Publications

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2017
Zhang, SJ, Sandwell DT, Jin TY, Li DW.  2017.  Inversion of marine gravity anomalies over southeastern China seas from multi-satellite altimeter vertical deflections. Journal of Applied Geophysics. 137:128-137.   10.1016/j.jappgeo.2016.12.014   AbstractWebsite

The accuracy and resolution of marine gravity field derived from satellite altimetry mainly depends on the range precision and dense spatial distribution. This paper aims at modeling a regional marine gravity field with improved accuracy and higher resolution (1' x V') over Southeastern China Seas using additional data from CryoSat-2 as well as new data from AltiKa. Three approaches are used to enhance the precision level of satellite-derived gravity anomalies. Firstly we evaluate a suite of published retracking algorithms and find the two-step retracker is optimal for open ocean waveforms. Secondly, we evaluate the filtering and resampling procedure used to reduce the full 20 or 40 Hz data to a lower rate having lower noise. We adopt a uniform low-pass filter for all altimeter missions and resample at 5 Hz and then perform a second editing based on sea surface slope estimates from previous models. Thirdly, we selected WHU12 model to update the corrections provided in geophysical data record. We finally calculated the 1' x 1' marine gravity field model by using EGM2008 model as reference field during the remove/restore procedure. The root mean squares of the discrepancies between the new result and DTU10, DTU13, V23.1, EGM2008 are within the range of 1.8-3.9 mGal, while the verification with respect to shipboard gravity data shows that the accuracy of the new result reached a comparable level with DTU13 and was slightly superior to V23.1, DTU10 and EGM2008 models. Moreover, the new result has a 2 mGal better accuracy over open seas than coastal areas with shallow water depth. (C) 2016 Elsevier B.V. All rights reserved.

2014
Trugman, DT, Borsa AA, Sandwell DT.  2014.  Did stresses from the Cerro Prieto Geothermal Field influence the El Mayor-Cucapah rupture sequence? Geophysical Research Letters. 41:8767-8774.   10.1002/2014gl061959   AbstractWebsite

The M-w 7.2 El Mayor-Cucapah (EMC) earthquake ruptured a complex fault system in northern Baja California that was previously considered inactive. The Cerro Prieto Geothermal Field (CPGF), site of the world's second largest geothermal power plant, is located approximately 15km to the northeast of the EMC hypocenter. We investigate whether anthropogenic fluid extraction at the CPGF caused a significant perturbation to the stress field in the EMC rupture zone. We use Advanced Land Observing Satellite interferometric synthetic aperture radar data to develop a laterally heterogeneous model of fluid extraction at the CPGF and estimate that this extraction generates positive Coulomb stressing rates of order 15 kPa/yr near the EMC hypocenter, a value which exceeds the local tectonic stressing rate. Although we cannot definitively conclude that production at the CPGF triggered the EMC earthquake, its influence on the local stress field is substantial and should not be neglected in local seismic hazard assessments.

2010
Tong, XP, Sandwell D, Luttrell K, Brooks B, Bevis M, Shimada M, Foster J, Smalley R, Parra H, Soto JCB, Blanco M, Kendrick E, Genrich J, Caccamise DJ.  2010.  The 2010 Maule, Chile earthquake: Downdip rupture limit revealed by space geodesy. Geophysical Research Letters. 37   10.1029/2010gl045805   AbstractWebsite

Radar interferometry from the ALOS satellite captured the coseismic ground deformation associated with the 2010 Mw 8.8 Maule, Chile earthquake. The ALOS interferograms reveal a sharp transition in fringe pattern at similar to 150 km from the trench axis that is diagnostic of the downdip rupture limit of the Maule earthquake. An elastic dislocation model based on ascending and descending ALOS interferograms and 13 near-field 3-component GPS measurements reveals that the coseismic slip decreases more or less linearly from a maximum of 17 m (along-strike average of 6.5 m) at 18 km depth to near zero at 43-48 km depth, quantitatively indicating the downdip limit of the seismogenic zone. The depth at which slip drops to near zero appears to be at the intersection of the subducting plate with the continental Moho. Our model also suggests that the depth where coseismic slip vanishes is nearly uniform along the strike direction for a rupture length of similar to 600 km. The average coseismic slip vector and the interseismic velocity vector are not parallel, which can be interpreted as a deficit in strike-slip moment release. Citation: Tong, X., et al. (2010), The 2010 Maule, Chile earthquake: Downdip rupture limit revealed by space geodesy, Geophys. Res. Lett., 37, L24311, doi:10.1029/2010GL045805.

