Publications

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Book Chapter
Agnew, D.  1987.  The continuous measurement of crustal deformation. Methods of experimental physics 24, Part B, Geophysics. Field measurements. ( Sammis CG, Henyey TL, Celotta R, Eds.).:409-439., London; New-York: Academic press ; Abstract
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Agnew, DC.  2007.  Earth Tides. Treatise on Geophysics and Geodesy. ( Herring TA, Ed.).:163-195., New York: Elsevier Abstract
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Journal Article
Donner, S, Lin CJ, Hadziioannou C, Gebauer A, Vernon F, Agnew DC, Igel H, Schreiber U, Wassermann J.  2017.  Comparing direct observation of strain, rotation, and displacement with array estimates at Pinon Flat Observatory, California. Seismological Research Letters. 88:1107-1116.   10.1785/0220160216   AbstractWebsite

The unique instrument setting at the Pinon Flat Observatory in California is used to simultaneously measure 10 out of the 12 components, completely describing the seismic-wave field. We compare the direct measurements of rotation and strain for the 13 September 2015 M-w 6.7 Gulf of California earthquake with array-derived observations using this configuration for the first time. In general, we find a very good fit between the observations of the two measurements with cross-correlation coefficients up to 0.99. These promising results indicate that the direct and array-derived measurements of rotation and strain are consistent. For the array-based measurement, we derived a relation to estimate the frequency range within which the array-derived observations provide reliable results. This relation depends on the phase velocity of the study area and the calibration error, as well as on the size of the array.

Wyatt, F, Bilham R, Beavan J, Sylvester AG, Owen T, Harvey A, Macdonald C, Jackson DD, Agnew DC.  1984.  Comparing Tiltmeters for Crustal Deformation Measurement - A Preliminary Report. Geophysical Research Letters. 11:963-966.   10.1029/GL011i010p00963   AbstractWebsite

A collection of high-precision tiltmeters is being operated at Piñon Flat Observatory, southern California, both to compare instruments and to measure tectonic deformation. We report on 1.2 years of data from four of these: two Michelson-Gale long fluid tiltmeters, one long center-pressure tiltmeter, and a shallow borehole tiltmeter. The three long-base instruments are all located on the same baseline, with a precise leveling line running between their end-monuments. At nontidal frequencies, only the two Michelson-Gale instruments show some coherence (γ² = .3 for periods of 2 to 4 days), while the center-pressure instrument is correlated with air temperature at periods from a few days to a few weeks. The most stable tilt record shows a secular rate of 0.28 µrad/a, which may be real. Over much longer times, leveling to specially stabilized benchmarks should confirm this. Comparing instruments has identified more and less successful measurement techniques; it appears that low-noise data will most probably be produced only by relatively complex and expensive instruments, though even for these, the operating costs over any reasonable lifetime will exceed the capital cost. Even the best existing sensors must be improved to measure continuous tectonic motions.

Agnew, DC, Hodgkinson K.  2007.  Designing compact causal digital filters for low-frequency strainmeter data. Bulletin of the Seismological Society of America. 97:91-99.   10.1785/0120060088   AbstractWebsite

For the strainmeter component of the Plate Boundary Observatory, filters are needed to produce low-frequency series (5-minute samples) from the higher-frequency (1 Hz) data generated by the instruments. We present design methods for finding filters that are efficient, causal, and compact. We use standard methods for generating symmetric finite impulse response filters, followed by root finding, selection of roots, and reconstruction of the weights, using procedures that make these processes numerically stable. The final filters show appropriate performance even in the presence of large teleseismic signals, but introduce unavoidable artifacts for strain data from large local earthquakes.

