Publications

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Journal Article
Sandwell, DT, Ruiz MB.  1992.  Along-Track Gravity-Anomalies from Geostat and Seasat Altimetry - Gebco Overlays. Marine Geophysical Researches. 14:165-205.   10.1007/bf01270629   AbstractWebsite

To provide easy access to the large number of Seastat and Geosat altimeter observations collected over the last decade, we have plotted these satellite altimeter profiles as overlays to the General Bathymetric Chart of the Oceans (GEBCO). Each of the 32 overlays displays along-track gravity anomalies for either ascending (southeast to northwest) or descending (northeast to southwest) altimeter passes. Where Seasat and Geosat profiles coincide, only the more accurate Geosat profiles were plotted. In poorly charted southern ocean areas, satellite altimeter profiles reveal many previously undetected features of the seafloor.

Sandwell, DT, Renkin ML.  1988.  Compensation of Swells and Plateaus in the North Pacific - No Direct Evidence for Mantle Convection. Journal of Geophysical Research-Solid Earth and Planets. 93:2775-2783.   10.1029/JB093iB04p02775   AbstractWebsite

At intermediate and long wavelengths the ratio of geoid height to topography is sensitive to the depth and mode of compensation. A low geoid/topography ratio (<2 m/km) signifies shallow Airy compensation. A higher ratio (∼6 m/km) signifies thermal isostasy and/or dynamic uplift from a mantle plume. A very high geoid/topography ratio (>8 m/km) in conjunction with a poor correlation between geoid height and topography is evidence of mantle convection. After subtracting a reference geoid from the observed geoid, previous studies have found a regular pattern of geoid highs and lows with a characteristic wavelength of 3000–4000 km. Since these geoid highs and lows were poorly correlated with topography and resulted in very high geoid/topography ratios (10–20 m/km), they were believed to reflect the planform of mantle convection. We show that the regular pattern of geoid highs and lows is an artifact caused by truncating the reference geoid at spherical harmonic degree 10. Since the geoid spectrum is “red,” the residual geoid is dominated by degree 11. When the harmonics of the reference geoid are rolled off gradually, the regular pattern of geoid highs and lows disappears. In the Northeast Pacific, the new residual geoid reflects the lithosphere age offsets across the major fracture zones. In the Northwest Pacific, the residual geoid corresponds to isostatically compensated swells and plateaus. We have calculated the geoid/topography ratio for 10 swells and plateaus and have found a range of compensation depths. The highest geoidAopography ratio of 5.5 m/km occurs on the flanks of the Hawaiian Swell. Intermediate ratios occur in four areas, including the Midway Swell. These intermediate ratios reflect a linear combination of the decaying thermal swell and the increasing volume of Airy-compensated seamounts. Low geoid/topography ratios occur over the remaining five areas (e.g., Emperor Seamounts), reflecting the absence of a thermal swell. Our findings do not support the hypothesis that the planform of mantle convection is evident in the geoid. We see only indirect evidence of thermal plumes reheating the lower lithosphere.

Neves, MC, Cabral J, Luttrell K, Figueiredo P, Rockwell T, Sandwell D.  2015.  The effect of sea level changes on fault reactivation potential in Portugal. Tectonophysics. 658:206-220.   10.1016/j.tecto.2015.07.023   AbstractWebsite

The aim of this study is to assess the impact of sea level changes on both the stress field and the potential of fault reactivation in west Iberia. The analysis is applied to a set of five active faults distributed across Portugal, selected for representing predominant fault directions and for being seismically active. The results show that the rise of sea level since the Last Glacial Maximum has produced flexural effects with distinct impacts on different faults. The Coulomb stress changes induced by the sea level rise along the S. Marcos-Quarteira (south Portugal) and the Horseshoe (offshore SW Iberia) faults are found to be extremely small, independently of the elastic plate thickness. These faults are thus unaffected by flexural effects related to ocean loading, and are unlikely to possess any paleoseismic record of this phenomenon. In contrast, the eustatic sea level rise during the late Pleistocene could have raised the Coulomb stress by 0.5-1 MPa along the Manteigas-Vilarica-Braganca (north Portugal) and Lower Tagus Valley (Lisbon area) fault systems. Such stress perturbations are probably sufficient to impact the seismic cycle of the Manteigas-Vilarica-Braganca fault, bringing it closer to failure and possibly triggering the earthquake clusters that have been observed in previous paleoseismologic studies. (C) 2015 Elsevier B.V. All rights reserved.

