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Gahagan, LM, Scotese CR, Royer JY, Sandwell DT, Winn JK, Tomlins RL, Ross MI, Newman JS, Muller RD, Mayes CL, Lawver LA, Heubeck CE.  1988.  Tectonic Fabric Map of the Ocean Basins from Satellite Altimetry Data. Tectonophysics. 155:1-&.   10.1016/0040-1951(88)90258-2   AbstractWebsite

Satellite altimetry data provide a new source of information on the bathymetry of the ocean floor. The tectonic fabric of the oceans (i.e., the arrangement of fracture zones, ridges, volcanic plateaus and trenches) is revealed by changes in the horizontal gravity gradient as recorded by satellite altimetry measurements. SEASAT and GEOSAT altimetry data have been analyzed and a global map of the horizontal gravity gradient has been produced that can be used to identify a variety of marine tectonic features. The uniformity of the satellite coverage provides greater resolution and continuity than maps based solely on ship-track data. This map is also the first global map to incorporate the results of the GEOSAT mission, and as a result, new tectonic features are revealed at high southerly latitudes.This map permits the extension of many tectonic features well beyond what was previously known. For instance, various fracture zones, such as the Ascension, Tasman, and Udintsev fracture zones, can be extended much closer to adjacent coninental margins. The tectonic fabric map also reveals many features that have not been previously mapped. These features include extinct ridges, minor fracture zone lineations and seamounts. In several areas, especially across aseismic plateaus or along the margins of the continents, the map displays broad gravity anomalies whose origin may be related to basement structures.

Garcia, ES, Sandwell DT, Luttrell KM.  2015.  An iterative spectral solution method for thin elastic plate flexure with variable rigidity. Geophysical Journal International. 200:1010-1026.   10.1093/gji/ggu449   AbstractWebsite

Thin plate flexure theory provides an accurate model for the response of the lithosphere to vertical loads on horizontal length scales ranging from tens to hundreds of kilometres. Examples include flexure at seamounts, fracture zones, sedimentary basins and subduction zones. When applying this theory to real world situations, most studies assume a locally uniform plate thickness to enable simple Fourier transform solutions. However, in cases where the amplitude of the flexure is prominent, such as subduction zones, or there are rapid variations in seafloor age, such as fracture zones, these models are inadequate. Here we present a computationally efficient algorithm for solving the thin plate flexure equation for non-uniform plate thickness and arbitrary vertical load. The iterative scheme takes advantage of the 2-D fast Fourier transform to perform calculations in both the spatial and spectral domains, resulting in an accurate and computationally efficient solution. We illustrate the accuracy of the method through comparisons with known analytic solutions. Finally, we present results from three simple models demonstrating the differences in trench outer rise flexure when 2-D variations in plate rigidity and applied bending moment are taken into account. Although we focus our analysis on ocean trench flexure, the method is applicable to other 2-D flexure problems having spatial rigidity variations such as seamount loading of a thermally eroded lithosphere or flexure across the continental-oceanic crust boundary.

Garcia, ES, Sandwell DT, Smith WHF.  2014.  Retracking CryoSat-2, Envisat and Jason-1 radar altimetry waveforms for improved gravity field recovery. Geophysical Journal International. 196:1402-1422.   10.1093/gji/ggt469   AbstractWebsite

Improving the accuracy of the marine gravity field requires both improved altimeter range precision and dense track coverage. After a hiatus of more than 15 yr, a wealth of suitable data is now available from the CryoSat-2, Envisat and Jason-1 satellites. The range precision of these data is significantly improved with respect to the conventional techniques used in operational oceanography by retracking the altimeter waveforms using an algorithm that is optimized for the recovery of the short-wavelength geodetic signal. We caution that this new approach, which provides optimal range precision, may introduce large-scale errors that would be unacceptable for other applications. In addition, CryoSat-2 has a new synthetic aperture radar (SAR) mode that should result in higher range precision. For this new mode we derived a simple, but approximate, analytic model for the shape of the SAR waveform that could be used in an iterative least-squares algorithm for estimating range. For the conventional waveforms, we demonstrate that a two-step retracking algorithm that was originally designed for data from prior missions (ERS-1 and Geosat) also improves precision on all three of the new satellites by about a factor of 1.5. The improved range precision and dense coverage from CryoSat-2, Envisat and Jason-1 should lead to a significant increase in the accuracy of the marine gravity field.

