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Lindsey, EO, Fialko Y.  2016.  Geodetic constraints on frictional properties and earthquake hazard in the Imperial Valley, Southern California. Journal of Geophysical Research-Solid Earth. 121:1097-1113.   10.1002/2015jb012516   AbstractWebsite

We analyze a suite of geodetic observations across the Imperial Fault in southern California that span all parts of the earthquake cycle. Coseismic and postseismic surface slips due to the 1979 M 6.6 Imperial Valley earthquake were recorded with trilateration and alignment surveys by Harsh (1982) and Crook et al. (1982), and interseismic deformation is measured using a combination of multiple interferometric synthetic aperture radar (InSAR)-viewing geometries and continuous and survey-mode GPS. In particular, we combine more than 100 survey-mode GPS velocities with InSAR data from Envisat descending tracks 84 and 356 and ascending tracks 77 and 306 (149 total acquisitions), processed using a persistent scatterers method. The result is a dense map of interseismic velocities across the Imperial Fault and surrounding areas that allows us to evaluate the rate of interseismic loading and along-strike variations in surface creep. We compare available geodetic data to models of the earthquake cycle with rate- and state-dependent friction and find that a complete record of the earthquake cycle is required to constrain key fault properties including the rate-dependence parameter (a - b) as a function of depth, the extent of shallow creep, and the recurrence interval of large events. We find that the data are inconsistent with a high (>30mm/yr) slip rate on the Imperial Fault and investigate the possibility that an extension of the San Jacinto-Superstition Hills Fault system through the town of El Centro may accommodate a significant portion of the slip previously attributed to the Imperial Fault. Models including this additional fault are in better agreement with the available observations, suggesting that the long-term slip rate of the Imperial Fault is lower than previously suggested and that there may be a significant unmapped hazard in the western Imperial Valley.

Lindsey, EO, Fialko Y, Bock Y, Sandwell DT, Bilham R.  2014.  Localized and distributed creep along the southern San Andreas Fault. Journal of Geophysical Research-Solid Earth. 119:7909-7922.   10.1002/2014jb011275   AbstractWebsite

We investigate the spatial pattern of surface creep and off-fault deformation along the southern segment of the San Andreas Fault using a combination of multiple interferometric synthetic aperture radar viewing geometries and survey-mode GPS occupations of a dense array crossing the fault. Radar observations from Envisat during the period 2003-2010 were used to separate the pattern of horizontal and vertical motion, providing a high-resolution image of uplift and shallow creep along the fault trace. The data reveal pervasive shallow creep along the southernmost 50 km of the fault. Creep is localized on a well-defined fault trace only in the Mecca Hills and Durmid Hill areas, while elsewhere creep appears to be distributed over a 1-2 km wide zone surrounding the fault. The degree of strain localization is correlated with variations in the local fault strike. Using a two-dimensional boundary element model, we show that stresses resulting from slip on a curved fault can promote or inhibit inelastic failure within the fault zone in a pattern matching the observations. The occurrence of shallow, localized interseismic fault creep within mature fault zones may thus be partly controlled by the local fault geometry and normal stress, with implications for models of fault zone evolution, shallow coseismic slip deficit, and geologic estimates of long-term slip rates. Key PointsShallow creep is pervasive along the southernmost 50 km of the San Andreas FaultCreep is localized only along transpressional fault segmentsIn transtensional areas, creep is distributed over a 1-2 km wide fault zone

Mitchell, EK, Fialko Y, Brown KM.  2013.  Temperature dependence of frictional healing of Westerly granite: Experimental observations and numerical simulations. Geochemistry Geophysics Geosystems. 14:567-582.   10.1029/2012gc004241   AbstractWebsite

Temperature is believed to have an important control on frictional properties of rocks, yet the amount of experimental observations of time-dependent rock friction at high temperatures is rather limited. In this study, we investigated frictional healing of Westerly granite in a series of slide-hold-slide experiments using a direct shear apparatus at ambient temperatures between 20 degrees C and 550 degrees C. We observed that at room temperature coefficient of friction increases in proportion to the logarithm of hold time at a rate consistent with findings of previous studies. For a given hold time, the coefficient of friction linearly increases with temperature, but temperature has little effect on the rate of change in static friction with hold time. We used a numerical model to investigate whether time-dependent increases in real contact area between rough surfaces could account for the observed frictional healing. The model incorporates fractal geometry and temperature-dependent viscoelasoplastic rheology. We explored several candidate rheologies that have been proposed for steady state creep of rocks at high stresses and temperatures. None of the tested laws could provide an agreement between the observed and modeled healing behavior given material properties reported in the bulk creep experiments. An acceptable fit to the experimental data could be achieved with modified parameters. In particular, for the power-law rheology to provide a reasonable fit to the data, the stress exponent needs to be greater than 40. Alternative mechanisms include time-dependent gouge compaction and increases in bond strength between contacting asperities.