Publications

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Journal Article
Wei, M, Sandwell D, Fialko Y, Bilham R.  2011.  Slip on faults in the Imperial Valley triggered by the 4 April 2010 Mw 7.2 El Mayor-Cucapah earthquake revealed by InSAR. Geophysical Research Letters. 38   10.1029/2010gl045235   AbstractWebsite

Radar interferometry (InSAR), field measurements and creepmeters reveal surface slip on multiple faults in the Imperial Valley triggered by the main shock of the 4 April 2010 El Mayor-Cucapah M(w) 7.2 earthquake. Co-seismic offsets occurred on the San Andreas, Superstition Hills, Imperial, Elmore Ranch, Wienert, Coyote Creek, Elsinore, Yuha, and several minor faults near the town of Ocotillo at the northern end of the mainshock rupture. We documented right-lateral slip (<40 mm) on northwest-striking faults and left-lateral slip (<40 mm) on southwest-striking faults. Slip occurred on 15-km- and 20-km-long segments of the San Andreas Fault in the Mecca Hills (<= 50 mm) and Durmid Hill (<= 10 mm) respectively, and on 25 km of the Superstition Hills Fault (<= 37 mm). Field measurements of slip on the Superstition Hills Fault agree with InSAR and creepmeter measurements to within a few millimeters. Dislocation models of the InSAR data from the Superstition Hills Fault confirm that creep in this sequence, as in previous slip events, is confined to shallow depths (<3 km). Citation: Wei, M., D. Sandwell, Y. Fialko, and R. Bilham (2011), Slip on faults in the Imperial Valley triggered by the 4 April 2010 Mw 7.2 El Mayor-Cucapah earthquake revealed by InSAR, Geophys. Res. Lett., 38, L01308, doi:10.1029/2010GL045235.

Xu, XH, Ward LA, Jiang JL, Smith-Konter B, Tymofyeyeva E, Lindsey EO, Sylvester AG, Sandwell DT.  2018.  Surface creep rate of the southern San Andreas Fault modulated by stress perturbations from nearby large events. Geophysical Research Letters. 45:10259-10268.   10.1029/2018gl080137   AbstractWebsite

A major challenge for understanding the physics of shallow fault creep has been to observe and model the long-term effect of stress changes on creep rate. Here we investigate the surface creep along the southern San Andreas fault (SSAF) using data from interferometric synthetic aperture radar spanning over 25 years (ERS 1992-1999, ENVISAT 2003-2010, and Sentinel-1 2014-present). The main result of this analysis is that the average surface creep rate increased after the Landers event and then decreased by a factor of 2-7 over the past few decades. We consider quasi-static and dynamic Coulomb stress changes on the SSAF due to these three major events. From our analysis, the elevated creep rates after the Landers can only be explained by static stress changes, indicating that even in the presence of dynamically triggered creep, static stress changes may have a long-lasting effect on SSAF creep rates. Plain Language Summary There are two significant conclusions from this study. First, we analyzed 25 years of InSAR measurements over the Southern San Andreas Fault system to document a major increase in the average creep rate following the 1992 Mw 7.3 Landers Earthquake which is then followed by creep rate reductions after the 1999 Mw 7.1 Hector Mine Earthquake and the 2010 Mw 7.2 El Major Cucapah Earthquake. Second, we attribute all these creep rate changes to the Coulomb stress variations from these three major Earthquakes. The dynamic Coulomb stress changes are similar for all three events, contributing to triggered creep on the SSAF. In contrast, the static Coulomb stress changes on the SSAF are positive after the Landers and negative after the Hector Mine and El Major Cucapah, coinciding with the higher average creep rate after the Landers and lower rates after the other two events. An implication of this study is that small but steady Coulomb stress changes have a larger impact on shallow creep than the larger dynamic stress changes associated with passing seismic waves. These results illuminate the significance of time scale-dependent complexity of shallow fault creep and how these behaviors are communicated by stress perturbations from regional earthquakes.

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.

Bassett, D, Sandwell DT, Fialko Y, Watts AB.  2016.  Upper-plate controls on co-seismic slip in the 2011 magnitude 9.0 Tohoku-oki earthquake. Nature. 531:92-96.: Nature Publishing Group   10.1038/nature16945   Abstract

The March 2011 Tohoku-oki earthquake was only the second giant (moment magnitude Mw ≥ 9.0) earthquake to occur in the last 50 years and is the most recent to be recorded using modern geophysical techniques. Available data place high-resolution constraints on the kinematics of earthquake rupture, which have challenged prior knowledge about how much a fault can slip in a single earthquake and the seismic potential of a partially coupled megathrust interface. But it is not clear what physical or structural characteristics controlled either the rupture extent or the amplitude of slip in this earthquake. Here we use residual topography and gravity anomalies to constrain the geological structure of the overthrusting (upper) plate offshore northeast Japan. These data reveal an abrupt southwest–northeast-striking boundary in upper-plate structure, across which gravity modelling indicates a south-to-north increase in the density of rocks overlying the megathrust of 150–200 kilograms per cubic metre. We suggest that this boundary represents the offshore continuation of the Median Tectonic Line, which onshore juxtaposes geological terranes composed of granite batholiths (in the north) and accretionary complexes (in the south). The megathrust north of the Median Tectonic Line is interseismically locked, has a history of large earthquakes (18 with Mw > 7 since 1896) and produced peak slip exceeding 40 metres in the Tohoku-oki earthquake. In contrast, the megathrust south of this boundary has higher rates of interseismic creep, has not generated an earthquake with MJ > 7 (local magnitude estimated by the Japan Meteorological Agency) since 1923, and experienced relatively minor (if any) co-seismic slip in 20111. We propose that the structure and frictional properties of the overthrusting plate control megathrust coupling and seismogenic behaviour in northeast Japan.

Shum, CK, Werner RA, Sandwell DT, Zhang BH, Nerem RS, Tapley BD.  1990.  Variations of Global Mesoscale Eddy Energy Observed from GEOSAT. Journal of Geophysical Research-Oceans. 95:17865-&.   10.1029/JC095iC10p17865   AbstractWebsite

The global distribution of eddy kinetic energy has been synoptically observed from analysis of the Geosat Exact Repeat Mission (ERM) altimeter data collected for a 2-year period from November 1986 through November 1988. Using a technique developed by Sandwell and Zhang (1989), altimeter data from forty-four 17-day repeat cycles (2 years) were processed into sea surface slopes along the satellite ground track, averaged, and filtered to produce a mean sea surface slope profile having an estimated accuracy of 0.2 μrad (2 cm sea level change over 100 km distance). A series of global eddy kinetic energy maps, each averaged over 3 months, and their mean were then generated. The maximum mean eddy kinetic energy per unit mass exceeds 2000 cm^2/s^2 for most of the western boundary currents; however, it only reaches approximately 500 cm^2/s^2 for the Antarctic Circumpolar Current (ACC). More than 65% of the world ocean has relatively low variability with an eddy kinetic energy of less than 300 cm^2/s^2. Results obtained from this study are in general agreement with other Geosat ocean variability studies (e.g., Zlotnicki et al., 1989). However, significantly higher variability is found when compared with either Seasat or ship drift data. Significant seasonal variations were found in the Gulf Stream and Kuroshio currents. The ACC system exhibits no apparent seasonal variation.

Map
Sandwell, DT, Lawver LA, Dalziel IWD, Smith WHF, Wiederspahn M.  1992.  ANTARCTICA Gravity Anomaly and Infrared Satellite Image, USGS MAP 1-2284. : U.S. Geol. Survey Abstract
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