Professor Jon Lewis, Department of Geoscience, and his collaborators at the University of Connecticut have published the results of a National Science Foundation-funded study in the Hsuehshan Range of western Taiwan in Lithosphere, a journal of the Geological Society of America.
Lewis and alumna Ellen Lamont ’12 helped the research team conduct fieldwork and presented initial findings at several regional, national, and international meetings.
Taiwan is the result of a geologically young and continuing collision between the Luzon volcanic arc and the continental shelf of China. Among the enigmatic features of the collision are the curvature and abrupt southern termination of the Hsuehshan Range.
This research suggests a simple mechanism to account for these features: the collision has propagated over a relict fracture zone in the lower plate. The fracture zone was inherited from the opening of the South China Sea and its geometry provides a simple explanation for the presence of late-stage faults that are oblique to the trend of the mountain range and to mapped fault zones.
More detail may be found in the full abstract.