DISASTER PAGES
of
Dr. GEORGE PARARAS-CARAYANNIS

DISASTER PAGES EARTHQUAKES TSUNAMIS VOLCANOES DISASTER ARCHAEOLOGY
 

 

DISASTER PAGES OF DR. GEORGE P.C. (Home)

NAVIGATION GUIDE

Link Portals

Tsunami Educational

Tsunami Prediction & Assessment

Tsunamis1980 To Present

Historical Tsunamis

Pacific & Indian Ocean Tsunamis

Volcanic Tsunamis

Paleotsunamis

Historical Tsunami Data Base - Catalogs

Tsunami Bibliographies

Tsunami Book Reviews

Tsunami Warning Systems

EARTHQUAKES / SEISMOTECTONICS

 

Earthquake Prediction

Recent & Historical Earthquakes

Seismotectonics

Earthquake Reports

China Earthquake May 12, 2008

Recent Disasters

WEATHER-RELATED DISASTERS

Texas Hurricanes - 1949 at Freeport and Galveston

Myanmar Cyclone "Nargis"

FAQ - HURRICANES

Historical Hurricanes - Storm Surge Prediction

TORNADOES

Tornadoes - Overview - Modeling and Forecasting

CLIMATE CHANGE

GLOBAL WARMING

SEA LEVEL CHANGE

Climate Change

Natural & Man-Made Disasters

Assessment of Risks

Prepardness & Mitigation

Ocean Governance & Sustainability

DISASTER ARCAEOLOGY

MISCELLANEOUS

WRITINGS

----------

TSUNAMI SOCIETY

SCIENCE OF
TSUNAMI HAZARDS
International Journal of Tsunami Society

Recent and Current Issues (2005 - 2009)

All Past Issues
from 1982 - archived by volume, title and names of authors

----------

MISCELLANEOUS

Dr. George Pararas-Carayannis

Bio Summary

Publications

Recent Publications

Recent Books

Consulting Services

BOOK

Now available from Amazon, Barnes and Noble and other major bookstores.

drgeorgepc@yahoo.com

EMAIIL

WEBSITE AWARDS

National Science Teachers Association

Los Angeles Times Award

 

 

 

Google
 

CHINA EARTHQUAKE OF APRIL 13, 2010 IN QINGHAI PROVINCE
George Pararas-Carayannis

Preliminary Report

INTRODUCTION

A major earthquake struck a remote region of Qinghai province of China on Tuesday April 13, 2010, killing many people and causing extensive destruction. The Qinghai province borders the autonomous regions of Tibet and Xingjiang and the provinces of Gansu and Sichuan. On May 12, 2008, a 7.9 earthquake in the neighboring Sichuan province, killed thousands of people.

Qinhai Province


Date and Time of Origin: Tuesday, April 13, 2010 at 23:49:37 UTC, 7:49 am (local time, Wednesday, April 14, 2010 )

Magnitude: Moment Magnitude 6.9 (USGS); 7.1 (China Earthquake Administration).

Focal Depth: 17 km (10.6 miles) (USGS).


Epicenter: 33.224 N, 96.666 (USGS NEIC, WDCS-D)

Distances: In the Yushu County of the southern Qinghai Province on the Tibetan plateau, 50 km (30 miles) WNW of Gyegu (Yushu), Qinghai, China; 235 miles southeast of the city of Golmud; 240 km (150 miles) NNW of Qamdo, Xizang (Tibet); 375 km (235 miles) SSE of Golmud, Qinghai, China; 520 km (325 miles) SSE of Da Qaidam, Qinghai, China; 370 km (230 miles) WNW of Garze, Sichuan, China; 1905 km (1190 miles) WSW of BEIJING, Beijing, China.


Aftershocks
The USGS recorded three strong aftershocks -- of magnitudes 5.8, 5.2 and 5.3 -- all within two hours of the first quake. At least 18 aftershocks measuring more than 6.0 followed throughout the day.


Death Toll and Damages
The earthquake struck China's Qinghai region in the Tibetan Plateau. The quake centered in Yushu County, a mountainous area sparsely populated by farmers and herdsmen, most of them ethnic Tibetans. This is a remote area with rugged terrain, about 150 miles (240 kms) northwest of Qamdo, Tibet. Although the area is not densely populated, the earthquake killed more than 2,200 people, injured thousands more and resulted in widespread destruction. According to reports, about 15,000 (approximately 90%) of the homes in the Yushu Prefecture region were destroyed, leaving thousands homeless.
Most were wooden and earth-walled houses of poor quality.

Google Earth image of theYushu Tibetan Autonomous Prefecture in the Qinghai Province region of the Tibetan Plateau, striken by the earthquake of April 13, 2010.

Major Faults - Qinghai Province

Two major fault systems cross the Qinghai Province, the Xianshuihe and the Kunlun. Both fault systems trend in a southeastward direction and are associated with major earthquakes such as the April 13, 2010 event. The epicenter location of the April 13, 2010 event indicates that it occurred along the Xianshuihe fault.

