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Wagner, CA, Sandwell DT.  1984.  The Gravsat Signal over Tectonic Features. Journal of Geophysical Research. 89:4419-4426.   10.1029/JB089iB06p04419   AbstractWebsite

The range rate between two close gravitational satellites (GRAVSAT) in low earth orbit has been evaluated over model tectonic features such as mountains and ranges, fracture zones, and trenches. Models are locally compensated and consist of both point mass dipoles and sheet mass dipoles. Masses and depths of compensation are chosen to approximate known gravity signatures. The results show that for two satellites at 160 km altitude with 3° separation, significant signal power (>1 μm/s) remains for most extended features at wavelengths less than 200 km. Furthermore, there is strong sensitivity in the signal from these features to lateral and vertical changes of the order of 1 km and less. In addition, the signal of hidden geologic structures such as dikes, salt domes, and ore bodies may also stand above 1 μm/s for this low orbiting pair. Thus, it may prove to be efficient to model the high-frequency GRAVSAT signal directly in terms of the parameters of tectonic-topographic features and their compensation.

Watson, KM, Bock Y, Sandwell DT.  2002.  Satellite interferometric observations of displacements associated with seasonal groundwater in the Los Angeles basin. Journal of Geophysical Research-Solid Earth. 107   10.1029/2001jb000470   AbstractWebsite

[1] The Newport-Inglewood fault zone (NIFZ) displays interferometric synthetic aperture radar (SAR) phase features along most of its length having amplitudes of up to 60 mm. However, interpretation in terms of right-lateral, shallow slip along the fault fails to match the range of geologic estimates of slip. Recently, Bawden et al. [2001] proposed that these phase features, as well as a broader deformation pattern in the Los Angeles basin, are due to vertical motion related to annual variations in the elevation of the water table. We confirm this hypothesis through the analysis of a longer span of data consisting of 26 SAR images collected by the ERS-1 and ERS-2 spacecraft between June 1992 and June 2000. Moreover, we use continuous GPS measurements from 1995 to the present to establish the amplitude and phase of the vertical deformation. The Los Angeles basin becomes most inflated one quarter of the way through the year, which is consistent with water table measurements as well as with the end of the rainy season when the aquifer should be at a maximum. The spatial pattern of the amplitude of the annual signal derived from continuous GPS measurements is consistent with the shape of the interferometric fringes. GPS sites both near the NIFZ and in a 20 by 40 km zone within the basin also show significant N-S annual variations that may be related to the differential expansion across the fault. Since these horizontal signals have peak-to-trough amplitudes of 6 mm, they mask the smaller tectonic signals and need to be taken into account when interpreting GPS time series of site position. Moreover, since the groundwater signal appears to have a long-term vertical trend which varies in sign depending on location, it will be difficult to distinguish interseismic tectonic slip along the NIFZ and within the affected areas in the basin.

Watts, AB, Sandwell DT, Smith WHF, Wessel P.  2006.  Global gravity, bathymetry, and the distribution of submarine volcanism through space and time. Journal of Geophysical Research-Solid Earth. 111   10.1029/2005jb004083   AbstractWebsite

