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Sandwell, DT, Sichoix L, Smith B.  2002.  The 1999 Hector Mine earthquake, southern California: Vector near-field displacements from ERS InSAR. Bulletin of the Seismological Society of America. 92:1341-1354.   10.1785/0120000901   AbstractWebsite

Two components of fault slip are uniquely determined from two line-of-sight (LOS) radar interferograms by assuming that the fault-normal component of displacement is zero. We use this approach with ascending and descending interferograms from the ERS satellites to estimate surface slip along the Hector Mine earthquake rupture. The LOS displacement is determined by visually counting fringes to within I kin of the outboard ruptures. These LOS estimates and uncertainties are then transformed into strike- and dip-slip estimates and uncertainties; the transformation is singular for a N-S oriented fault and optimal for an E-W oriented fault. In contrast to our previous strike-slip estimates, which were based only on a descending interferogram, we now find good agreement with the geological measurements, except at the ends of the rupture. The ascending interferogram reveals significant west-side-down dip-slip (similar to1.0 in) which reduces the strike-slip estimates by I to 2 in, especially along the northern half of the rupture. A spike in the strike-slip displacement of 6 m is observed in central part of the rupture. This large offset is confirmed by subpixel cross correlation of features in the before and after amplitude images. In addition to strike slip and dip slip, we identify uplift and subsidence along the fault, related to the restraining and releasing bends in the fault trace, respectively. Our main conclusion is that at least two look directions are required for accurate estimates of surface slip even along a pure strike-slip fault. Models and results based only on a single look direction could have major errors. Our new estimates of strike slip and dip slip along the rupture provide a boundary condition for dislocation modeling. A simple model, which has uniform slip to a depth of 12 km, shows good agreement with the observed ascending and descending interferograms.

Sandwell, DT, Agreen RW.  1984.  Seasonal-Variation in Wind-Speed and Sea State from Global Satellite Measurements. Journal of Geophysical Research-Oceans. 89:2041-2051.   10.1029/JC089iC02p02041   AbstractWebsite

The GEOS 3 altimeter, which collected data intermittently for nearly 4 years, has measured significant wave heights and surface wind speeds over most of the world's oceans. Using these data, we have constructed contour maps of spatial variations in sea state and wind speed for winter and summer. To obtain reliable averages in the southern oceans, we low-pass filtered the data using a two-dimensional Gaussian filter with a half width of 600 km. The wind speed maps show that the zonal surface wind patterns, such as the westerlies, the horse latitudes, the trade winds, and the doldrums, shift south by about 10° between winter and summer. As expected, the highest wind speeds and sea states occur during the winter months in the mid-latitudes, 30°–60°. The most striking feature of the maps, however, is the large asymmetry in the summer to winter variation between the two hemispheres. The largest seasonal variations in sea state and wind speed occur in the northern hemisphere oceans and especially in the North Atlantic, where there is almost a factor of 2 variation. In contrast, the summer to winter variation in wind speed and sea state in the southern hemisphere oceans is relatively small. For example, the summer to winter increase in wind speed at 50°S is less than 10%, while at 50°N it is more than 50%. This differing variability can be attributed to the asymmetric distribution of continental area between the two hemispheres and the low effective heat capacity of the continents relative to the oceans.

Sandwell, DT, Schubert G.  1992.  Flexural Ridges, Trenches, and Outer Rises around Coronae on Venus. Journal of Geophysical Research-Planets. 97:16069-16083.   10.1029/92JE01274   AbstractWebsite

