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Barbot, S, Fialko Y, Sandwell D.  2008.  Effect of a compliant fault zone on the inferred earthquake slip distribution. Journal of Geophysical Research-Solid Earth. 113   10.1029/2007jb005256   AbstractWebsite

We present a new semi-analytic method to evaluate the deformation due to a screw dislocation in arbitrarily heterogeneous and/or anisotropic elastic half plane. The method employs integral transformations to reduce the governing partial differential equations to the integral Fredholm equation of the second kind. Dislocation sources, as well as spatial perturbations in the elastic properties are modeled using equivalent body forces. The solution to the Fredholm equation is obtained in the Fourier domain using a method of successive over-relaxation, and is mapped into the spatial domain using the inverse Fast Fourier Transform. We apply this method to investigate the effect of a soft damage zone around an earthquake fault on the co-seismic displacement field, and on the earthquake slip distribution inferred from inversions of geodetic data. In the presence of a kilometer-wide damage zone with a reduction of the effective shear modulus of a factor of 2, inversions that assume a laterally homogeneous model tend to underestimate the amount of slip in the middle of the seismogenic layer by as much as 20%. This bias may accentuate the inferred maxima in the seismic moment release at depth between 3-6 km suggested by previous studies of large strike-slip earthquakes.

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Gonzalez-Ortega, A, Fialko Y, Sandwell D, Nava-Pichardo FA, Fletcher J, Gonzalez-Garcia J, Lipovsky B, Floyd M, Funning G.  2014.  El Mayor-Cucapah ( M-w 7.2) earthquake: Early near-field postseismic deformation from InSAR and GPS observations. Journal of Geophysical Research-Solid Earth. 119:1482-1497.   10.1002/2013jb010193   AbstractWebsite

El Mayor-Cucapah earthquake occurred on 4 April 2010 in northeastern Baja California just south of the U.S.-Mexico border. The earthquake ruptured several previously mapped faults, as well as some unidentified ones, including the Pescadores, Borrego, Paso Inferior and Paso Superior faults in the Sierra Cucapah, and the Indiviso fault in the Mexicali Valley and Colorado River Delta. We conducted several Global Positioning System (GPS) campaign surveys of preexisting and newly established benchmarks within 30km of the earthquake rupture. Most of the benchmarks were occupied within days after the earthquake, allowing us to capture the very early postseismic transient motions. The GPS data show postseismic displacements in the same direction as the coseismic displacements; time series indicate a gradual decay in postseismic velocities with characteristic time scales of 669days and 203days, assuming exponential and logarithmic decay, respectively. We also analyzed interferometric synthetic aperture radar (InSAR) data from the Envisat and ALOS satellites. The main deformation features seen in the line-of-sight displacement maps indicate subsidence concentrated in the southern and northern parts of the main rupture, in particular at the Indiviso fault, at the Laguna Salada basin, and at the Paso Superior fault. We show that the near-field GPS and InSAR observations over a time period of 5months after the earthquake can be explained by a combination of afterslip, fault zone contraction, and a possible minor contribution of poroelastic rebound. Far-field data require an additional mechanism, most likely viscoelastic relaxation in the ductile substrate.

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Luttrell, KM, Tong XP, Sandwell DT, Brooks BA, Bevis MG.  2011.  Estimates of stress drop and crustal tectonic stress from the 27 February 2010 Maule, Chile, earthquake: Implications for fault strength. Journal of Geophysical Research-Solid Earth. 116   10.1029/2011jb008509   AbstractWebsite

