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Schubert, G, Sandwell D.  1989.  Crustal Volumes of the Continents and of Oceanic and Continental Submarine Plateaus. Earth and Planetary Science Letters. 92:234-246.   10.1016/0012-821x(89)90049-6   AbstractWebsite

Global topographic data and the assumption of Airy isostasy have been used to estimate the crustal volumes of the continents and the oceanic and continental submarine plateaus. The calculated crustal volumes are 7182 × 10^6 km^3 for the continents, 242 × 10^6 km^3 for continental submarine plateaus, and 369 × 10^6 km^3 for oceanic plateaus. The Falkland Plateau and the Lord Howe Rise are the two largest continental submarine plateaus with volumes of 48 × 10^6 km^3 and 47 × 10^6 km^3, respectively. Total continental crustal volume is 7581 × 10^6 km^3 (including the volume of continental sediments on the ocean floor 160 × 10^6 km^3), in good agreement with previous estimates. Continental submarine plateaus on the seafloor comprise 3.2% of the total continental crustal volume. The largest oceanic plateaus in order of decreasing size are the Ontong-Java Plateau, the Kerguelen Plateau, the Caribbean, the Chagos Laccadive Ridge, the Ninetyeast Ridge, and the Mid-Pacific Mountains. Together they comprise 54% of the total anomalous crustal volume in oceanic plateaus. An upper bound to the continental crust addition rate by the accretion of oceanic plateaus is 3.7 km^3/yr, a value that assumes accretion of all oceanic plateaus, with a total volume of 4.9% of the continental crustal volume, on a 100 Myr time scale. Even if a substantial fraction of the crustal volume in oceanic plateaus is subducted, accretion of oceanic plateaus could make a contribution to continental growth since the upper bound to the addition rate exceeds recent estimates of the island arc addition rate. Subduction of continental submarine plateaus with the oceanic lithosphere on a 100 Myr time scale gives an upper bound to the continental crustal subtraction rate of 2.4 km^3/yr, much larger than recent estimates of crustal subtraction by subduction of seafloor sediments. Effective subduction of all oceanic plateaus implies equally effective subduction of continental submarine plateaus. A potentially important way to recycle continental crust back into the mantle may be the break off of small fragments from the continents, entrapment of the continental fragments in the seafloor, and subduction of the fragments with the oceanic lithosphere. This process may be occurring in the Mediterranean for Corsica and Sardinia.

Baer, G, Shamir G, Sandwell D, Bock Y.  2001.  Crustal deformation during 6 years spanning the M (sub w) = 7.2 1995 Nuweiba earthquake, analyzed by Interferometric Synthetic Aperture Radar. Israel Journal of Earth-Sciences. 50( Baer G, Wdowinski S, Eds.).:9-22., Jerusalem, Israel (ISR): Laser Pages Publishing, Jerusalem AbstractWebsite

The November 22, 1995, M (sub w) = 7.2 Nuweiba earthquake occurred along one of the left-stepping segments of the Dead Sea Transform in the Gulf of Elat (Aqaba). We examine the surface deformation patterns in the region by Interferometric Synthetic Aperture Radar (InSAR) for the period 1993 to 1999, which includes the end of one seismic cycle and the beginning of the next. Because the main rupture was under water, ERS coverage is limited to distances of approximately 5 km or more away from the rupture. Pre-earthquake interferograms do not show any detectable deformation along the Gulf. Coseismic interferograms show deformation at distances of up to 50 km from the main rupture, with the highest fringe rate (strain) NW of the rupture termination. Coseismic phase gradient maps show triggered slip along faults parallel to the main rupture (sinistral or normal with the Gulf side down) along the western shore of the Gulf, and in a belt of extensional faults along the eastern shore, striking at angles of about 30 degrees to the major rupture. Postseismic deformation is observed only in a time window of up to 6 months following the mainshock. It was concentrated in the region of the high coseismic strain, and seems to be related to the M (sub L) <4.5 aftershocks in the respective time window.