High-resolution altimetry collected by the Magellan spacecraft reveals trench and outer rise topographic signatures around major coronae (e.g. Eithinoha, Heng-0, Artemis, and Latona). In addition, Magellan synthetic aperature radar images show circumferential fractures in areas where the plates are curved downward. Both observations suggest that the lithosphere around coronae is flexed downward by the weight of the overriding coronal rim or by the negative buoyancy of subducted lithosphere. We have modelled the trench and outer rise topography as a thin elastic plate subjected to a line load and bending moment beneath die corona rim. The approach was tested at northern Freyja Montes where the best fit elastic thickness is 18 km, in agreement with previously published results. The elastic thicknesses determined by modelling numerous profiles at Eithinoha, Heng-0, Artemis, and Latona are 15, 40, 37, and 35 km, respectively. At Eithinoha, Artemis, and Latona where the plates appear to be yielding, the maximum bending moments and elastic thicknesses are similar to those found at the Middle America, Mariana, and Aleutian trenches on Earth, respectively. Estimates of effective elastic thickness and plate curvature are used with a yield strength envelope model of the lithosphere to estimate lithospheric temperature gradients. At Heng-0, Artemis, and Latona, temperature gradients are less than 10 K/km, which correspond to conductive heat losses of less than one half the expected average planetary value. We propose two scenarios for the creation of the ridge, trench, and outer rise topography: differential thermal subsidence and lithospheric subduction. The topography of Heng-0 is well matched by the differential thermal subsidence model. However, at Artemis and Latona the amplitudes of the trench and outer rise signatures are a factor of 5 too large to be explained by thermal subsidence alone. In these cases we favor the lithospheric subduction model wherein the lithosphere outboard of the corona perimeter subducts (rolls back) and the corona diameter increase.

Sandwell, DT, Smith WHF.  2005.  Retracking ERS-1 altimeter waveforms for optimal gravity field recovery. Geophysical Journal International. 163:79-89.   10.1111/j.1365-246X.2005.02724.x   AbstractWebsite

We have reprocessed ERS-1 radar altimeter waveforms using an algorithm designed to minimize sea surface slope error and decouple it from significant wave height (SWH) error. Standard waveform retracking estimates three parameters-arrival time, SWH and amplitude. We show that errors in retracked estimates of arrival time and SWH are inherently correlated because of the noise characteristics of the returned waveform. This suggests that some of what is called 'sea state bias' in the literature may be caused by correlated errors rather than true electromagnetic or skewness bias. We have developed a retracking algorithm that reduces this error correlation and makes the resolution of sea surface slope signals independent of sea state. The main assumption is that the SWH varies smoothly along the satellite track over wavelengths of 90 km. This approach reduces the rms error in sea surface slope to only 62 per cent of that of standard retracking methods. While our method is optimized for gravity field recovery, it may also improve the resolution of sea surface height signals of interest to physical oceanographers.

Sandwell, DT, Mackenzie KR.  1989.  Geoid Height Versus Topography for Oceanic Plateaus and Swells. Journal of Geophysical Research-Solid Earth and Planets. 94:7403-7418.   10.1029/JB094iB06p07403   AbstractWebsite

Oceanic plateaus and swells are a major component of the seafloor topography, yet they remain among the most poorly understood features. This is especially true of the oceanic plateaus which show large variations in crustal thickness. To determine the depth and mode of compensation for 53 of the largest plateaus and swells, we analyzed the relationship between geoid height and topography in polygonal areas containing each feature. Both geoid height and topography were first band-pass filtered (400 km < l < 4000 km) to isolate the signal associated with local compensation from flexural and deep mantle signals. The ratio of geoid height to topography was then determined by fitting a straight line to the data. Except for nine of the smaller features there is a high correlation between geoid height and topography that is positive in accordance with Airy and thermal compensation models. Eighteen features have high geoid/topography ratios that cannot be explained by the Airy compensation model of crustal thickening. These features (thermal swells) are partially supported by thermal buoyancy forces in the lower half of the lithosphere. The ratios are highest for active hot spot swells and decay, with the thermal age of the swell, to values consistent with Airy compensation of the enduring volcanic edifice. The remaining features (plateaus) have lower geoid/topography ratios in agreement with the Airy compensation model. Those plateaus with average height greater than 4 km are thought to be continental fragments; the shorter plateaus tend to be volcanic features. Modified continental plateaus, presumably small fragments of extended and intruded continental margin crust, cluster around heights of ∼3 km, overlapping the range associated with oceanic plateaus. Since the origin of many plateaus is poorly understood, this global geoid/topography analysis provides a new technique for comparing the deep structure of oceanic plateaus and swells.

Sandwell, DT, Sichoix L, Agnew D, Bock Y, Minster JB.  2000.  Near real-time radar interferometry of the Mw 7.1 Hector Mine Earthquake. Geophysical Research Letters. 27:3101-3104.   10.1029/1999gl011209   AbstractWebsite

The Hector Mine Earthquake (Mw 7.1, 16 October 1999) ruptured 45 km of previously mapped and unmapped faults in the Mojave Desert. The ERS-2 satellite imaged the Mojave Desert on 15 September and again on 20 October, just 4 days after the earthquake. Using a newly-developed ground station we acquired both passes and were able to form an interferogram within 20 hours of the second overflight. Estimates of slip along the main rupture are 1-2 meters greater than slip derived from geological mapping. The gradient of the interferometric phase reveals an interesting pattern of triggered slip on adjacent faults as well as a 30 mm deep sink hole along Interstate 40.