The great 27 February 2010 M(w) 8.8 earthquake off the coast of southern Chile ruptured a similar to 600 km length of subduction zone. In this paper, we make two independent estimates of shear stress in the crust in the region of the Chile earthquake. First, we use a coseismic slip model constrained by geodetic observations from interferometric synthetic aperture radar (InSAR) and GPS to derive a spatially variable estimate of the change in static shear stress along the ruptured fault. Second, we use a static force balance model to constrain the crustal shear stress required to simultaneously support observed fore-arc topography and the stress orientation indicated by the earthquake focal mechanism. This includes the derivation of a semianalytic solution for the stress field exerted by surface and Moho topography loading the crust. We find that the deviatoric stress exerted by topography is minimized in the limit when the crust is considered an incompressible elastic solid, with a Poisson ratio of 0.5, and is independent of Young's modulus. This places a strict lower bound on the critical stress state maintained by the crust supporting plastically deformed accretionary wedge topography. We estimate the coseismic shear stress change from the Maule event ranged from -6 MPa (stress increase) to 17 MPa (stress drop), with a maximum depth-averaged crustal shear-stress drop of 4 MPa. We separately estimate that the plate-driving forces acting in the region, regardless of their exact mechanism, must contribute at least 27 MPa trench-perpendicular compression and 15 MPa trench-parallel compression. This corresponds to a depth-averaged shear stress of at least 7 MPa. The comparable magnitude of these two independent shear stress estimates is consistent with the interpretation that the section of the megathrust fault ruptured in the Maule earthquake is weak, with the seismic cycle relieving much of the total sustained shear stress in the crust.

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Marks, KM, Smith WHF, Sandwell DT.  2010.  Evolution of errors in the altimetric bathymetry model used by Google Earth and GEBCO. Marine Geophysical Research. 31:223-238.   10.1007/s11001-010-9102-0   AbstractWebsite

We analyze errors in the global bathymetry models of Smith and Sandwell that combine satellite altimetry with acoustic soundings and shorelines to estimate depths. Versions of these models have been incorporated into Google Earth and the General Bathymetric Chart of the Oceans (GEBCO). We use Japan Agency for Marine-Earth Science and Technology (JAMSTEC) multibeam surveys not previously incorporated into the models as "ground truth" to compare against model versions 7.2 through 12.1, defining vertical differences as "errors." Overall error statistics improve over time: 50th percentile errors declined from 57 to 55 to 49 m, and 90th percentile errors declined from 257 to 235 to 219 m, in versions 8.2, 11.1 and 12.1. This improvement is partly due to an increasing number of soundings incorporated into successive models, and partly to improvements in the satellite gravity model. Inspection of specific sites reveals that changes in the algorithms used to interpolate across survey gaps with altimetry have affected some errors. Versions 9.1 through 11.1 show a bias in the scaling from gravity in milliGals to topography in meters that affected the 15-160 km wavelength band. Regionally averaged (> 160 km wavelength) depths have accumulated error over successive versions 9 through 11. These problems have been mitigated in version 12.1, which shows no systematic variation of errors with depth. Even so, version 12.1 is in some respects not as good as version 8.2, which employed a different algorithm.

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Neves, MC, Cabral J, Luttrell K, Figueiredo P, Rockwell T, Sandwell D.  2015.  The effect of sea level changes on fault reactivation potential in Portugal. Tectonophysics. 658:206-220.   10.1016/j.tecto.2015.07.023   AbstractWebsite

The aim of this study is to assess the impact of sea level changes on both the stress field and the potential of fault reactivation in west Iberia. The analysis is applied to a set of five active faults distributed across Portugal, selected for representing predominant fault directions and for being seismically active. The results show that the rise of sea level since the Last Glacial Maximum has produced flexural effects with distinct impacts on different faults. The Coulomb stress changes induced by the sea level rise along the S. Marcos-Quarteira (south Portugal) and the Horseshoe (offshore SW Iberia) faults are found to be extremely small, independently of the elastic plate thickness. These faults are thus unaffected by flexural effects related to ocean loading, and are unlikely to possess any paleoseismic record of this phenomenon. In contrast, the eustatic sea level rise during the late Pleistocene could have raised the Coulomb stress by 0.5-1 MPa along the Manteigas-Vilarica-Braganca (north Portugal) and Lower Tagus Valley (Lisbon area) fault systems. Such stress perturbations are probably sufficient to impact the seismic cycle of the Manteigas-Vilarica-Braganca fault, bringing it closer to failure and possibly triggering the earthquake clusters that have been observed in previous paleoseismologic studies. (C) 2015 Elsevier B.V. All rights reserved.

