochemical anomalies of fluid-mobile trace-element concentrations (Sr, Cs, Rb, and Li) and of Sr isotope ratios in the fault gouge indicated that a high-temperature fluid at ≥350°C was present during the earthquake (Ishikawa et al. 2008). High magnetic susceptibility was also detected in the fault gouge by a nondestructive Multi-Sensor Core Logger (Hirono et al. 2006, 2007a), and thermomagnetic analyses showed that thermal decomposition of paramagnetic minerals caused magnetite formation at high temperature (≥400°C) (Mishima et al. 2009).
However, these temperature determinations do not fully constrain the temperature reached in the fault zone during the earthquake. Both the fluid-mobile trace-element concentration and magnetic mineral analyses suggest a lower limit of frictional heating of ≥400°C, but the upper limit has not yet been determined. The temperature of 868°C estimated from the reacted fraction resulting from the decarbonation reaction is probably not reliable because the low inorganic carbon content of the fault gouge might be caused not only by the reaction but also by the dissolution of carbonate minerals into pore fluid. Therefore, we focus hereon the irreversible maturation reaction of the carbonaceous material by heating. The reflectance of vitrinite, a primary component of coals and most sedimentary kerogens, is widely used as a geothermometer by petroleum and structural geologists. Vitrinite reflectance is sensitive to temperature and increases irreversibly when vitrinite is exposed to high temperature (e.g., Sweeney and Burnham 1990). Thus, it is highly sensitive to the maximum temperature as well as the temperature-time history. O'Hara et al. (2006), who conducted friction experiments with coal samples using velocities on the order of meters per second to simulate rapid heating during earthquake slip, showed that coal reflectance was increased even by a short heating duration. However, because their experiments were exposed to air causing the coal sample to react with oxygen, the increase could not be well correlated with the level of frictional heating. Kitamura et al. (2012) conducted similar experiments under oxygen-free, nitrogen atmosphere and confirmed that coal reflectance increased with rapid heating over short duration on the order of seconds.
In this study, we examined the reflectance of vitrinite retrieved from TCDP Hole B core samples and estimated the frictional heat generated during the Chi-Chi earthquake together with the values of several other parameters related to frictional heating. We also discuss the fault lubrication mechanism during the Chi-Chi earthquake.
We collected 16 subsamples from the FZB1136 core sample (Figure 2). Carbonaceous materials, including vitrinite grains, in the samples were first extracted by a CsF-HF technique (Cody et al. 2002; Cody and Alexander 2005; Alexander et al. 2007). The samples were treated with 2 N HCl to remove metal, sulfide, and carbonate and then rinsed with milliQ water several times. After this rinsing, the samples were treated with two immiscible liquids, dioxane, and an aqueous CsF-HF solution (1.6 to 1.7 g · ml−1 and pH 5 to 7). The carbonaceous materials liberated by this treatment were collected at the interface between the CsF-HF solution and the dioxane, rinsed in succession with 2 N HCl, 1 N HCl–9 N HF, 2 N HCl, milliQ water, and methanol, dried at 40°C to 60°C for 12 h, and finally mounted in synthetic resin. A surface of the resin including the carbonaceous materials was carefully polished for vitrinite reflectance measurements.
The vitrinite grains on the polished surface were identified under an oil immersion microscope, and the random reflectance (R o , as a percentage) was measured by using a microscope system with microspot lighting (critical illumination with a xenon lamp; spot size, 1.6 μm) and an avalanche photodiode module (Hamamatsu Photonics, C4777-01, Hamamatsu, Japan) to measure the intensity of the visible spectrum reflected (wavelength 546 ± 5 nm). The reflectance was calibrated by using a series of mineral reflectance standards: 0.42% (spinel), 0.59% (leucosapphire), 0.92% (yttrium aluminum garnet), 1.73% (gadolinium gallium garnet), and 7.5% (silicon carbide), with an immersion oil with a refractive index of 1.518. This procedure follows those outlined by the International Organization for Standardization (ISO) 7404–5 and the Japan Industrial Standards (JIS) M 8816.