Bock, Y, Agnew DC, Fang P, Genrich JF, Hager BH, Herring TA, Hudnut KW, King RW, Larsen S, Minster JB, Stark K, Wdowinski S, Wyatt FK.  1993.  Detection of Crustal Deformation from the Landers Earthquake Sequence Using Continuous Geodetic Measurements. Nature. 361:337-340.   10.1038/361337a0   AbstractWebsite

THE measurement of crustal motions in tectonically active regions is being performed increasingly by the satellite-based Global Positioning System (GPS)1,2, which offers considerable advantages over conventional geodetic techniques3,4. Continuously operating GPS arrays with ground-based receivers spaced tens of kilometres apart have been established in central Japan5,6 and southern California to monitor the spatial and temporal details of crustal deformation. Here we report the first measurements for a major earthquake by a continuously operating GPS network, the Permanent GPS Geodetic Array (PGGA)7-9 in southern California. The Landers (magnitude M(w) of 7.3) and Big Bear (M(w) 6.2) earthquakes of 28 June 1992 were monitored by daily observations. Ten weeks of measurements, centred on the earthquake events, indicate significant coseismic motion at all PGGA sites, significant post-seismic motion at one site for two weeks after the earthquakes, and no significant preseismic motion. These measurements demonstrate the potential of GPS monitoring for precise detection of precursory and aftershock seismic deformation in the near and far field.

Owen, S, Anderson G, Agnew DC, Johnson H, Hurst K, Reilinger R, Shen ZK, Svarc J, Baker T.  2002.  Early postseismic deformation from the 16 October 1999 M-w 7.1 Hector Mine, California, earthquake as measured by survey-mode GPS. Bulletin of the Seismological Society of America. 92:1423-1432.   10.1785/0120000930   AbstractWebsite

The 16 October 1999 (M-w 7.1) Hector Mine earthquake was the largest earthquake in California since the 1992 (M-w 7.3) Landers event. The Hector Mine earthquake occurred in the eastern Mojave Desert, where the density of permanent Global Positioning System (GPS) stations is relatively low. Since the earthquake, groups from the United States Geological Survey, University of Southern California, University of California, Los Angeles, University of California, San Diego, and Massachusetts Institute of Technology have made postseismic survey-mode observations to increase the spatial coverage of deformation measurements. A total of 55 sites were surveyed, with markers from a few meters to 100 km from the surface rupture. We present velocity estimates for the 32 sites that had enough repeated observations between 17 October 1999 and 26 March 2000 to provide reliable results; these survey-mode data complement the temporal and spatial coverage provided by newly installed Southern California Integrated Geodetic Network permanent GPS stations and future Interferometric Synthetic Aperture Radar postseismic results. We then use the postseismic velocity estimates to compute a simple afterslip model. Results of inversions show that the observed velocities are consistent with deep afterslip occuring underneath the coseismic rupture area.

Johnson, HO, Agnew DC, Hudnut K.  1994.  Extremal Bounds on Earthquake Movement from Geodetic Data - Application to the Landers Earthquake. Bulletin of the Seismological Society of America. 84:660-667. AbstractWebsite

We present a technique to place quantifiable bounds on the moment of an earthquake from geodetic data, assuming known fault geometry. Application of this technique to the 1992 Landers earthquake shows that the moment must have been between 0.84 and 1.15 x 10(20) Nm with 90% confidence (M 7.25 to 7.34). We also find that to satisfy the data to this same level of confidence, the slip on the fault must have exceeded 7 m in at least one location, in good agreement with field mapping of the surface rupture.

Jones, G, Hilde T, Sharman G, Agnew D.  1979.  Fault patterns in outer trench wals and their tectonic significance. Journal of Physical Earth. 26:S85-S101. Abstract
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Dixon, T, Blewitt G, Larson K, Agnew D, Hager B, Kroger P, Krumega L, Strange W.  1990.  GPS measurements of regional deformation in southern California. EOS Trans. AGU. 71:1051-1053,1056. Abstract
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Inbal, A, Cristea-Platon T, Ampuero JP, Hillers G, Agnew D, Hough SE.  2018.  Sources of long-range anthropogenic noise in Southern California and implications for tectonic tremor detection. Bulletin of the Seismological Society of America. 108:3511-3527.   10.1785/0120180130   AbstractWebsite

