We investigated the 2016 Meinong earthquake (Mw 6.4) in southwestern Taiwan, which caused surface pop-up in an area of 10x15 km2 with maximum uplift of 12 cm, where lies an array of mud volcanoes and possible underlying mud diapir. We calculated 3D strain tensor in a 3D mesh with 5x5x2 km grids in the epicentral area induced by the Coulomb stress change due to coseismic fault slip. We obtained substantial contraction strain (10−5–10−6) that occurred in a lobe showing “squeezing” at the depth of 5–14 km below the surface pop-up area. Dilatation strain (10−5–10−6) occurred at shallow level (0–3 km) with a radial pattern around the surface pop-up area. Combining with local geology, which is composed of Mio-Pliocene ~5-km-thick mudstone in a fold-thrust belt, we interpret that the 2016 Meinong coseismic surface pop-up was closely related to mud diapirs/volcanoes, which were likely reactivated by sudden increase of fluid pore-pressure in the basal reservoir (at 5–6 km depth) and dilatation in the shallow level. We also explored the potential effects of the Coulomb stress transfer on nearby receiver faults – including three arrays of mud diapir, the regional decollement, a suspected backthrust and one thrust close to the pop-up area. Our results show that the Coulomb stress transfer a) favors NNE-trending mud diapirs in the coseismic pop-up area, with a combination of clamping stress changes at 5–6 km depth and unclamping stress changes at 0–4 km depth, and b) it does not favor triggered thrust slip on the regional thrusts.
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