Publications

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2018
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.

2016
Howell, S, Smith-Konter B, Frazer N, Tong XP, Sandwell D.  2016.  The vertical fingerprint of earthquake cycle loading in southern California. Nature Geoscience. 9:611-+.   10.1038/ngeo2741   AbstractWebsite

The San Andreas Fault System, one of the best-studied transform plate boundaries on Earth, is well known for its complex network of locked faults that slowly deform the crust in response to large-scale plate motions(1-8). Horizontal interseismic motions of the fault system are largely predictable, but vertical motions arising from tectonic sources remain enigmatic. Here we show that when carefully treated for spatial consistency, global positioning system-derived vertical velocities expose a small-amplitude (+/- 2mmyr(-1)), but spatially considerable (200 km), coherent pattern of uplift and subsidence straddling the fault system in southern California. We employ the statistical method of model selection to isolate this vertical velocity field fromnon-tectonic signals that induce velocity variations in both magnitude and direction across small distances (less than tens of kilometres; ref. 9), and find remarkable agreement with the sense of vertical motions predicted by physical earthquake cycle models spanning the past few centuries(6,10). We suggest that these motions reveal the subtle, but identifiable, tectonic fingerprint of far-field flexure due to more than 300 years of fault locking and creeping depth variability. Understanding this critical component of interseismic deformation at a complex strike-slip plate boundary will better constrain regional mechanics and crustal rheology, improving the quantification of seismic hazards in southern California and beyond.