Lyons, SN, Bock Y, Sandwell DT.  2002.  Creep along the imperial fault, southern California, from GPS measurements. Journal of Geophysical Research-Solid Earth. 107   10.1029/2001jb000763   AbstractWebsite

[1] In May of 1999 and 2000, we surveyed with Global Positioning System (GPS) 46 geodetic monuments established by Imperial College, London, in a dense grid (half-mile spacing) along the Imperial Fault, with three additional National Geodetic Survey sites serving as base stations. These stations were previously surveyed in 1991 and 1993. The Imperial College sites were surveyed in rapid-static mode (15-20 min occupations), while the NGS sites continuously received data for 10 h d(-1). Site locations were calculated using the method of instantaneous positioning, and velocities were determined relative to one of the NGS base stations. Combining our results with far-field velocities from the Southern California Earthquake Center (SCEC), we fit the data to a simple elastic dislocation model with 35 mm yr(-1) of right-lateral slip below 10 km and 9 mm yr(-1) of creep from the surface down to 3 km. The velocity field is asymmetrical across the fault and could indicate a dipping fault plane to the northeast or a viscosity contrast across the fault.

Smith, B, Sandwell D.  2003.  Coulomb stress accumulation along the San Andreas Fault system. Journal of Geophysical Research-Solid Earth. 108   10.1029/2002jb002136   AbstractWebsite

[1] Stress accumulation rates along the primary segments of the San Andreas Fault system are computed using a three-dimensional (3-D) elastic half-space model with realistic fault geometry. The model is developed in the Fourier domain by solving for the response of an elastic half-space due to a point vector body force and analytically integrating the force from a locking depth to infinite depth. This approach is then applied to the San Andreas Fault system using published slip rates along 18 major fault strands of the fault zone. GPS-derived horizontal velocity measurements spanning the entire 1700 x 200 km region are then used to solve for apparent locking depth along each primary fault segment. This simple model fits remarkably well (2.43 mm/yr RMS misfit), although some discrepancies occur in the Eastern California Shear Zone. The model also predicts vertical uplift and subsidence rates that are in agreement with independent geologic and geodetic estimates. In addition, shear and normal stresses along the major fault strands are used to compute Coulomb stress accumulation rate. As a result, we find earthquake recurrence intervals along the San Andreas Fault system to be inversely proportional to Coulomb stress accumulation rate, in agreement with typical coseismic stress drops of 1-10 MPa. This 3-D deformation model can ultimately be extended to include both time-dependent forcing and viscoelastic response.

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.

Baer, G, Sandwell D, Williams S, Bock Y, Shamir G.  1999.  Coseismic deformation associated with the November 1995, M-w=7.1 Nuweiba earthquake, Gulf of Elat (Aqaba), detected by synthetic aperture radar interferometry. Journal of Geophysical Research-Solid Earth. 104:25221-25232.   10.1029/1999jb900216   AbstractWebsite

The November 22, 1995, M-w=7.1 Nuweiba earthquake occurred along one of the left-stepping segments of the Dead Sea Transform in the Gulf of flat (Aqaba). Although it was the largest earthquake along this fault in the last few centuries, little is yet known about the geometry of the rupture, the slip distribution along it, and the nature of postseismic deformation following the main shock. In this study we examine the surface deformation pattern during the coseismic phase of the earthquake in an attempt to better elucidate the earthquake rupture process. As the entire rupture zone was beneath the waters of the Gulf, and there is very little Global Positioning System (GPS) data available in the region for the period spanning the earthquake, interferometric synthetic aperture radar (INSAR) provides the only source of information of surface deformation associated with this earthquake. We chose four synthetic aperture radar (SAR) scenes of about 90x90 km each spanning the rupture area, imaged by the ERS-1 and ERS-2 satellites. The coseismic interferograms show contours of equal satellite-to-ground range changes that correspond to surface displacements due to the earthquake rupture. Interferograms that span the earthquake by 1 week show similar fringe patterns' as those that span the earthquake by 6 months, suggesting that postseismic deformation is minor or confined to the first week after the earthquake. A high displacement gradient is seen on the western side of the Gulf, 20-40 km south of flat and Aqaba, where the total satellite-to-ground range changes are at least 15 cm. The displacement gradient is relatively uniform on the eastern side of the Gulf and the range changes are less than 10 cm. To interpret these results, we compare them to synthetic interferograms generated by elastic dislocation models with a variety of fault parameters. Although selecting the best fit fault parameters is nonunique, we are able to generate a group of simplified model interferograms that provide a reasonable fit to the coseismic interferogram and serve to constrain the location of the fault. The present analysis shows that if the rupture reached the Gulf-bottom surface, the mean sinistral slip along the fault is constrained to about 1.4 m. If surface rupture did not occur, the average sinistral slip is constrained to the range of 1.4-3 m for a fault patch buried 0-4 km below the Gulf-bottom Surface, respectively, with a minor normal component.

