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Preprints
https://doi.org/10.5194/se-2020-59
© Author(s) 2020. This work is distributed under
the Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 License.
https://doi.org/10.5194/se-2020-59
© Author(s) 2020. This work is distributed under
the Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 License.

  12 May 2020

12 May 2020

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A revised version of this preprint was accepted for the journal SE and is expected to appear here in due course.

A 2600-yr-long paleoseismic record for the Himalayan Main Frontal Thrust (Western Bhutan)

Romain Le Roux-Mallouf1, Matthieu Ferry2, Rodolphe Cattin2, Jean-François Ritz2, Dowchu Drukpa2,3, and Phuntsho Pelgay3 Romain Le Roux-Mallouf et al.
  • 1Geolithe, Research and Development Department, Rue des Becasses, 38920, Crolles
  • 2Géosciences Montpellier, CNRS, UMR5243, Université de Montpellier, Place E. Bataillon, 34095 Montpellier, France
  • 3Seismology and Geophysics Division, Department of Geology and Mines, Post Box 173, 9 Thimphu, Bhutan

Abstract. In spite of an increasing number of paleoseismic studies carried out over the last decade along the Himalayan arc, the chronology of historical and pre-historical earthquakes is still poorly constrained. In this paper, we present geomorphologic and paleoseismic studies conducted over a large river-cut exposure along the Main Fontal Thrust in southwestern Bhutan. The Piping site reveals a 30-m-high fault-propagation fold deforming late Holocene alluvial deposits. There, we carried out detailed paleoseismic investigations and built a chronological framework on the basis of 22 detrital charcoal samples submitted to radiocarbon dating. Our analysis reveals the occurrence of at least five large and great earthquakes between 485 ± 125 BC and AD 1714 with an average recurrence interval of 550 ± 211 yr. Co-seismic slip values for most events reach at least 13 m and suggest associated magnitudes are in the range of Mw 8.5–9. The cumulative deformation yields an average slip rate of 25.3 ± 4 mm/yr along the Main Frontal Thrust, over the last 2600 yr in agreement with geodetic and geomorphological results obtained nearby.

Romain Le Roux-Mallouf et al.

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Romain Le Roux-Mallouf et al.

Romain Le Roux-Mallouf et al.

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Latest update: 01 Dec 2020
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Short summary
The chronology of historical earthquakes (from historical documents and geological evidences) is still poorly constrained in western Himalaya. We carried out a field investigation in South Bhutan along the India/Bhutan border. Our analysis reveals that Bhutan has experienced at least five great earthquakes during the last 2600 years. Co-seismic slip values along the Main Himalayan Thrust for most events reach at least 13 m and suggest associated magnitudes are in the range of Mw 8.5–9.
The chronology of historical earthquakes (from historical documents and geological evidences) is...
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