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Jiang, JL, Fialko Y.  2016.  Reconciling seismicity and geodetic locking depths on the Anza section of the San Jacinto fault. Geophysical Research Letters. 43:10663-10671.   10.1002/2016gl071113   AbstractWebsite

Observations from the Anza section of the San Jacinto Fault in Southern California reveal that microseismicity extends to depths of 15-18km, while the geodetically determined locking depth is less than similar to 10km. This contrasts with observations from other major faults in the region and also with predictions of fault models assuming a simple layered distribution of frictional properties with depth. We suggest that an anomalously shallow geodetic fault locking may result from a transition zone at the bottom of seismogenic layer with spatially heterogeneous frictional properties. Numerical models of faults that incorporate stochastic heterogeneity at transitional depths successfully reproduce the observed depth relation between seismicity and geodetic locking, as well as complex spatiotemporal patterns of microseismicity with relatively scarce repeating earthquakes. Our models predict propagation of large earthquakes to the bottom of the transition zone, and ubiquitous aseismic transients below the locked zone, potentially observable using high-precision geodetic techniques.

Ujiie, K, Tsutsumi A, Fialko Y, Yamaguchi H.  2009.  Experimental investigation of frictional melting of argillite at high slip rates: Implications for seismic slip in subduction-accretion complexes. Journal of Geophysical Research-Solid Earth. 114   10.1029/2008jb006165   AbstractWebsite

Discovery of pseudotachylytes from exhumed accretionary complexes indicates that frictional melting occurred along illite-rich, argillite-derived slip zones during subduction earthquakes. We conducted high-velocity friction experiments on argillite at a slip rate of 1.13 m/s and normal stresses of 2.67-13.33 MPa. Experiments show slip weakening followed by slip strengthening. Slip weakening is associated with the formation and shearing of low-viscosity melt patches. The subsequent slip strengthening occurred despite the reduction in shear strain rate due to the growth (thickening) of melt layer, suggesting that the viscosity of melt layer increased with slip. Microstructural and chemical analyses suggest that the viscosity increase during the slip strengthening is not due to an increase in the volume fraction of solid grains and bubbles in the melt layer but could be caused primarily by dehydration of the melt layer. Our experimental results suggest that viscous braking can be efficient at shallow depths of subduction-accretion complexes if substantial melt dehydration occurs on a timescale of seismic slip. Melt lubrication can possibly occur at greater depths within subduction-accretion complexes because the ratio of viscous shear to normal stress decreases with depth. Argillite-derived natural pseudotachylytes formed at seismogenic depths in subduction-accretion complexes are more hydrous than the experimentally generated pseudotachylytes and may be evidence of nearly complete stress drop.

LaBonte, AL, Brown KM, Fialko Y.  2009.  Hydrologic detection and finite element modeling of a slow slip event in the Costa Rica prism toe. Journal of Geophysical Research-Solid Earth. 114   10.1029/2008jb005806   AbstractWebsite

We investigate transient fluid flux through the seafloor recorded near the Costa Rica trench during the 2000 Costa Rica Seismogenic Zone Experiment using a 2-D fully coupled poroelastic finite element model. We demonstrate that the observed hydrologic anomalies are consistent with a model of propagating slow slip at the subduction interface between the frontal prism and downgoing plate. There are two sources of volumetric strain that drive fluid flux at the seafloor in response to fault slip at depth: (1) compression and dilation in the vicinity of the tips of a slipping patch and (2) extension and compression due to flexure of the seafloor. The superposition of these two effects results in distinctive spatial and temporal patterns of fluid flow through the seafloor. In a forward modeling approach, time series from shear ruptures with a range of fault length-to-depth ratios in a heterogeneous crust are generated and compared with flow rate observations. Assuming a constant propagation rate and an elliptical profile for the distribution of slip along the decollement, the set of model predictions enables us to infer the probable rupture location, extent, propagation velocity, and duration from a single flow rate time series. The best fit model suggests that the slow slip event initiated within the toe at a depth of less than 4 km and propagated bilaterally at an average rate of 0.5 km d(-1). This interpretation implies that stress in the shallow subduction zone is relieved episodically. Furthermore, the Costa Rica data suggest that episodic slow slip events may initiate in the prism toe without being triggered by a seismic event further downdip.

Fialko, Y, Simons M.  2000.  Deformation and seismicity in the Coso geothermal area, Inyo County, California: Observations and modeling using satellite radar interferometry. Journal of Geophysical Research-Solid Earth. 105:21781-21793.   10.1029/2000jb900169   AbstractWebsite

Interferometric synthetic aperture radar (InSAR) data collected in the Coso geothermal area, eastern California, during 1993-1999 indicate ground subsidence over a similar to 50 km(2) region that approximately coincides with the production area of the Coso geothermal plant. The maximum subsidence rate in the peak of the anomaly is similar to 3.5 cm yr(-1), and the average volumetric rate of subsidence is of the order of 10(6) m(3) yr(-1). The radar interferograms reveal a complex deformation pattern, with at least two irregular subsidence peaks in the northern part of the anomaly and a region of relative uplift on the south. We invert the InSAR displacement data for the positions, geometry, and relative strengths of the deformation sources at depth using a nonlinear least squares minimization algorithm. We use elastic solutions for a prolate uniformly pressurized spheroidal cavity in a semi-infinite body as basis functions for our inversions. Source depths inferred from our simulations range from 1 to 3 km, which corresponds to the production depths of the Coso geothermal plant. Underpressures in the geothermal reservoir inferred from the inversion are of the order of 0.1-1 MPa (except a few abnormally high underpressures that are apparently biased toward the small source dimensions). Analysis of the InSAR data covering consecutive time intervals indicates that the depths and/or horizontal extent of the deformation sources may increase with time. This increase presumably reflects increasing volumes of the subsurface reservoir affected by the geothermal exploitation. We show that clusters of microearthquakes associated with the geothermal power operation may result from perturbations in the pore fluid pressure, as well as normal and shear stresses caused by the deflation of the geothermal reservoir.