To characterize the fault-related rocks within the Chelungpu fault, we performed X-ray computed tomography (CT) image analyses and microstructural observations of Hole B core samples from the Taiwan Chelungpu-fault Drilling Project. We identified the slip zone associated with the 1999 Chi-Chi earthquake, within the black gouge zone in the shallowest major fault zone, by comparison with previous reports. The slip zone was characterized by low CT number, cataclastic (or ultracataclastic) texture, and high possibility to have experienced a mechanically fluidized state. Taking these characteristics and previous reports of frictional heating in the slip zone into consideration, we suggested that thermal pressurization was the most likely dynamic weakening mechanism during the earthquake.
ASJC Scopus subject areas