Publications

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2018
Wang, K, Fialko Y.  2018.  Observations and modeling of coseismic and postseismic deformation due to the 2015 M-w 7.8 Gorkha (Nepal) earthquake. Journal of Geophysical Research-Solid Earth. 123:761-779.   10.1002/2017jb014620   AbstractWebsite

We use space geodetic data to investigate coseismic and postseismic deformation due to the 2015 M-w 7.8 Gorkha earthquake that occurred along the central Himalayan arc. Because the earthquake area is characterized by strong variations in surface relief and material properties, we developed finite element models that explicitly account for topography and 3-D elastic structure. We computed the line-of-sight displacement histories from three tracks of the Sentinel-1A/B Interferometric Synthetic Aperture Radar (InSAR) satellites, using persistent scatter method. InSAR observations reveal an uplift of up to approximate to 70mm over approximate to 20months after the main shock, concentrated primarily at the downdip edge of the ruptured asperity. GPS observations also show uplift, as well as southward movement in the epicentral area, qualitatively similar to the coseismic deformation pattern. Kinematic inversions of GPS and InSAR data and forward models of stress-driven creep suggest that the observed postseismic transient is dominated by afterslip on a downdip extension of the seismic rupture. A poroelastic rebound may have contributed to the observed uplift and southward motion, but the predicted surface displacements are small. We also tested a wide range of viscoelastic relaxation models, including 1-D and 3-D variations in the viscosity structure. Models of a low-viscosity channel previously invoked to explain the long-term uplift and variations in topography at the plateau margins predict opposite signs of horizontal and vertical displacements compared to those observed. Our results do not preclude a possibility of deep-seated viscoelastic response beneath southern Tibet with a characteristic relaxation time greater than the observation period (2years).

2016
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.

2014
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.

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.