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Monsoonal control on a delayed response of sedimentation to the 2008 Wenchuan earthquake.

Zhang, Fei and Jin, Zhangdong and West, A. Joshua and An, Zhisheng and Hilton, Robert G. and Wang, Jin and Li, Gen and Densmore, Alexander L. and Yu, Jimin and Qiang, Xiaoke and Sun, Youbin and Li, Liangbo and Gou, Longfei and Xu, Yang and Xu, Xinwen and Liu, Xingxing and Pan, Yanhui and You, Chen-Feng (2019) 'Monsoonal control on a delayed response of sedimentation to the 2008 Wenchuan earthquake.', Science advances., 5 (6). eaav7110.


Infrequent extreme events such as large earthquakes pose hazards and have lasting impacts on landscapes and biogeochemical cycles. Sediments provide valuable records of past events, but unambiguously identifying event deposits is challenging because of nonlinear sediment transport processes and poor age control. Here, we have been able to directly track the propagation of a tectonic signal into stratigraphy using reservoir sediments from before and after the 2008 Wenchuan earthquake. Cycles in magnetic susceptibility allow us to define a precise annual chronology and identify the timing and nature of the earthquake’s sedimentary record. The grain size and Rb/Sr ratio of the sediments responded immediately to the earthquake. However, the changes were muted until 2 years after the event, when intense monsoonal runoff drove accumulation of coarser grains and lower Rb/Sr sediments. The delayed response provides insight into how climatic and tectonic agents interact to control sediment transfer and depositional processes.

Item Type:Article
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Available under License - Creative Commons Attribution Non-commercial.
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Publisher statement:Copyright © 2019 The Authors, some rights reserved; exclusive licensee American Association for the Advancement of Science. No claim to original U.S. Government Works. Distributed under a Creative Commons Attribution NonCommercial License 4.0 (CC BY-NC).
Date accepted:09 May 2019
Date deposited:27 June 2019
Date of first online publication:05 June 2019
Date first made open access:27 June 2019

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