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Royer, JY, Sandwell DT.  1989.  Evolution of the Eastern Indian-Ocean since the Late Cretaceous - Constraints from Geosat Altimetry. Journal of Geophysical Research-Solid Earth and Planets. 94:13755-13782.   10.1029/JB094iB10p13755   AbstractWebsite

We propose a new model for the tectonic evolution of the eastern Indian Ocean from the Late Cretaceous to the present. Two types of data are used to improve previously published reconstructions. First, recent reinterpretations of seafloor magnetic anomalies, between Australia and Antarctica and in the Wharton Basin, provide new constraints on spreading rates and the timing of major reorganizations. Second, vertical deflection profiles (i.e., horizontal gravity anomaly), derived from 22 repeat cycles of Geosat altimeter data, reveal the tectonic fabric associated with fracture zones. These new Geosat data provide tight constraints on paleospreading directions. For example, three prominent fracture zones can be traced from south of Tasmania to the George V Basin, Antarctica, providing an important constraint on the relative motions of Australia and Antarctica through the Late Eocene. In addition, the Geosat profiles are used to locate the conjugate continental margins and continent-ocean boundaries of Australia and Antarctica, as well as the conjugate rifted margins of Kerguelen Plateau and Broken Ridge. Based on a compilation of magnetic anomaly data from the Crozet Basin, the Central Indian Basin, the Wharton Basin and the Australian-Antarctic Basin, ten plate tectonic reconstructions are proposed. Reconstructions at chrons 5 (11 Ma), 6 (21 Ma), 13 (36 Ma) and 18 (43 Ma) confirm that the Southeast Indian Ridge behaved as a single plate boundary since chron 18. The constraints from the Geosat data provide an improvement in the fit of the Kerguelen Plateau and Broken Ridge at chron 20 (46 Ma). To avoid overlaps between Broken Ridge and the Kerguelen Plateau prior to their breakup, our model includes relative motions between the northern and southern provinces of the Kerguelen Plateau. Finally, we examine the implications of our model for the relative motions of India, Australia and Antarctica on the tectonic evolution of the Kerguelen Plateau and Broken Ridge, and the adjacent Labuan Basin and Diamantina Zone, as well as the emplacement of the Ninetyeast Ridge and the Kerguelen Plateau over a fixed hot spot.

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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.

Sandwell, DT, Winterer EL, Mammerickx J, Duncan RA, Lynch MA, Levitt DA, Johnson CL.  1995.  Evidence for Diffuse Extension of the Pacific Plate from Pukapuka Ridges and Cross-Grain Gravity Lineations. Journal of Geophysical Research-Solid Earth. 100:15087-15099.   10.1029/95jb00156   AbstractWebsite