Xianshuihe fault bel - This fault system extends for about 450 km. It is a long left-lateral strike-slip fault zone with an estimated Holocene slip rate of about13 mm/yr (Zhang et al.; Papadimitriou et al., 2004. Earthquakes with magnitude greater than 6.0 occur frequently and in a continuous sequence along the Xianshuihe fault belt. Nine earthquakes with Ms > 7 reportedly have occurred along this fault zone.

The 1973 Luhuo earthquake (Ms = 7.9) was associated with 90 km of surface rupture and a maximum left-lateral displacement of 6 meters (Tang et al., 1984). Further east the Xianshuihe fault curves into the longer, north-south trending Xiaojiang seismic belt that tranverses the Sichuan and Yunnan Provinces. This segment is also reported to be a source of major earthquakes - such as the 1833 Songming earthquake (Ms = 8).

Kunlun fault belt - The is a major strike-slip fault system on the north side of Tibet, crossing Qinghai province. Similarly, there is left-lateral movement of crustal blocks along its 1,500-kilometer (932-mile) length. Uniform crustal movement along this Kunlun fault system in the last 40,000 years at a rate of about 1.1 cm/ year, has created an offset toataling more than 400 meters. The Kunlun mountain range - with average elevation of 5,000 to 7,000 meters - extends for 2,500 km from the Pamirs Plateau in the west to the northwest of the Sichuan Province.

 

Tectonics of the Tibetan Plateau - Approximate epicenter locations of the earthquakes of April 13, 2010 in Qinhai Province and of May 12, 2008, in Shihuan Province. (modified graphic after Liu & Yang 2003).


Past Earthquakes in China and in the Qinhai Province


During the 20th Century there have been nine (9) great earthquakes with magnitude greater than 8.0 in China, sixty six (66) with magnitude ranging from 7 to 7.9, and three hundred and eighty-five (385) with magnitudes ranging from 6 to 6.9. Almost all of these destructive earthquakes occurred along well-known faults, mainly in China’s Central Region. Since 1500 A.D., there have been at least 8 destructive earthquakes with magnitudes M7.8 or more along in this central belt. The deadliest earthquake on record occurred in 1556, in Shaanxi. It was an intraplate earthquake that killed 830,000 people.
In 1976 the Songpan earthquake, with a magnitude of 7.2, occurred about 100km from the May 12, 2008 Sichuan earthquake, and killed more than 800 people. A quake in 1981 (Ms=6.9) struck along the Daofu fault. Finally, an earthquake in 1982 (Ms=6.0) occurred along the Ganzi fault (Qiu-wen et al, 2003).

On August 25, 1933, a magnitude 7.5 earthquake in Diexi, Sichuan, (about 60km away from the May 12, 2008 quake), killed more than 9,300 people and caused widespread landslides that disrupted river flows. Forty five days later, a regional dam broke resulting in more than 10,000 fatalities in the same general area. Another earthquake (Ms=7.6) in 1973 occurred on the Luohuo fault (Zhou et al., 1983). An earthquake in 1975 (Ms=6.2) occurred along the Kangding fault.. The most destructive earthquake (magnitude 7.5) in recent times was the one that struck the northeastern city of Tangshan on July 28, 1976. Tangshan is roughly 1,600 km from Chengdu, the nearest major city to the epicenter of the May 12, 2008 quake. The 1976 event, was the deadliest earthquake in the last four centuries. The official death toll was 255,000 people, however estimates of as high as 655,000 have been given. More recently in 2003, a 6.8-magnitude earthquake killed 268 people in Bachu County in the west of Xinjiang.

Several earthquakes with magnitude greater than 6.0 occur frequently and in a continuous sequence along the Xianshuihe and the Kunlun fault systems in the Qinghai Province. As stated, many earthquakes occur also along the longer seismic belt that tranverses the Sichuan and Yunnan Provinces.

Destructive Earthquakes in China


 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

China's Seismic Zones (modified graphic of China Earthquake Administration)

 

Seismotectonic Setting (brief overview)

The high seismicity of central and eastern Asia results from the northward collisional convergence (at about 50 mm/y) of the India tectonic plate against the Eurasian plate. This active collision - which begun about 55 million years ago - is the cause of frequent large earthquakes between India and Tibet and throughout Tibet and the surrounding areas in China. The convergence has uplifted the Asian highlands and the Tibetan Plateau to an average elevation of over 16,000 feet - the highest and largest plateau on Earth - with hundreds of kilometers of displacement of crustal blocks to the east and southeast in the direction of China. Three distinct deformational episodes that occurred 200- 240 million years ago resulted in initial thrusting and subsequent vertical extrusion, while later episodes during the Late Cenozoic resulted in folding (Li et al. 2007) and widespread crustal extension of the Tibetan Plateau. As India kept on moving northward and intruding into Asia by as much as 1,200 kms, the regions north of the Himalayas moved laterally to the east and southeast along large strike slip faults such as the Altyn Tagh, pushing into central China and furthermore resulting in the extrusion and movement of the crustal blocks that formed Indochina. Continuous convergence has formed the most active and extensive seismic belt in China.

