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2018
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.

2016
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).

2015
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.

2014
Smith-Konter, BR, Thornton GM, Sandwell DT.  2014.  Vertical crustal displacement due to interseismic deformation along the San Andreas fault: Constraints from tide gauges. Geophysical Research Letters. 41:3793-3801.   10.1002/2014gl060091   AbstractWebsite

Interseismic motion along complex strike-slip fault systems such as the San Andreas Fault System (SAFS) can produce vertical velocities that are similar to 10 times smaller than horizontal velocities, caused by along-strike variations in fault orientation and locking depth. Tide gauge stations provide a long (50-100 year) recording history of sea level change due to several oceanographic and geologic processes, including vertical earthquake cycle deformation. Here we compare relative sea level displacements with predictions from a 3-D elastic/viscoelastic earthquake cycle model of the SAFS. We find that models with lithospheric structure reflecting a thick elastic plate (> 50km) and moderate viscosities produce vertical motions in surprisingly good agreement with the relative tide gauge uplift rates. These results suggest that sea level variations along the California coastline contain a small but identifiable tectonic signal reflecting the flexure of the elastic plate caused by bending moments applied at the ends of locked faults.

2013
Tong, X, Sandwell DT, Smith-Konter B.  2013.  High-resolution interseismic velocity data along the San Andreas Fault from GPS and InSAR. Journal of Geophysical Research-Solid Earth. 118:369-389.   10.1029/2012jb009442   AbstractWebsite

We compared four interseismic velocity models of the San Andreas Fault based on GPS observations. The standard deviations of the predicted secular velocity from the four models are larger north of the San Francisco Bay area, near the creeping segment in Central California, and along the San Jacinto Fault and the East California Shear Zone in Southern California. A coherence spectrum analysis of the secular velocity fields indicates relatively high correlation among the four models at longer wavelengths (>15-40 km), with lower correlation at shorter wavelengths. To improve the short-wavelength accuracy of the interseismic velocity model, we integrated interferometric synthetic aperture radar (InSAR) observations, initially from Advanced Land Observing Satellite (ALOS) ascending data (spanning from the middle of 2006 to the end of 2010, totaling more than 1100 interferograms), with GPS observations using a Sum/Remove/Filter/Restore approach. The final InSAR line of sight data match the point GPS observations with a mean absolute deviation of 1.5 mm/yr. We systematically evaluated the fault creep rates along major faults of the San Andreas Fault and compared them with creepmeters and alignment array data compiled in Uniform California Earthquake Rupture Forecast, Version 2 (UCERF2). Moreover, this InSAR line of sight dataset can constrain rapid velocity gradients near the faults, which are critical for understanding the along-strike variations in stress accumulation rate and associated earthquake hazard. Citation: Tong, X., D. T. Sandwell, and B. Smith-Konter (2013), High-resolution interseismic velocity data along the San Andreas Fault from GPS and InSAR, J. Geophys. Res. Solid Earth, 118, 369-389, doi:10.1029/2012JB009442.

2011
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.

2007
Luttrell, K, Sandwell D, Smith-Konter B, Bills B, Bock Y.  2007.  Modulation of the earthquake cycle at the southern San Andreas fault by lake loading. Journal of Geophysical Research-Solid Earth. 112   10.1029/2006jb004752   AbstractWebsite

Changes in the level of ancient Lake Cahuilla over the last 1500 years in the Salton Trough alter the state of stress by bending the lithosphere in response to the applied lake load and by varying the pore pressure magnitude within the crust. The recurrence interval of the lake is similar to the recurrence interval of rupture on the southern San Andreas and San Jacinto faults, both of which are partially covered by the lake at its highstand. Furthermore, four of the last five ruptures on the southern San Andreas fault have occurred near a time of substantial lake level change. We investigate the effect of Coulomb stress perturbations on local faults due to changing level of Lake Cahuilla to determine a possible role for the lake in affecting the timing of fault rupture. Coulomb stress is calculated with a three-dimensional model of an elastic plate overlying a viscoelastic half-space. Plate thickness and half-space relaxation time are adjusted to match observed vertical deformation since the last lake highstand. The lake cycle causes positive and negative Coulomb stress perturbations of 0.2-0.6 MPa on the southern San Andreas within the lake and 0.1-0.2 MPa on the southern San Andreas outside the lake. These Coulomb stress perturbations are comparable to stress magnitudes known to have triggered events at other faults along the North America-Pacific plate boundary.

2003
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.

2002
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.