We study anthropogenic noise sources seen on seismic recordings along the central section of the San Jacinto fault near Anza, southern California. The strongest signals are caused by freight trains passing through the Coachella Valley north of Anza. Train-induced transients are observed at distances of up to 50 km from the railway, with durations of up to 20 min, and spectra that are peaked between 3 and 5 Hz. Additionally, truck traffic through the Coachella Valley generates a sustained hum with a similar spectral signature as the train transients but with lower amplitude. We also find that wind turbine activity in northern Baja California introduces a seasonal modulation of 1- to 5-Hz energy across the Anza network. We show that the observed train-generated transients can be used to constrain shallow attenuation structure at Anza. Using the results from this study as well as available borehole data, we further evaluate the performance of approaches that have been used to detect nonvolcanic tremor at Anza. We conclude that signals previously identified as spontaneous tremor (Hutchison and Ghosh, 2017) were probably generated by other nontectonic sources such as trains.

Bock, Y, Wdowinski S, Fang P, Zhang J, Williams S, Johnson H, Behr J, Genrich J, Dean J, vanDomselaar M, Agnew D, Wyatt F, Stark K, Oral B, Hudnut K, King R, Herring T, Dinardo S, Young W, Jackson D, Gurtner W.  1997.  Southern California Permanent GPS Geodetic Array: Continuous measurements of regional crustal deformation between the 1992 Landers and 1994 Northridge earthquakes. Journal of Geophysical Research-Solid Earth. 102:18013-18033.   10.1029/97jb01379   AbstractWebsite

The southern California Permanent GPS Geodetic Array (PGGA) was established in 1990 across the Pacific-North America plate boundary to continuously monitor crustal deformation. We describe the development of the array and the time series of daily positions estimated for its first 10 sites in the 19-month period between the June 28, 1992 (M-W = 7.3), Landers and January 17, 1994 (M-W = 6.7), Northridge earthquakes. We compare displacement rates at four site locations with those reported by Feigl et al. [1993], which were derived from an independent set of Global Positioning System (GPS) and very long baseline interferometry (VLBI) measurements collected over nearly a decade prior to the Landers earthquake. The velocity differences for three sites 65-100 km from the earthquake's epicenter are of order of 3-5 mm/yr and are systematically coupled with the corresponding directions of coseismic displacement. The fourth site, 300 km from the epicenter, shows no significant velocity difference. These observations suggest large-scale postseismic deformation with a relaxation time of at least 800 days. The statistical significance of our observations is complicated by our incomplete knowledge of the noise properties of the two data sets; two possible noise models fit the PGGA data equally well as described in the companion paper by Zhang et al. [this issue]; the pre-landers data are too sparse and heterogeneous to derive a reliable noise model. Under a fractal white noise model for the PGGA data we find that the velocity differences for all three sites are statistically different at the 99% significance level. A white noise plus flicker noise model results in significance levels of only 94%, 43%, and 88%. Additional investigations of the pre-landers data, and analysis of longer spans of PGGA data, could have an important effect on the significance of these results and will be addressed in future work.

Feigl, KL, Agnew DC, Bock Y, Dong D, Donnellan A, Hager BH, Herring TA, Jackson DD, Jordan TH, King RW, Larsen S, Larson KM, Murray MH, Shen ZK, Webb FH.  1993.  Space Geodetic Measurement of Crustal Deformation in Central and Southern California, 1984-1992. Journal of Geophysical Research-Solid Earth. 98:21677-21712.   10.1029/93jb02405   AbstractWebsite

