Constant slip rate during the late Quaternary along the Sulu He segment of the Altyn Tagh Fault near Changma, Gansu, China



The question of whether millennial-scale geological slip rates are consistent with decade-scale geodetic slip rates is of great importance in evaluating the nature of continental deformation within the Tibetan Plateau. We determined the time-averaged slip rate of the Sulu He segment of the Altyn Tagh Fault, near Changma in Gansu Province, China, based on geomorphic analysis, remote sensing data, and cosmogenic 10Be surface-exposure age dating. Quaternary alluvial fan deposits in the study area (Qf1, Qf2, Qf3) are displaced by left-lateral movement along the Altyn Tagh Fault. Because of the large accumulated displacement of these fans, some of them have become disconnected from the fan apexes that are directly linked to the debris-source areas in the piedmont of the Qilian Shan to the south. The total minimum offsets are estimated to be about 429 ± 41 m for Qf1, about 130 ± 10 m for Qf2, and 32 ± 1 m for Qf3. The 10Be surface-exposure ages obtained for Qf1 and Qf2 are 100–112 ka and 31–43 ka, respectively. Accordingly, the slip rate since the period of Qf1 and Qf2 depositions is calculated to have been about 3.7 mm/yr.