Earthquake geology of the Bulnay Fault (Mongolia)

Bulletin of the Seismological Society of America
By: , and 

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Abstract

The Bulnay earthquake of July 23, 1905 (Mw 8.3-8.5), in north-central Mongolia, is one of the world's largest recorded intracontinental earthquakes and one of four great earthquakes that occurred in the region during the 20th century. The 375-km-long surface rupture of the left-lateral, strike-slip, N095°E trending Bulnay Fault associated with this earthquake is remarkable for its pronounced expression across the landscape and for the size of features produced by previous earthquakes. Our field observations suggest that in many areas the width and geometry of the rupture zone is the result of repeated earthquakes; however, in those areas where it is possible to determine that the geomorphic features are the result of the 1905 surface rupture alone, the size of the features produced by this single earthquake are singular in comparison to most other historical strike-slip surface ruptures worldwide. Along the 80 km stretch, between 97.18°E and 98.33°E, the fault zone is characterized by several meters width and the mean left-lateral 1905 offset is 8.9 ± 0.6 m with two measured cumulative offsets that are twice the 1905 slip. These observations suggest that the displacement produced during the penultimate event was similar to the 1905 slip. Morphotectonic analyses carried out at three sites along the eastern part of the Bulnay fault, allow us to estimate a mean horizontal slip rate of 3.1 ± 1.7 mm/yr over the Late Pleistocene-Holocene period. In parallel, paleoseismological investigations show evidence for two earthquakes prior to the 1905 event with recurrence intervals of ~2700-4000 years.

Additional publication details

Publication type Article
Publication Subtype Journal Article
Title Earthquake geology of the Bulnay Fault (Mongolia)
Series title Bulletin of the Seismological Society of America
DOI 10.1785/0120140119
Volume 105
Issue 1
Year Published 2015
Language English
Publisher Seismological Society of America
Contributing office(s) Earthquake Science Center
Description 22 p.
First page 72
Last page 93
Country Mongolia
Other Geospatial Bulnay Fault