Sandwell, DT.  1984.  A Detailed View of the South-Pacific Geoid from Satellite Altimetry. Journal of Geophysical Research. 89:1089-1104.   10.1029/JB089iB02p01089   AbstractWebsite

Images of sea surface undulations in the South Pacific have been constructed from GEOS 3 and SEASAT altimeter data. Height discrepancies at crossover points, associated with long-wavelength radial orbit error, were suppressed by taking along-track derivatives of the ascending and descending profiles. These geoid slopes were then rotated and scaled to produce the north and east components of the deflection of the vertical. Finally, the results are displayed by using the hill shading technique, where gray-tone images represent the innner product of the deflection vector with an assigned sun vector. Less apparent sea surface undulations can be enhanced by varying the sun's zenith and azimuth. Shorterwavelength sea surface undulations reflect seafloor topography. For instance, fracture zones (FZ's) appear as elongated sharp steps in the sea surface, while seamounts produce circular bumps. Since large areas of the South Pacific are unsurveyed, many previously undetected features appear on the images. Comparisons with bathymetric charts reveal 72 uncharted seamounts having geoid expressions greater than or equal to Easter Island's expression. The dominant features in the images, however, are the large age-offset FZ's such as the Eltanin and Udintsev FZ's. The images reveal that the Eltanin FZ is connected to the Louisville Ridge; combined they produce a continuous geoid signature across most of the South Pacific. This supports the hypothesis of Hayes and Ewing (1968) that the Louisville Ridge is the northwest extension of the Eltanin FZ.

Sandwell, DT, Winterer EL, Mammerickx J, Duncan RA, Lynch MA, Levitt DA, Johnson CL.  1995.  Evidence for Diffuse Extension of the Pacific Plate from Pukapuka Ridges and Cross-Grain Gravity Lineations. Journal of Geophysical Research-Solid Earth. 100:15087-15099.   10.1029/95jb00156   AbstractWebsite

Satellite altimeter measurements of marine gravity reveal 100 to 200-km wavelength lineations over a wide area of the Pacific plate oriented roughly in the direction of absolute plate motion. At least three mechanisms have been proposed for their origin: small-scale convective rolls aligned in the direction of absolute plate motion by shear in the asthenosphere; diffuse N-S extension of the lithosphere resulting in lineated zones of extension (boudins); and minihotspots that move slowly with respect to major hotspots and produce intermittent volcanism. Recently, several chains of linear volcanic ridges have been found to be associated with the gravity lineations. Following ridgelike gravity signatures apparent in high-resolution Geosat gravity measurements, we surveyed a series of volcanic ridges that extend northwest from the East Pacific Rise flank for 2600 km onto 40 Ma seafloor. Our survey data, as well as radiometric dates on samples we collected from the ridges, provide tight constraints on their origin: (1) Individual ridge segments and sets of ridges are highly elongate in the direction of present absolute plate motion. (2) The ridges formed along a band 50 to 70-km-wide in the trough of one of the more prominent gravity lineations. (3) Radiometric dates of the largest ridges show no hotspot age progression. Moreover, the directions predicted for minihotspot traces older than 24 Ma do not match observed directions of either the gravity lineations or the ridges. Based on this last observation, we reject the minihotspot model. The occurrence of the ridges in the trough of the gravity lineation is incompatible with the small-scale convection model which would predict increased volcanism above the convective upwelling. We favor the diffuse extension model because it is consistent with the occurrence of ridges in the trough above the more highly extended lithosphere. However, the multibeam data show no evidence for widespread normal faulting of the crust as predicted by the model. Perhaps the fault scarps are buried under more than 30 m of sediments and/or covered by the elongated ridges. Finally, we note that if ridge-push force is much smaller than trench-pull force, then near the ridge axis the direction of maximum tensile stress must be perpendicular to the direction of absolute plate motion.