Satellite altimeter measurements of marine gravity reveal 100 to 200-km wavelength lineations over a wide area of the Pacific plate oriented roughly in the direction of absolute plate motion. At least three mechanisms have been proposed for their origin: small-scale convective rolls aligned in the direction of absolute plate motion by shear in the asthenosphere; diffuse N-S extension of the lithosphere resulting in lineated zones of extension (boudins); and minihotspots that move slowly with respect to major hotspots and produce intermittent volcanism. Recently, several chains of linear volcanic ridges have been found to be associated with the gravity lineations. Following ridgelike gravity signatures apparent in high-resolution Geosat gravity measurements, we surveyed a series of volcanic ridges that extend northwest from the East Pacific Rise flank for 2600 km onto 40 Ma seafloor. Our survey data, as well as radiometric dates on samples we collected from the ridges, provide tight constraints on their origin: (1) Individual ridge segments and sets of ridges are highly elongate in the direction of present absolute plate motion. (2) The ridges formed along a band 50 to 70-km-wide in the trough of one of the more prominent gravity lineations. (3) Radiometric dates of the largest ridges show no hotspot age progression. Moreover, the directions predicted for minihotspot traces older than 24 Ma do not match observed directions of either the gravity lineations or the ridges. Based on this last observation, we reject the minihotspot model. The occurrence of the ridges in the trough of the gravity lineation is incompatible with the small-scale convection model which would predict increased volcanism above the convective upwelling. We favor the diffuse extension model because it is consistent with the occurrence of ridges in the trough above the more highly extended lithosphere. However, the multibeam data show no evidence for widespread normal faulting of the crust as predicted by the model. Perhaps the fault scarps are buried under more than 30 m of sediments and/or covered by the elongated ridges. Finally, we note that if ridge-push force is much smaller than trench-pull force, then near the ridge axis the direction of maximum tensile stress must be perpendicular to the direction of absolute plate motion.

Sandwell, DT.  1996.  Exploration of the remote ocean basins with satellite altimeters. McGraw-Hill 1996 yearbook of science & technology. :178-182., Maidenhead: McGraw-Hill Abstract
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Wei, M, Sandwell D.  2006.  Estimates of heat flow from Cenozoic seafloor using global depth and age data. Tectonophysics. 417:325-335.   10.1016/j.tecto.2006.02.004   AbstractWebsite

The total heat output of the Earth constrains models of mantle and core dynamics. Previously published estimates (42-44 TW) have recently been questioned because the measured conductive heat flow on young oceanic lithosphere is about a factor of 2 less than the expected heat flow based on half-space cooling models. Taking the conductive ocean heat flow values at face value reduces the global heat flow from 44 to 31 TW, which has major implications for geodynamics and Earth history. To help resolve this issue, we develop a new method of estimating total oceanic heat flow from depth and age data. The overall elevation of the global ridge system, relative to the deep ocean basins, provides an independent estimate of the total heat content of the lithosphere. Heat flow is proportional to the measured subsidence rate times the heat capacity divided by the thermal expansion coefficient. The largest uncertainty in this method is due to uncertainties in the thermal expansion coefficient and heat capacity. Scalar subsidence rate is computed from gradients of depth and age grids. The method cannot be applied over very young seafloor (< 3 Ma) where age gradient is discontinuous and the assumption of isostasy is invalid. Between 3 and 66 Ma, the new estimates are in agreement with half-space cooling model. Our rnodel-independent estimate of the total heat output of Cenozoic seafloor is 18.6 to 20.5 TW, which leads to a global output of 42 to 44 TW in agreement with previous studies. (c) 2006 Elsevier B.V. All rights reserved.

Winterer, EL, Sandwell DT.  1987.  Evidence from EN-Echelon Cross-Grain Ridges for Tensional Cracks in the Pacific Plate. Nature. 329:534-537.   10.1038/329534a0   AbstractWebsite

Sea-floor topography in the Pacific is mainly aligned with original spreading directions1, but is overprinted by alignments created by mid-plate processes. Spreading produces abyssal hills and fracture zones, and mid-plate volcanism generates seamounts, isolated or in chains. A different category of topography, the 'Cross-grain', discovered in geoid-height data collected by the Seasat radar altimeter2, comprises linear troughs and swells spaced ~200 km apart, oblique to fracture zones and abyssal hills but parallel to the Hawaiian chain. Three models have been proposed for the Cross-grain: small-scale convection, organized into longitudinal rolls by the shear of the Pacific Plate2; compressive buckling3; and lithospheric boudinage resulting from plate-wide tensile stresses4,5. None of the previously available data ruled out any of these models. Here we report multi-beam bathymetric data revealing long, narrow en-echelon ridges along the Cross-grain, interpreted as evidence of tension cracks in the Pacific plate.