Seismology Across the Northeastern Edge of the Tibetan Plateau



On 12 May, a great earthquake (Ms=8.0) on the Longmenshan thrust fault rumbled through Chinas Sichuan province, killing more than 69,000 people and injuring 374,000. The Longmenshan thrust is part of the eastern border of the Tibetan Plateau, but it is not the plateaus only restless margin. An even larger earthquake (Ms=8.1) on the Kunlun fault shook northeastern Tibet in 2001, fortunately in a sparsely populated area. These massive quakes underscore the importance of understanding the tectonic response of Asia to collision by India.

The International Deep Profiling of Tibet and the Himalaya (INDEPTH) program explores the dynamics of the India-Asia collision. Though many past geophysical studies have focused on the Himalayas and the southern Tibetan Plateau, the INDEPTH IV project examines the deep structure of the northeastern margin of the Tibetan Plateau.