where T is temperature, t is time, κ(Τ) is thermal diffusivity with temperature dependency, x is the distance from the center of the slip zone (x = 0), τ is shear stress, D is slip distance, w is slip-zone thickness, C p is specific heat capacity, and ρ is density. For simplicity, convective heat transfer and dynamic fault weakening are ignored. For the black gouge, ρ = 2,200 kg · m−3 (Hirono et al. 2006) and T 0 = 46.5°C (Kano et al. 2006). The C p value of Chinshui shale, which is the host rock of the Chelungpu fault, has been determined to be approximately 1,300 J · kg−1 · K−1, and the κ value can be expressed by κ = 2.27 × 10−4 T−1 + 1.78 × 10−7 m2 · s−1 for T < 573°C and κ = 4.73 × 10−7 m2 · s−1 for T ≥ 573°C (Hirono and Hamada 2010). In the primary slip zone of the Chi-Chi earthquake, w = 5 mm (Chou et al. 2012), the risetime was 6 s, and the total slip distance was 8.3 m (Ma et al. 2006). Thus, by adopting the finite difference method to solve Equations 3 and 4 simultaneously, values of peak temperature and τ consistent with the measured values of R o can be determined. The time increment used in the calculations was 0.01 s, the grid size was 0.5 mm, and the boundary condition was T = 46.5°C at x > 200 mm.
Histograms of the vitrinite reflectance data for all samples and the average R o values with their standard deviations in relation to sample depth are shown in Figure 2. In the hanging wall, the average R o values of the host and fracture-damaged rocks ranged from 0.45% to 0.63%. The average R o value of the upper gray gouge sample adjacent to the black gouge was 0.64%, which is almost the same as the values of the upper rocks. The average R o value of the lower gray gouge samples was 0.66%, and those of the samples from the breccia zone, fracture-damaged zone, and host rock were 0.63% to 0.77%. However, the R o values of the black gouge samples were markedly high at 1.19% to 1.46%, and the average R o value in the primary slip zone was 1.30% ± 0.21%.
We calculated the friction coefficient from the τ value in the primary slip zone associated with the 1999 Chi-Chi earthquake (Ma et al. 2006; Chou et al. 2012). The effective vertical stress around sample FZB1136 was 17.8 MPa (rock density, 2,600 kg · m−3) by assuming hydrostatic pore-fluid pressures, and the dip of the fault plane was 35° (Hirono et al. 2007a). Assuming that the stress normal to the fault (σ n ) was equal to that of the static state, and that the horizontal stress (σ H ) was equal to the vertical stress (σ V ), the stress normal to the fault was 17.8 MPa, which gives an apparent friction coefficient of 0.06. For a thrust fault, maximum σ H is higher than σ V (Sibson 1974). Assuming that σ n is equal to the static stress state and that maximum σ H is twice as high as σ V , then σ n is 43.7 MPa, which gives an apparent friction coefficient of 0.02.
However, Kitamura et al. (2012) attributed the maturation of coal by friction experiments not only to high temperature but also to mechanochemically enhanced reaction kinetics and flash heating at asperity contacts, suggesting that the fault temperature estimated from vitrinite reflectance might be overestimated. Thus, our estimated temperature, 626°C, should be considered an upper limit. The lower limit has been already constrained to 400°C by both fluid-mobile trace-element concentration and magnetic mineral analyses (Ishikawa et al. 2008; Mishima et al. 2009). Therefore, we infer that the peak temperature during the Chi-Chi earthquake was 400°C to 626°C, corresponding to an apparent friction coefficient of 0.03 to 0.06 for the σ H = σ V stress state and 0.01 to 0.02 for the σ H = 2σ V state. These values are markedly low compared to the initial and residual friction coefficients of 0.736 and of 0.173, respectively, of gouge samples from FZB1136 measured during a high-velocity frictional test carried out by Tanikawa et al. (2007).