Sandwell, D, Schubert G.  2010.  A contraction model for the flattening and equatorial ridge of Iapetus. Icarus. 210:817-822.   10.1016/j.icarus.2010.06.025   AbstractWebsite

Others have explained the excess flattening of Iapetus by a model in which the moon formed at a high spin rate, achieved isostatic equilibrium by very rapid interior heating caused by short-lived radioactive isotopes (SLRI), and subsequently cooled, locking in the excess flattening with respect to an equilibrium shape at its present spin rate. Here we propose an alternate model that does not require an unusually high initial spin rate or the SLRI. The initial formation of Iapetus results in a slightly oblate spheroid with porosity >10%. Radioactive heating by long-lived isotopes warms the interior to about 200 K, at which point it becomes ductile and the interior compacts by 10%, while the 120 km-thick exterior shell remains strong. The shell must deform to match the reduced volume of the ductile interior, and we propose that this deformation occurs along the equator, perhaps focused by a thinner equatorial shell. The final shape of the collapsed sphere matches the observed shape of Iapetus today, described as an oblate ellipse, except along the equator where strain concentration forms a broad ridge. To maintain this non-equilibrium shape, the thickness of the shell must exceed 120 km. Testing the equatorial focusing hypothesis will require a model that includes non-linear processes to account for the finite yield strength of the thick lithosphere. Nevertheless, we show that the stress in the lithosphere generated by the contraction of the interior is about 3 times greater than the stress needed to deform the lithosphere, so some type of lithospheric deformation is expected. (C) 2010 Elsevier Inc. All rights reserved.

Luttrell, K, Sandwell D.  2012.  Constraints on 3-D stress in the crust from support of mid-ocean ridge topography. Journal of Geophysical Research-Solid Earth. 117   10.1029/2011jb008765   AbstractWebsite

The direction of crustal stresses acting at mid-ocean ridges is well characterized, but the magnitude of these stresses is poorly constrained. We present a method by which the absolute magnitude of these stresses may be constrained using seafloor topography and gravity. The topography is divided into a short-wavelength portion, created by rifting, magmatism, and transform faulting, and a long-wavelength portion associated with the cooling and subsidence of the oceanic lithosphere. The short-wavelength surface and Moho topography are used to calculate the spatially varying 3-D stress tensor in the crust by assuming that in creating this topography, the deviatoric stress reached the elastic-plastic limiting stress; the Moho topography is constrained by short-wavelength gravity variations. Under these assumptions, an incompressible elastic material gives the smallest plastic failure stress associated with this topography. This short-wavelength topographic stress generally predicts the wrong style of earthquake focal mechanisms at ridges and transform faults. However, the addition of an in-plane regional stress field is able to reconcile the combined crustal stress with both the ridge and transform focal mechanisms. By adjusting the magnitude of the regional stress, we determine a lower bound for in situ ridge-perpendicular extension of 25-40 MPa along the slow spreading mid-Atlantic ridge, 40-50 MPa along the ultra-slow spreading ridges in the western Indian Ocean, and 10-30 MPa along the fast spreading ridges of the southeastern Indian and Pacific Oceans. Furthermore, we constrain the magnitude of ridge-parallel extension to be between 4 and 8 MPa in the Atlantic Ocean, between -1 and 7 MPa in the western Indian Ocean, and between -1 and 3 MPa in the southeastern Indian and Pacific Oceans. These observations suggest that a deep transform valley is an essential feature of the ridge-transform spreading center.

