Publications

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2017
Sahakian, V, Bormann J, Driscoll N, Harding A, Kent G, Wesnousky S.  2017.  Seismic constraints on the architecture of the Newport-Inglewood/Rose Canyon fault: Implications for the length and magnitude of future earthquake ruptures. Journal of Geophysical Research-Solid Earth. 122:2085-2105.   10.1002/2016jb013467   AbstractWebsite

The Newport-Inglewood/Rose Canyon (NIRC) fault zone is an active strike-slip fault system within the Pacific-North American plate boundary in Southern California, located in close proximity to populated regions of San Diego, Orange, and Los Angeles counties. Prior to this study, the NIRC fault zone's continuity and geometry were not well constrained. Nested marine seismic reflection data with different vertical resolutions are employed to characterize the offshore fault architecture. Four main fault strands are identified offshore, separated by three main stepovers along strike, all of which are 2km or less in width. Empirical studies of historical ruptures worldwide show that earthquakes have ruptured through stepovers with this offset. Models of Coulomb stress change along the fault zone are presented to examine the potential extent of future earthquake ruptures on the fault zone, which appear to be dependent on the location of rupture initiation and fault geometry at the stepovers. These modeling results show that the southernmost stepover between the La Jolla and Torrey Pines fault strands may act as an inhibitor to throughgoing rupture due to the stepover width and change in fault geometry across the stepover; however, these results still suggest that rupture along the entire fault zone is possible.

2014
Blackman, DK, Slagle A, Guerin G, Harding A.  2014.  Geophysical signatures of past and present hydration within a young oceanic core complex. Geophysical Research Letters. 41:1179-1186.   10.1002/2013gl058111   AbstractWebsite

Borehole logging at the Atlantis Massif oceanic core complex provides new information on the relationship between the physical properties and the lithospheric hydration of a slow-spread intrusive crustal section. Integrated Ocean Drilling Program Hole U1309D penetrates 1.4km into the footwall to an exposed detachment fault on the 1.2Ma flank of the mid-Atlantic Ridge, 30 degrees N. Downhole variations in seismic velocity and resistivity show a strong correspondence to the degree of alteration, a recorder of past seawater circulation. Average velocity and resistivity are lower, and alteration is more pervasive above a fault around 750m. Deeper, these properties have higher values except in heavily altered ultramafic zones that are several tens of meters thick. Present circulation inferred from temperature mimics this pattern: advective cooling persists above 750m, but below, conductive cooling dominates except for small excursions within the ultramafic zones. These alteration-related physical property signatures are probably a characteristic of gabbroic cores at oceanic core complexes. Key Points Borehole T indicates shallow present circulation, conductive regime > 750 mbsf Narrow fault zones have seismic, T, resistivity signal indicating localized flow Hydration of gabbroic oceanic core complexes is limited below fault damage zone

2009
Brothers, DS, Driscoll NW, Kent GM, Harding AJ, Babcock JM, Baskin RL.  2009.  Tectonic evolution of the Salton Sea inferred from seismic reflection data. Nature Geoscience. 2:581-584.   10.1038/ngeo590   AbstractWebsite

Oblique extension across strike-slip faults causes subsidence and leads to the formation of pull-apart basins such as the Salton Sea in southern California. The formation of these basins has generally been studied using laboratory experiments or numerical models(1-4). Here we combine seismic reflection data and geological observations from the Salton Sea to understand the evolution of this nascent pull-apart basin. Our data reveal the presence of a northeast-trending hinge zone that separates the sea into northern and southern sub-basins. Differential subsidence (>10 mm yr(-1)) in the southern sub-basin suggests the existence of northwest-dipping basin-bounding faults near the southern shoreline, which may control the spatial distribution of young volcanism. Rotated and truncated strata north of the hinge zone suggest that the onset of extension associated with this pull-apart basin began after similar to 0.5 million years ago. We suggest that slip is partitioned spatially and temporally into vertical and horizontal domains in the Salton Sea. In contrast to previous models based on historical seismicity patterns(5), the rapid subsidence and fault architecture that we document in the southern part of the sea are consistent with experimental models for pull-apart basins(1).

