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2018
Tymofyeyeva, E, Fialko Y.  2018.  Geodetic evidence for a blind fault segment at the southern end of the San Jacinto Fault Zone. Journal of Geophysical Research-Solid Earth. 123:878-891.   10.1002/2017jb014477   AbstractWebsite

The San Jacinto Fault (SJF) splits into several active branches southeast of Anza, including the Clark fault and the Coyote Creek fault. The Clark fault, originally believed to terminate at the southern tip of the Santa Rosa Mountains, was suggested to extend further to the southeast to a junction with the Superstition Hills fault based on space geodetic observations and geologic mapping. We present new interferometric synthetic aperture radar and GPS data that confirm high deformation rates along the southeastern extent of the Clark fault. We derive maps of horizontal and vertical average velocities by combining data from the ascending and descending satellite orbits with an additional constraint provided by the azimuth of the horizontal component of secular velocities from GPS data. The resulting high-resolution surface velocities are differentiated to obtain a map of maximum shear strain rate. Joint inversions of InSAR and GPS data suggest that the hypothesized blind segment of the Clark fault and the Coyote Creek fault have slip rates of 13 3mm/yr and 5 4mm/yr, respectively. The blind southern segment of the Clark fault thus appears to be the main active strand of the SJF, posing a currently unrecognized seismic hazard.

2011
Kaneko, Y, Fialko Y.  2011.  Shallow slip deficit due to large strike-slip earthquakes in dynamic rupture simulations with elasto-plastic off-fault response. Geophysical Journal International. 186:1389-1403.   10.1111/j.1365-246X.2011.05117.x   AbstractWebsite

Slip inversions of geodetic data from several large (magnitude similar to 7) strike-slip earthquakes point to coseismic slip deficit at shallow depths (< 3-4 km), that is, coseismic slip appears to decrease towards the Earth surface. While the inferred slip distribution may be consistent with laboratory-derived rate and state friction laws suggesting that the uppermost brittle crust may be velocity strengthening, there remains a question of how the coseismic slip deficit is accommodated throughout the earthquake cycle. The consequence of velocity-strengthening fault friction at shallow depths is that the deficit of coseismic slip is relieved by post-seismic afterslip and interseismic creep. However, many seismic events with inferred shallow slip deficit were not associated with either resolvable shallow interseismic creep or robust shallow afterslip. Hence, the origin of shallow 'slip deficit' remains uncertain. In this study, we investigate whether inelastic failure in the shallow crust due to dynamic earthquake rupture can explain the inferred deficit of shallow slip. Evidence for such failure is emerging from geologic, seismic and geodetic observations. We find that the amount of shallow slip deficit is proportional to the amount of inelastic deformation near the Earth surface. Such deformation occurs under a wide range of parameters that characterize rock strength in the upper crust. However, the largest magnitude of slip deficit in models accounting for off-fault yielding is 2-4 times smaller than that inferred from kinematic inversions of geodetic data. To explain this discrepancy, we further explore to what extent assumptions in the kinematic inversions may bias the inferred slip distributions. Inelastic deformation in the shallow crust reduces coseismic strain near the fault, introducing an additional 'artificial' deficit of up to 10 per cent of the maximum slip in inversions of geodetic data that are based on purely elastic models. The largest magnitude of slip deficit in our models combined with the bias in inversions accounts for up to 25 per cent of shallow slip deficit, which is comparable, but still smaller than 3060 per cent deficit inferred from kinematic inversions. We discuss potential mechanisms that may account for the remaining discrepancy between slip deficit predicted by elasto-plastic rupture models and that inferred from inversions of space geodetic data.

2010
Barbot, S, Fialko Y.  2010.  Fourier-domain Green's function for an elastic semi-infinite solid under gravity, with applications to earthquake and volcano deformation. Geophysical Journal International. 182:568-582.   10.1111/j.1365-246X.2010.04655.x   AbstractWebsite

We present an analytic solution in the Fourier domain for an elastic deformation in a semi-infinite solid due to an arbitrary surface traction. We generalize the so-called Boussinesq's and Cerruti's problems to include a restoring buoyancy boundary condition at the surface. Buoyancy due to a large density contrast at the Earth's surface is an approximation to the full effect of gravity that neglects the perturbation of the gravitational potential and the change in density in the interior. Using the perturbation method, and assuming that the effect of gravity is small compared to the elastic deformation, we derive an approximation in the space domain to the Boussinesq's problem that accounts for a buoyancy boundary condition at the surface. The Fourier- and space-domain solutions are shown to be in good agreement. Numerous problems of elastostatic or quasi-static time-dependent deformation relevant to faulting in the Earth's interior (including inelastic deformation) can be modelled using equivalent body forces and surface tractions. Solving the governing equations with the elastic Green's function in the space domain can be impractical as the body force can be distributed over a large volume. We present a computationally efficient method to evaluate the elastic deformation in a 3-D half space due to the presence of an arbitrary distribution of internal forces and tractions at the surface of the half space. We first evaluate the elastic deformation in a periodic Cartesian volume in the Fourier domain, then use the analytic solutions to the generalized Boussinesq's and Cerruti's problems to satisfy the prescribed mixed boundary condition at the surface. We show some applications for magmatic intrusions and faulting. This approach can be used to solve elastostatic problems involving spatially heterogeneous elastic properties (by employing a homogenization method) and time-dependent problems such as non-linear viscoelastic relaxation, poroelastic rebound and non-steady fault creep under the assumption of spatially homogeneous elastic properties.