Royer, JY, Sandwell DT.  1989.  Evolution of the Eastern Indian-Ocean since the Late Cretaceous - Constraints from Geosat Altimetry. Journal of Geophysical Research-Solid Earth and Planets. 94:13755-13782.   10.1029/JB094iB10p13755   AbstractWebsite

We propose a new model for the tectonic evolution of the eastern Indian Ocean from the Late Cretaceous to the present. Two types of data are used to improve previously published reconstructions. First, recent reinterpretations of seafloor magnetic anomalies, between Australia and Antarctica and in the Wharton Basin, provide new constraints on spreading rates and the timing of major reorganizations. Second, vertical deflection profiles (i.e., horizontal gravity anomaly), derived from 22 repeat cycles of Geosat altimeter data, reveal the tectonic fabric associated with fracture zones. These new Geosat data provide tight constraints on paleospreading directions. For example, three prominent fracture zones can be traced from south of Tasmania to the George V Basin, Antarctica, providing an important constraint on the relative motions of Australia and Antarctica through the Late Eocene. In addition, the Geosat profiles are used to locate the conjugate continental margins and continent-ocean boundaries of Australia and Antarctica, as well as the conjugate rifted margins of Kerguelen Plateau and Broken Ridge. Based on a compilation of magnetic anomaly data from the Crozet Basin, the Central Indian Basin, the Wharton Basin and the Australian-Antarctic Basin, ten plate tectonic reconstructions are proposed. Reconstructions at chrons 5 (11 Ma), 6 (21 Ma), 13 (36 Ma) and 18 (43 Ma) confirm that the Southeast Indian Ridge behaved as a single plate boundary since chron 18. The constraints from the Geosat data provide an improvement in the fit of the Kerguelen Plateau and Broken Ridge at chron 20 (46 Ma). To avoid overlaps between Broken Ridge and the Kerguelen Plateau prior to their breakup, our model includes relative motions between the northern and southern provinces of the Kerguelen Plateau. Finally, we examine the implications of our model for the relative motions of India, Australia and Antarctica on the tectonic evolution of the Kerguelen Plateau and Broken Ridge, and the adjacent Labuan Basin and Diamantina Zone, as well as the emplacement of the Ninetyeast Ridge and the Kerguelen Plateau over a fixed hot spot.

Maia, M, Ackermand D, Dehghani GA, Gente P, Hekinian R, Naar D, O'Connor J, Perrot K, Morgan JP, Ramillien G, Revillon S, Sabetian A, Sandwell D, Stoffers P.  2000.  The Pacific-Antarctic Ridge-Foundation hotspot interaction: a case study of a ridge approaching a hotspot. Marine Geology. 167:61-84.   10.1016/s0025-3227(00)00023-2   AbstractWebsite

The Foundation hotspot-Pacific-Antarctic Ridge (PAI) system is the best documented case of a fast spreading ridge approaching a hotspot and interacting with it. The morphology, crustal structure inferred from gravity anomalies and the chemical composition of the lavas of the axial area of the PAR show evidence of the influence of the hotspot, that is presently located roughly 35 km west of the spreading ridge axis. Along-axis variation in the Mantle Bouguer anomaly is about 28 mGal, corresponding to a crustal thickening of 1.5 km where the hotspot is nearer to the PAR. Anomalous ridge elevation is 650 m and the along-axis width of the chemical anomaly is 200 km. A comparison of these axial parameters with those derived for other ridge-hotspot systems, suggests that the amount of plume material reaching the ridge axis is smaller for the Foundation-PAR system. This implies a weaker connection between the plume and the ridge. Cumulative effects of a fast spreading rate and of a fast ridge-hotspot relative motion can be responsible for this weak plume-ridge flow. The how from the hotspot may be less efficiently channelled towards the ridge axis when a fast ridge is rapidly moving towards a hotspot. (C) 2000 Elsevier Science B.V. All rights reserved.

