Comments on Seismicity and Crustal Structure of the Korean Peninsula

한반도의 지진활동과 지각구조

  • Lee, Kie-Hwa (School of Earth and Environmental Sciences, Seoul National University)
  • 이기화 (서울대학교 지구환경과학부)
  • Received : 2010.07.03
  • Accepted : 2010.08.20
  • Published : 2010.08.31

Abstract

Earthquakes in the Korean Peninsula occur along the faults formed and boundaries between major geological units ruptured due to violent tectonic activities during the Mesozoic. E-W and/or ENE-SSW compressive stress regime resulting from collisions between the Eurasian plate and neighbouring the Indian plate, the Pacific plate and the Philippine plate trigger Korean earthquakes of thrust faulting with predominant strike-slip components along the mostly NNE-SSW trending active faults. Seismicity of the Korean peninsula has been moderate to low during the past 20 centuries except for the period from the 15th to the 18th centuries of exceptionally high seismicity, showing the typical irregularity of intraplate seismicity. The structure of the Korean peninsula is rather homogeneous without the Conrad discontinuity sharply dividing the upper and lower crust. Lateral heterogeneities exist in the crust. The crust with an average thickness of about 33 km is thicker in the mountainous region than the plain due to the Airy-type isostatic equilibrium maintained in the peninsula. Crustal P-wave velocity with average of about 6.3 km/sec increases gradually from the near surface to the Moho. The upper mantle P-wave (Pn) velocity is about 7.8 km/sec.

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