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Journal Article
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.

Gonzalez-Ortega, JA, Gonzalez-Garcia JJ, Sandwell DT.  2018.  Interseismic velocity field and seismic moment release in northern Baja California, Mexico. Seismological Research Letters. 89:526-533.   10.1785/0220170133   AbstractWebsite

We have analyzed all available continuous Global Positioning System (cGPS) and campaign-mode GPS data from northern Baja California, Mexico, covering the 1993.1-2010.1 period to obtain a consistent interseismic velocity field to derive a continuous strain-rate field. The analysis shows concentrations of high strain rate along the Imperial/Cerro Prieto fault system extending from the Salton Sea to the Gulf of California, with strike-slip faulting consistent with principal strain axes direction within the area of largest historical and instrumental seismic release. We translated the strain rate into geodetic moment accumulation rate to evaluate the potential of seismic activity of the region and compare with the actual seismic release of historical and instrumental earthquake catalog. Comparison of regional moment accumulation rate based on geodesy (M-0(g) = 6.3 +/- 1.3 x 10(18) N center dot m/yr) to the corresponding moment release rate by earthquakes (M-0(s) = 2.7 +/- 0.8 x 10(18) N center dot m/yr) highlights a moment rate deficit equivalent to an M-w 7.5-7.8 earthquake. As part of this accumulated moment was released by the recent 2010 M-w 7.2 El Mayor-Cucapah earthquake, these results can provide input constraints on earthquake forecasts for the northern Baja California fault system.

Tong, XP, Smith-Konter B, Sandwell DT.  2014.  Is there a discrepancy between geological and geodetic slip rates along the San Andreas Fault System? Journal of Geophysical Research-Solid Earth. 119:2518-2538.   10.1002/2013jb010765   AbstractWebsite

Previous inversions for slip rate along the San Andreas Fault System (SAFS), based on elastic half-space models, show a discrepancy between the geologic and geodetic slip rates along a few major fault segments. In this study, we use an earthquake cycle model representing an elastic plate over a viscoelastic half-space to demonstrate that there is no significant discrepancy between long-term geologic and geodetic slip rates. The California statewide model includes 41 major fault segments having steady slip from the base of the locked zone to the base of the elastic plate and episodic shallow slip based on known historical ruptures and geologic recurrence intervals. The slip rates are constrained by 1981 secular velocity measurements from GPS and L-band intereferometric synthetic aperture radar. A model with a thick elastic layer (60 km) and half-space viscosity of 10(19)Pa s is preferred because it produces the smallest misfit to both the geologic and the geodetic data. We find that the geodetic slip rates from the thick plate model agrees to within the bounds of the geologic slip rates, while the rates from the elastic half-space model disagree on specific important fault segments such as the Mojave and the North Coast segment of the San Andreas Fault. The viscoelastic earthquake cycle models have generally higher slip rates than the half-space model because most of the faults along the SAFS are late in the earthquake cycle, so today they are moving slower than the long-term cycle-averaged velocity as governed by the viscoelastic relaxation process.

Smith-Konter, BR, Sandwell DT, Shearer P.  2011.  Locking depths estimated from geodesy and seismology along the San Andreas Fault System: Implications for seismic moment release. Journal of Geophysical Research-Solid Earth. 116   10.1029/2010jb008117   AbstractWebsite

The depth of the seismogenic zone is a critical parameter for earthquake hazard models. Independent observations from seismology and geodesy can provide insight into the depths of faulting, but these depths do not always agree. Here we inspect variations in fault depths of 12 segments of the southern San Andreas Fault System derived from over 1000 GPS velocities and 66,000 relocated earthquake hypocenters. Geodetically determined locking depths range from 6 to 22 km, while seismogenic thicknesses are largely limited to depths of 11-20 km. These seismogenic depths best match the geodetic locking depths when estimated at the 95% cutoff depth in seismicity, and most fault segment depths agree to within 2 km. However, the Imperial, Coyote Creek, and Borrego segments have significant discrepancies. In these cases the geodetically inferred locking depths are much shallower than the seismogenic depths. We also examine variations in seismic moment accumulation rate per unit fault length as suggested by seismicity and geodesy and find that both approaches yield high rates ( 1.5-1.8 x 10(13) Nm/yr/km) along the Mojave and Carrizo segments and low rates (similar to 0.2 x 1013 Nm/yr/km) along several San Jacinto segments. The largest difference in seismic moment between models is calculated for the Imperial segment, where the moment rate from seismic depths is a factor of similar to 2.5 larger than that from geodetic depths. Such variability has important implications for the accuracy to which future major earthquake magnitudes can be estimated.

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.

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.

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.