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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.

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.  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, Khazan Y.  2005.  Fusion by earthquake fault friction: Stick or slip? Journal of Geophysical Research-Solid Earth. 110   10.1029/2005jb003869   AbstractWebsite

[1] Field observations of pseudotachylites and experimental studies of high-speed friction indicate that melting on a slipping interface may significantly affect the magnitude of shear stresses resisting slip. We investigate the effects of rock melting on the dynamic friction using theoretical models of shear heating that couple heat transfer, thermodynamics of phase transitions, and fluid mechanics. Results of laboratory experiments conducted at high ( order of m/s) slip velocities but low ( order of MPa) normal stresses suggest that the onset of frictional melting may give rise to substantial increases in the effective fault strength, presumably due to viscous effects. However, extrapolation of the modeling results to in situ conditions suggests that the efficiency of viscous braking is significantly reduced under high normal and shear stresses. When transient increases in the dynamic fault strength due to fusion are not sufficient to inhibit slip, decreases in the effective melt viscosity due to shear heating and melting of clasts drastically decrease the dynamic friction, resulting in a nearly complete stress drop ("thermal runaway''). The amount of energy dissipation associated with the formation of pseudotachylites is governed by the temperature dependence of melt viscosity and the average clast size in the fault gouge prior to melting. Clasts from a coarse-grained gouge have lower chances of survival in a pseudotachylite due to a higher likelihood of nonequilibrium overheating. The maximum temperature and energy dissipation attainable on the fault surface are ultimately limited by either the rock solidus ( via viscous braking, and slip arrest) or liquidus ( via thermal runaway and vanishing resistance to sliding). Our modeling results indicate that the thermally activated fault strengthening and rupture arrest are unlikely to occur in most mafic protoliths but might be relevant for quartz-rich rocks, especially at shallow (< 5 - 7 km) depths where the driving shear stress is relatively low.

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.

Barbot, S, Fialko Y, Sandwell D.  2008.  Effect of a compliant fault zone on the inferred earthquake slip distribution. Journal of Geophysical Research-Solid Earth. 113   10.1029/2007jb005256   AbstractWebsite

We present a new semi-analytic method to evaluate the deformation due to a screw dislocation in arbitrarily heterogeneous and/or anisotropic elastic half plane. The method employs integral transformations to reduce the governing partial differential equations to the integral Fredholm equation of the second kind. Dislocation sources, as well as spatial perturbations in the elastic properties are modeled using equivalent body forces. The solution to the Fredholm equation is obtained in the Fourier domain using a method of successive over-relaxation, and is mapped into the spatial domain using the inverse Fast Fourier Transform. We apply this method to investigate the effect of a soft damage zone around an earthquake fault on the co-seismic displacement field, and on the earthquake slip distribution inferred from inversions of geodetic data. In the presence of a kilometer-wide damage zone with a reduction of the effective shear modulus of a factor of 2, inversions that assume a laterally homogeneous model tend to underestimate the amount of slip in the middle of the seismogenic layer by as much as 20%. This bias may accentuate the inferred maxima in the seismic moment release at depth between 3-6 km suggested by previous studies of large strike-slip earthquakes.

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.

Barbot, S, Fialko Y, Bock Y.  2009.  Postseismic deformation due to the M(w) 6.0 2004 Parkfield earthquake: Stress-driven creep on a fault with spatially variable rate-and-state friction parameters. Journal of Geophysical Research-Solid Earth. 114   10.1029/2008jb005748   AbstractWebsite

We investigate the coseismic and postseismic deformation due to the M(w) 6.0 2004 Parkfield, California, earthquake. We produce coseismic and postseismic slip models by inverting data from an array of 14 continuous GPS stations from the SCIGN network. Kinematic inversions of postseismic GPS data over a time period of 3 years show that afterslip occurred in areas of low seismicity and low coseismic slip, predominantly at a depth of similar to 5 km. Inversions suggest that coseismic stress increases were relaxed by predominantly aseismic afterslip on a fault plane. The kinetics of afterslip is consistent with a velocity-strengthening friction generalized to include the case of infinitesimal velocities. We performed simulations of stress-driven creep using a numerical model that evaluates the time-dependent deformation due to coseismic stress changes in a viscoelastoplastic half-space. Starting with a coseismic slip distribution, we compute the time-dependent evolution of afterslip on a fault plane and the associated displacements at the GPS stations. Data are best explained by a rate-strengthening model with frictional parameter (a - b) = 7 x 10(-3), at a high end of values observed in laboratory experiments. We also find that the geodetic moment due to creep is a factor of 100 greater than the cumulative seismic moment of aftershocks. The rate of aftershocks in the top 10 km of the seismogenic zone mirrors the kinetics of afterslip, suggesting that postearthquake seismicity is governed by loading from the nearby aseismic creep. The San Andreas fault around Parkfield is deduced to have large along-strike variations in rate-and-state frictional properties. Velocity strengthening areas may be responsible for the separation of the coseismic slip in two distinct asperities and for the ongoing aseismic creep occurring between the velocity-weakening patches after the 2004 rupture.