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.

2009
Barbot, S, Fialko Y, Sandwell D.  2009.  Three-dimensional models of elastostatic deformation in heterogeneous media, with applications to the Eastern California Shear Zone. Geophysical Journal International. 179:500-520.   10.1111/j.1365-246X.2009.04194.x   AbstractWebsite

P>We present a semi-analytic iterative procedure for evaluating the 3-D deformation due to faults in an arbitrarily heterogeneous elastic half-space. Spatially variable elastic properties are modelled with equivalent body forces and equivalent surface traction in a 'homogenized' elastic medium. The displacement field is obtained in the Fourier domain using a semi-analytic Green function. We apply this model to investigate the response of 3-D compliant zones (CZ) around major crustal faults to coseismic stressing by nearby earthquakes. We constrain the two elastic moduli, as well as the geometry of the fault zones by comparing the model predictions to Synthetic Aperture Radar inferferometric (InSAR) data. Our results confirm that the CZ models for the Rodman, Calico and Pinto Mountain faults in the Eastern California Shear Zone (ECSZ) can explain the coseismic InSAR data from both the Landers and the Hector Mine earthquakes. For the Pinto Mountain fault zone, InSAR data suggest a 50 per cent reduction in effective shear modulus and no significant change in Poisson's ratio compared to the ambient crust. The large wavelength of coseismic line-of-sight displacements around the Pinto Mountain fault requires a fairly wide (similar to 1.9 km) CZ extending to a depth of at least 9 km. Best fit for the Calico CZ, north of Galway Dry Lake, is obtained for a 4 km deep structure, with a 60 per cent reduction in shear modulus, with no change in Poisson's ratio. We find that the required effective rigidity of the Calico fault zone south of Galway Dry Lake is not as low as that of the northern segment, suggesting along-strike variations of effective elastic moduli within the same fault zone. The ECSZ InSAR data is best explained by CZ models with reduction in both shear and bulk moduli. These observations suggest pervasive and widespread damage around active crustal faults.

Hearn, EH, Fialko Y.  2009.  Can compliant fault zones be used to measure absolute stresses in the upper crust? Journal of Geophysical Research-Solid Earth. 114   10.1029/2008jb005901   AbstractWebsite

Geodetic and seismic observations reveal long-lived zones with reduced elastic moduli along active crustal faults. These fault zones localize strain from nearby earthquakes, consistent with the response of a compliant, elastic layer. Fault zone trapped wave studies documented a small reduction in P and S wave velocities along the Johnson Valley Fault caused by the 1999 Hector Mine earthquake. This reduction presumably perturbed a permanent compliant structure associated with the fault. The inferred changes in the fault zone compliance may produce a measurable deformation in response to background (tectonic) stresses. This deformation should have the same sense as the background stress, rather than the coseismic stress change. Here we investigate how the observed deformation of compliant zones in the Mojave Desert can be used to constrain the fault zone structure and stresses in the upper crust. We find that gravitational contraction of the coseismically softened zones should cause centimeters of coseismic subsidence of both the compliant zones and the surrounding region, unless the compliant fault zones are shallow and narrow, or essentially incompressible. We prefer the latter interpretation because profiles of line of sight displacements across compliant zones cannot be fit by a narrow, shallow compliant zone. Strain of the Camp Rock and Pinto Mountain fault zones during the Hector Mine and Landers earthquakes suggests that background deviatoric stresses are broadly consistent with Mohr-Coulomb theory in the Mojave upper crust (with mu >= 0.7). Large uncertainties in Mojave compliant zone properties and geometry preclude more precise estimates of crustal stresses in this region. With improved imaging of the geometry and elastic properties of compliant zones, and with precise measurements of their strain in response to future earthquakes, the modeling approach we describe here may eventually provide robust estimates of absolute crustal stress.