Sandwell, DT.  1992.  Antarctic Marine Gravity-Field from High-Density Satellite Altimetry. Geophysical Journal International. 109:437-448.   10.1111/j.1365-246X.1992.tb00106.x   AbstractWebsite

Closely spaced satellite altimeter profiles (< 5 km) collected during the Geosat Geodetic Mission (Geosat/GM), and those planned for the extended ERS-1 mission, are easily converted to grids of vertical gravity gradient and gravity anomaly. As profile spacing decreases, it becomes increasingly difficult to perform a crossover adjustment on the original geoid height profiles without introducing large cross-track gradients. If one is only interested in the horizontal and vertical derivatives of the gravitational potential, however, adjustment of the profile is unnecessary. The long-wavelength radial orbit error is suppressed well below the noise level of the altimeter by simply taking the along-track derivative of each profile. Ascending and descending slope profiles are then interpolated onto separate uniform grids. These two grids are summed and differenced to form comparable grids of east and north vertical deflection. Using Laplace's equation, the vertical gravity gradient is calculated directly from the vertical deflection grids. Fourier analysis is required to construct gravity anomalies from the two vertical deflection grids. These techniques are applied to high-density (approximately 2 km profile spacing) Geosat/GM profiles in Antarctic waters (60-degrees-S to 72-degrees-S). Gridding and interpolation are performed using the method of projection onto convex sets where the smoothness criteria corresponds to upward continuation through 4 km of ocean. The resultant gravity grids have resolution and accuracy comparable to shipboard gravity profiles. After adjustment of a DC shift in the shipboard gravity profiles (approximately 5 mGal) the rms difference between the ship and satellite gravity is 5.5 mGal. Many interesting and previously uncharted features are apparent in these new gravity maps including a propagating rift wake and a large 'leaky transform' along the Pacific-Antarctic Rise.

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.

Sandwell, DT.  1987.  Biharmonic Spline Interpolation of Geos-3 and Seasat Altimeter Data. Geophysical Research Letters. 14:139-142.   10.1029/GL014i002p00139   AbstractWebsite

Green functions of the biharmonic operator, in one and two dimensions, are used for minimum curvature interpolation of irregularly spaced data points. The interpolating curve (or surface) is a linear combination of Green functions centered at each data point. The amplitudes of the Green functions are found by solving a linear system of equations. In one (or two) dimensions this technique is equivalent to cubic spline (or bicubic spline) interpolation while in three dimension it corresponds to multiquadric interpolation. Although this new technique is relatively slow, it is more flexible than the spline method since both slopes and values can be used to find a surface. Moreover, noisy data can be fit in a least squares sense by reducing the number of model parameters. These properties are well suited for interpolating irregularly spaced satellite altimeter profiles. The long wavelength radial orbit error is suppressed by differentiating each profile. The shorter wavelength noise is reduced by the least squares fit to nearby profiles. Using this technique with 0.5 million GEOS-3 and SEASAT data points, it was found that the marine geoid of the Caribbean area is highly correlated with the sea floor topography. This suggests that similar applications, in more remote, areas may reveal new features of the sea floor.

Sandwell, DT, Wessel P.  2016.  Interpolation of 2-D vector data using constraints from elasticity. Geophysical Research Letters. 43:10703-10709.   10.1002/2016gl070340   AbstractWebsite

We present a method for interpolation of sparse two-dimensional vector data. The method is based on the Green's functions of an elastic body subjected to in-plane forces. This approach ensures elastic coupling between the two components of the interpolation. Users may adjust the coupling by varying Poisson's ratio. Smoothing can be achieved by ignoring the smallest eigenvalues in the matrix solution for the strengths of the unknown body forces. We demonstrate the method using irregularly distributed GPS velocities from southern California. Our technique has been implemented in both the Generic Mapping Tools and MATLAB (R).

