Coseismic thrusting and folding in the 1999 Mw 7.6 Chi-Chi earthquake: A high-resolution approach by aerial photos taken from Tsaotun, central Taiwan

Yu Ting Kuo, Francois Ayoub, Sébastien Leprince, Yue Gau Chen, Jean Philippe Avouac, J. Bruce H. Shyu, Kuang Yin Lai, Yu Ju Kuo

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

7 Citations (Scopus)


We used aerial photos taken before and after the 21 September 1999, M w 7.6, Chi-Chi earthquake in central Taiwan to measure the near-field ground deformation. A total of 12 pairs of images were processed with Co-registration of Optically Sensed Images and Correlation to produce a horizontal displacement map of a 10 km × 10 km area near Tsaotun. Using pairs of images with different viewing angles, both the horizontal and vertical slip across the fault zone can be measured. Our measurements when resampled into lower resolution are consistent with lower resolution measurements of horizontal displacements obtained from SPOT images, as well as with vertical displacements obtained from repeated leveling measurements and field observations. Horizontal strain is strongly localized along the Chelungpu fault (CLPF) and along a secondary scarp that runs parallel to the CLPF about 2 km to the east, the Ailiao fold scarp (ALF). This pattern closely matches the surface ruptures mapped in the field. Horizontal strain across CLPF correlates remarkably well with the topographic features produced by long-term deformation. The cumulative horizontal shortening across the CLPF and ALF amounts to 4.9 ± 0.4 and 6.1 ± 0.6 m, respectively, and fault-parallel displacement is 3.4 ± 0.4 m. The pattern of surface strain is consistent with the interpretation of the ALF as a fold scarp formed over an active axial hinge zone. This study shows that, even in this compressional setting, most surface deformation is localized within narrow fault zones or active axial hinges.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)645-660
Number of pages16
JournalJournal of Geophysical Research: Solid Earth
Issue number1
Publication statusPublished - Jan 2014


  • Chi-Chi earthquake
  • COSI-Corr
  • fault bend
  • fold scarp
  • thrust fault
  • Tsaotun


Dive into the research topics of 'Coseismic thrusting and folding in the 1999 M<sub>w</sub> 7.6 Chi-Chi earthquake: A high-resolution approach by aerial photos taken from Tsaotun, central Taiwan'. Together they form a unique fingerprint.

Cite this