Relationship Between Earthquake b-Values and Crustal Stresses in a Young Orogenic Belt

Yih Min Wu*, Sean Kuanhsiang Chen, Ting Chung Huang, Hsin Hua Huang, Wei-An Chao, Ivan Koulakov

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

7 Scopus citations


It has been reported that earthquake b-values decrease linearly with the differential stresses in the continental crust and subduction zones. Here we report a regression-derived relation between earthquake b-values and crustal stresses using the Anderson fault parameter (Aϕ) in a young orogenic belt of Taiwan. This regression relation is well established by using a large and complete earthquake catalog for Taiwan. The data set consists of b-values and Aϕ values derived from relocated earthquakes and focal mechanisms, respectively. Our results show that b-values decrease linearly with the Aϕ values at crustal depths with a high correlation coefficient of −0.9. Thus, b-values could be used as stress indicators for orogenic belts. However, the state of stress is relatively well correlated with the surface geological setting with respect to earthquake b-values in Taiwan. Temporal variations in the b-value could constitute one of the main reasons for the spatial heterogeneity of b-values. We therefore suggest that b-values could be highly sensitive to temporal stress variations.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)1832-1837
Number of pages6
JournalGeophysical Research Letters
Issue number4
StatePublished - 28 Feb 2018


  • b-values
  • crustal stress
  • earthquake
  • orogenic belt

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