Sandwell, D, Schubert G.  1982.  Lithospheric Flexure at Fracture-Zones. Journal of Geophysical Research. 87:4657-4667.   10.1029/JB087iB06p04657   AbstractWebsite

Bathymetric profiles across six major fracture zones (FZ's) in the North Pacific are used to demonstrate the absence of vertical slip on the fossil fault planes. The scarp heights on these FZ's are constant with age and equal to the initial vertical offsets at the ridge-transform fault-FZ intersections. Because of the frozen-in scarp and the differential subsidence of lithosphere far from the FZ, the lithosphere bends in the vicinity of the FZ. This flexure results in a characteristic ridge-trough topographic FZ signature. The flexural amplitude, which is the difference between the scarp height and the overall change in depth across the FZ, increases with age. Good fits to the bathymetric profiles across the Mendocino and Pioneer FZ's are obtained by modelling the topography as the flexure of a thin elastic plate with an age-dependent effective elastic thickness. Results of the modelling indicate that the base of the elastic lithosphere is approximately defined by the 450°C isotherm. Maximum bending stresses at FZ's are on the order of 100 MPa, substantially less than the stresses encountered at subduction zones. Because the Mendocino and Pioneer FZ's are separated by less than a flexural wavelength, they are elastically coupled.

Sandwell, D, Smith B.  2007.  The San Andreas Fault: Adjustments in the Earth's Crust. Our changing planet : the view from space. ( King MD, Parkinson CL, Partington KC, Williams RG, Eds.).:94-96., Cambridge ; New York: Cambridge University Press Abstract

Examines what orbital imagery tells us about the atmosphere, land, ocean, and polar ice caps of our planet and the ways that it changes naturally, and in response to human activity.

Sandwell, DT, McAdoo DC.  1990.  High-Accuracy, High-Resolution Gravity Profiles from 2 Years of the Geosat Exact Repeat Mission. Journal of Geophysical Research-Oceans. 95:3049-3060.   10.1029/JC095iC03p03049   AbstractWebsite

Satellite altimeter data from the first 44 repeat cycles (2 years) of the Geosat Exact Repeat Mission (Geosat ERM) were averaged to improve accuracy, resolution and coverage of the marine gravity field. Individual 17-day repeat cycles (two points per second) were first edited and differentiated resulting in alongtrack vertical deflection (i.e., alongtrack gravity disturbance). To increase the signal to noise ratio, 44 of these cycles were then averaged to form a single, highly accurate vertical deflection profile. The largest contributions to the vertical deflection error is short-wavelength altimeter noise and longer-wavelength oceanographic variability; the combined noise level is typically 6 μrad. Both types of noise are reduced by averaging many repeat cycles. Over most ocean areas the uncertainly of the average profile is less than 1 μrad (0.206 arcsec) which corresponds to 1 mgal of alongtrack gravity disturbance. However, in areas of seasonal ice coverage, its uncertainty can exceed 5 μrad. To assess the resolution of individual and average Geosat gravity profiles, the cross-spectral analysis technique was applied to repeat profiles. Individual Geosat repeat cycles are coherent (>0.5) for wavelengths greater than about 30 km and become increasingly incoherent at shorter wavelengths. This Emit of resolution is governed by the signal-to-noise ratio. Thus when many Geosat repeat profiles are averaged together, the resolution limit typically improves to about 20 km. Except in shallow water areas, further improvements in resolution will be increasingly difficult to achieve because the short-wavelength components are attenuated by upward continuation from the seafloor to the sea surface. These results suggest that the marine gravity field can be completely mapped to an accuracy of 2 mgal and a half-wavelength resolution of 12 km by a 4.5-year satellite altimeter mapping mission.

Sandwell, DT, Agreen RW.  1985.  Seasonal-Variation in Wind-Speed and Sea State from Global Satellite Measurements - Reply. Journal of Geophysical Research-Oceans. 90:5009-5010.   10.1029/JC090iC03p05009   AbstractWebsite
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Sandwell, DT, Johnson CL, Bilotti F, Suppe J.  1997.  Driving forces for limited tectonics on Venus. Icarus. 129:232-244.   10.1006/icar.1997.5721   AbstractWebsite

