Liquefaction structures induced by the M5.7 earthquake on May 28, 2018 in Songyuan, Jilin Province, NE China and research implication

Zhu Fu Shao* (Corresponding Author), Jian Hua Zhong, John Howell, Bing Hao, Xi Wu Luan, Ze Xuan Liu, Wei Min Ran, Yun Feng Zhang, Hong Qi Yuan, Jing Jing Liu, Liang Tian Ni, Guan Xian Song, Jin Lin Liu, Wen Xin Zhang, Bing Zhao

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

14 Citations (Scopus)
5 Downloads (Pure)


An earthquake of magnitude M5.7 occurred in Yamutu village, Songyuan City, Jilin Province, NE China (45°16′12″N/124°42′35″E) on May 28, 2018, with a focal depth of 13 km. The epicenter is located at the intersection of the Fuyu/Songyuan-Zhaodong Fault, Second Songhua River Fault and Fuyu North Fault which lies northwest of Tancheng-Lujiang Fault (Tan-Lu Fault). The earthquake-induced widespread liquefaction structures and ground surface fissures within 3 km from the epicenter, caused serious disasters to the local surroundings. The visible liquefied structures include sand volcanoes, liquefied sand mounds, sand dikes and sand sills. Sand volcanoes can be divided into sand volcano with a crater, sand volcano without a crater and water volcano (no sand). Other soft-sediment deformation structures (SSDS) induced by the earthquake include deformation lamination, load and flame structures, deformation folds, dish structures, convolute bedding and water-escape structures. The formation process of the sand volcanoes comprises three stages: (1) building up excess pore-fluid pressure in the liquefied layer, (2) cracking of the low-permeable overlying layer, and (3) mixture of sand-water venting out of the ground surface. During the upward movement, the liquefied sand is injected into the low-permeable layer to form sand veins, sand sills and various types of deformation structures. Vertical distribution of seismic liquefaction structure can be divided into four zones: the thoroughly liquefied zone, the lower liquefied zone with SSDS, the upper liquefied zone with SSDS, and the ground surface liquefied zone. The liquefaction occurred at a burial depth of 2–5 m, and the thickness of liquefied sand is 2 m. NE-SW (35°–215°) trending compressive stress is possibly the seismogenic trigger of the Songyuan M5.7 earthquake that caused the fault (Fuyu/Songyuan-Zhaodong Fault) to reactivate. The study of the Songyuan seismic liquefaction structures gives insight into the prediction of modern earthquakes and disaster-prone areas. Meanwhile it provides abundant basic material for studying earthquake-induced SSDS in both ancient and modern sediments. The research is obviously of great significance to reveal that the northern Tan-Lu Fault has entered a stage of active seismic activity since the twenty-first century.

Original languageEnglish
Article number3
Number of pages19
JournalJournal of Palaeogeography
Publication statusPublished - 4 Feb 2020

Bibliographical note

Many thanks to Yang Wang, Wei Chen and Dong-Hao Peng from Jilin Oilfield
for their help in the field investigation. We thank Dr. Lv Wang from Monash
University and Dr. Gail Maxwell from the University of Aberdeen for their
valuable advice on sedimentology, and we also thank Dr. Gui-Dong Ping and
Dr. Zhao-Han Xie for the discussion we had about the regional tectonic
stress field. We are grateful to Professor Zeng-Zhao Feng, editors and two
anonymous reviewers for their editorial work and many constructive comments and suggestions that greatly improved this manuscript.

This study is supported by the “Natural Science Foundation of Heilongjiang
Province (No. JJ2016ZR0573)”, “Youth Foundation of Northeast Petroleum
University (No. NEPUBS201503)”, “Northeast Petroleum University Scientific
Research Start-up Fund”, “Shandong Provincial Key Laboratory of Depositional Mineralization and Mineral Foundation (No. DMSMZO17009)”, and
“Natural Science Foundation of Shandong Province (No. ZR2016DB15)”.

Authors’ contributions
ZFS applied for the funding, performed the research, analyzed the data,
compiled a few figures and wrote the manuscript. JHZ designed the work,
took part in the field trip and interpreted the data. JH interpreted part of the
data and revised the manuscript. BH took part in the field trip, collected data
and compiled Fig. 5. XWL interpreted part of the data and revised the
manuscript. ZXL collected papers and completed some figures. WMR
collected some data and compiled Fig. 2. YFZ, HQY, and JLL interpreted
some of the data. LTN and GXS took part in fieldwork and collected data.
JJL, WXZ and BZ interpreted some data and compiled some figures. All
authors approved the final manuscript.

Availability of data and materials
All data generated or analyzed during this study are included in this
published article. Additional data related to this paper can be requested
from the corresponding author.


  • Earthquake
  • Liquefaction structure
  • Sand volcano
  • Soft-sediment deformation structures
  • Songyuan


Dive into the research topics of 'Liquefaction structures induced by the M5.7 earthquake on May 28, 2018 in Songyuan, Jilin Province, NE China and research implication'. Together they form a unique fingerprint.

Cite this