Journal of Earth Science

, Volume 29, Issue 1, pp 182–192 | Cite as

First Discovery of North-South Striking Normal Faults near the Potential Eastern End of Altyn Tagh Fault

  • Bo Zhang
  • Daoyang Yuan
  • Wengui He
  • Wei Pang
  • Pengtao Wang
  • Ming Wu
Structural Geology and Active Tectonics


The Altyn Tagh fault is the northern boundary of Tibetan Plateau. As one of the most well-known strike-slip fault in the world, great achievements on tectonic deformation and Late Quaternary slip rate have been made. However, there is a long-lasting debate on whether the Altyn Tagh fault extends into the Jinta Basin or even eastward. In this paper, we use satellite image interpretation, field investigation, trench excavation, and optical stimulated luminescence dating to study newly found NS striking scarps in the eastern end of Jinta Nan Shan. The results are as follows: firstly, a group of normal faults develop on terrace T2 of Heihe River, the total length amounts to ∼40 km, total scarp height is 30±5 m; secondly, four paleoseismic events have been interpreted from three trenches, approximate ages of events are 79.97±19.14 ka BP, 62.55±13.10∼55.41±10.77 ka BP, before 16.89±2.08 ka BP, 8.52±1.49 ka BP, respectively; thirdly, just like NS normal faults in the western end of Altyn Tagh fault, the newly found NS extensional faults are likely the terminating tectonics of the eastern end of Altyn Tagh fault, the large Altyn Tagh fault may end in the eastern end of Jinta Nan Shan.

Key words

Altyn Tagh fault normal fault Jinta Nan Shan fault Heihe River paleoseismic events 


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This work was jointly supported by the Basic Research Project, Institute of Earthquake Prediction, China Earthquake Administration (No. 2013IESLZ07), the National Natural Science Foundation of China (No. 41602225), and the Special Fund for China Earthquake Research (No. 201408023). We would like to thank the Key Laboratory of Crustal Dynamic, Institute of Crustal Dynamics, China Earthquake Administration for OSL sample dating. We also thank Prof. Dun Wang and another anonymous reviewer and the editors for constructive comments which improved the previous version of this manuscript, and Pengtao Wang, Zhao Wu for kind help in field work. The final publication is available at Springer via

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Copyright information

© China University of Geosciences and Springer-Verlag GmbH Germany, part of Springer Nature 2018

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Lanzhou Institute of SeismologyChina Earthquake AdministrationLanzhouChina
  2. 2.Institute of GeologyChina Earthquake AdministrationBeijingChina
  3. 3.Second Monitoring and Application CenterChina Earthquake AdministrationXi’anChina

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