The 1957 Gobi Altay M8.3 earthquake in southern Mongolia was associated with the simultaneous rupture of several faults, including the Gurvan Bulag reverse fault, which is located about 25 km south of the main strike-slip Bogd fault. Our study of paleoseismic excavations across the Gurvan Bulag fault suggests that the penultimate surface rupture occurred after 6.0 ka, most likely between 2.6 and 4.4 ka, and a possible earlier rupture occurred after 7.3 ka. Our interpretation of the stratigraphic relations in one of the exposures suggests that at least five earthquakes have generated surface rupture of the Gurvan Bulag fault since the abandonment of an ancient alluvial fan surface. Luminescence dating of sediment associated with this surface indicates that it formed either 26.6 ?? 2.1 ka or 16.1 ?? 2.0 ka. These data imply that the recurrence intervals for surface faulting on the Gurvan Bulag and Bogd faults are similar, on the order of several thousands of years, but that the penultimate surface ruptures of the two faults did not occur during the same earthquake.
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Prehistoric ruptures of the Gurvan Bulag fault, Gobi Altay, Mongolia