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Published November 2006 | public
Journal Article

Geomorphic analysis of the Central Range fault, the second major active structure of the Longitudinal Valley suture, eastern Taiwan


Numerous landforms along the Longitudinal Valley suture of eastern Taiwan indicate that two opposing reverse faults currently dominate the suturing process between the Luzon volcanic arc and the Central Range of Taiwan. The east-dipping Longitudinal Valley fault, on the eastern flank of the valley, is well known. The west-dipping Central Range reverse fault, on the western flank of the valley, is more obscure. Nonetheless, it has produced many uplifted lateritic fluvial terraces along the eastern flank of the Central Range in the central reach of the valley, from just north of the Wuhe Tableland to near Chihshang. The fault appears to be active but blind south of Chihshang and inactive along the northern part of the Longitudinal Valley. The late Quaternary slip rate of the fault is less than 12.8 mm/yr. This constraint means that the fault is absorbing far less than half of the horizontal shortening across the Longitudinal Valley suture. However, the late Quaternary slip rate along the fault may be comparable to the uplift and exhumation rate of the Central Range. This suggests that localized brittle slip along the Central Range fault is an important component of crustal thickening and uplift of the range, even though additional shortening and crustal thickening may be occurring because of pervasive deformation beneath the range.

Additional Information

© 2006 Geological Society of America. Manuscript received 30 September 2005; Revised manuscript received 17 April 2006; Manuscript accepted 30 April 2006. We greatly appreciate the assistance of Y. Wang and T. Watanuki in the field and are grateful for valuable discussions with J.-P. Avouac, O. Beyssac, Y.-C. Chan, H.-T. Chu, J.-C. Lee, W.-T. Liang, M. Simons, Y.-M. Wu, and S.-B. Yu. Also, we have benefited from stimulating discussions with the students of a binational field class of the National Taiwan University and Caltech, held in eastern Taiwan in 2002. Our mapping was facilitated by J. Giberson, manager of Caltech's geographic information system (GIS) laboratory. The 5 m digital elevation model was generously provided by the Central Geological Survey, Ministry of Economic Affairs, Taiwan. The comments and suggestions of J. Wakabayashi and two anonymous reviewers led to significant improvements of the manuscript. Our project in Taiwan was supported by National Science Foundation (NSF) grant EAR-0208505. This research was also supported in part by the Gordon and Betty Moore Foundation. This is Caltech Tectonics Observatory contribution 22.

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