Publications

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2006
Luttrell, K, Sandwell D.  2006.  Strength of the lithosphere of the Galilean satellites. Icarus. 183:159-167.   10.1016/j.icarus.2006.01.015   AbstractWebsite

Several approaches have been used to estimate the ice shell thickness on Callisto, Ganymede, and Europa. Here we develop a method for placing a strict lower bound on the thickness of the strong part of the shell (lithosphere) using measurements of topography. The minimal assumptions are that the strength of faults in the brittle lithosphere is controlled by lithostatic pressure according to Byerlee's law and the shell has relatively uniform density and thickness. Under these conditions, the topography of the ice provides a direct measure of the bending moment in the lithosphere. This topographic bending moment Must be less than the saturation bending moment of the yield strength envelope derived front Byerlee's law. The model predicts that the topographic amplitude spectrum decreases as the square of the topographic wavelength. This explains why Europa is rugged at shorter wavelengths ( similar to 10 km) but extremely smooth, and perhaps conforming to an equipotential Surface, at longer wavelengths ( > 100 km). Previously compiled data on impact crater depth and diameter [Schenk, P.M., 2002. Nature 417, 419-421] on Europa show good agreement with the spectral decrease predicted by the model and require a lithosphere thicker than 2.5 km. A more realistic model, including a ductile lower lithosphere. requires a thickness greater than 3.5 km. Future measurements of topography in the 10-100 km wavelength hand will provide tight constraints on lithospheric strength. (c) 2006 Elsevier Inc. All riahts reserved.

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.

1995
Schubert, G, Sandwell DT.  1995.  A Global Survey of Possible Subduction Sites on Venus. Icarus. 117:173-196.   10.1006/icar.1995.1150   AbstractWebsite

About 10,000 km of trenches in chasmata and coronae have been identified as possible sites of retrograde subduction on Venus. All the sites have narrow deep trenches elongate along strike with arcuate planforms, ridge-trench-outer rise topographic profiles typical of terrestrial subduction zones, large outer rise curvatures >10(-7) m(-1), fractures parallel to the strike of the trench on the outer trench wall and outer rise, and no cross-strike fractures across the trench. Both the northern and southern margins of Latona Corona are possible subduction sites. Identification of a major graben between the two principal outer ridges in southern Latona Corona is evidence of back-are extension in the corona; the amount of extension is estimated to be more than 2-11 km. The moment exerted by the ridges of southern Latona Corona is insufficient to bend the lithosphere into the observed outer rise shape; a negatively buoyant subducted or underthrust slab is needed. Depending on the unknown trench migration rate, lithospheric subduction can make a significant contribution to mantle cooling on Venus. Venusian chasmata could have a dual character. They may be propagating rifts near major volcanic rises, and subduction trenches far from the rises in the lowlands. Subduction and rifting may occur in close proximity on Venus, unlike on Earth. Rifting induced by hotspots on Venus may be necessary to break the lithosphere and allow subduction to occur. Such a process could result in gradual lithospheric subduction or global, episodic overturn of the lithosphere. (C) 1995 Academic Press, Inc.

1994
Schubert, G, Moore WB, Sandwell DT.  1994.  Gravity over Coronae and Chasmata on Venus. Icarus. 112:130-146.   10.1006/icar.1994.1174   AbstractWebsite

The global spherical harmonic model of Venus' gravity field MGNP60FSAAP, with horizontal resolution of about 600 km, shows that most coronae have little or no signature in the gravity field. Nevertheless, some coronae and some segments of chasmata are associated with distinct positive gravity anomalies. No corona has been found to have a negative gravity anomaly. The spatial coincidence of the gravity highs over four closely spaced 300- to 400-km-diameter coronae in Eastern Eistla Regio with the structures themselves is remarkable and argues for a near-surface or lithospheric origin of the gravity signals over such relatively small features. Apparent depths of compensation (ADCs) of the prominent gravity anomalies at Artemis, Latona, and Heng-o Coronae are about 150 to 200 km. The geoid/topography ratios (GTRs) at Artemis, Latona, and Heng-o Coronae lie in the range 32 to 35 m km(-1). The large ADCs and GTRs of Artemis, Latona, and Heng-o Coronae are consistent with topographically related gravity and a thick Venus lithosphere or shallowly compensated topography and deep positive mass anomalies due to subduction or underthrusting at these coronae. At arcuate segments of Hecate and Parga Chasmata ADCs are about 125 to 150 km, while those at Fatua Corona, four coronae in Eastern Eistla Regio, and an arcuate segment of Western Parga Chasma are about 75 km. The GTRs at Fatua Corona, the four coronae in eastern Eistla Regio, and the arcuate segments of Hecate, Parga, and Western Parga Chasmata are about 12 to 21 m km(-1). The ADCs and GTRs of these coronae and arcuate chasmata segments are generally too large to reflect compensation by crustal thickness variations. Instead, they suggest compensation by thermally induced thickness variations in a moderately thick (approximate to 100 km) lithosphere. Alternatively, the gravity signals at these sites could originate from deep positive mass anomalies due to subduction or underthrusting. Weighted linear least squares fits to GTR vs h (long-wavelength topography) data from Heng-o and Fatua Coronae, the four coronae in eastern Eistla Regio, and the arcuate segments of Hecate, Parga, and western Parga Chasmata are consistent with compensation by thermally induced thickness variations of a dense lithosphere above a less dense mantle; the fits imply an average lithosphere thickness of about 180 km and an excess lithospheric density of about 0.5 to 0.7%. Gravity anomalies at the arcuate segments of Dali and Diana Chasmata that form Latona Corona, at Artemis Chasma, and other arcuate segments of Parga and Hecate Chasmata occur on the concave sides of the arcs. By analogy with gravity anomalies of similar horizontal scale (600 km-several thousand kilometers) on the concave sides of terrestrial subduction zone arcs, which are due in large part to subducted lithosphere, it is inferred that the gravity anomalies on Venus are consistent with retrograde subduction at Artemis Chasma, along the northern and southern margins of Latona Corona, and elsewhere along Parga and Hecate Chasmata. (C) 1994 Academic Press, Inc.