Such low friction coefficients (≤0.06) at all the cases in this study agree well with seismological observations of low levels of high-frequency radiation, fast slip velocities, and high slip displacement, all of which indicate a low level of friction on the fault (e.g., Ma et al. 2003). They are also consistent with the residual heat anomaly of 0.06°C, which corresponds to an apparent friction coefficient of 0.04 to 0.08, obtained by borehole temperature measurement in TCDP Hole A (Kano et al. 2006). In addition, anomalous concentrations of fluid-mobile elements and Sr isotope ratios resulting from the interaction of minerals with high-temperature (≥350°C) fluids have been reported (Ishikawa et al. 2008). Taking into consideration these results, thermal pressurization may have occurred along the northern Chelungpu fault during the Chi-Chi earthquake.
We note again the need to improve the accuracy of vitrinite temperature estimation. Kitamura et al. (2012) confirmed that the commonly used kinetic model of Sweeney and Burnham (1990) for vitrinite reflectance does not yield accurate estimates of the peak temperature in a fault zone resulting from fast frictional heating rates. Shear deformation mechanochemically may induce a change in the molecular structure of organic matter (e.g., Fulton and Harris 2012). Because of not only such rapid heating and mechanochemical effects but also the types of carbonaceous components present, the kinetics may be different from that of Sweeney and Burnham (1990). On the other hand, the estimation of the shear stress and the resultant calculations of the friction coefficient also include some uncertainties: the state and magnitude of stress during seismic rupture might not be the same as the static values, and dynamic changes of the friction coefficient and stress drop are not considered. For more accurate estimation, further experimental work on vitrinite reflectance kinetics and advanced modeling taking into consideration changes of the dynamic parameters hold promise for constraining further slip parameters such as dynamic shear stress and peak temperature during large earthquakes. In addition, for comprehensive understanding of the mineral and chemical changes that occur in the slip zone during an earthquake and how they influence the slip behavior, a complete data set of experienced temperature, obtained by multiple approaches using various proxies, is required.
Using the thermal kinetics of vitrinite maturation of Sweeney and Burnham (1990) together with the thermal model of frictional heat generation and diffusion, we determined that during the 1999 Chi-Chi earthquake, the peak temperature and apparent friction coefficient in the primary slip zone were 626°C and 0.02 to 0.06, respectively. However, taking into consideration the probable overestimation of the temperature and other constraints indicating a temperature ≥400°C, we concluded that the peak temperature was 400°C to 626°C, corresponding to an apparent friction coefficient of 0.01 to 0.06. Thus, such low apparent friction coefficient and the previous evidence of a high-temperature fluid suggest that thermal pressurization likely contributed to dynamically weakening the fault during the Chi-Chi earthquake.
We thank Sheng-Rong Song for giving us the opportunity to analyze samples from TCDP Hole B. We also thank P. M. Fulton and an anonymous reviewer for their constructive reviews, and editor C. Rowe for editing this paper. This study was supported by a Japan Ministry of Education, Culture, Sports, Science and Technology Grant-in-Aid for Young Scientists (A) 23684039, 2013.