Sandwell, DT, Renkin ML.  1988.  Compensation of Swells and Plateaus in the North Pacific - No Direct Evidence for Mantle Convection. Journal of Geophysical Research-Solid Earth and Planets. 93:2775-2783.   10.1029/JB093iB04p02775   AbstractWebsite

At intermediate and long wavelengths the ratio of geoid height to topography is sensitive to the depth and mode of compensation. A low geoid/topography ratio (<2 m/km) signifies shallow Airy compensation. A higher ratio (∼6 m/km) signifies thermal isostasy and/or dynamic uplift from a mantle plume. A very high geoid/topography ratio (>8 m/km) in conjunction with a poor correlation between geoid height and topography is evidence of mantle convection. After subtracting a reference geoid from the observed geoid, previous studies have found a regular pattern of geoid highs and lows with a characteristic wavelength of 3000–4000 km. Since these geoid highs and lows were poorly correlated with topography and resulted in very high geoid/topography ratios (10–20 m/km), they were believed to reflect the planform of mantle convection. We show that the regular pattern of geoid highs and lows is an artifact caused by truncating the reference geoid at spherical harmonic degree 10. Since the geoid spectrum is “red,” the residual geoid is dominated by degree 11. When the harmonics of the reference geoid are rolled off gradually, the regular pattern of geoid highs and lows disappears. In the Northeast Pacific, the new residual geoid reflects the lithosphere age offsets across the major fracture zones. In the Northwest Pacific, the residual geoid corresponds to isostatically compensated swells and plateaus. We have calculated the geoid/topography ratio for 10 swells and plateaus and have found a range of compensation depths. The highest geoidAopography ratio of 5.5 m/km occurs on the flanks of the Hawaiian Swell. Intermediate ratios occur in four areas, including the Midway Swell. These intermediate ratios reflect a linear combination of the decaying thermal swell and the increasing volume of Airy-compensated seamounts. Low geoid/topography ratios occur over the remaining five areas (e.g., Emperor Seamounts), reflecting the absence of a thermal swell. Our findings do not support the hypothesis that the planform of mantle convection is evident in the geoid. We see only indirect evidence of thermal plumes reheating the lower lithosphere.

Sandwell, DT, Poehls KA.  1980.  A Compensation Mechanism for the Central Pacific. Journal of Geophysical Research. 85:3751-3758.   10.1029/JB085iB07p03751   AbstractWebsite

Geos 3 derived geoid heights and sea floor topography were averaged into 256 square areas (203 km on a side) for a region in the central Pacific containing a large portion of the Hawaiian Island chain. The whole region is about 500 m shallower than normal sea floor of the same age. The major portion of the depth anomaly is the Hawaiian swell. Data were analyzed using a two-dimensional fast Fourier transform. A transfer function was computed to determine the part of the observed geoid height that is coherent and in phase with the topography. A number of compensation models were tested against this function. Of these models no single physically reasonable model was found to have an acceptable fit. Accordingly, two models were introduced, one compensating short-wavelength topography at a shallow depth (14 km) and the other compensating the longer wavelengths by a deep mechanism. Acceptable deep compensation models include Airy-Heiskanen type compensation at depths between 40 and 80 km. Using the transition wavelength between the two models (1100 km), an estimate is made of the amplitude and shape of the heat anomaly needed to uplift the Hawaiian swell. The peak of the anomaly has an amplitude of 530 mW m−2 and is located 275 km east of Hawaii.

Small, C, Sandwell DT.  1992.  A Comparison of Satellite and Shipboard Gravity Measurements in the Gulf-of-Mexico. Geophysics. 57:885-893.   10.1190/1.1443301   AbstractWebsite