[ 1] The seafloor is characterized by numerous seamounts and oceanic islands which are mainly volcanic in origin. Relatively few of these features (< similar to 0.1%), however, have been dated, and so little is known about their tectonic setting. One parameter that is sensitive to whether a seamount formed on, near, or far from a mid-ocean ridge is the elastic thickness, T(e), which is a proxy for the long-term strength of the lithosphere. Most previous studies are based on using the bathymetry to calculate the gravity anomaly for different values of T(e) and then comparing the calculated and observed gravity anomaly. The problem with such an approach is that bathymetry data are usually limited to single-beam echo sounder data acquired along a ship track and these data are too sparse to define seamount shape. We therefore use the satellite-derived gravity anomaly to predict the bathymetry for different values of T(e). By comparing the predicted bathymetry to actual shipboard soundings in the vicinity of each locality in the Wessel global seamount database, we have obtained 9758 T(e) estimates from a wide range of submarine volcanic features in the Pacific, Indian, and Atlantic oceans. Comparisons where there are previous estimates show that bathymetric prediction is a robust way to estimate T(e) and its upper and lower bounds. T(e) at sites where there is both a sample and crustal age show considerable scatter, however, and there is no simple relationship between T(e) and age. Nevertheless, we are able to tentatively assign a tectonic setting to each T(e) estimate. The most striking results are in the Pacific Ocean where a broad swath of "on-ridge'' volcanism extends from the Foundation seamounts and Ducie Island/Easter Island ridge in the southeast, across the equator, to the Shatsky and Hess rises in the northwest. Interspersed among the on-ridge volcanism are "flank ridge'' and "off-ridge'' features. The Indian and Atlantic oceans also show a mix of tectonic settings. Off-ridge volcanism dominates in the eastern North Atlantic and northeast Indian oceans, while flank ridge volcanism dominates the northeastern Indian and western south Atlantic oceans. We have been unable to assign the flank ridge and off-ridge estimates an age, but the on-ridge estimates generally reflect, we believe, the age of the underlying oceanic crust. We estimate the volume of on-ridge volcanism to be similar to 1.1 x 10(6) km(3) which implies a mean seamount addition rate of similar to 0.007 km(3) yr(-1). Rates appear to have varied through geological time, reaching their peak during the Late/Early Cretaceous and then declining to the present-day.

Wdowinski, S, Smith-Konter B, Bock Y, Sandwell D.  2007.  Diffuse interseismic deformation across the Pacific-North America plate boundary. Geology. 35:311-314.   10.1130/g22938a.1   AbstractWebsite

Crustal movements and deformation within the diffuse Pacific-North America (Pa-NA) plate boundary are dominated by the right-lateral motion between the two plates. By using the Pa-NA pole of rotation (PoR) spherical coordinate system, we decompose observed crustal movements into parallel and normal components to the Pa-NA plate motion. We transformed the 840 velocity vectors of the Southern California Earthquake Center (SCEC) 3.0 velocity field into the Pa-NA PoR system in order to characterize the interseismic velocity across the plate boundary. Our results show that despite the very different deformation styles occurring across the San Andreas fault, the fault trace follows the half plate motion contour. Deviation occurs in the southern section, where the half motion contour correlates with the San Jacinto and Imperial fault segments. Our analysis yields interesting asymmetric patterns in both parallel and normal components. The parallel component shows asymmetrical velocity gradients across the San Andreas fault, and the normal component indicates compression southwest of the Big Bend, but not northeastward. The observations are compared with viscoelastic modeling results, which show a similar velocity field. The main disagreements between the observations and the model are in a narrow band along the San Andreas fault and in the Mojave block, suggesting that crustal heterogeneities and additional unmodeled fault segments should be considered in future models.

Wei, M, Sandwell D.  2006.  Estimates of heat flow from Cenozoic seafloor using global depth and age data. Tectonophysics. 417:325-335.   10.1016/j.tecto.2006.02.004   AbstractWebsite

The total heat output of the Earth constrains models of mantle and core dynamics. Previously published estimates (42-44 TW) have recently been questioned because the measured conductive heat flow on young oceanic lithosphere is about a factor of 2 less than the expected heat flow based on half-space cooling models. Taking the conductive ocean heat flow values at face value reduces the global heat flow from 44 to 31 TW, which has major implications for geodynamics and Earth history. To help resolve this issue, we develop a new method of estimating total oceanic heat flow from depth and age data. The overall elevation of the global ridge system, relative to the deep ocean basins, provides an independent estimate of the total heat content of the lithosphere. Heat flow is proportional to the measured subsidence rate times the heat capacity divided by the thermal expansion coefficient. The largest uncertainty in this method is due to uncertainties in the thermal expansion coefficient and heat capacity. Scalar subsidence rate is computed from gradients of depth and age grids. The method cannot be applied over very young seafloor (< 3 Ma) where age gradient is discontinuous and the assumption of isostasy is invalid. Between 3 and 66 Ma, the new estimates are in agreement with half-space cooling model. Our rnodel-independent estimate of the total heat output of Cenozoic seafloor is 18.6 to 20.5 TW, which leads to a global output of 42 to 44 TW in agreement with previous studies. (c) 2006 Elsevier B.V. All rights reserved.

