A simulation of upper crustal stresses for great and moderate thrust earthquakes of the Himalaya

Chander, R. ; Gahalaut, V. K. (1995) A simulation of upper crustal stresses for great and moderate thrust earthquakes of the Himalaya Proceedings of the Indian Academy of Sciences - Earth and Planetary Sciences, 104 (1). pp. 115-129. ISSN 0253-4126

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Official URL: http://www.ias.ac.in/j_archive/epsci/104/1/115-129...

Related URL: http://dx.doi.org/10.1007/BF02842278


We assume that great and moderate Himalayan earthquakes occur through reactivation of subhorizontal thrust faults by frictional failure under the action of stresses induced by Himalayan topography, isostasy related buoyancy forces, crustal overburden and plate tectonic causes. Estimates of stresses are based on two dimensional plane strain calculations using analytical formulae of elasticity theory and rock mechanics under suitable simplifying assumptions. Considerable attention is focussed on a point on the detachment at a depth of 17 km below mean sea level under the surface trace of the Main Central Thrust (MCT). According to recent views, great Himalayan earthquakes should nucleate in the detachment in the vicinity of such a point. Also many moderate earthquakes occur on the detachment similarly under the MCT. Vertical and horizontal normal stresses of 622 and 262 MPa and a corresponding shear stress of 26 MPa are estimated for this point due to topography, buoyancy and overburden. For fault friction coefficient varying between 0.3 to 1.0, estimates of plate tectonic stress required are in the range of 386 to 434 MPa, when the cumulative principal stresses are oriented favourably for reactivation of the detachment. Estimates of shear stress mobilized at the same point would be from 27 to 32 MPa for the identical range of fault friction coefficient. Our calculations suggest that presence of pore water in the fault zones is essential for reactivation. Pore pressure required is between 535 to 595 MPa for friction coefficient in the range of 0.3 to 1.0 and it is less than lithostatic stress of 603 MPa at the above point. For the specific nominal value of 0.65 for fault friction coefficient, the estimated values of plate tectonic stress, shear stress and pore pressure at the above point on the detachment are 410 MPa, 30 MPa and 580 MPa respectively. Similar estimates are obtained also for shallower points on the detachment up to the southern limit of the Outer Himalaya. Our estimates of the plate tectonic stress, shear stress and pore pressure for reactivation of upper crustal thrust faults compare favourably with those quoted in the literature.

Item Type:Article
Source:Copyright of this article belongs to Indian Academy of Sciences.
Keywords:Crustal Stresses; Earthquakes; Pore Pressure; Himalaya
ID Code:7680
Deposited On:25 Oct 2010 10:51
Last Modified:16 May 2016 17:49

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