A two-dimensional dislocation model for interseismic deformation of the Taiwan mountain belt
We use a Global Positioning System (GPS)-derived surface velocity field of Taiwan for the time period between 1993 and 1999 to infer interseismic slip rates on subsurface faults. We adopt a composite elastic half-space dislocation model constrained by the observed horizontal velocities projected into the direction of plate motion (306°). The GPS data are divided into northern and southern regions and the velocities in each region are projected into single profiles. The model fault geometry includes a shallowly dipping décollement, based on the balanced geological cross-sections in the Coastal Plain and Western Foothills, and a two-segment fault representing the Longitudinal Valley Fault (LVF) in eastern Taiwan. The décollement is composed of two fault segments, one extending west under the Central Range (CR) and one extending east of the LVF, with estimated slip rates of about 35 and 80 mm/yr, respectively. The optimal geometry of décollement is subhorizontal (2°~11°) at a depth of 8~9 km. The inferred surface location of the western end point of dislocation in the northern profile is located 15 km east of the Chelungpu Fault, while in the southern section, it is located beneath the Chukou Fault. The elastic dislocation model successfully matches the horizontal velocity data, and predicts elastic strain accumulation in the Western Foothills that will presumably be released in future earthquakes. However, considered over multiple earthquake cycles, our model cannot explain the topography of the CR and thus fails to predict the active mountain building process in Taiwan. This failure indicates that both horizontal and vertical velocity fields require a more complex rheological model that incorporates inelastic behavior.