Luttrell, K, Sandwell D.  2010.  Ocean loading effects on stress at near shore plate boundary fault systems. Journal of Geophysical Research-Solid Earth. 115   10.1029/2009jb006541   AbstractWebsite

Changes in eustatic sea level since the Last Glacial Maximum create a differential load across coastlines globally. The resulting plate bending in response to this load alters the state of stress within the lithosphere within a half flexural wavelength of the coast. We calculate the perturbation to the total stress tensor due to ocean loading in coastal regions. Our stress calculation is fully 3-D and makes use of a semianalytic model to efficiently calculate stresses within a thick elastic plate overlying a viscoelastic or fluid half-space. The 3-D stress perturbation is resolved into normal and shear stresses on plate boundary fault planes of known orientation so that Coulomb stress perturbations can be calculated. In the absence of complete paleoseismic indicators that span the time since the Last Glacial Maximum, we investigate the possibility that the seismic cycle of coastal plate boundary faults was affected by stress perturbations due to the change in sea level. Coulomb stress on onshore transform faults, such as the San Andreas and Alpine faults, is increased by up to 1-1.5 MPa, respectively, promoting failure primarily through a reduction in normal stress. These stress perturbations may perceptibly alter the seismic cycle of major plate boundary faults, but such effects are more likely to be observed on nearby secondary faults with a lower tectonic stress accumulation rate. In the specific instance of rapid sea level rise at the Black Sea, the seismic cycle of the nearby North Anatolian fault was likely significantly advanced.

Tong, XP, Sandwell DT, Fialko Y.  2010.  Coseismic slip model of the 2008 Wenchuan earthquake derived from joint inversion of interferometric synthetic aperture radar, GPS, and field data. Journal of Geophysical Research-Solid Earth. 115   10.1029/2009jb006625   AbstractWebsite

We derived a coseismic slip model for the M(w) 7.9 2008 Wenchuan earthquake on the basis of radar line-of-sight displacements from ALOS interferograms, GPS vectors, and geological field data. Available interferometric synthetic aperture radar (InSAR) data provided a nearly complete coverage of the surface deformation along both ascending (fine beam mode) and descending orbits (ScanSAR to ScanSAR mode). The earthquake was modeled using four subfaults with variable geometry and dip to capture the simultaneous rupture of both the Beichuan fault and the Pengguan fault. Our model misfits show that the InSAR and GPS data are highly compatible; the combined inversion yields a 93% variance reduction. The best fit model has fault planes that rotate from shallow dip in the south (35 degrees) to nearly vertical dip toward the north (70 degrees). Our rupture model is complex with variations in both depth and rake along two major fault strands. In the southern segment of the Beichuan fault, the slip is mostly thrust (<13 m) and occurred principally in the upper 10 km of the crust; the rupture progressively transformed to right-lateral strike slip as it propagated northeast (with maximum offsets of 7 m). Our model suggests that most of the moment release was limited to the shallow part of the crust (depth less than 10 km). We did not find any "shallow slip deficit" in the slip depth distribution of this mixed mechanism earthquake. Aftershocks were primarily distributed below the section of the fault that ruptured coseismically.

2005
Sandwell, DT, Smith WHF.  2005.  Retracking ERS-1 altimeter waveforms for optimal gravity field recovery. Geophysical Journal International. 163:79-89.   10.1111/j.1365-246X.2005.02724.x   AbstractWebsite

We have reprocessed ERS-1 radar altimeter waveforms using an algorithm designed to minimize sea surface slope error and decouple it from significant wave height (SWH) error. Standard waveform retracking estimates three parameters-arrival time, SWH and amplitude. We show that errors in retracked estimates of arrival time and SWH are inherently correlated because of the noise characteristics of the returned waveform. This suggests that some of what is called 'sea state bias' in the literature may be caused by correlated errors rather than true electromagnetic or skewness bias. We have developed a retracking algorithm that reduces this error correlation and makes the resolution of sea surface slope signals independent of sea state. The main assumption is that the SWH varies smoothly along the satellite track over wavelengths of 90 km. This approach reduces the rms error in sea surface slope to only 62 per cent of that of standard retracking methods. While our method is optimized for gravity field recovery, it may also improve the resolution of sea surface height signals of interest to physical oceanographers.