Satellite altimeters have mapped the marine geoid over virtually all of the world's oceans. These geoid height measurements may be used to compute free air gravity anomalies in areas where shipboard measurements are scarce. Two-dimensional (2-D) transformations of geoid height to gravity are limited by currently available satellite track spacing and usually sacrifice short wavelength resolution. Full resolution may be retained along widely spaced satellite tracks if a one dimensional (1-D) transformation is used. Although the 1-D transform retains full resolution, it assumes that the gravity field is lineated perpendicular to the profile and is therefore limited by the orientation of the profile relative to the field. We investigate the resolution and accuracy of the 1-D transform method in the Northern Gulf of Mexico by comparing satellite gravity profiles with high quality shipboard data provided by Edcon Inc. The long wavelength components of the gravity field are constrained by a low degree reference field while the short wavelength components are computed from altimeter profiles. We find that rms misfit decreases with increasing spherical harmonic degree of the reference field up to 180 degrees (lambda > 220 km) with negligible improvement for higher degrees. The average rms misfit for the 17 profiles used in this study was 6.5 mGal with a 180 degree reference field. Spectral coherence estimates indicate that the satellite data resolve features with wavelengths as short as 25 km.

Neumann, GA, Forsyth DW, Sandwell D.  1993.  Comparison of Marine Gravity from Shipboard and High-Density Satellite Altimetry Along the Mid-Atlantic Ridge, 30.5-Degrees-35.5-Degrees-S. Geophysical Research Letters. 20:1639-1642.   10.1029/93gl01487   AbstractWebsite

We compare new marine gravity fields derived from satellite altimetry with shipboard measurements over a region of more than 120,000 square kilometers in the central South Atlantic. Newly declassified satellite data were employed to construct free-air anomaly maps on 0.05 degree grids [Sandwell and Smith, 1992; Marks et al., 1993]. An extensive gravity and bathymetry dataset from four cruises along the Mid-Atlantic Ridge from 30.5-35.5-degrees-S provides a benchmark for testing the two-dimensional resolution and accuracy of the satellite measurements where their crosstrack spacing is near their widest. The satellite gravity signal is coherent with bathymetry in this region down to wavelengths of 26 km (gamma2=0.5), compared to 12.5 km for shipboard gravity. Residuals between the shipboard and satellite datasets have a roughly normal distribution. The standard deviation of satellite gravity with respect to shipboard measurements is nearly 7 mGal in a region of 140 mGal total variation, whereas the internal standard deviation at crossovers for GPS-navigated shipboard data is 1.8 mGal. The differences between shipboard and satellite data are too large to use satellite gravity to determine crustal thickness variations within a typical ridge segment.

Yale, MM, Sandwell DT, Smith WHF.  1995.  Comparison of Along-Track Resolution of Stacked Geosat, Ers-1, and Topex Satellite Altimeters. Journal of Geophysical Research-Solid Earth. 100:15117-15127.   10.1029/95jb01308   AbstractWebsite

Cross-spectral analysis of repeat satellite altimeter profiles was performed to compare the along-track resolution capabilities of Geosat, ERS 1 and TOPEX data. Geophysical Data Records were edited, differentiated, low-pass-filtered, and resampled at 5 Hz. All available data were then loaded into three-dimensional files where repeat cycles were aligned along-track (62 cycles of Geosat/Exact Repeat Mission; 16 cycles of ERS 1, 35-day orbit; 73 cycles of TOPEX). The coherence versus wave number between pairs of repeat profiles was used to estimate along-track resolution for individual cycles, eight-cycle-average profiles, and 31-cycle-average profiles (Geosat and TOPEX only). Coherence, which depends on signal to noise ratio, reflects factors such as seafloor gravity amplitude, regional seafloor depth, instrument noise, oceanographic noise, and the number of cycles available for stacking (averaging). Detailed resolution analyses are presented for two areas: the equatorial Atlantic, a region with high tectonic signal and low oceanographic noise; and the South Pacific, a region with low tectonic signal and high oceanographic variability. For all three altimeters, along-track resolution is better in the equatorial Atlantic than in the South Pacific. Global maps of along-track resolution show considerable geographic variation. On average globally, the along-track resolution (0.5 coherence) of eight-cycle stacks are approximately the same, 28, 29, and 30 km for TOPEX, Geosat, and ERS 1, respectively. TOPEX 31-cycle stacks (22 km) resolve slightly shorter wavelengths than Geosat 31-cycle stacks (24 km). The stacked data, which are publicly available, will be used in future global gravity grids, and for detailed studies of mid-ocean ridge axes, fracture zones, sea mounts, and seafloor roughness.