The very high correlation of geoid height and topography on Venus, along with the high geoid topography ratio, can be interpreted as local isostatic compensation and/or dynamic compensation of topography at depths ranging from 50 to 350 km. For local compensation within the lithosphere, the swell-push force is proportional to the first moment of the anomalous density. Since the long-wavelength isostatic geoid height is also proportional to the first moment of the anomalous density, the swell push force is equal to the geoid height scaled by -g(2)/2 pi G. Because of this direct relationship, the style (i.e., thermal, Airy, or Pratt compensation) and depth of compensation do not need to be specified and can in fact vary over the surface. Phillips (1990) showed that this simple relationship between swell-push force and geoid also holds for dynamic uplift by shear traction on the base of the lithosphere caused by thermal convection of an isoviscous, infinite half-space mantle. Thus for all reasonable isostatic models and particular classes of dynamic models, the geoid height uniquely determines the magnitude of the swell-push body force that is applied to the venusian lithosphere. Given this body force and assuming Venus can be approximated by a uniform thickness thin elastic shell over an inviscid sphere, we calculate the present-day global strain field using equations given in Banerdt (1986); areas of positive geoid height are in a state of extension while areas of negative geoid height are in a state of compression. The present-day model strain field is compared to global strain patterns inferred from Magellan-derived maps of wrinkle ridges and rift zones. Wrinkle ridges, which are believed to reflect distributed compressive deformation, are generally confined to regions with geoid of less than 20 m while rift zones are found primarily along geoid highs. Moreover, much of the observed deformation matches the present-day model strain orientations suggesting that most of the rifts on Venus and many of the wrinkle ridges formed in a stress field similar to the present one. In several large regions, the present-day model strain pattern does not match the observations. This suggests that either the geoid has changed significantly since most of the strain occurred or our model assumptions are incorrect (e.g., there could be local plate boundaries where the stress pattern is discontinuous). Since the venusian lithosphere shows evidence for limited strain, the calculation also provides an estimate of the overall strength of the lithosphere in compression and extension which can be compared with rheological models of yield strength versus depth. At the crests of the major swells, where evidence for rifting is abundant, we find that the temperature gradient must be at least 7 K/km. (C) 1997 Academic Press.

Sandwell, DT, Smith WHF.  2014.  Slope correction for ocean radar altimetry. Journal of Geodesy. 88:765-771.   10.1007/s00190-014-0720-1   AbstractWebsite

We develop a slope correction model to improve the accuracy of mean sea surface topography models as well as marine gravity models. The correction is greatest above ocean trenches and large seamounts where the slope of the geoid exceeds 100 rad. In extreme cases, the correction to the mean sea surface height is 40 mm and the correction to the along-track altimeter slope is 1-2 rad which maps into a 1-2 mGal gravity error. Both corrections are easily applied using existing grids of sea surface slope from satellite altimetry.

Sandwell, D, Schubert G.  1980.  Geoid Height Versus Age for Symmetric Spreading Ridges. Journal of Geophysical Research. 85:7235-7241.   10.1029/JB085iB12p07235   AbstractWebsite

Geoid height-age relations have been extracted from Geos 3 altimeter data for large areas in the North Atlantic, South Atlantic, southeast Indian, and southeast Pacific oceans. Except for the southeast Pacific area, geoid height decreases approximately linearly with the age of the ocean floor for ages less than about 80 m.y. in agreement with the prediction of an isostatically compensated thermal boundary layer model (Haxby and Turcotte, 1978). The geoid-age data for 0 to 80 m.y. are consistent with constant slopes of −0.094±0.025, −0.131±0.041, and −0.149±0.028 m/m.y. for the South Atlantic, southeast Indian, and North Atlantic regions, respectively. For ages greater than 80 m.y. the geoid-age relation for the North Atlantic is nearly flat, indicating a reduction in the rate of boundary layer thickening with age. The uncertainties in the geoid slope-age estimates are positively correlated with spreading velocity.

Sandwell, DT, Schubert G.  1992.  Evidence for Retrograde Lithospheric Subduction on Venus. Science. 257:766-770.   10.1126/science.257.5071.766   AbstractWebsite

Annular moats and outer rises around large Venus coronae such as Artemis, Latona, and Eithinoha are similar in arcuate planform and topography to the trenches and outer rises of terrestrial subduction zones. On Earth, trenches and outer rises are modeled as the flexural response of a thin elastic lithosphere to the bending moment of the subducted slab; this lithospheric flexure model also accounts for the trenches and outer rises outboard of the major coronae on Venus. Accordingly, it is proposed that retrograde lithospheric subduction may be occurring on the margins of the large Venus coronae while compensating back-arc extension is occurring in the expanding coronae interiors. Similar processes may be taking place at other deep arcuate trenches or chasmata on Venus such as those in the Dali-Diana chasmata area of eastern Aphrodite Terra.

