According to the stress state and force source character, the recent tectonic stress field of China is preliminary divided into four classes. Among them, there are two first order districts, four second order districts, five third order districts and twenty-six fourth order districts. By analyzing those tectonic stress districts and strong earthquakes, the close relation between them is mainly summarized as follows:

  1. The boundary of stress districts especially the first or second order boundary controlled by the interaction of tectonic plates has strong earthquakes very easily and frequently.

  2. Stress districts with stress direction, regime type and stress value transformation are concentrative zones of strong earthquakes.

  3. Stress districts with local stress differentiation but in the homogeneous stress background are the places where strong earthquakes are relatively concentrated.

On the basis of these research work, we discuss the present dynamic environment in China from force source and plates movement.


The research of lithosphere stress is a very important branch of earth science. In the late 1980s, international lithosphere plan leaded by Mary Lou Zoback (1992) began the plan of compling the world stress map and this project attracted many scientists from different countries. They collected various kinds of stress data, analyzed related results of recent tectonic stress, established the database of global tectonic stress and compiled the global stress map. It shows that the large scale force source of tectonic movement exists on the Earth. The other important result is to recognize that there are first order and second order stress fields inside the plate and the first order stress field is related to plate movement but second order stress field is only a regional stress field influenced by horizontal difference density in the lithosphere or local thermal activity.

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