The island of Taiwan is located on the convergent boundary between the Philippine Sea plate and the Chinese continental margin. It offers very active mountain building and collapsing processes well illustrated by the rugged topography, rapid uplift and denudation, young tectonic landforms, active faulting and numerous earthquakes. In this paper, using simple models, we have estimated vertical movements and associated absolute gravity variations which can be expected along a profile crossing the southern part of the island and probably suffering the highest rates of rising. The two different tectonic styles proposed for the island, thin-skinned and thick-skinned, were taken into account. Horizontal and vertical movements were modeled by an elastic deformation code. Gravity variations due to these deformations are then modeled at a second step. They are dominated by plate and free-air effects, i.e. elevation of the topography, with several μGal yr-1. By comparison, gravity changes generated by mass transfers are weak: maximum 0.1 μGal yr-1 with the thin-skinned tectonic and 0.3 μGal yr-1 with the thick-skinned tectonic. Though elastic rheology has limitations, this modeling offers interesting results on what gravity signal can be expected from the AGTO project (Absolute Gravity in the Taiwanese Orogen), which proposes to study the dynamic of these mountain ranges using absolute gravimetry (AG) and also including relative gravimetry (RG) and GPS measurements.
- Mass transfers