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Taiwan is tectonically situated in an oblique collision zone between the Philippine Sea Plate (PSP) and the Eurasian Plate (EP). Continuous observations of gamma rays at the Yangmingshan (YMSG) station and soil radon at the Tapingti (TPT) station were recorded in the volcanic area and around a major fault zone, respectively, in Taiwan for seismic studies. A number of anomalous high gamma ray counts and radon concentrations at certain times were found. It is noted that significant increases of soil radon concentrations were observed and followed by the increase in gamma rays a few days to a few weeks before earthquakes that occurred in northeastern Taiwan. Earthquakes such as these are usually related to the subduction of the PSP beneath the EP to the north along the subduction zone in northern Taiwan (e.g., ML = 6 4, April 20, 2015). It is suggested that the preseismic activity may be associated with slow geodynamic processes at the subduction interface, leading to the PSP movement triggering radon enhancements at the TPT station. Furthermore, the further movement of the PSP might be blocked by the EP, with the accumulated elastic stress resulting in the increase of gamma rays due to the increase in porosity and fractures below the YMSG station. The continuous monitoring of the multiple parameters can improve the understanding of the relationship between the observed radon and gamma ray variations and the regional crustal stress/strain in north and northeastern Taiwan.


This article was originally published in Geofluids, volume 2019, in 2019. DOI: 10.1155/2019/4734513

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