Earthquake statistics changed by typhoon-driven erosion
Journal article, 2020

Tectonics and climate-driven surface processes govern the evolution of Earth’s surface topography. Topographic change in turn influences lithospheric deformation, but the elementary scale at which this feedback can be effective is unclear. Here we show that it operates in a single weather-driven erosion event. In 2009, typhoon Morakot delivered ~ 3 m of precipitation in southern Taiwan, causing exceptional landsliding and erosion. This event was followed by a step increase in the shallow (< 15 km depth) earthquake frequency lasting at least 2.5 years. Also, the scaling of earthquake magnitude and frequency underwent a sudden increase in the area where mass wasting was most intense. These observations suggest that the progressive removal of landslide debris by rivers from southern Taiwan has acted to increase the crustal stress rate to the extent that earthquake activity was demonstrably affected. Our study offers the first evidence of the impact of a single weather-driven erosion event on tectonics.


Philippe Steer

Geosciences Rennes

Louise Jeandet

Geosciences Rennes

Nadaya Cubas

Sorbonne University

Odin Marc

Géosciences Environnement Toulouse

Patrick Meunier

Ecole Normale Superieure (ENS)

Martine Simoes

Institut de Physique du Globe de Paris

Rodolphe Cattin

Géosciences Montpellier

J. Bruce H. Shyu

National Taiwan University

Maxime Mouyen

Chalmers, Space, Earth and Environment, Onsala Space Observatory

Wen-Tzong Liang

Academia Sinica

Thomas Theunissen

University of Bergen

Shou-Hao Chiang

National Central University

Niels Hovius

German Research Centre for Geosciences (GFZ)

Scientific Reports

2045-2322 (ISSN)

Vol. 10 1 10899

Subject Categories

Cell and Molecular Biology

Forest Science

Other Basic Medicine



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