Publications

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2015
Wang, K, Fialko Y.  2015.  Slip model of the 2015 M-w 7.8 Gorkha (Nepal) earthquake from inversions of ALOS-2 and GPS data. Geophysical Research Letters. 42:7452-7458.   10.1002/2015gl065201   AbstractWebsite

We use surface deformation measurements including Interferometric Synthetic Aperture Radar data acquired by the ALOS-2 mission of the Japanese Aerospace Exploration Agency and Global Positioning System (GPS) data to invert for the fault geometry and coseismic slip distribution of the 2015 M-w 7.8 Gorkha earthquake in Nepal. Assuming that the ruptured fault connects to the surface trace of the Main Frontal Thrust (MFT) fault between 84.34 degrees E and 86.19 degrees E, the best fitting model suggests a dip angle of 7 degrees. The moment calculated from the slip model is 6.08 x 10(20)Nm, corresponding to the moment magnitude of 7.79. The rupture of the 2015 Gorkha earthquake was dominated by thrust motion that was primarily concentrated in a 150km long zone 50 to 100km northward from the surface trace of the Main Frontal Thrust (MFT), with maximum slip of approximate to 5.8m at a depth of approximate to 8km. Data thus indicate that the 2015 Gorkha earthquake ruptured a deep part of the seismogenic zone, in contrast to the 1934 Bihar-Nepal earthquake, which had ruptured a shallow part of the adjacent fault segment to the east.

Tymofyeyeva, E, Fialko Y.  2015.  Mitigation of atmospheric phase delays in InSAR data, with application to the eastern California shear zone. Journal of Geophysical Research-Solid Earth. 120:5952-5963.   10.1002/2015jb011886   AbstractWebsite

We present a method for estimating radar phase delays due to propagation through the troposphere and the ionosphere based on the averaging of redundant interferograms that share a common scene. Estimated atmospheric contributions can then be subtracted from the radar interferograms to improve measurements of surface deformation. Inversions using synthetic data demonstrate that this procedure can considerably reduce scatter in the time series of the line-of-sight displacements. We demonstrate the feasibility of this method by comparing the interferometric synthetic aperture radar (InSAR) time series derived from ERS-1/2 and Envisat data to continuous Global Positioning System data from eastern California. We also present results from several sites in the eastern California shear zone where anomalous deformation has been reported by previous studies, including the Blackwater fault, the Hunter Mountain fault, and the Coso geothermal plant.

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.

2013
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.

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.