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Published April 2011 | Published + Supplemental Material
Journal Article Open

Earthquakes and slip rate of the southern Sagaing fault: insights from an offset ancient fort wall, lower Burma (Myanmar)


Field investigations of an ancient fortress wall in southern Myanmar reveal an offset of ~6 m across the Sagaing fault, the major right-lateral fault between the Sunda and Burma plates. The fault slip rate implied by offset of this 16th-century fortress is between 11 and 18 cm yr^(–1). A palaeoseismological excavation within the fortress reveals at least two major fault ruptures since its construction. The slip rate we obtained is comparable to geodetic and geological estimates farther north, but is only 50 per cent of the spreading rate (38 mm yr^(–1)) at the Andaman Sea spreading centre. This disparity suggests that other structures may be accommodating deformation within the Burma Plate. We propose two fault-slip scenarios to explain the earthquake-rupture history of the southern Sagaing fault. Using both small offset features along the fault trace and historical records, we speculate that the southern Sagaing fault exhibits a uniform-fault-slip behaviour and that one section of the fault could generate a M7+ earthquake within the next few decades

Additional Information

© 2011 The Authors. Geophysical Journal International © 2011 RAS. Accepted 2010 December 9. Received 2010 November 18; in original form 2010 July 19. Article first published online: 22 Feb. 2011. We benefited greatly from discussions with Win Swe, Bob Hudson, J. Bruce H. Shyu and their colleagues. The comments and suggestions of Christophe Vigny and another reviewer also helped us improve this manuscript. We also appreciate the generous support of the Immediate Past President of the Myanmar Engineering Society (MES), Mr. Than Myint, and help from the Myanmar Geosciences Society (MGS), the Department of Meteorology and Hydrology (DMH), the Department of Natural Museum, Library and Archaeology of the Ministry of Culture in Myanmar and Thingazar Travels & Tours Company. This research was supported initially by the Caltech Tectonics Observatory and later by the Earth Observatory of Singapore (EOS), Nanyang Technological University, Singapore. This is Caltech Tectonics Observatory contribution 140 and Earth Observatory of Singapore contribution 12.

Attached Files

Published - Wang2011p13370Geophys_J_Int.pdf

Supplemental Material - GJI_4918_sm_TableS1-S3.zip


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