2002
Fialko, Y, Sandwell D, Agnew D, Simons M, Shearer P, Minster B.  2002.  Deformation on nearby faults induced by the 1999 Hector Mine earthquake. Science. 297:1858-1862.   10.1126/science.1074671   AbstractWebsite

Interferometric Synthetic Aperture Radar observations of surface deformation due to the 1999 Hector Mine earthquake reveal motion on several nearby faults of the eastern California shear zone. We document both vertical and horizontal displacements of several millimeters to several centimeters across kilometer-wide zones centered on pre-existing faults. Portions of some faults experienced retrograde (that is, opposite to their long-term geologic slip) motion during or shortly after the earthquake. The observed deformation likely represents elastic response of compliant fault zones to the permanent co-seismic stress changes. The induced fault displacements imply decreases in the effective shear modulus within the kilometer-wide fault zones, indicating that the latter are mechanically distinct from the ambient crustal rocks.

Jacobs, A, Sandwell D, Fialko Y, Sichoix L.  2002.  The 1999 (M-w 7. 1) Hector Mine, California, earthquake: Near-field postseismic deformation from ERS interferometry. Bulletin of the Seismological Society of America. 92:1433-1442.   10.1785/0120000908   AbstractWebsite

Interferometric synthetic aperture radar (InSAR) data over the area of the Hector Mine earthquake (M-w 7.1, 16 October 1999) reveal postseismic deformation of several centimeters over a spatial scale of 0.5 to 50 km. We analyzed seven SAR acquisitions to form interferograms over four time periods after the event. The main deformations seen in the line-of-sight (LOS) displacement maps are a region of subsidence (60 mm LOS increase) on the northern end of the fault, a region of uplift (45 mm LOS decrease) located to the northeast of the primary fault bend, and a linear trough running along the main rupture having a depth of up to 15 mm and a width of about 2 km. We correlate these features with a double left-bending, right-lateral, strike-slip fault that exhibits contraction on the restraining side and extension along the releasing side of the fault bends. The temporal variations in the near-fault postseismic deformation are consistent with a characteristic time scale of 135 + 42 or - 25 days, which is similar to the relaxation times following the 1992 Landers earthquake. High gradients in the LOS displacements occur on the fault trace, consistent with afterslip on the earthquake rupture. We derive an afterslip model by inverting the LOS data from both the ascending and descending orbits. Our model indicates that much of the afterslip occurs at depths of less than 3 to 4 km.

Sandwell, DT, Sichoix L, Smith B.  2002.  The 1999 Hector Mine earthquake, southern California: Vector near-field displacements from ERS InSAR. Bulletin of the Seismological Society of America. 92:1341-1354.   10.1785/0120000901   AbstractWebsite

Two components of fault slip are uniquely determined from two line-of-sight (LOS) radar interferograms by assuming that the fault-normal component of displacement is zero. We use this approach with ascending and descending interferograms from the ERS satellites to estimate surface slip along the Hector Mine earthquake rupture. The LOS displacement is determined by visually counting fringes to within I kin of the outboard ruptures. These LOS estimates and uncertainties are then transformed into strike- and dip-slip estimates and uncertainties; the transformation is singular for a N-S oriented fault and optimal for an E-W oriented fault. In contrast to our previous strike-slip estimates, which were based only on a descending interferogram, we now find good agreement with the geological measurements, except at the ends of the rupture. The ascending interferogram reveals significant west-side-down dip-slip (similar to1.0 in) which reduces the strike-slip estimates by I to 2 in, especially along the northern half of the rupture. A spike in the strike-slip displacement of 6 m is observed in central part of the rupture. This large offset is confirmed by subpixel cross correlation of features in the before and after amplitude images. In addition to strike slip and dip slip, we identify uplift and subsidence along the fault, related to the restraining and releasing bends in the fault trace, respectively. Our main conclusion is that at least two look directions are required for accurate estimates of surface slip even along a pure strike-slip fault. Models and results based only on a single look direction could have major errors. Our new estimates of strike slip and dip slip along the rupture provide a boundary condition for dislocation modeling. A simple model, which has uniform slip to a depth of 12 km, shows good agreement with the observed ascending and descending interferograms.

