Publications

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2018
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.

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.

2013
Crowell, BW, Bock Y, Sandwell DT, Fialko Y.  2013.  Geodetic investigation into the deformation of the Salton Trough. Journal of Geophysical Research-Solid Earth. 118:5030-5039.   10.1002/jgrb.50347   AbstractWebsite

The Salton Trough represents a complex transition between the spreading center in Baja California and the strike-slip San Andreas fault system and is one of the most active zones of deformation and seismicity in California. We present a high-resolution interseismic velocity field for the Salton Trough derived from 74 continuous GPS sites and 109 benchmarks surveyed in three GPS campaigns during 2008-2009 and previous surveys between 2000 and 2005. We also investigate small-scale deformation by removing the regional velocity field predicted by an elastic block model for Southern California from the observed velocities. We find a total extension rate of 11mm/yr from the Mesquite Basin to the southern edge of the San Andreas Fault, coupled with 15mm/yr of left-lateral shear, the majority of which is concentrated in the southern Salton Sea and Obsidian Buttes and is equivalent to 17mm/yr oriented in the direction of the San Andreas Fault. Differential shear strain is exclusively localized in the Brawley Seismic Zone, and dilatation rate indicates widespread extension throughout the zone. In addition, we infer clockwise rotation of 10 degrees/Ma, consistent with northwestward propagation of the Brawley Seismic Zone over geologic time.

2010
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.

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.