Sandwell, DT, Smith WHF, Gille S, Kappel E, Jayne S, Soofi K, Coakley B, Geli L.  2006.  Bathymetry from space: Rationale and requirements for a new, high-resolution altimetric mission. Comptes Rendus Geoscience. 338:1049-1062.   10.1016/j.crte.2006.05.014   AbstractWebsite

Bathymetry is foundational data, providing basic infrastructure for scientific, economic, educational, managerial, and political work. Applications as diverse as tsunami hazard assessment, communications cable and pipeline route planning, resource exploration, habitat management, and territorial claims under the Law of the Sea all require reliable bathymetric maps to be available on demand. Fundamental Earth science questions, such as what controls seafloor shape and how seafloor shape influences global climate, also cannot be answered without bathymetric maps having globally uniform detail. Current bathymetric, charts are inadequate for many of these applications because only a small fraction of the seafloor has been surveyed. Modern multibeam echosounders provide the best resolution, but it would take more than 200 ship-years and billions of dollars to complete the job. The seafloor topography can be charted globally, in five years, and at a cost under $100M. A radar altimeter mounted on an orbiting spacecraft can measure slight variations in ocean surface height, which reflect variations in the pull of gravity caused by seafloor topography. A new satellite altimeter mission, optimized to map the deep ocean bathymetry and gravity field, will provide a global map of the world's deep oceans at a resolution of 6-9 kin. This resolution threshold is critical for a large number of basic science and practical applications, including: determining the effects of bathymetry and seafloor roughness on ocean circulation, mixing, climate, and biological communities, habitats, and mobility; understanding the geologic processes responsible for ocean floor features unexplained by simple plate tectonics, such as abyssal hills, seamounts, microplates, and propagating rifts;. improving tsunami hazard forecast accuracy by mapping the deep-ocean topography that steers tsunami wave energy; mapping the marine gravity field to improve inertial navigation and provide homogeneous coverage of continental margins; providing bathymetric maps for numerous other practical applications, including reconnaissance for submarine cable and pipeline routes, improving tide models, and assessing potential territorial claims to the seabed under the United Nations Convention on the Law of the Sea. Because ocean bathymetry is a fundamental measurement of our planet, there is a broad spectrum of interest from government, the research community, industry, and the general public. Mission requirements. The resolution of the altimetry technique is limited by physical law, not instrument capability. Everything that can be mapped from space can be achieved now, and there is no gain in waiting for technological advances. Mission requirements for Bathymetry from Space are much less stringent and less costly than typical physical oceanography missions. Long-term sea-surface height accuracy is not needed; the fundamental measurement is the slope of the ocean surface to an accuracy of similar to 1 prad (1 mm km(-1)). The main mission requirements are: improved range precision (a factor of two or more improvement in altimeter range precision with respect to current altimeters is needed to reduce the noise due to ocean waves); - fine cross-track spacing and long mission duration (a ground track spacing of 6 km or less is required. A six-year mission would reduce the error by another factor of two); moderate inclination (existing satellite altimeters have relatively high orbital inclinations, thus their resolution of east-west components of ocean slope is poor at low latitudes. The new mission should have an orbital inclination close to 60 degrees or 120 degrees so as to resolve north-south and east-west components almost equally while still covering nearly all the world's ocean area); near-shore tracking (for applications near coastlines, the ability of the instrument to track the ocean surface close to shore, and acquire the surface soon after leaving land, is desirable).

Sandwell, DT, Zhang B.  1989.  Global Mesoscale Variability from the Geosat Exact Repeat Mission - Correlation with Ocean Depth. Journal of Geophysical Research-Oceans. 94:17971-17984.   10.1029/JC094iC12p17971   AbstractWebsite