Wei, M, Sandwell DT.  2010.  Decorrelation of L-Band and C-Band Interferometry Over Vegetated Areas in California. IEEE Transactions on Geoscience and Remote Sensing. 48:2942-2952.   10.1109/tgrs.2010.2043442   AbstractWebsite

Temporal decorrelation is one of the main limitations for recovering interseismic deformation along the San Andreas Fault system using interferometric synthetic aperture radar. To assess the improved correlation properties of L-band with respect to C-band, we analyzed L-band Advanced Land Observation Satellite (ALOS) interferograms with a range of temporal and spatial baselines over three vegetated areas in California and compared them with corresponding C-band European Remote Sensing Satellite (ERS) interferograms. Over the highly vegetated Northern California forests in the Coast Range area, ALOS remains remarkably well correlated over a 2-year period, whereas an ERS interferogram with a similar temporal and spatial baseline lost correlation. In Central California near Parkfield, we found a similar pattern in decorrelation behavior, which enabled the recovery of a fault creep and a local uplifting signal at L-band that was not apparent at C-band. In the Imperial Valley in Southern California, both ALOS and ERS have low correlation over farmlands. ALOS has lower correlation over some sandy surfaces than ERS, probably due to low signal-to-noise ratio. In general, L-band interferograms with similar seasonal acquisitions have higher correlation than those with dissimilar season. For both L-and C-band, correlation over vegetated areas decreases with time for intervals less than 1 year and then remains relatively constant at longer time intervals. The decorrelation time for L-band is more than 2 years in the forest in California whereas that for C-band is less than 6 months. Overall, these results suggest that L-band interferograms will reveal near-fault interseismic deformation once sufficient data become available.

Wei, M, Sandwell D, Fialko Y.  2009.  A silent M-w 4.7 slip event of October 2006 on the Superstition Hills fault, southern California. Journal of Geophysical Research-Solid Earth. 114   10.1029/2008jb006135   AbstractWebsite

During October 2006, the 20-km-long Superstition Hills fault (SHF) in the Salton Trough, southern California, slipped aseismically, producing a maximum offset of 27 mm, as recorded by a creepmeter. We investigate this creep event as well as the spatial and temporal variations in slip history since 1992 using ERS-1/2 and Envisat satellite data. During a 15-year period, steady creep is punctuated by at least three events. The first two events were dynamically triggered by the 1992 Landers and 1999 Hector Mine earthquakes. In contrast, there is no obvious triggering mechanism for the October 2006 event. Field measurements of fault offset after the 1999 and 2006 events are in good agreement with the interferometric synthetic aperture radar data indicating that creep occurred along the 20-km-long fault above 4 km depth, with most of the slip occurring at the surface. The moment released during this event is equivalent to a M-w 4.7 earthquake. This event produced no detectable aftershocks and was not recorded by the continuous GPS stations that were 9 km away. Modeling of the long-term creep from 1992 to 2007 creep using stacked ERS-1/2 interferograms also shows a maximum creep depth of 2-4 km, with slip tapering with depth. Considering that the sediment thickness varies between 3 km and 5 km along the SHF, our results are consistent with previous studies suggesting that shallow creep is controlled by sediment depth, perhaps due to high pore pressures in the unconsolidated sediments.

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.