Royer, JY, Sclater JG, Sandwell DT.  1989.  A Preliminary Tectonic Fabric Chart of the Indian-Ocean. Proceedings of the Indian Academy of Sciences-Earth and Planetary Sciences. 98:7-24. AbstractWebsite
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Sandwell, D, Rosen P, Moore W, Gurrola E.  2004.  Radar interferometry for measuring tidal strains across cracks on Europa. Journal of Geophysical Research-Planets. 109   10.1029/2004je002276   AbstractWebsite

A major uncertainty in understanding the interaction between the surface of Europa and its ocean below is the present-day activity of fractures. Using well-constrained models for tidal strain and a force balance in a cracked shell, we estimate the shear and normal displacement of cracks that penetrate upward from the base of the shell. If more than half of the plate is fractured, then surface displacements having amplitudes of 3 to 30 cm will be localized in a band 1 to 100 km from the crack. Plate spreading will occur if more than similar to85% of the plate is fractured. The pattern of deformation is sensitive to both the percentage of plate that is cracked and the total thickness of the shell. Repeat-pass radar interferometry could easily detect and map the activity of the cracks during a short experiment from a variety of suitable orbits with repeating ground tracks.

Royer, J-Y, Gahagan LM, Lawver LA, Mayes CL, Nuernberg D, Sandwell DT, Scotese CR.  1990.  A tectonic chart for the Southern Ocean derived from Geosat altimetry data. AAPG Studies in Geology. 31( St. John B, Ed.).:89-99., Tulsa, OK, United States (USA): American Association of Petroleum Geologists, Tulsa, OK AbstractWebsite

Presented is a new tectonic fabric map of the southern ocean south of 45S, derived from Geosat altimeter profiles and published bathymetric charts and magnetic anomaly picks. The interpretation of the Geosat data is based on an analysis of the first derivative of the geoid profiles (i.e., vertical deflection profiles). To improve the accuracy and resolution of the vertical deflection profiles, 22 repeat cycles from the first year of the Geosat/Exact Repeat Mission (Geosat/ERM) were averaged. At wavelengths less than about 200 km, the vertical deflection is highly correlated with sea-floor topography and thus reveals major features in areas that were previously unsurveyed. The density of the Geosat data is greatest in the high latitudes where lineated bathymetric features such as fracture zones, spreading ridges, trenches, and rifted margins stand out. To construct the tectonic fabric chart, the Geosat data are analyzed in combination with available shipboard bathymetric data and magnetic anomaly identifications. (Auth.)

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.

Fialko, Y, Sandwell D, Simons M, Rosen P.  2005.  Three-dimensional deformation caused by the Bam, Iran, earthquake and the origin of shallow slip deficit. Nature. 435:295-299.   10.1038/nature03425   AbstractWebsite

Our understanding of the earthquake process requires detailed insights into how the tectonic stresses are accumulated and released on seismogenic faults. We derive the full vector displacement field due to the Bam, Iran, earthquake of moment magnitude 6.5 using radar data from the Envisat satellite of the European Space Agency. Analysis of surface deformation indicates that most of the seismic moment release along the 20-km-long strike-slip rupture occurred at a shallow depth of 4 - 5 km, yet the rupture did not break the surface. The Bam event may therefore represent an end-member case of the 'shallow slip deficit' model, which postulates that coseismic slip in the uppermost crust is systematically less than that at seismogenic depths ( 4 - 10 km). The InSAR-derived surface displacement data from the Bam and other large shallow earthquakes suggest that the uppermost section of the seismogenic crust around young and developing faults may undergo a distributed failure in the interseismic period, thereby accumulating little elastic strain.