Baer, G, Schattner U, Wachs D, Sandwell D, Wdowinski S, Frydman S.  2002.  The lowest place on Earth is subsiding - An InSAR (interferometric synthetic aperture radar) perspective. Geological Society of America Bulletin. 114:12-23.   10.1130/0016-7606(2002)114<0012:tlpoei>2.0.co;2   AbstractWebsite

Since the early 1990s, sinkholes and wide, shallow subsidence features (WSSFs) have become major problems along the Dead Sea shores in Israel and Jordan. Sinkholes are readily observed in the field, but their locations and timing are unpredictable. WSSFs are often difficult to observe in the field. However, once identified, they delineate zones of instability and increasing hazard. In this study we identify, characterize, and measure rates of subsidence along the Dead Sea shores by the interferometric synthetic aperture radar (InSAR) technique. We analyze 16 SAR scenes acquired during the years 1992 to 1999 by the European Remote Sensing ERS-1 and ERS-2 satellites. The interferograms span periods of between 2 and 71 months. WSSFs are observed in the Lisan Peninsula and along the Dead Sea shores, in a variety of appearances, including circular and elongate coastal depressions (a few hundred meters to a few kilometers in length), depressions in ancient alluvial fans, and depressions along salt-diapir margins. Phase differences measured in our interferograms correspond to subsidence rates generally in the range of 0-20 mm/yr within the studied period, with exceptional high rates that exceed 60 mm/yr in two specific regions. During the study period, the level of the Dead Sea and of the associated ground water has dropped by similar to6 m. This water-level drop within an aquifer overlying fine-grained, marly layers, would be expected to have caused aquifer-system consolidation resulting in gradual subsidence. Comparison of our InSAR observations with calculations of the expected consolidation shows that in areas where marl layers are known to compose part of the upper 30 m of the profile, estimated consolidation settlements are of the order of the measured subsidence. Our observations also show that in certain locations, subsidence appears to be structurally controlled by faults, seaward landslides, and salt domes. Gradual subsidence is unlikely to be directly related to the sinkholes, excluding the use of the WSSFs features as predictable precursors to sinkhole formation.

2000
Sandwell, DT, Sichoix L, Agnew D, Bock Y, Minster JB.  2000.  Near real-time radar interferometry of the Mw 7.1 Hector Mine Earthquake. Geophysical Research Letters. 27:3101-3104.   10.1029/1999gl011209   AbstractWebsite

The Hector Mine Earthquake (Mw 7.1, 16 October 1999) ruptured 45 km of previously mapped and unmapped faults in the Mojave Desert. The ERS-2 satellite imaged the Mojave Desert on 15 September and again on 20 October, just 4 days after the earthquake. Using a newly-developed ground station we acquired both passes and were able to form an interferogram within 20 hours of the second overflight. Estimates of slip along the main rupture are 1-2 meters greater than slip derived from geological mapping. The gradient of the interferometric phase reveals an interesting pattern of triggered slip on adjacent faults as well as a 30 mm deep sink hole along Interstate 40.

Sandwell, DT, Sichoix L.  2000.  Topographic phase recovery from stacked ERS interferometry and a low-resolution digital elevation model. Journal of Geophysical Research-Solid Earth. 105:28211-28222.   10.1029/2000jb900340   AbstractWebsite

A hybrid approach to topographic recovery from ERS interferometry is developed and assessed. Tropospheric/ionospheric artifacts, imprecise orbital information, and layover are key issues in recovering topography and surface deformation from repeat-pass interferometry. Previously, we developed a phase gradient approach to stacking interferograms to reduce these errors and also to reduce the short-wavelength phase noise (see Sandwell and Pi-ice [1998] and Appendix A). Here the method is extended to use a low-resolution digital elevation model to constrain long-wavelength phase errors and an iteration scheme to minimize errors in the computation of phase gradient. We demonstrate the topographic phase recovery on 16-m postings using 25 ERS synthetic aperture radar images from an area of southern California containing 2700 m of relief. On the basis of a comparison with 81 GPS monuments, the ERS-derived topography has a typical absolute accuracy of better than 10 m except in areas of layover. The resulting topographic phase enables accurate two-pass, real-time interferometry even in mountainous areas where traditional phase unwrapping schemes fail. As an example, we form a topography-free (127-m perpendicular baseline) interferogram spanning 7.5 years; fringes from two major earthquakes and aseismic slip on the San Andreas Fault are clearly isolated.