One of the most devastating earthquakes in the last 100 years is the Ms 7.8 Tangshan intraplate earthquake occurred on 28 July 1976, caused more than 240,000 deaths, and razed the city of Tangshan. To investigate the possible dynamic mechanisms of the Tangshan earthquake, we conducted high-resolution seismic imaging with an extensive dataset of arrival times of P and S waves from locally recorded microearthquakes at 56 stations. Detailed 3D images of VP, VS, and VP=VS show a sharp velocity contrast to about 25 km depth coinciding with a high rate of seismicity. This contrast likely corresponds to the high-angle strike-slip Tangshan fault that ruptured during the earthquake. The rupture zone is roughly defined by high-VP, high-VS, and low-VP=VS anomalies that suggest that the media surrounding the fault is strong enough to accumulate the strain energy necessary for the coseismic slip related to the Tangshan earthquake. Migration of magma from the mantle into the lower crust could be potentially a key factor in the dynamics of large intraplate earthquakes within the North China craton.
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The authors appreciate the helpful comments by the editor and reviewers. The authors thank Yuan Gao, Rizheng He, and Shunping Pei for their helpful comments. This study is funded by NSFC41674065, 2014CB845903, and XDB06030203, and by Youth Innovation Promotion Association of Chinese Academy of Sciences (CAS).
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