Gille, ST, Yale MM, Sandwell DT.  2000.  Global correlation of mesoscale ocean variability with seafloor roughness from satellite altimetry. Geophysical Research Letters. 27:1251-1254.   10.1029/1999gl007003   AbstractWebsite

Both seafloor bathymetry and eddy kinetic energy at the ocean surface can be estimated by making use of satellite altimeters. Comparing the two quantities shows that in regions of the ocean deeper than about 4800 m, surface eddy kinetic energy is greater over smooth abyssal plains than over rough bathymetry, while the opposite is true in shallower waters. Thus in the deep ocean, bottom roughness may dissipate eddy kinetic energy. A simple model indicates that the dissipation rate increases as root-mean-squared bottom roughness increases from 0 to 250 m and decreases to negative values (implying eddy generation) for higher roughness.

Gonzalez-Ortega, A, Fialko Y, Sandwell D, Nava-Pichardo FA, Fletcher J, Gonzalez-Garcia J, Lipovsky B, Floyd M, Funning G.  2014.  El Mayor-Cucapah ( M-w 7.2) earthquake: Early near-field postseismic deformation from InSAR and GPS observations. Journal of Geophysical Research-Solid Earth. 119:1482-1497.   10.1002/2013jb010193   AbstractWebsite

El Mayor-Cucapah earthquake occurred on 4 April 2010 in northeastern Baja California just south of the U.S.-Mexico border. The earthquake ruptured several previously mapped faults, as well as some unidentified ones, including the Pescadores, Borrego, Paso Inferior and Paso Superior faults in the Sierra Cucapah, and the Indiviso fault in the Mexicali Valley and Colorado River Delta. We conducted several Global Positioning System (GPS) campaign surveys of preexisting and newly established benchmarks within 30km of the earthquake rupture. Most of the benchmarks were occupied within days after the earthquake, allowing us to capture the very early postseismic transient motions. The GPS data show postseismic displacements in the same direction as the coseismic displacements; time series indicate a gradual decay in postseismic velocities with characteristic time scales of 669days and 203days, assuming exponential and logarithmic decay, respectively. We also analyzed interferometric synthetic aperture radar (InSAR) data from the Envisat and ALOS satellites. The main deformation features seen in the line-of-sight displacement maps indicate subsidence concentrated in the southern and northern parts of the main rupture, in particular at the Indiviso fault, at the Laguna Salada basin, and at the Paso Superior fault. We show that the near-field GPS and InSAR observations over a time period of 5months after the earthquake can be explained by a combination of afterslip, fault zone contraction, and a possible minor contribution of poroelastic rebound. Far-field data require an additional mechanism, most likely viscoelastic relaxation in the ductile substrate.

Gonzalez-Ortega, JA, Gonzalez-Garcia JJ, Sandwell DT.  2018.  Interseismic velocity field and seismic moment release in northern Baja California, Mexico. Seismological Research Letters. 89:526-533.   10.1785/0220170133   AbstractWebsite

We have analyzed all available continuous Global Positioning System (cGPS) and campaign-mode GPS data from northern Baja California, Mexico, covering the 1993.1-2010.1 period to obtain a consistent interseismic velocity field to derive a continuous strain-rate field. The analysis shows concentrations of high strain rate along the Imperial/Cerro Prieto fault system extending from the Salton Sea to the Gulf of California, with strike-slip faulting consistent with principal strain axes direction within the area of largest historical and instrumental seismic release. We translated the strain rate into geodetic moment accumulation rate to evaluate the potential of seismic activity of the region and compare with the actual seismic release of historical and instrumental earthquake catalog. Comparison of regional moment accumulation rate based on geodesy (M-0(g) = 6.3 +/- 1.3 x 10(18) N center dot m/yr) to the corresponding moment release rate by earthquakes (M-0(s) = 2.7 +/- 0.8 x 10(18) N center dot m/yr) highlights a moment rate deficit equivalent to an M-w 7.5-7.8 earthquake. As part of this accumulated moment was released by the recent 2010 M-w 7.2 El Mayor-Cucapah earthquake, these results can provide input constraints on earthquake forecasts for the northern Baja California fault system.