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.

Barbot, S, Fialko Y.  2010.  A unified continuum representation of post-seismic relaxation mechanisms: semi-analytic models of afterslip, poroelastic rebound and viscoelastic flow. Geophysical Journal International. 182:1124-1140.   10.1111/j.1365-246X.2010.04678.x   AbstractWebsite

P>We present a unified continuum mechanics representation of the mechanisms believed to be commonly involved in post-seismic transients such as viscoelasticity, fault creep and poroelasticity. The time-dependent relaxation that follows an earthquake, or any other static stress perturbation, is considered in a framework of a generalized viscoelastoplastic rheology whereby some inelastic strain relaxes a physical quantity in the material. The relaxed quantity is the deviatoric stress in case of viscoelastic relaxation, the shear stress in case of creep on a fault plane and the trace of the stress tensor in case of poroelastic rebound. In this framework, the instantaneous velocity field satisfies the linear inhomogeneous Navier's equation with sources parametrized as equivalent body forces and surface tractions. We evaluate the velocity field using the Fourier-domain Green's function for an elastic half-space with surface buoyancy boundary condition. The accuracy of the proposed method is demonstrated by comparisons with finite-element simulations of viscoelastic relaxation following strike-slip and dip-slip ruptures for linear and power-law rheologies. We also present comparisons with analytic solutions for afterslip driven by coseismic stress changes. Finally, we demonstrate that the proposed method can be used to model time-dependent poroelastic rebound by adopting a viscoelastic rheology with bulk viscosity and work hardening. The proposed method allows one to model post-seismic transients that involve multiple mechanisms (afterslip, poroelastic rebound, ductile flow) with an account for the effects of gravity, non-linear rheologies and arbitrary spatial variations in inelastic properties of rocks (e.g. the effective viscosity, rate-and-state frictional parameters and poroelastic properties).

Wei, M, Sandwell D, Fialko Y, Bilham R.  2011.  Slip on faults in the Imperial Valley triggered by the 4 April 2010 Mw 7.2 El Mayor-Cucapah earthquake revealed by InSAR. Geophysical Research Letters. 38   10.1029/2010gl045235   AbstractWebsite

Radar interferometry (InSAR), field measurements and creepmeters reveal surface slip on multiple faults in the Imperial Valley triggered by the main shock of the 4 April 2010 El Mayor-Cucapah M(w) 7.2 earthquake. Co-seismic offsets occurred on the San Andreas, Superstition Hills, Imperial, Elmore Ranch, Wienert, Coyote Creek, Elsinore, Yuha, and several minor faults near the town of Ocotillo at the northern end of the mainshock rupture. We documented right-lateral slip (<40 mm) on northwest-striking faults and left-lateral slip (<40 mm) on southwest-striking faults. Slip occurred on 15-km- and 20-km-long segments of the San Andreas Fault in the Mecca Hills (<= 50 mm) and Durmid Hill (<= 10 mm) respectively, and on 25 km of the Superstition Hills Fault (<= 37 mm). Field measurements of slip on the Superstition Hills Fault agree with InSAR and creepmeter measurements to within a few millimeters. Dislocation models of the InSAR data from the Superstition Hills Fault confirm that creep in this sequence, as in previous slip events, is confined to shallow depths (<3 km). Citation: Wei, M., D. Sandwell, Y. Fialko, and R. Bilham (2011), Slip on faults in the Imperial Valley triggered by the 4 April 2010 Mw 7.2 El Mayor-Cucapah earthquake revealed by InSAR, Geophys. Res. Lett., 38, L01308, doi:10.1029/2010GL045235.

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.

Takeuchi, CS, Fialko Y.  2012.  Dynamic models of interseismic deformation and stress transfer from plate motion to continental transform faults. Journal of Geophysical Research-Solid Earth. 117   10.1029/2011jb009056   AbstractWebsite

We present numerical models of earthquake cycles on a strike-slip fault that incorporate laboratory-derived power law rheologies with Arrhenius temperature dependence, viscous dissipation, conductive heat transfer, and far-field loading due to relative plate motion. We use these models to explore the evolution of stress, strain, and thermal regime on "geologic" timescales (similar to 10(6)-10(7) years), as well as on timescales of the order of the earthquake recurrence (similar to 10(2) years). Strain localization in the viscoelastic medium results from thermomechanical coupling and power law dependence of strain rate on stress. For conditions corresponding to the San Andreas fault (SAF), the predicted width of the shear zone in the lower crust is similar to 3-5 km; this shear zone accommodates more than 50% of the far-field plate motion. Coupled thermomechanical models predict a single-layer lithosphere in case of "dry" composition of the lower crust and upper mantle, and a "jelly sandwich" lithosphere in case of "wet" composition. Deviatoric stress in the lithosphere in our models is relatively insensitive to the water content, the far-field loading rate, and the fault strength and is of the order of 10(2) MPa. Thermomechanical coupling gives rise to an inverse correlation between the fault slip rate and the ductile strength of the lithosphere. We show that our models are broadly consistent with geodetic and heat flow constrains from the SAF in Northern California. Models suggest that the regionally elevated heat flow around the SAF may be at least in part due to viscous dissipation in the ductile part of the lithosphere.