- Alexander CMOD, Fogel M, Yabuta H, Cody GD: The origin and evolution of chondrites recorded in the elemental and isotopic compositions of their macromolecular organic matter. Geochim Cosmochim Acta 2007, 71: 4380–4403. 10.1016/j.gca.2007.06.052View ArticleGoogle Scholar
- Andrews DJ: Thermal pressurization explains enhanced long-period motion in the Chi-Chi earthquake. Eos Trans AGU Fall Meet Suppl Abstract 2005, 86(52):S34A-04.Google Scholar
- Chou YM, Song SR, Aubourg C, Lee TQ, Boullier AM, Song YF, Yeh EC, Kuo LW, Wang CY: An earthquake slip zone is a magnetic recorder. Geology 2012, 40: 551–554. doi:10.1130/G32864.1View ArticleGoogle Scholar
- Cody GD, Alexander CMOD: NMR studies of chemical structural variation of insoluble organic matter from different carbonaceous chondrite groups. Geochim Cosmochim Acta 2005, 69: 1085–1097. 10.1016/j.gca.2004.08.031View ArticleGoogle Scholar
- Cody GD, Alexander CMOD, Tera F: Solid-state (1H and 13C) nuclear magnetic resonance spectroscopy of insoluble organic residue in the Murchison meteorite: a self-consistent quantitative analysis. Geochim Cosmochim Acta 2002, 66: 1851–1865. 10.1016/S0016-7037(01)00888-2View ArticleGoogle Scholar
- Fulton PM, Harris RN: Thermal considerations in inferring frictional heating from vitrinite reflectance and implications for shallow coseismic slip within the Nankai Subduction Zone. Earth Planet Sci Lett 2012, 335–336: 206–215. doi:10.1016/j.epsl.2012.04.012View ArticleGoogle Scholar
- Hirono T, Hamada Y: Specific heat capacity and thermal diffusivity and their temperature dependencies in a rock sample from adjacent to the Taiwan Chelungpu fault. J Geophys Res 2010, 115: B05313. doi:10.1029/2009JB006816Google Scholar
- Hirono T, Lin W, Yeh E, Soh W, Hashimoto Y, Sone H, Matsubayashi O, Aoike K, Ito H, Kinoshita M, Murayama M, Song S, Ma K, Hung J, Wang C, Tsai Y: High magnetic susceptibility of fault gouge within Taiwan Chelungpu fault: nondestructive continuous measurements of physical and chemical properties in fault rocks recovered from Hole B, TCDP. Geophys Res Lett 2006, 33: L15303. doi:10.1029/2006GL026133View ArticleGoogle Scholar
- Hirono T, Yeh E, Lin W, Sone H, Mishima T, Soh W, Hashimoto Y, Matsubayashi O, Aoike K, Ito H, Kinoshita M, Murayama M, Song S, Ma K, Hung J, Wang C, Tsai Y, Kondo T, Nishimura M, Moriya S, Tanaka T, Fujiki T, Maeda L, Muraki H, Kuramoto T, Sugiyama K, Sugawara T: Nondestructive continuous physical property measurements of core samples recovered from Hole B, Taiwan Chelungpu-fault Drilling Project. J Geophys Res 2007, 112: B07404. doi:10.1029/2006JB004738Google Scholar
- Hirono T, Yokoyama T, Hamada Y, Tanikawa W, Mishima T, Ikehara M, Famin V, Tanimizu M, Lin W, Soh W, Song S: A chemical kinetic approach to estimate dynamic shear stress during the 1999 Taiwan Chi-Chi earthquake. Geophys Res Lett 2007, 34: L19308. doi:10.1029/2007GL030743View ArticleGoogle Scholar
- Hirono T, Sakaguchi M, Otsuki K, Sone H, Fujimoto K, Mishima T, Lin W, Tanikawa W, Tanimizu M, Soh W, Yeh E, Song S: Characterization of slip zone associated with the 1999 Taiwan Chi-Chi earthquake: X-ray CT image analyses and microstructural observations of the Taiwan Chelungpu fault. Tectonophysics 2008, 449: 63–84. 10.1016/j.tecto.2007.12.002View ArticleGoogle Scholar
- Ikehara M, Hirono T, Tadai O, Sakaguchi M, Kikuta H, Fukuchi T, Mishima T, Nakamura N, Aoike K, Fujimoto K, Hashimoto Y, Ishikawa T, Ito H, Kinoshita M, Lin W, Masuda K, Matsubara T, Matsubayashi O, Mizoguchi K, Murayama M, Otsuki K, Sone H, Takahashi M, Tanikawa W, Tanimizu M, Soh W, Song S: Low total and inorganic carbon contents within the Chelungpu fault. Geochem J 2007, 41: 391–396. 10.2343/geochemj.41.391View ArticleGoogle Scholar
