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Geological and Structural Control on Localized Ground Effects within the Heunghae Basin during the Pohang Earthquake (MW 5.4, 15th November 2017), South Korea

1
Active Fault and Earthquake Hazard Mitigation Research Center, Pukyong National University, Busan 48513, Korea
2
Geological Structure and Geohazard Research Laboratory, Department of Earth and Environmental Sciences, Pukyong National University, Busan 48513, Korea
*
Author to whom correspondence should be addressed.
Geosciences 2019, 9(4), 173; https://doi.org/10.3390/geosciences9040173
Received: 29 January 2019 / Revised: 4 April 2019 / Accepted: 8 April 2019 / Published: 16 April 2019
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Abstract

On 15th November 2017, the Pohang earthquake (Mw 5.4) had strong ground shaking that caused severe liquefaction and lateral spreading across the Heunghae Basin, around Pohang city, South Korea. Such liquefaction is a rare phenomenon during small or moderate earthquakes (MW < 5.5). There are only a few examples around the globe, but more so in the Korean Peninsula. In this paper, we present the results of a systematic survey of the secondary ground effects—i.e., soil liquefaction and ground cracks—developed during the earthquake. Most of the liquefaction sites are clustered near the epicenter and close to the Heunghae fault. Based on the geology, tectonic setting, distribution, and clustering of the sand boils along the southern part of the Heunghae Basin, we propose a geological model, suggesting that the Heunghae fault may have acted as a barrier to the propagation of seismic waves. Other factors like the mountain basin effect and/or amplification of seismic waves by a blind thrust fault could play an important role. Liquefaction phenomenon associated with the 2017 Pohang earthquake emphasizes that there is an urgent need of liquefaction potential mapping for the Pohang city and other areas with a similar geological setting. In areas underlain by extensive unconsolidated basin fill sediments—where the records of past earthquakes are exiguous or indistinct and there is poor implementation of building codes—future earthquakes of similar or larger magnitude as the Pohang earthquake are likely to occur again. Therefore, this represents a hazard that may cause significant societal and economic threats in the future. View Full-Text
Keywords: Pohang earthquake; South Korea; ground effects; liquefaction; geological control; fault barrier; seismic hazard Pohang earthquake; South Korea; ground effects; liquefaction; geological control; fault barrier; seismic hazard
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Naik, S.P.; Kim, Y.-S.; Kim, T.; Su-Ho, J. Geological and Structural Control on Localized Ground Effects within the Heunghae Basin during the Pohang Earthquake (MW 5.4, 15th November 2017), South Korea. Geosciences 2019, 9, 173.

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