Crowell, BW, Bock Y, Sandwell DT, Fialko Y.  2013.  Geodetic investigation into the deformation of the Salton Trough. Journal of Geophysical Research-Solid Earth. 118:5030-5039.   10.1002/jgrb.50347   AbstractWebsite

The Salton Trough represents a complex transition between the spreading center in Baja California and the strike-slip San Andreas fault system and is one of the most active zones of deformation and seismicity in California. We present a high-resolution interseismic velocity field for the Salton Trough derived from 74 continuous GPS sites and 109 benchmarks surveyed in three GPS campaigns during 2008-2009 and previous surveys between 2000 and 2005. We also investigate small-scale deformation by removing the regional velocity field predicted by an elastic block model for Southern California from the observed velocities. We find a total extension rate of 11mm/yr from the Mesquite Basin to the southern edge of the San Andreas Fault, coupled with 15mm/yr of left-lateral shear, the majority of which is concentrated in the southern Salton Sea and Obsidian Buttes and is equivalent to 17mm/yr oriented in the direction of the San Andreas Fault. Differential shear strain is exclusively localized in the Brawley Seismic Zone, and dilatation rate indicates widespread extension throughout the zone. In addition, we infer clockwise rotation of 10 degrees/Ma, consistent with northwestward propagation of the Brawley Seismic Zone over geologic time.

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.

Mitchell, EK, Fialko Y, Brown KM.  2015.  Frictional properties of gabbro at conditions corresponding to slow slip events in subduction zones. Geochemistry Geophysics Geosystems. 16:4006-4020.   10.1002/2015gc006093   AbstractWebsite

We conducted a series of experiments to explore the rate and state frictional properties of gabbro at conditions thought to be representative of slow slip events (SSEs) in subduction zones. The experiments were conducted using a heated direct shear apparatus. We tested both solid and simulated gouge samples at low effective normal stress (5-30 MPa) over a broad range of temperatures (20-600 degrees C) under dry and hydrated conditions. In tests performed on dry solid samples, we observed stable sliding at low temperatures (20-150 degrees C), stick slip at high temperatures (350-600 degrees C), and a transitional "episodic slow slip'' behavior at intermediate temperatures (200-300 degrees C). In tests performed on dry gouge samples, we observed stable sliding at all temperatures. Under hydrated conditions, the gouge samples exhibited episodic slow slip and stick-slip behavior at temperatures between 300 and 500 degrees C. Our results show a decrease in the rate parameter (a - b) with temperature for both solid and gouge samples; friction transitions from velocity strengthening to velocity weakening at temperature of about 150 degrees C for both solid and gouge samples. We do not observe transition to velocity-strengthening friction at the high end of the tested temperature range. Our results suggest that the occurrence of slow slip events and the downdip limit of the seismogenic zone on subduction megathrusts cannot be solely explained by the temperature dependence of frictional properties of gabbro. Further experimental studies are needed to evaluate the effects of water fugacity and compositional heterogeneity (e. g., the presence of phyllosilicates) on frictional stability of subduction megathrusts.

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.

Mitchell, EK, Fialko Y, Brown KM.  2016.  Velocity-weakening behavior of Westerly granite at temperature up to 600 degrees C. Journal of Geophysical Research-Solid Earth. 121:6932-6946.   10.1002/2016jb013081   AbstractWebsite

The deep limit to seismicity in continental crust is believed to be controlled by a transition from velocity-weakening to velocity-strengthening friction based on experimental measurements of the rate dependence of friction at different temperatures. Available experimental data on granite suggest a transition to stable creep at about 350 degrees C (approximate to 15km depth). Here we present results from unconfined experiments on Westerly granite at both dry and hydrated conditions that show increasingly unstable slip (velocity-weakening behavior) at temperature up to 600 degrees C. A comparison of previously published experimental results with those presented in this study suggests that the rate and state friction parameters strongly depend on normal stress and pore pressure at high (>400 degrees C) temperature, which may help explain regional variations in the depth distribution of earthquakes in continental crust. Temperature dependence of the rate and state friction parameters may also contribute to strong dynamic weakening observed in high-speed friction experiments on crystalline rocks such as granite and gabbro.