1992
Sandwell, DT, Schubert G.  1992.  Flexural Ridges, Trenches, and Outer Rises around Coronae on Venus. Journal of Geophysical Research-Planets. 97:16069-16083.   10.1029/92JE01274   AbstractWebsite

High-resolution altimetry collected by the Magellan spacecraft reveals trench and outer rise topographic signatures around major coronae (e.g. Eithinoha, Heng-0, Artemis, and Latona). In addition, Magellan synthetic aperature radar images show circumferential fractures in areas where the plates are curved downward. Both observations suggest that the lithosphere around coronae is flexed downward by the weight of the overriding coronal rim or by the negative buoyancy of subducted lithosphere. We have modelled the trench and outer rise topography as a thin elastic plate subjected to a line load and bending moment beneath die corona rim. The approach was tested at northern Freyja Montes where the best fit elastic thickness is 18 km, in agreement with previously published results. The elastic thicknesses determined by modelling numerous profiles at Eithinoha, Heng-0, Artemis, and Latona are 15, 40, 37, and 35 km, respectively. At Eithinoha, Artemis, and Latona where the plates appear to be yielding, the maximum bending moments and elastic thicknesses are similar to those found at the Middle America, Mariana, and Aleutian trenches on Earth, respectively. Estimates of effective elastic thickness and plate curvature are used with a yield strength envelope model of the lithosphere to estimate lithospheric temperature gradients. At Heng-0, Artemis, and Latona, temperature gradients are less than 10 K/km, which correspond to conductive heat losses of less than one half the expected average planetary value. We propose two scenarios for the creation of the ridge, trench, and outer rise topography: differential thermal subsidence and lithospheric subduction. The topography of Heng-0 is well matched by the differential thermal subsidence model. However, at Artemis and Latona the amplitudes of the trench and outer rise signatures are a factor of 5 too large to be explained by thermal subsidence alone. In these cases we favor the lithospheric subduction model wherein the lithosphere outboard of the corona perimeter subducts (rolls back) and the corona diameter increase.

Sandwell, DT, Schubert G.  1992.  Evidence for Retrograde Lithospheric Subduction on Venus. Science. 257:766-770.   10.1126/science.257.5071.766   AbstractWebsite

Annular moats and outer rises around large Venus coronae such as Artemis, Latona, and Eithinoha are similar in arcuate planform and topography to the trenches and outer rises of terrestrial subduction zones. On Earth, trenches and outer rises are modeled as the flexural response of a thin elastic lithosphere to the bending moment of the subducted slab; this lithospheric flexure model also accounts for the trenches and outer rises outboard of the major coronae on Venus. Accordingly, it is proposed that retrograde lithospheric subduction may be occurring on the margins of the large Venus coronae while compensating back-arc extension is occurring in the expanding coronae interiors. Similar processes may be taking place at other deep arcuate trenches or chasmata on Venus such as those in the Dali-Diana chasmata area of eastern Aphrodite Terra.

McKenzie, D, Ford PG, Johnson C, Parsons B, Sandwell D, Saunders S, Solomon SC.  1992.  Features on Venus Generated by Plate Boundary Processes. Journal of Geophysical Research-Planets. 97:13533-13544.   10.1029/92JE01350   AbstractWebsite

Various observations suggest that there are processes on Venus that produce features similar to those associated with plate boundaries on Earth. Synthetic aperture radar images of Venus, taken with a radar whose wavelength is 12.6 cm, are compared with GLORIA images of active plate boundaries, obtained with a sound source whose wavelength is 23 cm. Features similar to transform faults and to abyssal hills on slow and fast spreading ridges can be recognized within the Artemis region of Venus but are not clearly visible elsewhere. The composition of the basalts measured by the Venera 13 and 14 and the Vega 2 spacecraft corresponds to that expected from adiabatic decompression, like that which occurs beneath spreading ridges on Earth. Structures that resemble trenches are widespread on Venus and show the same curvature and asymmetry as they do on Earth. These observations suggest that the same simple geophysical models that have been so successfully used to understand the tectonics of Earth can also be applied to Venus.

1990
Royer, J-Y, Gahagan LM, Lawver LA, Mayes CL, Nuernberg D, Sandwell DT, Scotese CR.  1990.  A tectonic chart for the Southern Ocean derived from Geosat altimetry data. AAPG Studies in Geology. 31( St. John B, Ed.).:89-99., Tulsa, OK, United States (USA): American Association of Petroleum Geologists, Tulsa, OK AbstractWebsite

Presented is a new tectonic fabric map of the southern ocean south of 45S, derived from Geosat altimeter profiles and published bathymetric charts and magnetic anomaly picks. The interpretation of the Geosat data is based on an analysis of the first derivative of the geoid profiles (i.e., vertical deflection profiles). To improve the accuracy and resolution of the vertical deflection profiles, 22 repeat cycles from the first year of the Geosat/Exact Repeat Mission (Geosat/ERM) were averaged. At wavelengths less than about 200 km, the vertical deflection is highly correlated with sea-floor topography and thus reveals major features in areas that were previously unsurveyed. The density of the Geosat data is greatest in the high latitudes where lineated bathymetric features such as fracture zones, spreading ridges, trenches, and rifted margins stand out. To construct the tectonic fabric chart, the Geosat data are analyzed in combination with available shipboard bathymetric data and magnetic anomaly identifications. (Auth.)