Seismic anisotropy in the upper crust around the north segment of Xiaojiang faults in the SE margin of Tibetan Plateau

Main Article Content

Peng Wu
Yuan Gao
Lisheng Xu


The Xiaojiang faults located in the SE margin of the Tibetan Plateau is a fault system of left-lateral strike-slip, striking NS, between the 2nd-order Sichuan-Yunnan block and the 1st-order South China block. The Xiaojiang faults and the surrounding areas are characterized by strong tectonic movements and intense seismic activities. Using seismic data from January 2013 to November 2020 recorded at the stations of the temporary QiaoJia seismic Array (QJ Array), deployed by the Institute of Geophysics, China Earthquake Administration, this study investigates the upper crustal anisotropy by the shear-wave splitting analysis on small local earthquakes, discusses the deformation patterns in the upper crust in the north segment of the Xiaojiang faults, evaluates the stress distribution in the study area, and analyzes its relationship with the regional tectonic structure. Adopting the data processing technique of shear-wave splitting, a total of 875 effective records were obtained at 50 stations. The mean direction of polarizations of fast shear-wave (PFS) is 162° ± 44° in the study areaand the mean normalized time-delay is 4.96 ± 2.38 ms/km. Based on the spatial distribution of the PFS and the regional geologic structure, the study area is divided into two zones: the zone N and the zone S. The PFS in the zone N is scattered, but the dominant PFS direction is in NNW, which is consistent with the direction of the regional maximum principal compressive stress. In the zone N, there are a few smaller local areas (i.e., subzones A, B, C, and D) in which the orientations of the PFS are quite different from the surrounding area. In the zone S, the dominant directions at most stations are in nearly NS, consistent with the strike of the Xiaojiang fault. It reveals the detailed spatial distribution of seismic anisotropy in the upper crust, as well as in situ principal compressive stress, indicating the influence of the regional stress, the complex tectonic environment, and maybe also the impact of the South China block. It also reveals that there also might be an upper-crust scale of tectonic line at near 26°20′N under Xiaojiang faults, which coincides with the north-south tectonic boundary in the lithospheric anisotropy.


Article Details

How to Cite
Wu, P., Gao, Y. and Xu, L. (2023) “Seismic anisotropy in the upper crust around the north segment of Xiaojiang faults in the SE margin of Tibetan Plateau”, Annals of Geophysics, 66(2), p. SE210. doi: 10.4401/ag-8852.
Seismic anisotropy and shear wave splitting: Achievements and perspectives