Preprints
https://doi.org/10.5194/egusphere-2023-2563
https://doi.org/10.5194/egusphere-2023-2563
28 Nov 2023
 | 28 Nov 2023

Geomorphic expressions of active rifting reflect the role of structural inheritance: A new model for the evolution of the Shanxi Rift, North China

Malte Froemchen, Ken J. W. McCaffrey, Mark B. Allen, Jeroen van Hunen, Thomas B. Phillips, and Yueren Xu

Abstract. Many rifts are influenced by pre-existing structures and heterogeneities during their evolution, a process known as structural inheritance. During rift evolution, these heterogeneities may aid rift nucleation, growth, and segmentation of faults, encourage linkage of various segments, or even inhibit the formation of faults. Understanding how structural inheritance influences early rift evolution could be vital for evaluating seismic risk in tectonically active areas. The Shanxi Rift in the North of China is an active rift system believed to have formed along the trend of the Proterozoic Trans North China Orogen, however, the influence of these pre-existing structures on the present-day rift architecture is poorly known. Here we use tectonic geomorphological techniques, e.g., hypsometric integral (HI), channel steepness (ksn) and local relief to identify the impact of structural inheritance on the formation of the Shanxi Rift. Of these measures, we found that HI was less sensitive to lithology and more valuable in evaluating the tectonic signal. Based on their geomorphic expression we characterise the activity levels of active faults and found that activity is concentrated in two rift interaction zones (RIZ) formed between the sub-basins. Furthermore, we found that many faults formed parallel to inherited structures. Based on these observations we propose a new model for the evolution of the Shanxi Rift where inherited structures play an important part in the initial segmentation of the rift which in turn controls the development of the RIZ structures. Geomorphic indices might prove useful in the study of the evolution of structural inheritance in other active rifts, such as the East African Rift.

Publisher's note: Copernicus Publications remains neutral with regard to jurisdictional claims made in the text, published maps, institutional affiliations, or any other geographical representation in this preprint. The responsibility to include appropriate place names lies with the authors.
Malte Froemchen, Ken J. W. McCaffrey, Mark B. Allen, Jeroen van Hunen, Thomas B. Phillips, and Yueren Xu

Status: final response (author comments only)

Comment types: AC – author | RC – referee | CC – community | EC – editor | CEC – chief editor | : Report abuse
  • RC1: 'Comment on egusphere-2023-2563', Anonymous Referee #1, 13 Dec 2023
    • AC1: 'Reply on RC1', Malte Froemchen, 29 Apr 2024
  • RC2: 'Comment on egusphere-2023-2563', Anindita Samsu, 05 Jan 2024
    • AC2: 'Reply on RC2', Malte Froemchen, 29 Apr 2024
  • RC3: 'Comment on egusphere-2023-2563', Folarin Kolawole, 13 Feb 2024
    • AC3: 'Reply on RC3', Malte Froemchen, 29 Apr 2024
Malte Froemchen, Ken J. W. McCaffrey, Mark B. Allen, Jeroen van Hunen, Thomas B. Phillips, and Yueren Xu

Data sets

Geomorphic expressions of active rifting reflect the role of structural inheritance: A new model for the evolution of the Shanxi Rift, North China Malte Froemchen, Ken McCaffrey, Mark Allen, Jeroen van Hunen, Tom Phillips, Xu Yueren https://doi.org/10.5281/zenodo.10058449

Model code and software

R_Hypsometry Malte Froemchen, Ken McCaffrey, Mark Allen, Jeroen van Hunen, Tom Phillips, Xu Yueren https://github.com/MFroemchen/R_Hypsometry

Malte Froemchen, Ken J. W. McCaffrey, Mark B. Allen, Jeroen van Hunen, Thomas B. Phillips, and Yueren Xu

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Short summary
The Shanxi Rift is a young active rift in North China that formed superimposed on a Proterozoic orogen. The impact of these structures on the active rift faults is poorly constrained. Here we quantify the landscape response to active faulting and compare these to published maps of inherited structures. We find that inherited structures played an important role in the segmentation of the Shanxi Rift and in the development of Rift Interaction Zones, the most active regions of the Shanxi Rift.