The Magnetic Fabric of Gouge Mimics the Coseismic Focal Mechanism of the Chi-Chi Earthquake (1999, Mw 7.6)

Yu Min Chou*, Charles Aubourg*, En Chao Yeh, Sheng Rong Song, Yi Kai Lin, Fabien Humbert, Xiaodong Jiang, Teh Quei Lee

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

3 Citations (Scopus)


We present a magnetic fabric investigation of small oriented rock fragments from gouges and wall rocks from the Chelungpu fault (Taiwan), where the Chi-Chi earthquake occurred (Mw 7.6, 1999). Samples are obtained from surface outcrops and at a depth of ~1 km, including the 3-mm-thick Chi-Chi principal slip zone. Wall rocks at depth show magnetic foliation roughly parallel to bedding, whereas they are oblique at the surface. Within the gouges, the mean shape of magnetic ellipsoid is oblate, and the degree of anisotropy is up to 12%. The magnetic foliation diverges of ~40° from the fault plane, compatible with a simple shear westward. The magnetic lineation is oblique, resulting probably from coseismic and interseismic records. The reconstructed focal mechanism from the magnetic fabric closely matches the focal mechanism solutions for the Chi-Chi earthquake. Our work demonstrates that magnetic fabric of gouge fragments can bring valuable kinematic information on modern earthquakes.

Original languageEnglish
Article numbere2020GL090111
JournalGeophysical Research Letters
Issue number22
Publication statusPublished - 2020 Nov 28


  • Chelungpu fault
  • Chi-Chi earthquake
  • coseismic
  • focal mechanism
  • gouge
  • magnetic fabric

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Geophysics
  • General Earth and Planetary Sciences


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