Collision of the India and Asia tectonic plates resulting in uplift of the Himalayas and of the Tibetan Plateau and its convergent extension into China (modified graphic Univ. of Berne, Inst. of Mineralogy).

Tibetan Plateau crustal extension and effects of syntaxis on the formation of major fault zones and on crustal motions in Southcentral China - as indicated by GPS measurements (web graphic http://www.shangri-la-river-expeditions.com/wchinageo/crustalshear.jpg)

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Detachment of the upper crust in the Tibetan Plateau has resulted in the formation of anticlinal folds, ridges, linear mountains and hills, widely separated by interfold segments (poorly-formed synclines) , and major fault zones (modified Landsat-1 image). The geomorphological features of the region also control the flow of major rivers and the formation of sedimentary accretion zones where - often - cities are located (a factor which also contributes to the destructiveness of earthquakes by enhancement of ground motions and liquefaction).

REFERENCES and ADDITIONAL READING

Allen, C.R., Luo Zhuoli, Qian Hong, Wen Xueze, Zhou Huwei, and Huang Weishi, (1989), Segmentation and rupture history of the Xianshuihe fault, southwestern China, U. S. Geological Survey Open-File Report 89-315, 10-31.

Gu Gongxiu, (1983), Earthquake Catalog of China, Seismological Press.

Hui- Lan Zhou, Clarence R. Allen and Hiroo Kanamori, " Rupture complexity of the 1970 Tonghai and 1973 Luhuo earthquakes, China, from P-wave inversion, and relationship to surface faulting". Bulletin of the Seismological Society of America; December 1983; v. 73; no. 6A; p. 1585-1597.

Ma Xingyuan, (1989), Lithospheric dynamics atlas of China, China Cartographic Publishing House, Beijing.

Mian Liu and Youqing Yang, 2003. Extensional collapse of the Tibetan Plateau: Results of three-dimensional finite element modeling. journal of Geophysical Research, Vol 108, No. 8, 2361. JOURNAL OF GEOPHYSICAL RESEARCH, VOL. 108, NO. 8, 2361

http://web.missouri.edu/~lium/pdfs/Papers/LiuJGR03.pdf

Pararas-Carayannis, George, 2006, Earthquakes in China, Excerpts from Unpublished Manuscript. http://www.drgeorgepc.com/EarthquakesChina.html

Pararas-Carayannis, George, 2000, DISASTER RISK ASSESSMENT OF THE CHINA/TAIWAN CROSS-STRAITS REGION, Planning for Disaster Mitigation, Keynote Presentation, 2009 China Cross-Straits Symposium on the Prevention and Mitigation of Natural Hazards - 19-20 JUNE 2009, FUZHOY, CHINA,

http://www.drgeorgepc.com/CrossStraits.pdf (PDF in English); http://www.dregeorgepc.com/CrossStraitsCH.pdf (PDF in Chinese)

Papadimitriou, Eleftheria; Wen, Xueze; Karakostas, Vassilios; Jin, Xueshen, "Earthquake Triggering along the Xianshuihe Fault Zone of Western Sichuan, China", Pure & Applied Geophysics PAGEOPH, Volume 161, Number 8, August 2004 , pp. 1683-1707(25).

Sanzhong Li, Timothy M. Kusky, Lu Wang , Guowei Zhang , Shaocong Lai, Xiaochun Liu, Shuwen Dong, Guochun Zhao. (In Press). "Collision leading to multiple-stage large-scale extrusion in the Qinling orogen: Insights from the Mianlue suture". International Association for Gondwana Research. Elsevier (2007)

Zhang Qiu-wen, Zhang Pei-zhen , Wang Cheng , Wang Yi-peng and Michael A Ellis, "Earthquake triggering and delaying caused by fault interaction on Xianshuihe fault belt, southwestern China". Seismological Society of China, Volume 16, Number 2 / March, 2003.

Zhou Huilan, Liu H.-L., and H. Kanamori, (1983), Source processes of large earthquakes along the Xianshuihe fault in southwestern China, Bull. Seism. Soc. Am., 73, 171-181.

SEE ALSO:

EARTHQUAKES IN CHINA

TANGSHAN EARTHQUAKE OF JULY 28, 1976

HAICHENG EARTHQUAKE OF FEBRUARY 4, 1975

EARTHQUAKE PREDICTION IN CHINA

EARTHQUAKE OF SEPTEMBER 20, 1999 IN TAIWAN

EARTHQUAKE AND TSUNAMI OF JULY 18, 1969 IN THE BOHAI SEA, CHINA

DISASTER RISK ASSESSMENT OF THE CHINA/TAIWAN CROSS-STRAITS REGION (PDF in English(
DISASTER RISK ASSESSMENT OF THE CHINA/TAIWAN CROSS-STRAITS REGION (PDF in Chinese)

 

   

©1982 - 2010 Dr. George Pararas-Carayannis - All rights reserved

Last update: April 28, 2010