Wei, M, Sandwell D, Smith-Konter B.  2010.  Optimal combination of InSAR and GPS for measuring interseismic crustal deformation. Advances in Space Research. 46:236-249.   10.1016/j.asr.2010.03.013   AbstractWebsite

High spatial resolution measurements of interseismic deformation along major faults are critical for understanding the earthquake cycle and for assessing earthquake hazard. We propose a new remove/filter/restore technique to optimally combine GPS and InSAR data to measure interseismic crustal deformation, considering the spacing of GPS stations in California and the characteristics of interseismic signal and noise using InSAR. To constrain the longer wavelengths (>40 km) we use GPS measurements, combined with a dislocation model, and for the shorter wavelength information we rely on InSAR measurements. Expanding the standard techniques, which use a planar ramp to remove long wavelength error, we use a Gaussian filter technique. Our method has the advantage of increasing the signal-to-noise ratio, controlling the variance of atmosphere error, and being isotropic. Our theoretical analysis indicates this technique can improve the signal-to-noise ratio by up to 20%. We test this method along three segments of the San Andreas Fault (Southern section near Salton Sea, Creeping section near Parkfield and Mojave/Big Bend section near Los Angeles), and find improvements of 26%, 11% and 8% in these areas, respectively. Our data shows a zone of uplift to the west of the Creeping section of the San Andreas Fault and an area of subsidence near the city of Lancaster. This work suggests that after only 5 years of data collection, ALOS interferograms will provide a major improvement in measuring details of interseismic deformation. (C) 2010 COSPAR. Published by Elsevier Ltd. All rights reserved.

Wessel, P, Sandwell DT, Kim SS.  2010.  The Global Seamount Census. Oceanography. 23:24-33. AbstractWebsite

Seamounts are active or extinct undersea volcanoes with heights exceeding similar to 100 m. They represent a small but significant fraction of the volcanic extrusive budget for oceanic seafloor and their distribution gives information about spatial and temporal variations in intraplate volcanic activity. In addition, they sustain important ecological communities, determine habitats for fish, and act as obstacles to Currents, thus enhancing tidal energy dissipation and ocean mixing. Mapping the complete global distribution will help constrain models of seamount formation as well as aid in understanding marine habitats and deep ocean circulation. Two approaches have been used to map the global seamount distribution. Depth soundings from single- and multibeam echosounders can provide the most detailed maps with up to 200-m horizontal resolution. However, soundings from the > 5000 publicly available cruises sample only a small fraction of the ocean floor. Satellite altimetry can detect seamounts taller than similar to 1.5 km, and. studies using altimetry have produced seamount catalogues holding almost 13,000 seamounts. Based on the size-frequency relationship for larger seamounts, we predict over 100,000 seamounts > 1 km in height remain uncharted, and speculatively 25 million > 100 m in height. Future altimetry missions could improve on resolution and significantly decrease noise levels, allowing for an even larger number of intermediate (1-1.5-km height) seamounts to be detected. Recent retracking of the radar altimeter waveforms to improve the accuracy of the gravity field has resulted in a twofold increase in resolution. Thus, improved analyses of existing altimetry with better calibration from multibeam bathymetry could also increase census estimates.

Winterer, EL, Sandwell DT.  1987.  Evidence from EN-Echelon Cross-Grain Ridges for Tensional Cracks in the Pacific Plate. Nature. 329:534-537.   10.1038/329534a0   AbstractWebsite

Sea-floor topography in the Pacific is mainly aligned with original spreading directions1, but is overprinted by alignments created by mid-plate processes. Spreading produces abyssal hills and fracture zones, and mid-plate volcanism generates seamounts, isolated or in chains. A different category of topography, the 'Cross-grain', discovered in geoid-height data collected by the Seasat radar altimeter2, comprises linear troughs and swells spaced ~200 km apart, oblique to fracture zones and abyssal hills but parallel to the Hawaiian chain. Three models have been proposed for the Cross-grain: small-scale convection, organized into longitudinal rolls by the shear of the Pacific Plate2; compressive buckling3; and lithospheric boudinage resulting from plate-wide tensile stresses4,5. None of the previously available data ruled out any of these models. Here we report multi-beam bathymetric data revealing long, narrow en-echelon ridges along the Cross-grain, interpreted as evidence of tension cracks in the Pacific plate.