The Yabrai range-front fault accommodates deformation within the middle Gobi Alashan block between the Tibetan Plateau and the Ordos block. As such, it provides the opportunity to examine the transition between contractional deformation associated with the growth of the Tibetan Plateau and extensional deformation across North China. Geomorphic mapping of the active fault trace and trench investigations reveal that the Yabrai range-front fault is composed of three segments of varying fault strike, but for which the sense of motion, scarp height, and slip history appear to be kinematically compatible along the fault. Displaced Holocene and late Pleistocene alluvial deposits indicate that the southwestern segment is characterized by oblique-normal displacement with a minor sinistral component, whereas the middle segment appears to exhibit nearly dip-slip normal displacement. In contrast, slip along the northeastern segment appears to be primarily sinistral strike-slip with a minor reverse component. Geomorphically fresh fault scarps are developed within late Pleistocene–Holocene alluvial fans and terraces along the southwestern and northeastern segments, whereas the middle segment of the fault defines the bedrock-alluvial contact along the range front. The 10Be exposure ages of displaced alluvial fans along the southwestern segment yield a throw rate of ∼0.1 mm/yr over late Pleistocene time. Lateral slip rates along the northeastern fault segment range between 0.23 ± 0.02 and 0.78 ± 0.12 mm/yr. Regionally, the orientation and sense of motion along the Yabrai range-front fault are consistent with NE-SW shortening, and we suggest that recent activity along this fault system reflects incipient deformation of the foreland at the northeastern margin of the Tibetan Plateau.
- Received 22 November 2015.
- Revision received 20 January 2016.
- Accepted 6 February 2016.
- © 2016 Geological Society of America