We estimate the velocity field in central and southern California using Global Positioning System (GPS) observations from 1986 to 1992 and very long baseline interferometry (VLBI) observations from 1984 to 1991. OUT core network includes 12 GPS sites spaced approximately 50 km apart, mostly in the western Transverse Ranges and the coastal Borderlands. The precision and accuracy of the relative horizontal velocities estimated for these core stations are adequately described by a 95% confidence ellipse with a semiminor axis of approximately 2 mm/yr oriented roughly north-south, and a semimajor axis of approximately 3 mm/yr oriented east-west. For other stations, occupied fewer than 5 times, or occupied during experiments with poor tracking geometries, the uncertainty is larger. These uncertainties are calibrated by analyzing the scatter in three types of comparisons: (1) multiple measurements of relative position (''repeatability''), (2) independent velocity estimates from separate analyses of the GPS and VLBI data, and (3) rates of change in baseline length estimated from the joint GPS+VLBI solution and from a comparison of GPS with trilateration. The dominant tectonic signature in the velocity field is shear deformation associated with the San Andreas and Garlock faults, which we model as resulting from slip below a given locking depth. Removing the effects of this simple model from the observed velocity field reveals residual deformation that is not attributable to the San Andreas fault. Baselines spanning the eastern Santa Barbara Channel, the Ventura basin, the Los Angeles basin, and the Santa Maria Fold and Thrust Belt are shortening at rates of up to 5 +/- 1, 5 +/- 1, 5 +/- 1, and 2 +/- 1 mm/yr, respectively. North of the Big Bend, some compression normal to the trace of the San Andreas fault can be resolved on both sides of the fault. The rates of rotation about vertical axes in the residual geodetic velocity field differ by up to a factor of 2 from those inferred from paleomagnetic declinations. Our estimates indicate that the ''San Andreas discrepancy'' can be resolved to within the 3 mm/yr uncertainties by accounting for deformation in California between Vandenberg (near Point Conception) and the westernmost Basin and Range. Strain accumulation of 1-2 mm/yr on structures offshore of Vandenberg is also allowed by the uncertainties. South of the Transverse Ranges, the deformation budget must include 5 mm/yr between the offshore islands and the mainland.

Larsen, SC, Agnew DC, Hager BH.  1993.  Strain Accumulation in the Santa-Barbara Channel - 1970-1988. Journal of Geophysical Research-Solid Earth. 98:2119-2133.   10.1029/92jb02043   AbstractWebsite

Geodetic observations between 1970 and 1988 indicate appreciable strain accumulation in the Santa Barbara Channel, California. Eleven line-length changes from a six-station geodetic network spanning the eastern two-thirds of the channel were determined from electronic distance measurements in 1970/1971 and Global Positioning System observations in 1987/1988. Within this network the strains observed are spatially nonuniform. In the easternmost channel the strain is nearly uniaxial, with convergence of 6.4 +/- 0.9 mm/yr oriented N25-degrees-E +/-5-degrees; this direction is consistent with the seismicity, which is dominated by thrust mechanisms with P axes directed to the northeast. In the central channel the strain is less well determined, but appears to include a significant component of shear that is left-lateral when resolved on an east-west plane.

Hart, RHG, Gladwin MT, Gwyther RL, Agnew DC, Wyatt FK.  1996.  Tidal calibration of borehole strain meters: Removing the effects of small-scale inhomogeneity. Journal of Geophysical Research-Solid Earth. 101:25553-25571.   10.1029/96jb02273   AbstractWebsite

We investigate the estimation of Earth strain from borehole strain meter data in a study of tidal calibration of the Gladwin borehole tensor strain meter (BTSM) at Pinon Flat. Small-scale geological inhomogeneity is one of several effects examined that cross couple remote areal/shear strain into measured areal/shear strain. A methodology is developed for incorporating cross coupling into the strain meter calibration. Using the measured strain tides from the colocated laser strain meter (LSM) as a reference, we show that calibration of the BTSM with cross coupling removes systematic errors of up to 30% in the borehole strain meter tides. This calibration accurately relates the BTSM measurements to strains at the scale length of the LSM, about 1 km. The calibration technique provides a solution to a major criticism of all short-baseline strain measurements, namely, that tectonic strains are not representatively sampled due to small-scale inhomogeneities. The technique removes errors potentially greater than 50% in observed strain offsets from fault slip, permitting improved constraint of slip mechanisms. We show that current theoretical estimates of strain tides in the instrument locality are not yet of sufficient accuracy for cross-coupled calibration. Comparison of theoretical tides with measurements from the LSM suggest that at least half of the error is in the ocean load tide estimates.