- Ishikawa T, Tanimizu M, Nagaishi K, Matsuoka J, Tadai O, Sakaguchi M, Hirono T, Mishima T, Tanikawa W, Lin W, Kikuta H, Soh W, Song S: Coseismic fluid-rock interactions at high temperatures in the Chelungpu fault. Nat Geosci 2008, 1: 679–683. 10.1038/ngeo308View ArticleGoogle Scholar
- Kano Y, Mori J, Fujio R, Ito H, Yanagidani T, Nakao S, Ma K: Heat signature on the Chelungpu fault associated with the 1999 Chi-Chi Taiwan earthquake. Geophys Res Lett 2006, 33: L14306. doi:10.1029/2006GL026733View ArticleGoogle Scholar
- Kitamura M, Mukoyoshi H, Fulton PM, Hirose T: Coal maturation by frictional heat during rapid fault slip. Geophys Res Lett 2012, 39: L16302. doi:10.1029/2012GL052316 View ArticleGoogle Scholar
- Lin W, Yeh EC, Ito H, Hung JH, Hirono T, Soh W, Ma KF, Kinoshita M, Wang CY, Song SR: Current stress state and principal stress rotations in the vicinity of the Chelungpu fault induced by the 1999 Chi-Chi Taiwan earthquake. Geophys Res Lett 2007, 34: L16307. doi:10.1029/2007GL030515Google Scholar
- Ma KF, Brodsky EE, Mori J, Song TA, Kanamori H: Evidence for fault lubrication during the 1999 Chi-Chi Taiwan earthquake (Mw7.6). Geophys Re Lett 2003, 30(5):1244. doi:10.1029/2002GL015380View ArticleGoogle Scholar
- Ma KF, Tanaka H, Song S, Wang C, Hung J, Song Y, Yeh E, Soh W, Sone H, Kuo L, Wu H: Slip zone and energetics of a large earthquake from the Taiwan Chelungpu-fault Drilling Project. Nature 2006, 444: 473–476. 10.1038/nature05253View ArticleGoogle Scholar
- Mishima T, Hirono T, Nakamura N, Tanikawa W, Soh W, Song S: Changes to magnetic minerals caused by frictional heating during the 1999 Taiwan Chi-Chi earthquake. Earth Planets Space 2009, 61: 797–801.View ArticleGoogle Scholar
- O'Hara K, Mizoguchi K, Shimamoto T, Hower JC: Experimental frictional heating of coal gouge at seismic slip rate: evidence for devolatilization and thermal pressurization of gouge fluids. Tectonophysics 2006, 424: 109–118. doi:10.1016/j.tecto.2006.07.007View ArticleGoogle Scholar
- Polissar PJ, Savage HM, Brodsky EE: Extractable organic material in fault zones as a tool to investigate frictional stress. Earth Planet Sci Lett 2011, 311(3–4):439–447. doi.org/10.1016/j.epsl.2011.09.004View ArticleGoogle Scholar
- Sakaguchi A, Yanagihara A, Ujiie K, Tanaka H, Kameyama M: Thermal maturity of a fold-thrust belt based on vitrinite reflectance analysis in the Western Foothills complex, western Taiwan. Tectonophysics 2007, 443(3–4):220–232. doi:10.1016/j.tecto.2007.01.017View ArticleGoogle Scholar
- Shin T, Teng T: An overview of the 1999 Chi-Chi Taiwan Earthquake. Bull Seism Soc Am 2001, 91: 895–913.View ArticleGoogle Scholar
- Sibson RH: Frictional constraints on thrust, wrench and normal faults. Nature 1974, 249: 542–544. 10.1038/249542a0View ArticleGoogle Scholar
- Sweeney JJ, Burnham AK: Evaluation of a simple model of vitrinite reflectance based on chemical kinetics. AAPG Bull 1990, 74: 1559–1570. doi:10.1306/0C9B251F-1710–11D7–8645000102C1865DGoogle Scholar
- Tanikawa W, Mishima T, Hirono T, Lin W, Shimamoto T, Soh W, Song SR: High magnetic susceptibility produced in high-velocity frictional tests on core samples from the Chelungpu fault in Taiwan. Geophys Res Lett 2007, 34: L15304. doi:10.1029/2007GL030783View ArticleGoogle Scholar
- Wu H, Ma K, Zoback M, Boness N, Ito H, Hung J, Hickman S: Stress orientations of Taiwan Chelungpu-Fault Drilling Project (TCDP) hole-A as observed from geophysical logs. Geophys Res Lett 2007, 34: L01303. doi:10.1029/2006GL028050View ArticleGoogle Scholar
This article is published under license to BioMed Central Ltd. This is an Open Access article distributed under the terms of the Creative Commons Attribution License (http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by/2.0), which permits unrestricted use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, provided the original work is properly credited.