Skip to main content

Preliminary GPS results and a possible neotectonic interpretation for South Korea


Crustal velocities within South Korea were estimated using GPS data and interpreted in terms of neotectonics. Twenty months of data for the seven GPS stations in South Korea were analyzed to estimate velocities relative to Taejon (DAEJ), a central region of South Korea. From the time series of horizontal position of each station, we estimated site velocities with an accuracy of 0.5 mm/year or better mostly. The relative velocities within the Korean peninsula are very small (1 mm/year), convertible to strain rates in the order of 0.01 ppm/yr. They indicate the Korean peninsula is likely to be tectonically more stationary than other countries in the East Asia, for example, Japan or Taiwan. The result of GPS analysis suggests a possibility that northwestward tectonic force due to the AM (Amurian plate)-PH (Philippine Sea plate) convergence affects the southeastern part of the Korean peninsula, of which the direction is curved due to internal faults in Korea, striking nearly perpendicular to the stress trend.


  • Argus, D. F. and R. G. Gordon, No-net rotation model of current plate velocities incorporating plate motion model NUVEL-1, Geophys. Res. Lett., 18, 2039–2042, 1991.

    Article  Google Scholar 

  • Argus, D. F. and H. B. Heflin, Plate motion and crustal deformation estimated with geodetic data from Global Positioning System, Geophys. Res. Lett., 22, 1973–1976, 1995.

    Article  Google Scholar 

  • Beutler, G., et al., Bernese GPS Software Version 4.2, Astronomical Institute, University of Berne, 2000.

  • Chwae, U., Does the Imjingang Fold Belt cross the mid-Korean Peninsula along the demilitarized zone (DMZ) as an extension of the Sulu Belt, China?, J. Earth Planet. Sci., Nagoya Univ., 45, 41–73, 1998.

    Google Scholar 

  • Chwae, U., et al., Final report of the re-evaluation to the design base earthquake considering the Yangsan Fault, KIGAM-98, 1–435 pp., Korea Electric Power Corporation (KEPCO), Seoul, 1998 (in English).

    Google Scholar 

  • Chwae, U., et al., Preliminary evaluation of tectonic-scaled safety of Korean Peninsula, KAERI-CM-335-99, 1–44 pp., Ministry of Science & Technology of Korea, Seoul, 2000 (in Korean).

    Google Scholar 

  • Heki, K., S. Miyazaki, H. Takahashi, M. Kasahara, F. Kimata, S. Miura, N. Vasilenko, A. Ivashchenko, and K.-D. An, The Amurian Plate motion and current plate kinematics in eastern Asia, J. Geophys. Res., 104, 29147–29155, 1999.

    Article  Google Scholar 

  • Holt, W. E., N. Chamot-Rooke, X. Le Pichon, A. J. Haines, B. Shen-Tu, and J. Ren, Velocity field in Asia inferred from Quaternary fault slip rates and Global Positioning System observations, J. Geophys. Res., 105, 19185–19209, 2000.

    Article  Google Scholar 

  • IGS, GPS Tracking Network of the IGS, in IGS 1999 Directory, viii–ix pp., IGS Central Bureau, JPL, 1999.

    Google Scholar 

  • Jun, M. S., et al., Neotectonics in and around the Korean Peninsula, KR-93-(B)-14, 1–86 pp., Ministry of Science & Technology of Korea, Seoul, 1993 (in Korean).

    Google Scholar 

  • Kato, T. and K. Nakajima, Regional crustal movements in Japan and geodesy by space techniques, J. Geod. Soc. Japan, 35, 171–185, 1989.

    Google Scholar 

  • Kato, T., G. S. El-Fiky, E. N. Oware, and S. Miyazaki, Crustal strains in the Japanese islands as deduced from dense GPS array, Geophys. Res. Lett., 25, 3445–3448, 1998a.

    Article  Google Scholar 

  • Kato, T., Y. Kotake, S. Nakao, J. Beavan, K. Hirahara, M. Okada, M. Hoshiba, O. Kamigaichi, R. B. Feir, P.-H. Park, M. D. Gerasimenko, and M. Kasahara, Initial results from WING, the continuous GPS network in the western Pacific area, Geophys. Res. Lett., 25, 369–372, 1998b.

    Article  Google Scholar 

  • Koto, B., An orographic stretch of Korea, J. Coll. Sci. Imp. Univ. Tokyo, 19, Art. 1, 1903 (in Japanese).

  • Larson, K. M., J. T. Freymueller, and S. Philipsen, Global plate velocities from the Global Positioning System, J. Geophys. Res., 102, 9961–9981, 1997.

    Article  Google Scholar 

  • Miyazaki, S. and K. Heki, Crustal velocity field of southwest Japan: Subduction and arc-arc collision, J. Geophys. Res., 106, 4305–4326, 2001.

    Article  Google Scholar 

  • Park, P.-H., et al., Establishment and Management of GPS Network for Crustal Deformation Monitoring in Korea, N2-01-04-A-01, 48–64 pp., Ministry of Science & Technology of Korea, Seoul, 2000 (in Korean).

    Google Scholar 

  • Seno, T., S. Stein, and A. Gripp, A model for the motion of the Philippine sea consistent with NUVEL-1 and Geological data, J. Geophys. Res., 98, 17941–17948, 1993.

    Article  Google Scholar 

  • Shen, Z.-K., C. Zhao, A. Yin, Y. Li, D. D. Jackson, P. Fang, and D. Dong, Contemporary crustal deformation in east Asia constrained by Global Positioning System measurements, J. Geophys. Res., 105, 5721–5734, 2000.

    Article  Google Scholar 

  • Takahashi, H., M. Kasahara, F. Kimata, S. Miura, K. Heki, T. Seno, T. Kato, N. Vasilenko, A. Ivashchenko, V. Bahtiarov, V. Levin, E. Gordeev, F. Korchagin, and M. Gerasimenko, Velocity field of around the Sea of Okhotsk and Sea of Japan regions determined from a new continuous GPS network data, Geophys. Res. Lett., 26, 2533–2536, 1999.

    Article  Google Scholar 

  • Wei, D.-P. and T. Seno, Determination of the Amurian Plate motion, in Mantle Dynamics and Plate Interactions in East Asia, Geodyn. Ser., vol. 27, edited by M. F. J. Flower, et al., 337 pp., AGU, Washington, D.C., 1998.

    Chapter  Google Scholar 

  • Yu, S.-B. and H.-Y. Chen, Global Positioning System measurements of crustal deformation in the Taiwan Arc—Continent Collision Zone, Te r - restrial, Atmospheric and Oceanic Sciences, 5, 477–498, 1994.

    Google Scholar 

Download references

Author information



Corresponding author

Correspondence to Pil-Ho Park.

Rights and permissions

Reprints and Permissions

About this article

Verify currency and authenticity via CrossMark

Cite this article

Park, PH., Chwae, U., Ahn, YW. et al. Preliminary GPS results and a possible neotectonic interpretation for South Korea. Earth Planet Sp 53, 937–941 (2001).

Download citation

  • Received:

  • Revised:

  • Accepted:

  • Published:

  • Issue Date:

  • DOI:


  • Korean Peninsula
  • Crustal Velocity
  • Intraplate Earthquake
  • Yangsan Fault
  • Global Position System Measurement