Open Access

Coseismic displacements and slip distribution from GPS and leveling observations for the 2006 Peinan earthquake (Mw 6.1) in southeastern Taiwan

  • Horng-Yue Chen12Email author,
  • Ya-Ju Hsu12,
  • Jian-Cheng Lee12,
  • Shui-Beih Yu12,
  • Long-Chen Kuo12,
  • Yen-Lin Jiang12,
  • Chi-Ching Liu12 and
  • Chun-Shyong Tsai22
Earth, Planets and Space200961:BF03352913

Received: 16 August 2007

Accepted: 27 October 2008

Published: 3 March 2009


Since 2001, we have set up a dense geodetic network with 52 campaign-mode GPS sites and seven continuously recording GPS stations as well as six leveling routes in the Taitung area, Taiwan. Our aim was to better characterize near-fault crustal deformation of active faults at the plate suture of the Philippine Sea plate and Eurasia in southeastern Taiwan. On 1 April 2006, a moderate shallow earthquake (Mw 6.1, depth 10.8 km) occurred within this network. This earthquake resulted from rupturing of a geologically unknown or suspected fault (called the Y fault) located underneath the eastern margin of the Central Range. After removing the impacts of secular motions and postseismic slip, we estimated the coseismic displacements of the Peinan earthquake from the GPS and leveling measurements before and after the main shock. Three deformation types with distinct slip behaviors were revealed in three different regions: (1) near the epicenter—around 45 mm movement in the S-SSW direction with +20 to −20 mm vertical motion, in the northern part of the Y fault; (2) south of the epicenter across the southern part of the Y fault—approximately 35 mm in a westward movement with −60 mm subsidence (footwall side) and 40 mm in a SSW movement with at least 50 mm uplift (hanging-wall side), in the southern part of the Y fault; (3) northeast away from the epicenter—about 10 mm in a northward displacement with +15 to −10 mm vertical motions, in the Longitudinal Valley and on the western flank of the Coastal Range. This unique coseismic deformation pattern sheds new light on the characteristics of the suture zone between the Eurasian and Philippine Sea plates at the southernmost Longitudinal Valley. We used GPS and leveling measurements to invert for the fault geometry and the coseismic slip distribution. The optimal modeled fault is an 80° west-dipping fault at a depth of 0.5–20 km. The highest slip of about 0.33 m is located to the south of the hypocenter at a depth of 9–16 km. The total geodetic moment in our optimal model is 2.3 × 1018 Nt-m, which is equivalent to an earthquake of Mw 6.2. The surface coseismic displacements as well as the inferred coseismic slip distribution indicate a drastic change of slip behaviors in the middle of the Y fault. The left-lateral slippage near the hypocenter turned dramatically to reverse faulting with left-lateral component as rupturing propagated to the southern portion of the fault, suggesting that a possible right-lateral faulting occurred that coseismically cross cut the northern middle Peinanshan massif in the Longitudinal Valley.

Key words

GPS precise leveling coseismic deformation slip distribution peinan earthquake Taiwan