Cochran, ES, Li YG, Shearer PM, Barbot S, Fialko Y, Vidale JE.  2009.  Seismic and geodetic evidence for extensive, long-lived fault damage zones. Geology. 37:315-318.   10.1130/g25306a.1   AbstractWebsite

During earthquakes, slip is often localized on preexisting faults, but it is not well understood how the structure of crustal faults may contribute to slip localization and energetics. Growing evidence suggests that the crust along active faults undergoes anomalous strain and damage during large earthquakes. Seismic and geodetic data from the Calico fault in the eastern California shear zone reveal a wide zone of reduced seismic velocities and effective elastic moduli. Using seismic traveltimes, trapped waves, and interferometric synthetic aperture radar observations, we document seismic velocities reduced by 40%-50% and shear moduli reduced by 65% compared to wall rock in a 1.5-km-wide zone along the Calico fault. Observed velocity reductions likely represent the cumulative mechanical damage from past earthquake ruptures. No large earthquake has broken the Calico fault in historic time, implying that fault damage persists for hundreds or perhaps thousands of years. These findings indicate that faults can affect rock properties at substantial distances from primary fault slip surfaces, and throughout much of the seismogenic zone, a result with implications for the amount of energy expended during rupture to drive cracking and yielding of rock and development of fault systems.

2006
Fialko, Y.  2006.  Interseismic strain accumulation and the earthquake potential on the southern San Andreas fault system. Nature. 441:968-971.   10.1038/nature04797   AbstractWebsite

The San Andreas fault in California is a mature continental transform fault that accommodates a significant fraction of motion between the North American and Pacific plates. The two most recent great earthquakes on this fault ruptured its northern and central sections in 1906 and 1857, respectively. The southern section of the fault, however, has not produced a great earthquake in historic times ( for at least 250 years). Assuming the average slip rate of a few centimetres per year, typical of the rest of the San Andreas fault, the minimum amount of slip deficit accrued on the southern section is of the order of 7 - 10 metres, comparable to the maximum co-seismic offset ever documented on the fault(1,2). Here I present high-resolution measurements of interseismic deformation across the southern San Andreas fault system using a well-populated catalogue of space-borne synthetic aperture radar data. The data reveal a nearly equal partitioning of deformation between the southern San Andreas and San Jacinto faults, with a pronounced asymmetry in strain accumulation with respect to the geologically mapped fault traces. The observed strain rates confirm that the southern section of the San Andreas fault may be approaching the end of the interseismic phase of the earthquake cycle.

2005
Fialko, Y, Sandwell D, Simons M, Rosen P.  2005.  Three-dimensional deformation caused by the Bam, Iran, earthquake and the origin of shallow slip deficit. Nature. 435:295-299.   10.1038/nature03425   AbstractWebsite

Our understanding of the earthquake process requires detailed insights into how the tectonic stresses are accumulated and released on seismogenic faults. We derive the full vector displacement field due to the Bam, Iran, earthquake of moment magnitude 6.5 using radar data from the Envisat satellite of the European Space Agency. Analysis of surface deformation indicates that most of the seismic moment release along the 20-km-long strike-slip rupture occurred at a shallow depth of 4 - 5 km, yet the rupture did not break the surface. The Bam event may therefore represent an end-member case of the 'shallow slip deficit' model, which postulates that coseismic slip in the uppermost crust is systematically less than that at seismogenic depths ( 4 - 10 km). The InSAR-derived surface displacement data from the Bam and other large shallow earthquakes suggest that the uppermost section of the seismogenic crust around young and developing faults may undergo a distributed failure in the interseismic period, thereby accumulating little elastic strain.

2004
Fialko, Y.  2004.  Probing the mechanical properties of seismically active crust with space geodesy: Study of the coseismic deformation due to the 1992 M(w)7.3 Landers (southern California) earthquake. Journal of Geophysical Research-Solid Earth. 109   10.1029/2003jb002756   AbstractWebsite

[1] The coseismic deformation due to the 1992 M(w)7.3 Landers earthquake, southern California, is investigated using synthetic aperture radar (SAR) and Global Positioning System (GPS) measurements. The ERS-1 satellite data from the ascending and descending orbits are used to generate contiguous maps of three orthogonal components ( east, north, up) of the coseismic surface displacement field. The coseismic displacement field exhibits symmetries with respect to the rupture plane that are suggestive of a linear relationship between stress and strain in the crust. Interferometric synthetic aperture radar (InSAR) data show small-scale deformation on nearby faults of the Eastern California Shear Zone. Some of these faults ( in particular, the Calico, Rodman, and Pinto Mountain faults) were also subsequently strained by the 1999 M(w)7.1 Hector Mine earthquake. I test the hypothesis that the anomalous fault strain represents essentially an elastic response of kilometer-scale compliant fault zones to stressing by nearby earthquakes [Fialko et al., 2002]. The coseismic stress perturbations due to the Landers earthquake are computed using a slip model derived from inversions of the InSAR and GPS data. Calculations are performed for both homogeneous and transversely isotropic half-space models. The compliant zone model that best explains the deformation on the Calico and Pinto Mountain faults due to the Hector Mine earthquake successfully predicts the coseismic displacements on these faults induced by the Landers earthquake. Deformation on the Calico and Pinto Mountain faults implies about a factor of 2 reduction in the effective shear modulus within the similar to 2 km wide fault zones. The depth extent of the low-rigidity zones is poorly constrained but is likely in excess of a few kilometers. The same type of structure is able to explain high gradients in the radar line of sight displacements observed on other faults adjacent to the Landers rupture. In particular, the Lenwood fault north of the Soggy Lake has likely experienced a few centimeters of left-lateral motion across < 1-km-wide compliant fault zone having the rigidity reduction of more than a factor of 2. The inferred compliant fault zones are interpreted to be a result of extensive damage due to past earthquakes.

