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Takeuchi, CS, Fialko Y.  2013.  On the effects of thermally weakened ductile shear zones on postseismic deformation. Journal of Geophysical Research-Solid Earth. 118:6295-6310.   10.1002/2013jb010215   AbstractWebsite

We present three-dimensional (3-D) numerical models of postseismic deformation following repeated earthquakes on a vertical strike-slip fault. Our models use linear Maxwell, Burgers, and temperature-dependent power law rheology for the lower crust and upper mantle. We consider effects of viscous shear zones that result from thermomechanical coupling and investigate potential kinematic similarities between viscoelastic models incorporating shear zones and elastic models incorporating rate-strengthening friction on a deep aseismic fault root. We find that the thermally activated shear zones have little effect on postseismic relaxation. In particular, the presence of shear zones does not change the polarity of vertical displacements in cases of rheologies that are able to generate robust postseismic transients. Stronger rheologies can give rise to an opposite polarity of vertical displacements, but the amplitude of the predicted transient deformation is generally negligible. We conclude that additional (to thermomechanical coupling) mechanisms of strain localization are required for a viscoelastic model to produce a vertical deformation pattern similar to that due to afterslip on a deep extension of a fault. We also investigate the discriminating power of models incorporating Burgers and power law rheology. These rheologies were proposed to explain postseismic transients following large (M7) earthquakes in the Mojave desert, Eastern California. Numerical simulations indicate that it may be difficult to distinguish between these rheologies even with high-quality geodetic observations for observation periods less than a decade. Longer observations, however, may potentially allow discrimination between the competing models, as illustrated by the model comparisons with available GPS and interferometric synthetic aperture radar data.

Barbot, S, Fialko Y.  2010.  A unified continuum representation of post-seismic relaxation mechanisms: semi-analytic models of afterslip, poroelastic rebound and viscoelastic flow. Geophysical Journal International. 182:1124-1140.   10.1111/j.1365-246X.2010.04678.x   AbstractWebsite

P>We present a unified continuum mechanics representation of the mechanisms believed to be commonly involved in post-seismic transients such as viscoelasticity, fault creep and poroelasticity. The time-dependent relaxation that follows an earthquake, or any other static stress perturbation, is considered in a framework of a generalized viscoelastoplastic rheology whereby some inelastic strain relaxes a physical quantity in the material. The relaxed quantity is the deviatoric stress in case of viscoelastic relaxation, the shear stress in case of creep on a fault plane and the trace of the stress tensor in case of poroelastic rebound. In this framework, the instantaneous velocity field satisfies the linear inhomogeneous Navier's equation with sources parametrized as equivalent body forces and surface tractions. We evaluate the velocity field using the Fourier-domain Green's function for an elastic half-space with surface buoyancy boundary condition. The accuracy of the proposed method is demonstrated by comparisons with finite-element simulations of viscoelastic relaxation following strike-slip and dip-slip ruptures for linear and power-law rheologies. We also present comparisons with analytic solutions for afterslip driven by coseismic stress changes. Finally, we demonstrate that the proposed method can be used to model time-dependent poroelastic rebound by adopting a viscoelastic rheology with bulk viscosity and work hardening. The proposed method allows one to model post-seismic transients that involve multiple mechanisms (afterslip, poroelastic rebound, ductile flow) with an account for the effects of gravity, non-linear rheologies and arbitrary spatial variations in inelastic properties of rocks (e.g. the effective viscosity, rate-and-state frictional parameters and poroelastic properties).

Sandwell, D, Fialko Y.  2004.  Warping and cracking of the Pacific plate by thermal contraction. Journal of Geophysical Research-Solid Earth. 109   10.1029/2004jb003091   AbstractWebsite

Lineaments in the gravity field and associated chains of volcanic ridges are widespread on the Pacific plate but are not yet explained by plate tectonics. Recent studies have proposed that they are warps and cracks in the plate caused by uneven thermal contraction of the cooling lithosphere. We show that the large thermoelastic stress produced by top-down cooling is optimally released by lithospheric flexure between regularly spaced parallel cracks. Both the crack spacing and approximate gravity amplitude are predicted by elastic plate theory and variational principle. Cracks along the troughs of the gravity lineaments provide conduits for the generation of volcanic ridges in agreement with new observations from satellite-derived gravity. Our model suggests that gravity lineaments are a natural consequence of lithospheric cooling so that convective rolls or mantle plumes are not required.

Fialko, YA, Rubin AM.  1999.  Thermal and mechanical aspects of magma emplacement in giant dike swarms. Journal of Geophysical Research-Solid Earth. 104:23033-23049.   10.1029/1999jb900213   AbstractWebsite

We consider the thermal history and dynamics of magma emplacement in giant feeder dikes associated with continental flood basalts. For driving pressure gradients inferred for giant dike swarms, thicknesses of <10 m would enable dikes to transport magma laterally over the distances observed in the field (up to thousands of kilometers) without suffering thermal lock-up. Using time-dependent numerical solutions for the thermal evolution of a dike channel under laminar and turbulent flow conditions in the presence of phase transitions, we investigate the possibility that the observed dike thicknesses (of the order of 100 m) result from thermal erosion of the country rocks during dike emplacement. This implies that the observed range of dike widths in giant dike swarms may reflect variations in the source volume and not the excess magma pressure. It is found that the total volume of intruded magma required to produce an order of magnitude increase in dike width via wall rock melting broadly agrees with the estimated volumes of individual flows in continental flood basalts. The presence of chilled margins and apparently low crustal contamination characteristics of some giant dikes may be consistent with turbulent magma flow and extensive melt back during dike emplacement. In this case, measurements of the anisotropy of magnetic susceptibility most likely indicate magma flow directions during the final stages of dike intrusion. Shear stresses generated at the dike wall when the dike starts to freeze strongly decrease with increasing dike width, which implies that thicker dikes may have less tendency to produce consistent fabric alignment. Our results suggest that if the dike was propagating downslope off a plume-related topographic swell, the mechanism responsible for flow termination could possibly have been related to underpressurization and collapse (implosion) of the shallow magma plumbing system feeding the intrusion. Radial dikes that erupted at the periphery of the topographic uplift might have increased (rather than decreased) extensional stresses in the crust within the topographic uplift upon their solidification.