Shen, ZK, King RW, Agnew DC, Wang M, Herring TA, Dong D, Fang P.  2011.  A unified analysis of crustal motion in Southern California, 1970-2004: The SCEC crustal motion map. Journal of Geophysical Research-Solid Earth. 116   10.1029/2011jb008549   AbstractWebsite

To determine crustal motions in and around southern California, we have processed and combined trilateration data collected from 1970 to 1992, VLBI data from 1979 to 1992, and GPS data from 1986 to 2004: a long temporal coverage required in part by the occurrence of several large earthquakes in this region. From a series of solutions for station positions, we have estimated interseismic velocities, coseismic displacements, and postseismic motions. Within the region from 31 N to 38 N. and east to 114 W, the final product includes estimated horizontal velocities for 1009 GPS, 190 trilateration, and 16 VLBI points, with ties between some of these used to stabilize the solution. All motions are relative to the Stable North American Reference Frame (SNARF) as realized through the velocities of 20 GPS stations. This provides a relatively dense set of horizontal velocity estimates, with well-tested errors, for the past quarter century over the plate boundary from 31 N to 36.5 N. These velocities agree well with those from the Plate Boundary Observatory, which apply to a later time period. We also estimated vertical velocities, 533 of which have errors below 2 mm/yr. Most of these velocities are less than 1 mm/yr, but they show 2-4 mm/yr subsidence in the Ventura and Los Angeles basins and in the Salton Trough. Our analysis also included estimates of coseismic and postseismic motions related to the 1992 Landers, 1994 Northridge, 1999 Hector Mine, and 2003 San Simeon earthquakes. Postseismic motions increase logarithmically over time with a time constant of about 10 days, and generally mimic the direction and relative amplitude of the coseismic offsets.

Meltzner, AJ, Sieh K, Abrams M, Agnew DC, Hudnut KW, Avouac JP, Natawidjaja DH.  2006.  Uplift and subsidence associated with the great Aceh-Andaman earthquake of 2004. Journal of Geophysical Research-Solid Earth. 111   10.1029/2005jb003891   AbstractWebsite

Rupture of the Sunda megathrust on 26 December 2004 produced broad regions of uplift and subsidence. We define the pivot line separating these regions as a first step in defining the lateral extent and the downdip limit of rupture during that great M(w) approximate to 9.2 earthquake. In the region of the Andaman and Nicobar islands we rely exclusively on the interpretation of satellite imagery and a tidal model. At the southern limit of the great rupture we rely principally on field measurements of emerged coral microatolls. Uplift extends from the middle of Simeulue Island, Sumatra, at similar to 2.5 degrees N, to Preparis Island, Myanmar (Burma), at similar to 14.9 degrees N. Thus the rupture is similar to 1600 km long. The distance from the pivot line to the trench varies appreciably. The northern and western Andaman Islands rose, whereas the southern and eastern portion of the islands subsided. The Nicobar Islands and the west coast of Aceh province, Sumatra, subsided. Tilt at the southern end of the rupture is steep; the distance from 1.5 m of uplift to the pivot line is just 60 km. Our method of using satellite imagery to recognize changes in elevation relative to sea surface height and of using a tidal model to place quantitative bounds on coseismic uplift or subsidence is a novel approach that can be adapted to other forms of remote sensing and can be applied to other subduction zones in tropical regions.