We have developed a new technique for extracting global mesoscale variability from satellite altimeter profiles having large radial orbit error (∼3 m). Long-wavelength radial orbit error, as well as other long-wavelength errors (e.g., tides, ionospheric-atmospheric delay, and electromagnetic bias), are suppressed by taking the derivative (slope) of each altimeter profile. A low-pass filter is used to suppress the short-wavelength altimeter noise (λ<100 km). Twenty-two repeat slope profiles are then averaged to produce a mean sea surface slope profile having a precision of about 0.1 μrad. Variations in sea surface slope, which are proportional to changes in current velocity, are obtained by differencing individual profiles from the average profile. Slopes due to mesoscale dynamic topography are typically 1 μrad (i.e., a 0.1-m change in topography over a 100-km distance). Root-mean-square (rms) slope variability as low as 0.2 μrad are found in the southeast Pacific, and maximum slope variations up to 6–8 μrad are found in major western boundary currents (e.g., Gulf Stream, Kuroshio, Falkland, and Agulhas) and Antarctic Circum-polar Current (ACC) systems. The global rms variability map shows previously unknown spatial details that are highly correlated with seafloor topography. Over most areas, the rms slope variability is less than 1 μrad. However at mid-latitudes, areas of higher variability occur in deep water (>3 km) adjacent to continental shelves, spreading ridges, and oceanic plateaus. Variability is low in shallower areas (<3 km). Along the ACC, the meso-scale variability appears to be organized by the many shallow areas in its path. We do not see convincing evidence that variability is higher downstream from topographic protrusions. Instead, the areas of highest variability occur in the deep basins (>4km).

Sandwell, DT.  2001.  Plate tectonics; a Martian view. Plate tectonics; an insider's history of the modern theory of the Earth. ( Oreskes N, Le Grand H, Eds.)., Boulder, CO, United States (USA): Westview Press, Boulder, CO AbstractWebsite
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Sandwell, DT.  1984.  Thermomechanical Evolution of Oceanic Fracture-Zones. Journal of Geophysical Research. 89:1401-1413.   10.1029/JB089iB13p11401   AbstractWebsite

A fracture zone (FZ) model is constructed from existing models of the thermal and mechanical evolution of the oceanic lithosphere. As the lithosphere cools by conduction, thermal and mechanical boundary layers develop and increase in thickness as (age)1/2. Surface expressions of this development, such as topography and deflection of the vertical (i.e., gravity field), are most apparent along major FZ's because of the sharp age contrast. A simple model, including the effects of lateral heat transport but with no elastic layer, predicts that variations in seafloor depth and deflection of the vertical will become increasingly smooth and ultimately disappear as the FZ ages. Observations, however, show that both the FZ topography and the deflection of the vertical remain sharp as the FZ evolves. These two observations, as well as the observed asymmetry in deflection of the vertical profiles across the Udintsev, Romanche, and Mendocino FZ's, are explained by including a continuous elastic layer in the model. The asymmetry in deflection of the vertical is a consequence of elastic thickness variations across the FZ. Modeling also shows that the evolution of the FZ topography is extremely sensitive to the initial thermal structure near the ridge-transform intersection. Model geoid steps and their development with age are used to access techniques for measuring geoid offsets across FZ's. Reasonable step estimation techniques will underestimate the overall step amplitude by up to 50%. This implies that abnormally thin thermal boundary layers, derived from studies of geoid height versus age, are not required by the data.

Sandwell, D, Schubert G.  2010.  A contraction model for the flattening and equatorial ridge of Iapetus. Icarus. 210:817-822.   10.1016/j.icarus.2010.06.025   AbstractWebsite

Others have explained the excess flattening of Iapetus by a model in which the moon formed at a high spin rate, achieved isostatic equilibrium by very rapid interior heating caused by short-lived radioactive isotopes (SLRI), and subsequently cooled, locking in the excess flattening with respect to an equilibrium shape at its present spin rate. Here we propose an alternate model that does not require an unusually high initial spin rate or the SLRI. The initial formation of Iapetus results in a slightly oblate spheroid with porosity >10%. Radioactive heating by long-lived isotopes warms the interior to about 200 K, at which point it becomes ductile and the interior compacts by 10%, while the 120 km-thick exterior shell remains strong. The shell must deform to match the reduced volume of the ductile interior, and we propose that this deformation occurs along the equator, perhaps focused by a thinner equatorial shell. The final shape of the collapsed sphere matches the observed shape of Iapetus today, described as an oblate ellipse, except along the equator where strain concentration forms a broad ridge. To maintain this non-equilibrium shape, the thickness of the shell must exceed 120 km. Testing the equatorial focusing hypothesis will require a model that includes non-linear processes to account for the finite yield strength of the thick lithosphere. Nevertheless, we show that the stress in the lithosphere generated by the contraction of the interior is about 3 times greater than the stress needed to deform the lithosphere, so some type of lithospheric deformation is expected. (C) 2010 Elsevier Inc. All rights reserved.