Fialko, Y.  2004.  Temperature fields generated by the elastodynamic propagation of shear cracks in the Earth. Journal of Geophysical Research-Solid Earth. 109   10.1029/2003jb002497   AbstractWebsite

Thermal perturbations associated with seismic slip on faults may significantly affect the dynamic friction and the mechanical energy release during earthquakes. This paper investigates details of the coseismic temperature increases associated with the elastodynamic propagation of shear cracks and effects of fault heating on the dynamic fault strength. Self-similar solutions are presented for the temperature evolution on a surface of a mode II shear crack and a self-healing pulse rupturing at a constant velocity. The along-crack temperature distribution is controlled by a single parameter, the ratio of the crack thickness to the width of the conductive thermal boundary layer, (w) over bar. For "thick'' cracks, or at early stages of rupture ((w) over bar > 1), the local temperature on the crack surface is directly proportional to the amount of slip. For "thin'' cracks, or at later times ((w) over bar < 1), the temperature maximum shifts toward the crack tip. For faults having slip zone thickness of the order of centimeters or less, the onset of thermally induced phenomena (e.g., frictional melting, thermal pressurization, etc.) may occur at any point along the rupture, depending on the degree of slip localization and rupture duration. In the absence of significant increases in the pore fluid pressure, localized fault slip may raise temperature by several hundred degrees, sufficient to cause melting. The onset of frictional melting may give rise to substantial increases in the effective fault strength due to an increase in the effective fault contact area, and high viscosity of silicate melts near solidus. The inferred transient increases in the dynamic friction ("viscous braking'') are consistent with results of high-speed rock sliding experiments and might explain field observations of the fault wall rip-out structures associated with pseudotachylites. Possible effects of viscous braking on the earthquake rupture dynamics include (1) delocalization of slip and increases in the effective fracture energy, (2) transition from a crack-like to a pulse-like rupture propagation, or (3) ultimate rupture arrest. Assuming that the pulse-like ruptures heal by incipient fusion, the seismologic observations can be used to place a lower bound on the dynamic fault friction. This bound is found to be of the order of several megapascals, essentially independent of the earthquake size. Further experimental and theoretical studies of melt rheology at high strain rates are needed to quantify the effects of melting on the dynamic fault strength.

Fialko, Y.  2004.  Evidence of fluid-filled upper crust from observations of postseismic deformation due to the 1992 M(w)7.3 Landers earthquake. Journal of Geophysical Research-Solid Earth. 109   10.1029/2004jb002985   AbstractWebsite

Postseismic deformation due to the 1992 M(w)7.3 Landers, southern California, earthquake is investigated using the entire catalog of the ERS synthetic aperture radar (SAR) data, and GPS measurements made between 1992 and 1999. The stacked interferometric SAR (InSAR) data spanning the time period of 7 years between the Landers and the Hector Mine earthquakes reveal a transient postseismic deformation with a characteristic decay time of several years. The horizontal displacements measured with GPS exhibit somewhat smaller decay times of 1-2 years. I use a slip model of the Landers earthquake that fits all available geodetic data [Fialko, 2004] to calculate and compare permanent postseismic displacements due to viscoelastic and poroelastic relaxation. Viscoelastic models assuming weak mantle or lower crust do not agree with the InSAR data in the limit of complete relaxation, implying large (>10 years) relaxation times, essentially nonlinear rheology, or an appreciable yield strength of the lower lithosphere. A combination of poroelastic relaxation above the brittle-ductile transition and localized shear deformation on and below the Landers rupture is able to explain most of the available geodetic data. The InSAR data suggest that pore fluids and interconnected pore space are ubiquitously present throughout the seismogenic layer up to depth of 15 km or greater. The effective hydraulic diffusivity of the upper crust inferred from the kinetics of surface deformation is of the order of 0.1-1 m(2)/s, consistent with the laboratory, field, and deep borehole measurements. The post-Landers geodetic data suggest that discrete narrow fault zones extend into the lower crust and perhaps the uppermost mantle, thus lending support to a "block tectonics'' model of the Eastern California Shear Zone.