1998
Babcock, JM, Harding AJ, Kent GM, Orcutt JA.  1998.  An examination of along-axis variation of magma chamber width and crustal structure on the East Pacific Rise between 13 degrees 30 ' N and 12 degrees 20 ' N. Journal of Geophysical Research-Solid Earth. 103:30451-30467.   10.1029/98jb01979   AbstractWebsite

We investigate the along-axis variations of magma chamber width and crustal structure along the East Pacific Rise (EPR) from 13 degrees 30'N to 12 degrees 20'N through reprocessed common depth point (CDP) reflection profiles. The magma lens is, predominantly, a continuous feature in the study area with an average width of similar to 500 m as determined from migrated cross-axis CDP profiles. This value is similar to widths estimated elsewhere along the EPR, suggesting that the axial magma chamber (AMC) width is not spreading rate dependent once the threshold for a steady state magma chamber is reached. The axial morphology of the 13 degrees N area is generally not a good predictor of magma lens width or continuity. A fairly continuous melt lens is imaged where the triangular axial topography might suggest waning magma supply. In fact, between 13 degrees 05'N and 13 degrees 01'N a shallow melt lens has been imaged which may be indicative of recent or impending eruptive activity. This shoaling is similar to that observed near the 17 degrees 26'S region of the EPR where the rise axis summit is domed and highly inflated. Generally, the thickness of seismic layer 2A beneath the ridge crest is uniform and comparable to that estimated for 9 degrees N, 14 degrees S, and 17 degrees S on the EPR, suggesting that the axial extrusive layer is invariant along fast spreading ridges. Uniformity of layer 2A thickness along-axis implies that variations in magma chamber depth are directly attributed to changes in thickness of the sheeted dike complex (seismic layer 2B). Contrary to expectations of decreasing melt sill depth with increasing spreading rate, the average thickness of seismic layer 2B is slightly less (similar to 165 m) at 13 degrees N than at the faster spreading, more robust 9 degrees N area. Finally, geochemical/petrologic boundaries, which may delineate separate melt supply regions, occurring at the 13 degrees 20'N and 12 degrees 46'N devals (deviation in axial linearity) are observed to coincide with subtle changes in AMC and layer 2A reflection characteristics.

1993
Harding, AJ, Kent GM, Orcutt JA.  1993.  A Multichannel Seismic Investigation of Upper Crustal Structure at 9-Degrees-N on the East Pacific Rise - Implications for Crustal Accretion. Journal of Geophysical Research-Solid Earth. 98:13925-13944.   10.1029/93jb00886   AbstractWebsite

Reprocessed multichannel seismic profiles from the 9-degrees-N segment of the East Pacific Rise reveal prominent shallow subbasement events. These events are identified as wide-angle reflections from the base of seismic layer 2A, based upon modeling of expanding spread profile data and velocity functions. The layer 2A reflections typically increase from 0.15 s after the seafloor reflection at the rise axis to 0.3-0.45 s within 1-2 km of the axis, corresponding to an increase in layer thickness of 200-600 m. No further systematic increase in layer thickness is observed, although lateral variability of the order of a few hundred meters in thickness is observed at greater offsets from the rise axis. However, the intermittent character of the imaged layer 2A reflection is attributed to focusing and defocusing of energy by the seafloor bathymetry rather than necessarily to intrinsic lateral variability at the base of the layer. The base of layer 2A is interpreted as corresponding to the transition between the extrusive section, pillow basalts and sheet flows, and a sheeted dike complex. The rapid thickening of the layer near the rise axis is attributed to successive lava flows burying the initially shallow top of the sheeted dike complex as the layer passes through the neovolcanic zone. Lateral variability of layer 2A can significantly affect the imaging of the underlying axial magma chambers as average velocities within layer 2A are approximately half that of layer 2B. For an along-axis profile, apparent along-axis variability in the depth of the axial magnma chamber is traced to variability in the thickness of layer 2A caused by wandering of the profile relative to axis. Within the resolution of the data, the time delay of the magma chamber reflection relative to the base of layer 2A is constant.