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Jiang, JL, Fialko Y.  2016.  Reconciling seismicity and geodetic locking depths on the Anza section of the San Jacinto fault. Geophysical Research Letters. 43:10663-10671.   10.1002/2016gl071113   AbstractWebsite

Observations from the Anza section of the San Jacinto Fault in Southern California reveal that microseismicity extends to depths of 15-18km, while the geodetically determined locking depth is less than similar to 10km. This contrasts with observations from other major faults in the region and also with predictions of fault models assuming a simple layered distribution of frictional properties with depth. We suggest that an anomalously shallow geodetic fault locking may result from a transition zone at the bottom of seismogenic layer with spatially heterogeneous frictional properties. Numerical models of faults that incorporate stochastic heterogeneity at transitional depths successfully reproduce the observed depth relation between seismicity and geodetic locking, as well as complex spatiotemporal patterns of microseismicity with relatively scarce repeating earthquakes. Our models predict propagation of large earthquakes to the bottom of the transition zone, and ubiquitous aseismic transients below the locked zone, potentially observable using high-precision geodetic techniques.

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).

Sandwell, D, Fialko Y.  2004.  Warping and cracking of the Pacific plate by thermal contraction. Journal of Geophysical Research-Solid Earth. 109   10.1029/2004jb003091   AbstractWebsite

Lineaments in the gravity field and associated chains of volcanic ridges are widespread on the Pacific plate but are not yet explained by plate tectonics. Recent studies have proposed that they are warps and cracks in the plate caused by uneven thermal contraction of the cooling lithosphere. We show that the large thermoelastic stress produced by top-down cooling is optimally released by lithospheric flexure between regularly spaced parallel cracks. Both the crack spacing and approximate gravity amplitude are predicted by elastic plate theory and variational principle. Cracks along the troughs of the gravity lineaments provide conduits for the generation of volcanic ridges in agreement with new observations from satellite-derived gravity. Our model suggests that gravity lineaments are a natural consequence of lithospheric cooling so that convective rolls or mantle plumes are not required.

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, Simons M.  2000.  Deformation and seismicity in the Coso geothermal area, Inyo County, California: Observations and modeling using satellite radar interferometry. Journal of Geophysical Research-Solid Earth. 105:21781-21793.   10.1029/2000jb900169   AbstractWebsite

Interferometric synthetic aperture radar (InSAR) data collected in the Coso geothermal area, eastern California, during 1993-1999 indicate ground subsidence over a similar to 50 km(2) region that approximately coincides with the production area of the Coso geothermal plant. The maximum subsidence rate in the peak of the anomaly is similar to 3.5 cm yr(-1), and the average volumetric rate of subsidence is of the order of 10(6) m(3) yr(-1). The radar interferograms reveal a complex deformation pattern, with at least two irregular subsidence peaks in the northern part of the anomaly and a region of relative uplift on the south. We invert the InSAR displacement data for the positions, geometry, and relative strengths of the deformation sources at depth using a nonlinear least squares minimization algorithm. We use elastic solutions for a prolate uniformly pressurized spheroidal cavity in a semi-infinite body as basis functions for our inversions. Source depths inferred from our simulations range from 1 to 3 km, which corresponds to the production depths of the Coso geothermal plant. Underpressures in the geothermal reservoir inferred from the inversion are of the order of 0.1-1 MPa (except a few abnormally high underpressures that are apparently biased toward the small source dimensions). Analysis of the InSAR data covering consecutive time intervals indicates that the depths and/or horizontal extent of the deformation sources may increase with time. This increase presumably reflects increasing volumes of the subsurface reservoir affected by the geothermal exploitation. We show that clusters of microearthquakes associated with the geothermal power operation may result from perturbations in the pore fluid pressure, as well as normal and shear stresses caused by the deflation of the geothermal reservoir.