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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.

Tong, X, Sandwell DT, Schmidt DA.  2018.  Surface creep rate and moment accumulation rate along the Aceh segment of the Sumatran Fault from L-band ALOS-1/PALSAR-1 observations. Geophysical Research Letters. 45:3404-3412.   10.1002/2017gl076723   AbstractWebsite

We analyzed the interferometric synthetic aperture radar data from the ALOS-1/PALSAR-1 satellite to image the interseismic deformation along the Sumatran fault. The interferometric synthetic aperture radar time series analysis reveals up to similar to 20 mm/year of aseismic creep on the Aceh segment along the Northern Sumatran fault. This is a large fraction of the total slip rate across this fault. The spatial extent of the aseismic creep extends for similar to 100 km. The along-strike variation of the aseismic creep has an inverse "U" shape. An analysis of the moment accumulation rate shows that the central part of the creeping section accumulates moment at approximately 50% of the rate of the surrounding locked segments. An initial analysis of temporal variations suggests that the creep rate may be decelerating with time, suggesting that the creep rate is adjusting to a stress perturbation from nearby seismic activity. Our study has implications to the earthquake hazard along the northern Sumatran fault.

Tong, XP, Sandwell DT, Smith-Konter B.  2015.  An integral method to estimate the moment accumulation rate on the Creeping Section of the San Andreas Fault. Geophysical Journal International. 203:48-62.   10.1093/gji/ggv269   AbstractWebsite

Moment accumulation rate (also referred to as moment deficit rate) is a fundamental quantity for evaluating seismic hazard. The conventional approach for evaluating moment accumulation rate of creeping faults is to invert for the slip distribution from geodetic measurements, although even with perfect data these slip-rate inversions are non-unique. In this study, we show that the slip-rate versus depth inversion is not needed because moment accumulation rate can be estimated directly from surface geodetic data. We propose an integral approach that uses dense geodetic observations from Interferometric Synthetic Aperture Radar (InSAR) and the Global Positioning System (GPS) to constrain the moment accumulation rate. The moment accumulation rate is related to the integral of the product of the along-strike velocity and the distance from the fault. We demonstrate our methods by studying the Creeping Section of the San Andreas fault observed by GPS and radar interferometry onboard the ERS and ALOS satellites. Along-strike variation of the moment accumulation rate is derived in order to investigate the degree of partial locking of the Creeping Section. The central Creeping Segment has a moment accumulation rate of 0.25-3.1 x 10(15) Nm yr(-1) km(-1). The upper and lower bounds of the moment accumulation rates are derived based on the statistics of the noise. Our best-fitting model indicates that the central portion of the Creeping Section is accumulating seismic moment at rates that are about 5 per cent to 23 per cent of the fully locked Carrizo segment that will eventually be released seismically. A cumulative moment budget calculation with the historical earthquake catalogue (M > 5.5) since 1857 shows that the net moment deficit at present is equivalent to a M-w 6.3 earthquake.

Lindsey, EO, Fialko Y, Bock Y, Sandwell DT, Bilham R.  2014.  Localized and distributed creep along the southern San Andreas Fault. Journal of Geophysical Research-Solid Earth. 119:7909-7922.   10.1002/2014jb011275   AbstractWebsite

We investigate the spatial pattern of surface creep and off-fault deformation along the southern segment of the San Andreas Fault using a combination of multiple interferometric synthetic aperture radar viewing geometries and survey-mode GPS occupations of a dense array crossing the fault. Radar observations from Envisat during the period 2003-2010 were used to separate the pattern of horizontal and vertical motion, providing a high-resolution image of uplift and shallow creep along the fault trace. The data reveal pervasive shallow creep along the southernmost 50 km of the fault. Creep is localized on a well-defined fault trace only in the Mecca Hills and Durmid Hill areas, while elsewhere creep appears to be distributed over a 1-2 km wide zone surrounding the fault. The degree of strain localization is correlated with variations in the local fault strike. Using a two-dimensional boundary element model, we show that stresses resulting from slip on a curved fault can promote or inhibit inelastic failure within the fault zone in a pattern matching the observations. The occurrence of shallow, localized interseismic fault creep within mature fault zones may thus be partly controlled by the local fault geometry and normal stress, with implications for models of fault zone evolution, shallow coseismic slip deficit, and geologic estimates of long-term slip rates. Key PointsShallow creep is pervasive along the southernmost 50 km of the San Andreas FaultCreep is localized only along transpressional fault segmentsIn transtensional areas, creep is distributed over a 1-2 km wide fault zone

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.

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.

Smith, B, Sandwell D.  2003.  Coulomb stress accumulation along the San Andreas Fault system. Journal of Geophysical Research-Solid Earth. 108   10.1029/2002jb002136   AbstractWebsite

[1] Stress accumulation rates along the primary segments of the San Andreas Fault system are computed using a three-dimensional (3-D) elastic half-space model with realistic fault geometry. The model is developed in the Fourier domain by solving for the response of an elastic half-space due to a point vector body force and analytically integrating the force from a locking depth to infinite depth. This approach is then applied to the San Andreas Fault system using published slip rates along 18 major fault strands of the fault zone. GPS-derived horizontal velocity measurements spanning the entire 1700 x 200 km region are then used to solve for apparent locking depth along each primary fault segment. This simple model fits remarkably well (2.43 mm/yr RMS misfit), although some discrepancies occur in the Eastern California Shear Zone. The model also predicts vertical uplift and subsidence rates that are in agreement with independent geologic and geodetic estimates. In addition, shear and normal stresses along the major fault strands are used to compute Coulomb stress accumulation rate. As a result, we find earthquake recurrence intervals along the San Andreas Fault system to be inversely proportional to Coulomb stress accumulation rate, in agreement with typical coseismic stress drops of 1-10 MPa. This 3-D deformation model can ultimately be extended to include both time-dependent forcing and viscoelastic response.

Lyons, S, Sandwell D.  2003.  Fault creep along the southern San Andreas from interferometric synthetic aperture radar, permanent scatterers, and stacking. Journal of Geophysical Research-Solid Earth. 108   10.1029/2002jb001831   AbstractWebsite

[1] Interferometric synthetic aperture radar (InSAR) provides a practical means of mapping creep along major strike-slip faults. The small amplitude of the creep signal (<10 mm/yr), combined with its short wavelength, makes it difficult to extract from long time span interferograms, especially in agricultural or heavily vegetated areas. We utilize two approaches to extract the fault creep signal from 37 ERS SAR images along the southern San Andreas Fault. First, amplitude stacking is utilized to identify permanent scatterers, which are then used to weight the interferogram prior to spatial filtering. This weighting improves correlation and also provides a mask for poorly correlated areas. Second, the unwrapped phase is stacked to reduce tropospheric and other short-wavelength noise. This combined processing enables us to recover the near-field (&SIM;200 m) slip signal across the fault due to shallow creep. Displacement maps from 60 interferograms reveal a diffuse secular strain buildup, punctuated by localized interseismic creep of 4-6 mm/yr line of sight (LOS, 12-18 mm/yr horizontal). With the exception of Durmid Hill, this entire segment of the southern San Andreas experienced right-lateral triggered slip of up to 10 cm during the 3.5-year period spanning the 1992 Landers earthquake. The deformation change following the 1999 Hector Mine earthquake was much smaller (<1 cm) and broader than for the Landers event. Profiles across the fault during the interseismic phase show peak-to-trough amplitude ranging from 15 to 25 mm/yr (horizontal component) and the minimum misfit models show a range of creeping/locking depth values that fit the data.